It is very true when they say that if you can drive in Ho Chi Minh, you can drive anywhere in the world. It is also true that crossing the road here is an art that must be perfected by tiger courage aided by a can of 333 Bia.
But for all the mad bustle on the roads (and the incessant and needless honking), I find that the Vietnamese people have a very quiet, gentle air about them. They sit on the side streets people-watching, chatting to each other in a sing-song lilt, smiling shyly when you catch their gaze. It’s a contradictory city, quite like Bangkok. I suspect that might be why I like it so much.
So I played the young padawan for the day and shadowed the Jedi knight of photography – the very amazing M. With my (comparatively) tiny E-P1 and his family of lenses, we set off for the Plateau, hoping to catch as much daylight as we could. While the light issue wasn’t on our side, I think we did pretty okay in the end. That’s probably what I appreciate so much about Montreal: there aren’t a copious number of cathedrals and travel-guide-endorsed museums to scope out, and the beauty really lies in the neighborhoods and the faces on the street, if you just look a little further than the pages of Lonely Planet.
P/S: You should also check out M‘s pictures here. You can thank me later.
I must be more than a little demented. Last night it was absolutely freezing in M-City, especially since I just got back from Ottawa, but I just wanted froyo. I paid the dear price of not being able to feel my gums after that, but hey, we had cookie dough and PB chips in there!
There are a great number of things that fascinate urbanites ceaselessly. Apple picking on a full-out sunny day in Rougemont has got to be one of these things. We get to take in these things that city slickers were never fed in an upbringing full of Lego, Nintendo and a steady diet of daily Simpsons episodes. Rubbing an apple fresh off the tree on your shirt and then taking a huge bite straight after has got to be one of the simplest and yet most satisfying things in this little life. It looks like I may just need to move to a place where there are plenty of apple trees for the picking.
Walking from J‘s apartment on Rue St. Urbain down to Chinatown was way easier than I thought it would be. I pretty much walked into the world of rapidfire Cantonese, wok hei smells wafting in the air, bolo buns and Asian hairsalons. The nice thing about Chinatown – in London, Montreal, San Fran or anywhere else, really – is that for just a little while, I lose the geography and it just feels like a place where I belong, a place where I feel safe and where I know the food is pretty much made the same way as it is back home. The way my grandmothers do it – flavored with soy sauce, oomphed up with sesame oil and served with condiments in little white platters.
Excuse me while I have a tender, fobby moment.
Food is just food, no matter how you look at it. Not that that’s a bad thing; it isn’t. But a super flavorful bowl of galbi tang is just that: a super flavorful bowl of galbi tang.
Years from now, even the most mind-blowing of meals would probably trigger only a fond but extremely hazy thought; tastes and textures slip easily into vagueness. But years from now, it’s the people with whom I shared these meals who will still matter. I will remember that F‘s farewell meal was one partaken over spitfire Mandarin and plenty of belly laughs. I will remember that J had me walk 30 minutes to have the best galbi tang I’ve ever had and how I always seem to unearth one more fun fact about this guy every single time we meet.
Dinner table conversations and pillow talk. Oh, they’re one and the same.
My belly’s been pretty pampered these days, getting the royal treatment from sushi belts, a lot of Korean and let’s not forget an old favorite from yonks ago. I never say no to kimbap, seafood pancakes and of course, amazingly al’dente pappardelle tossed with a mushroom medley and white wine reduction. Now if only someone could hit me up with some suggestions on where I could get a good Portuguese vat of arroz de marisco in London, I might actually heave my proud chest up and belt out a grotesquely cloying version of “My Favorite Things” in between each hedonistic mouthful.
It’s been a long time since I had a Happy Meal (or any Maccas meal, for that matter) and even longer since I spent a Sunday at Camden Town. The crazy swirly things they hang everywhere that would suit only the most prepubescent of home decorators, the bursts of color that greet at every street corner, the living punk institutions who never fail to amaze me in the way they deftly interweave badass and girly, the bad waffles and malfunctioning chocolate fondue contraptions, the amazingly well-behaved pooches that trot alongside giant Aldo outlet paperbags and billowy harem pants, the culinary gems that pop up every five stores or, so surviving alongside busy food stalls promising every jumbled ethnic surprise imaginable (curried fried rice samosas, anyone?)…
Hello Camden. It’s been a while.
Our momentous post-disso first meal. Hiroba never lets me down and in turn, I offer it my loyalty, my bare gut, and my overused credit card. I swear I ate each morsel with the creepy ethereal reverence that might have also accompanied many a last meal of convicts on death row. That’s what a steady diet of only chinese takeout and Redbull for three whole weeks does to you.