Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New York City

Of course when writing a blog, one of the most important things that one must do is to think of a title which is so devastatingly witty that everyone will take a moment's break from sifting through drunken photographs of people on Facebook that they may or may not actually know, to read it.

So, as is my want, I started sorting puns in my head, because I think they're quite amusing, even if I am all alone in this opinion. Now 'Crete' and 'Greece' really offer a quite spectacular array of options...'sea-crete adventures', 'goodness greeceious me' ... there were quite a few actually. Don’t ask me why I started thinking of Greece and Crete...

But that is all totally irrelevant.

Today’s post is about the Big Apple/The City that Never Sleeps/Empire State...or simply, Manhattan. I decided to try use a map in New York with the hope of better familiarizing myself with its layout. Misreading the scale,  I came up with the brilliant idea of walking from 34th street/5th avenue to SoHo. According to my delusional calculations, it should have taken me about an hour. Try four hours. Whatever... navigating my way through the cultural sprawl reduced walking to an untaxing leisure activity. I refuse perfect knowledge of exactly where I am going in order to retain the possibility of getting a little bit lost. Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures of traveling is the discovery of unknown places/people, with the chances of accidental encounters.

Speaking of which, while sitting on a bench in Central Park eating sushi, I was people-watching..as you do. Standing across from me were a pair of 14 year old boys, and a pair of 14 year old girls, and lol I could feel those pre-pubescent hormones raging. I watched as one of the boys wrote in his mobile "u gt msn?" which he then showed to the girls, who giggled, replied by writing on their iphones, that yes, they did, and then proceeded to swap msn addresses. It makes me wonder how teenagers managed in the days before mobile technology and the internet...heaven forbid we actually had to talk to each other, face to face?

While I am somewhat on the topic of food, you may ask, how did I end up choosing sushi? Good question. It took a while for me to decide, after realizing that even a few blocks offered French, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and vegetarian restaurants. I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all, I was in the center of what is, in many ways considered the Mecca of cultural transmissibility. Anyway, the answer to the question is quite boring. Sushi was cheap and easy. I ate sushi while watching kids play a baseball game and listening to a young kid singing about love. Part of me was tempted to go up to the kid and get his autograph, after all, he could be famous one day. But somehow, the lyrics ‘baby, I would die without you..I have never felt so in love before...etc” told me there was still some time before people took him seriously.

So, as I end this rather random ramble, I would love to live in New York or Paris sometime, just for a short time. The two cities have striking similarities, with their quaint avenues/boulevards, swanky apartments with their eccentric geometry, fire-escapes and haute bourgeois residents who are always on the run. But even in the midst of these bustling cities, I didn’t realize how easy it is to feel alienated and lonely. I have no desire to explore the bars/restaurants, go to the theater and live in these vibrant cities without people to share it with.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A little bit about nothing

The point of this note is also somewhat useless being a generally short waffle about the disheartening prospect of starting school again. Thirteen (even the number has negative connotations)  weeks of waking up before the kookaburras do,  planning out lists of things to study and not accomplishing even half of it, instead watching a romantic comedy that I have probably already seen numerous times and really just wishing the concept of osmosis would apply to school... If I sleep on my textbooks (lots of knowledge)...it should just transfer into my mind (little knowledge). It’s simple.

Anyway, this evening I decided that I shall drop out of university or ‘grad school’ and instead embark on a career of jam-making, even though I don’t like jam that much.

Goodbye physical therapy, goodbye lectures, goodbye another 2 years of academic distress, I am throwing it away in exchange for mountains of sugar and slightly rotten fruit.

I shall open a shop with one large window. There will be no kitsch stripy awnings over the window, nor any bright and welcoming flowers, and yes, the dark purple paint around that one window may be peeling a little. The only thing in this shop that is sickly sweet, will be my jam.

It will have walls covered with old wooden bookcases, groaning under the weight of my many and delicious varieties of jam. There will be no orderly system either, people will have to search for the jam they want, but search they will, because everybody will want to eat it so very much.

There will be a gramophone in one corner, none of the country music nonsense though, and I shall play 90s songs, and people will like it. I myself will sit at a desk and smile inanely at the hordes of customers, whilst writing novels or painting, for I shall pretend that my livelihood is based in words and color, rather than sugar. But we all know that really, the jam will be the foundation of my fortune.

