La mejor manera para conseguir la visa para Birmania es en Bangkok. Rapido y barato.

bagan

Precioso Bagan en Birmania

Cualquiera al que le gusta viajar sabe lo engorroso y complicado que son en muchas ocasiones los tramites para conseguir la visa de los paises que la requieren. China o Birmania (caso que nos ocupa) son un claro ejemplo. Normalmente estos tramites deben llevarse a cabo lo antes posible, alrededor de cuatro semanas antes para no pillarse los dedos. Se puede hacer por correo, aunque esta opcion se dilata mas en el tiempo y si cometes algun error en algun formulario, por ejemplo, es muy probable que todo se vaya al traste y no la consigas a tiempo. Si vives en una capital como en Madrid o Londres, siempre puedes acercarte a la embajada de Birmania a agilizar el tramite, aun asi sigue siendo tedioso y las posibilidades de que te la denieguen en ambos casos son grandes.

Una forma muy rapida, efectiva, barata y segura es ir a la embajada de Birmania en Bangkok. Es algo cada vez mas comun entre los mochileros que viajan por el sudeste asiatico. Tambien es recomendable hacerlo aunque tu destino final sea Birmania, es decir que vayas a ir directamente a Birmania como unico viaje. Esto es asi por que no hay vuelos directos a Birmania, siempre hay que parar en uno o dos sitios, lo que hace los vuelos muy largos. Por lo tanto, una buena idea es parar en Bangkok durante unos dias y disfrutar de todo lo que esta maravillosa ciudad tiene que ofrecer, mientras os sacais la visa alli. Hay vuelos muy economicos de Bangkok a Yangoon o Mandalay con Air Asia (La RyanAir asiatica pero con unos standards mucho mas altos en mi opinion) a diario, incluso si los compras de un dia para otro, se pueden conseguir por unos 40 euros.

Esta tipo de “visa express” suele ser normal en las embajadas de las zonas donde suele haber un trafico considerable de personas entre los paises. Por ejemplo, tambien se puede conseguir la visa para China de manera rapida en Hong Kong.

La parada del sky train Surasak te deja muy cerca de la embajada. La direccion es la siguiente:

132, Sathorn Nua Road,
BANGKOK 10500
(662) 234-4698, 233-7250, 234-0320, 637-9406

mapa

Mapa de la embajada de Birmania en Bangkok

Es recomendable ir temprano para evitar largas colas, yo me presente sobre las siete y media de la manana y no habria mas de diez personas. Para las ocho y pico ya hay una cola considerable. Las puertas se abren a las nueve y cierran a las doce. Os hara falta llevar el pasaporte, una copia de este, dos fotos tamano carne y una direccion en Birmania. Recomiendo reservar algun sitio antes de ir ya que es un destino que esta creciendo en popularidad rapidamente y la oferta no consigue satisfacer a la demanda, por lo que encontrar un sitio en el que quedarse puede ser complicado a no ser que estes dispuesto a pagar una cantidad considerable yendote a un hotel caro. Un sitio genial para quedarse en Mandalay es en Yoe Yoe Lay Guesthouse.

La visa a la que se opta es la de turista de 28 dias maximo. Se puede conseguir en el mismo dia (1260 baht y en este caso es indispensable tener reservado el billete de ida y vuelta, y adjuntar la correspondiente copia), el siguiente dia (1000 baht) o en tres dias (810 baht). La mejor opcion sin duda es la del mismo dia ya que se puede ir a recogerla de tres y media a cuatro y media, por lo que ya te olvidas de volver otro dia y puedes usar ese tiempo para visitar la ciudad. Todo se hace muy rapido, a las nueve y media ya estaba fuera y me fui a dar una vuelta con un americano y una noruega que conoci en la cola, despues de comer volvimos a recoger la visa. Simplemente, fijaros en que cola poneros por que hay tres ventanillas segun la visa que hayais elegido. Otro detalle importante is tener claro que dias son fiesta en Bangkok y Birmania por que podriais aparecer cuando este cerrado.

