What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Chinatown coconut

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 travelling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is from Nicola

Packaging is creeping back into our lives - we recently bought a clingfilm wrapped green coconut in London's Chinatown for #1.25. The coconut was husked (though I still had to ask for help from a man with a cleaver to open up the eye) but without the wrapping I'd never have known it had been grown then flown all the way from Thailand.

Lola, Nell and I lapped up the milk (very sweet and delicious but it is an acquired taste so I keep practising my kids) through a bendy straw and then the old man split the coconut so we could guzzle the meat (a floppy grey jelly). It was delicious and made us feel as if we were on holiday.

Chinatown is an amazing place still, lots of back streets and an atmosphere so different to the theatre land of Shaftesbury Avenue or the mix of trendy/seedy in Soho. Unfortunately it's all at risk claims Paul Kingsnorth in his latest book, Real England, because Chinatown is under threat from a new kind of development - businesses that buy up streets in a pretence of cleaning up the area.

People used to worry about not being able to walk across farmers' land; imagine how you'll feel not being allowed to use streets?

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