I will have a bicycle, with a basket on the front, and I shall deliver my jam to those incapable of reaching the shop. Occasionally I may ride over a bump, and then my jam will go flying through the air, and smash on the road, but I will ride through those puddles of jam, leaving glistening trails behind me, as if I were a particularly sugary and wheeled snail...

Why I delude myself that I am going to be a student for another 2 years, or god forbid, a physical therapist, I don't know. One thing's for sure though, and that is that I will make some damn good jam sometime soon...and maybe eat it with peanut butter.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Psychoanalysis by Music

Sing only song names from different artists and answer these questions. Pass it on to 25 people. Try not to repeat a song title.

Pick Your Artist:
Belle and Sebastian

Are you male or female:
This is the Story of a Girl

Describe yourself:
I'm a Cuckoo

How do you feel about yourself:
Caught in A Moment

Describe where you currently live:
Forbidden Paradise

If you could go anywhere, where would you go:
Streets of Philadelphia

Who or what do you believe in?
Dreams for plans

Your best friend is a:
Smooth Criminal

Your favorite color is:
Black and White Unite

You know:
Baba O’Riley

What's the weather like:
Nice Day for a Sulk

If your life were a TV show, what would it be called?
Eight Days A Week

What is life to you:
I Could Be Dreaming

What is the best advice you have to give:
Ease Your Feet in the Sea

If you could change your name, what would it be:
Lazy Line Painter Jane

Your favorite food is:
Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie

Your last word will be:

Your worst day was:
Things I’ll never say

Your Favorite time is:
Dancing in the moonlight

Describe your family members:
Stay Close, Don’t Go

How do you feel about politics?
Is it Wicked not to Care?

Name something all your exes have in common:
I’m moving on

Your garden is like:
Stars and Boulevards

You drive:
Big Yellow Taxi

Your pets are:
Cats in The Cradle

They will remember you as:
Funny Little Frog

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Black and white post card

I find myself a virgin ‘note-writer’ who has little understanding about the concept…in fact a few months ago I may have classified anyone writing notes on Facebook or the internet in general an obsessed fanatic with too much time on their hands, well, here I am…I guess this is just a spontaneous waffle about my first week of traveling.

So I have begun my séjour in France, Paris more precisely. I am staying in the 15ème arrondissement at my host sister’s apartment, where I discovered last night if I stand on my tippy toes I can view the tip of the Eiffel Tower lit-up in blue for the first time in history (to celebrate France’s EU presidency). I’ve spent the past few days snacking on a freshly baked warm baguette from one of the many Paris boulangeries, walking the wonky cobblestone streets filled with couples about to kiss (some stereotypes will always remain :p), passing crowded cafes and Haussmanian buildings that have retained their aura of their classic past and understanding why foie gras (considered by some to be animal torture) will always remain a part of French culture.

While I am vaguely on the topic of food, Sunday night I tried a dessert at a stylish French restaurant tucked away in the 15ème arrondissement - une tarte aux pommes flambée au Calvados, literally an apple tart where the waiter lights the liquor and pours it onto the tart…either I didn’t wait long enough for the alcohol to evaporate, or they poured a lot of alcohol on the tart (even by French standards); I swear each bite was like drinking a shot of vodka…10 bites, 10 shots? Luckily we were going home afterwards.

Saturday night, we (along with Chablis – their dog named after a French wine) lingered the streets of Paris, passing the swanky Christmas windows of les grands magasins, visiting expensive boutiques and finally reaching the Place Vendôme. It is rectangular in shape with beveled corners (almost like an octagon) known for its designer jewellery stores, haute couture salons and deluxe hotels like the Ritz. Apart from my momentary thrill of picturing Carey Bradshaw walking in the same place, I listened to Aurore fervently explain its history. I think I had one of those crystallizing (no pun with jewellery intended lol) moments (for those who know Scrubs Season 7 Episode 1 :p) where my perspective about women wearing labels such as Chanel, Guerlain, Dior and other marques de luxes changed …perhaps it is not just decadent indulgence, but something which forms an integral part of French, if not European culture. And though I may never have the desire or funds to dress in the same fashion, I have new found appreciation for this city and its brazenly chic inhabitants.

So as I near the end of this somewhat random ‘note’, I know I have enjoyed my time in Paris and am ready to explore Part II of my journey in Germany. I know I’ve had many of those fleeting moments which I’m sure we’re all familiar with, where it is only in retrospect that you realized you experienced something divine and memorable. It’s been fun!