Embajada

Seccion de visas de la embajada de Birmania en Bangkok

Hay agencias que se encargan de hacer la gestion por ti y eso que te ahorras, pero son algo caras y lo mas importante, tienes que fiarles tu pasaporte, algo que personalmente no me gusta hacer y lo evito lo maximo posible.

Una vez que llegues a la embajada, es posibe encontrar una tienda en la que puedes imprimir todo lo que necesites, sacarte las fotos y hasta conseguir los formularios necesarios de la embajada para ya tenerlos listos antes de llegar, algo que te ahorrara mucho tiempo. La tienda se encuentra muy cerca de la embajada direccion norte, esta a mano derecha en uno de los callejones y se puede ver carteles amarillos ofreciendo sus servicios e indicando donde esta. No tiene perdida.

Tienda

Tienda para los formularios, fotocopias, etc cerca de la embajada

En difinitiva, si teneis pensado ir a Birmania, esta es una manera rapida y barata de conseguir la visa y pasar unos dias geniales en Bangkok. En otra entrada hablare de mi experiencia en Birmana, la cual fue maravillosa.

Sueños de un Otaku. Piloto

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Super Potato vintage computer game shop in Akihabara, Tokyo

Este es el piloto de nuestro primer Podcast, Sueños de un Otaku. Como he explicado en la pagina del podcast, he comenzado este proyecto con mi primo y buen amigo Alejandro aka Jako que ha nacido desde la ilusion de acercar temas interesantes a mas gente. De vez en cuando nos reuniremos para grabar un podcast de nuestros temas favoritos. Principalmente Cine y Series, Manga y Anime, Tecnologia y Videojuegos, Literatura, Gastronomia y Viajes.

Este primer podcast trata de una trilogia de libros llamada La Primera Ley. Es una historia ambientanda en fantasia medieval, muy en tono de lo que se puede encontrar en Cancion de Hielo y Fuego mas conocido como Juego de Tronos.

Tambien hablamos de la serie de Fargo, inspirada en la exitosa pelicula del mismo nombre de los hermanos Cohen.

Descargate el piloto y pasa un buen rato escuchandonos.


“Arroz a Banda” the Paella from my hometown, Alicante

Arroz a banda

Arroz a Banda ready to serve

I have decided to unveil the secret of my “arroz a banda” which is one of my favourite Spanish rice recipes and it is also cooked in a Paella. A Paella is a container used in Spain to cook some rice recipes, therefore the dish known as “Paella” takes its name from the container in which it is cooked. It is for this reason that “Arroz a Banda” could be considered a type of Paella as well as all the other Spanish rices cooked in this container. Arroz a Banda is originate from Alicante, my hometown. However, it is a recipe popular all along the Mediterranean Spanish coast from Murcia to Catalonia.

Arroz a banda translated into English would be something like “Rice apart” and this is because fishermen used to use the fish leftovers for cooking a broth, then they used part of the water to boil rice that it is the “arroz a banda”. Meanwhile they made money by selling the better fish. It is normally served with a sauce called “ali-oli” which is made with olive oil and garlic.

Something that has surprised me from England is the difficulty to find fresh fish. It is quite common to find fish shops in Spain all around, where you can buy fish leftovers for a tiny amount of money or even free. The fish stock should be cooked with leftovers since the purpose of doing this is that the water resulted will have absorbed the flavor from the fish and then it is used to cook the rice. You may want to buy the fish to make the stock but it will be a waste since it will not be used eventually. This is because as mentioned before the purpose of doing this is that the water absorbs the flavor. A quick and cheap alternative is to use one of those fish stock cubes that can be found easily in any food shop. It may not result as tasty as with the fish leftovers but still it is more than acceptable.

