E. and I were able to stay in Toronto for about six weeks in May and June. I was busy with work at the time and wasn’t able to pull together any pictures. Our apartment was in the middle of a downtown shopping district called Yorkville and down the street from a city library.
Luckily (or unluckily) for us, we were able to take care of our landlady’s cat for about a week. As I’ve detailed in past dog and cat posts, I love animals, but I have a moderate cat allergy. After a couple of days, I was sneezing so much that I had to carry around a box of tissues. Our landlady must have had a guilty conscience because she dashed over one night and took our fake pet away.
Photo Credit: di_the_huntress
It’s been a while. Long enough that it’s a little awkward writing again, but it’s time to return here. Hello whoever’s still out there.
So where do I start after this long silence? We lived in Toronto, Canada, for a month before the G20 conference–subletted from an eccentric divorcee who left her cat with us for a week. He ate the houseplants to be naughty and climbed into the walls of the apartment, making a terrifying racket.
I stayed in central Illinois for some of June and July and helped my mom weed her garden and pick green beans. Now we’re in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the world. I was surprised to find that there really is no summer here. The temperature feels like a midwestern autumn.
We left Bangkok in late April, a few days after Songkran, Thai New Year, had ended. The Red Shirts had been protesting for at least a month when we left, and the situation was just starting to become strained. In one of our last days, we walked too close to the protestors and felt tear gas in our eyes. That was the night of the first deadly interaction between the troops and Red Shirts when a Japanese journalist was killed. The public transportation had been cut in certain sections of the city and the main shopping malls were closed.
Songkran was the perfect respite from the rising tensions. For three days, the protesters and military stopped everything and celebrated the new year and the traditional festivities including water fights and smudging strangers’ faces with wet clay. The holiday is encouraged by the city government who ensures that families receive enough water to use in the festivities. Years ago, water was used to give the elderly a blessing in the new year. The transition has transformed into dumping buckets of water over everyone as a gesture of goodwill and mischief.
Photo Credit: Wyndham
Our landlords drove us in their pickup truck around the Silom and Sathorn districts where we threw buckets of water at people on the street. In return, the eager participants threw water at us and shot us with water pistols. Thais would run up to the truck and smash our cheeks and foreheads with wet clay and laugh. I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. The most painful were the revelers who had prepared ice water to throw at drive-by participants. I will never forget the feeling of an unexpected bullet of ice water down my back. The event was so fun–it evoked the summer days running through the sprinkler as a child. And so many people–young and old–were involved. It was impossible to walk around the streets and not be a participant, especially as a farang–foreigner.
E. and I took a spur-of-the-moment Valentine’s weekend trip to Pattaya, Thailand. Pattaya is a beach resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, a hour and a half from Bangkok.
We spent the day relaxing in beach chairs with water and shade.
Reading Leslie’s writing at the whole plate and seeing Luke’s and Natalie’s photos at him + her inspired me to write about the small things that bring me joy in Bangkok. I’ve been working a lot and feeling dull. It has been too long since I’ve posted.
I’ve fallen in love with mini Asian eggplants. They are full of tiny seeds. Once fried, they burst with flavor. We live a couple of blocks from a beautiful fresh market with so many vegetable choices. Each day I have to resist coming back to the apartment with arms full of cabbage, cilantro, okra, basil, and green, yellow, and red chilis.
Filed under Food, Thailand
The landscape of Buenos Aires apartments is one of the characteristics that make the city for me. I have never lived in a city where the apartment buildings and city blocks have had such character. Looking out over the city is akin to watching a bee hive.
I had a low week last week. I’m not normally a superstitious person, and I don’t think horoscopes are credible, but I felt like my cosmic mojo was all off. Perhaps the moon was in the second sun and Jupiter wasn’t aligned with Mars. All I wanted to do was surf the net with a hot cup of instant coffee in my hand. (Alas, we have no coffee machine in our apartment.)
Last Thursday night I decided to watch the movie Yes Man despite my usual reluctance about Jim Carrey.
Filed under Chile, Santiago