It’s called chikungunya, and it’s a virus transmitted by biting mosquitoes that most often causes fever and joint pain. The disease rarely leads to death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People most at risk for complications are newborns, adults over 65, and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.
The symptoms usually begin three to seven days after you’re bitten, and most people recover within a week.
Chikungunya began appearing late last year in the Caribbean, and it’s spread to almost all of the islands since then. So if you’re headed south, be sure to take along insect repellant, wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves, stay in places with air conditioning or at least screens on windows and doors.
And, as always, dusk is a favorite feeding time for mosquitoes. Here’s a link to the CDC fact sheet.
The good news is, if you’ve been contracted the virus once, you’re probably immune the rest of your life.
Yesterday I suggested a foodie is not necessarily someone who dines at, expensive restaurants. It’s someone who cares deeply about food whether it’s served on a silver platter or a paper plate. And that describes my friend, DC restaurateur Daisuke Utagawa, who drove me seven-hours round trip out of DC to try what he said was the best crabcake he’d ever tasted.
The restaurant is called the Chesapeake Crabhouse & Tiki Bar, and it’s located on the water in the small fishing village of Crisfield, on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore. I’ve spent a lot of time on the Chesapeake Bay, but I’d never had a crabcake at Chesapeake Crabhouse.
For $26.95, we each ordered a platter that included flounder, crabcake, three scallops, and three large shrimp (pictured). The shrimp were from Texas, the scallops from nearby Ocean City, and the flounder and crabcake from boats I could see from the deck of the restaurant. The crab is delivered fresh every day.
Daisuke said considering 30% food costs, the platter would have cost at least $65 in DC. The crabcake was great–all jumbo lump crab with a minimum of filling—and it was worth the seven-hour drive.
Which is what makes Daisuke a bona fide “foodie.”
When someone calls himself a “foodie,” I think some people think that means they spend a lot of money at the world’s three-star Michelin restaurants. Not so. It only means someone pays attention to what they eat. Take my friend Daisuke Utagawa, for example.
Daisuke (pictured) is a close friend whose two DC restaurants, Sushiko and Daikaya, enjoy a loyal following. And he’s very serious about food. I remember years ago we had gone to see a movie that let out around 10 at night, and we were hungry. There was a Cheesecake Factory just across the street, so I suggested we eat there.
“Rudy,” Daisuke said, “you only get a finite number of meals in a lifetime. Do you really want to use up one of them there?”
Now, I actually like salads at the Cheesecake Factory, but I took his point. Which explains why two weeks ago, we drove three-and-a-half hours out of DC to a tiny, Chesapeake Bay fishing town of Crisfield to dine on what he said was the best crabcake he’d ever had. And then we drove back another three-and-a-half hours.
I’ll tell you about it in tomorrow’s “Travel Minute.”
Sometimes the best deal on a hotel room can be found at the last minute. In big cities, including busy New York City, I rely on an app—not a web site, an app—called Hotel Tonight. Every day at noon in the local time of each city, Hotel Tonight posts deals on hotel rooms in a wide range of hotels. I’ve not been disappointed.
There are other options, as well.
Old standbys such as Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline are still good sources for discounted hotel prices, especially if you bid wisely on Priceline. You won’t know the name of your hotel until you’ve committed to buy, but you will know its level of luxury and what neighborhood you’ll be in. If you can live with that, go nuts bidding on Priceline.
But there is not ironclad, single web site that will consistently offer you the lowest rate—you have to shop around each time you book.
Stayful is another bidding site. The site gives you the retail web price and suggests a good bid that’s lower. I’d go under even that recommendation. Generally, I suggest you check out several of the sites I’ve mentioned and then try your luck bidding on Priceline or Stayful.
If your bids are turned down, you still have options.
Here is my answer: It’s a place that you discover later in life that surprises you.
Because my father was in the Army, my family spent two tours of duty in Germany, and we took car trips all time. Around Germany, to Switzerland, to the Netherlands, to Paris. And as a young reporter at the Washington Post, I lived on the East Coast and thought nothing of hopping over to Europe for a few days for someone’s birthday party or a special dinner.
But I didn’t get to Asia until my early 30s. And when I landed in Hong Kong and found myself on the Star Ferry my first night looking at the incredible skyline standing in brilliant contrast to the dark peak of Victoria Mountain over which seemed hung a full moon, well, I was, as my granddaughters in London like to say, “gobsmacked.”
I bet if I’d grown up largely in Asia, I’d have felt the same way if I’d never gotten around to visiting Europe until I was in my 30s.
A lot of us don’t see the attractions of where we live because we take them for granted. Somewhere far away seems more special, more exotic. That, my friends, is not always true.