Fish Cube

Fish Cubes

Ingredients

There is not a definitive recipe of “arroz a banda”, depending on the region the ingredients can vary. For example some people like using cuttlefish. I will list the ingredients that I normally use next (four portions):

For the fish Stock:

– 1 kg of rock fish (scorpion fish, red fish, etc) or other fish such as monkfish, gilthead bream, shellfish and crustaceans, fish heads, etc.) However, you can use any type of fish for the leftovers such as heads and bones or a fish stock cube as explained above. You will use this water later on to cook the rice and the amount of water should be double of the rice used. So for example, for 500 grams of rice, boil one litre of water with the left overs for 20 minutes or with the fish cube for 5 minutes.

For the rice:

The main ingredients

Main Ingredients

– 500 grams of Valencian rice. This is very important, don’t try to use some other type of rice, although Japanese rice is quite similar to Valencian one.

– One medium size pepper

– 400 grams of squid, if fresh much better. You can find frozen squid in Asda as alternative.

– 400 of prawns. I recommend to use a pack of frozen peeled prawns that can be found in any food shop.

– 200 grams of raw tomato. You can use either grated natural tomato or buy a tin of Tomato purée. I recommend the latter.

– 1 Medium Onion

– 3 cloves of garlic

– Some strands of zafron or food coloring. Being the latter cheaper.

– Olive oil and salt

– One of the characteristics of this rice recipe is the use of a type of pepper called ñora that only grows Spanish region of Murcia. It is hard to find it outside Spain, however I will include it in the recipe in case you could find it. As an alternative you can use a tbs of paprika.

Preparation

On a Paella pan or a frying pan with the olive oil, fry the ñora(if you don’t have it, then use the paprika when you have to add the tomato later on) then mash it with a grinding bowl and keep it aside for later.

In the same oil, add the pepper and the onion chopped in small pieces. After a few minutes add the squid chopped as well and the peeled prawns. Fry all a few minutes and then add the tomato, the rice and the mashed garlic. Stir everything at high heat.

All the ingredients

Ingredients before adding the rice

Frying the rice for a few minutes it is important since it will remain loose, something considered essential in this recipe. Add the salt and the zafron or the food coloring and then add the water from the fish stock. It is possible to make this recipe in an ordinary frying pan but you will have to add a bit more of water. So for example, if you are using 500 grams of rice, instead of one litre, use 1.2 litres. The precise amount of water is very important, otherwise your rice will be overcooked, which is considered a real disaster by the Paella experts. I would stick to the initial amount of water used but If for some reason you really reckon that you are short of water, try to add a bit more of boiling water in the pan, never use lukewarm water because the rice will most likely result overcooked.

Cook at high heat for 5 minutes and then at low heat for 15 minutes. Once the paella is finished, use a clean kitchen cloth to cover it for 5 minutes and then it will be ready to serve.

Arroz a banda Portion

Ready to eat

You will probably need several attempts before you master this recipe but if you follow these simple steps it will take you less time. Enjoy!!

The End of Portable Consoles?

PSP

The end of PSP?


Nintendo 3DS (3DS) and Playstation Portable (PSP) were launched a few years ago. It seems that portable consoles are not as successful as they used to be. What does the future hold for these devices?

PSP is fading as the last E3 showed. Not even Sony presented games in the fair for its handheld. This fact is probably the first sign that PSP will sink into oblivion soon.

3DS is quite successful though. Main third parties and smaller publishers keep on supporting it with games of high quality. It goes without saying that Nintendo sells its main franchises as doughnuts.

Yu Suzuki, the legendary developer behind Sega franchises such as Outrun and Shenmue commented in Barcelona’s gamelab that Japanese computer game market is really in good shape. However, he specified that the mobile phone gaming market is increasing dramatically to the detriment of portable consoles.

This situation applies to the other two main markets, Europe and USA. More and more computer game consumers own more powerful mobile phones and the quality of the game versions for them are as good as the ones found in portable consoles. Electronic arts already announced that were stopping producing games for portable consoles since they needed to make a good use of their resources  as the gaming market goes towards the mobile phones controled by Google and Apple.

Is it then the last generation of portable consoles? In my opinión, Sony will give up and PSP will be the last adventure for Sony in this market. Nintendo can unbeliabably say that 3DS is doing good despite of the mobile phones competence. However, this could change any moment in the near future. Time will give the answer.