Saturday, November 13, 2010

smoked meat for lunch

my husband is a HUGE fan of Montreal smoked meat.  he just LOVES it.  recently we read that there is a place in Chicago, where we live, that has smoked meat so today we are heading there for lunch to check it out.  the market where the stall is located is also supposed to have real Belgian frites as well.  being a pasty white woman (much to my chagrin) I of course LOVE potatoes. LOL

so here are a couple of photos to memorialize our quest- first the best smoked meat place in all of Montreal and then the frite from Belgium.... got you thinking about lunch maybe????

and then of course I came across the moules in Brussels and Belgian chocolate- so go get something to eat already!

got to thinking

this morning about why I love to travel and I think the answer is somewhat encapsulated in a gift our friends Chuck & Georgia gave us last summer.  it is a lovely collage work with a saying written around the side of it in calligraphy.  it reads: "the world is a book.  if you do not travel... you read only a page."

this morning I have been working on organizing photos and came across a short video which is a perfect example of this concept.  a group of musicians and singers came to entertain us when we had an evening dinner cruise on the Perfume River in Hue Vietnam last year.  here is a short dark clip from the evening of music performed just for my husband and me.

sorry if the clip isn't here - it shows on my computer but doesn't seem to come through- having some technical issues- apparently it takes a while to load so if you wait it should come up- if not then try refreshing the link -  that worked for me-

and then when browsing around I also came across a photo of another one of my all time favorite experiences in travel - this one is older- from 2002.  we were in Chengdu China and visiting the Panda Preserve and Breeding Facility and I had been told by a friend that for a donation (of a decent amount) you could hold a panda cub.  I was thrilled to have this four month old to hug and see up close. 

these are the kind of things you would never get to do if you never leave your own country.

so off we go next week for our second trip to Argentina... and I hope to be able to post a few times from there except I will only do so if it doesn't interfere with my BEING there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

a friend sent

me a slide show of folks on the street that were dressed atrociously.  some deliberately so and others apparently inadvertently - but who can really tell sometimes.  it got me thinking about New Orleans because one of the included photos was very obviously taken someplace in the French Quarter.  it was in that vicinity that I happened upon some pirates one day while out walking around taking photos.  they gladly stopped for a photo, the smallest one brandishing his sword.

then, around the corner I came upon a Lucky Dog cart.  I admit I have never actually had a Lucky Dog so I cannot attest to their gourmet qualities but I can say I do always look for Ignatius Riley when I see the carts.  Alas I have yet to find him except between the pages of the wonderful "A Confederacy of Dunces" - a worthy read for anyone who has missed it. 

when I first started traveling my number one destination was SFO but NOLA was definitely number two.  I am not sure you could find anything else in the US as akin to a foreign country.  the other thing that somewhat qualifies is Key West which is only a US island on the map, it is definitely outside the jurisdiction otherwise. more than a dozen trips to NOLA and at least ten to Key West and they still hold charm- what more can one ask for from a get-away destination?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

the days get away

and before you know it a decade has passed.  I was thinking of this because last night we went with friends Sheila & Mary to a wine dinner at one of our favorite places - Cafe Matou.  it is closing after 13 years and for us ten years of good food and friends.  Virgil, James, Lydia, all names of folks who have moved on but the current cast of characters Steven and Becca are also of the same mold of convivial, comfortable, welcoming neighborhood folks. 

the chef, Charlie Socher has been well loved by more than just our circle of friends and now he is moving on.  where will we go for that wonderful tarragon chicken prepared in the traditional French way?  last night a salmon prepared in a Merlot sauced based on salmon bone stock showed Charlie's amazing talent once again. 

it has been, for the last six months or so, a time of loss, my sister passed away in June.  she was 54 (and 17 months younger than I.)  now, no one will ever understand why fig newtons cut in half with toothpicks would make a perfect appetizer- she would have. things we shared between just us two sisters will remain one sided.  I do not wish to dwell here but I will say it is a loss that will never be replaced - never ever. ever.

it is the fall of the year and this year at least the season seems to be about changing - we said our goodbye to May Street Market a week ago when dining with friends Laure & Arno.  another favorite, Mado has also closed without a chance to say farewell.  this Sunday is Cafe Matou's last night.

I know well enough that one door closes and another opens but wonder what the future holds for us.

today's photo is one from Japan.  in this Kyoto garden the stones are placed such that all but one is visible from any given vantage point.  this is in recognition that, here on earth, we cannot see the whole but only have different views from the different places where we may be standing- this seems to be a perfect photo right this minute. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

up early

so I am watching the 6 AM flights take off as the sun rises.  for years - more than a decade I traveled more than 100,000 miles a year, sometimes over 125,000.  many times I was on those flights getting to or from someplace.  as a result of that travel and the mileage accrued, I have been to forty nine states (missing Alaska at this point) and more than 55 countries.  traveling these days is different - and unfortunately more horrible than ever, due to the terrorists having won the battle for control of our airports.  last week I went through my first full body scan, took off  my shoes, put my liquids and gels in their quart bag on the belt along with my laptop - and wondered why anyone bothers to fly anymore.  but of course I know why they fly. because once you actually get through security and on the plane and off the plane you are absolutely elsewhere. for whatever reason you want to be there. 

and for travelers that is the key.  I have been sort of following this blog of a retired swede in Paris and thoroughly enjoying it, as Paris has been "absolutely elsewhere" to me nearly a dozen times in the last fifteen years or so.  in the US when we want to get away (already being dyed-in-the-wool city dwellers) we go to New York City but if we want a European get-away for a long weekend or a short week, I always choose Paris.

last time we were in Paris (earlier this year) we were able to visit with friends on two of the six days we were there.  one friend had come in from Nice and the other from Burgundy.  and this was possible for them because the trains in France actually get people all over the country in amazingly short times- but I swore when I started this entry it would not turn into a rant about our travel infrastructure in America.  so onward...

you can find the link to Peter's Paris on the side of this blog.  I recommend it to everyone but especially if you know the city fairly well as he has some lovely entries for visiting vicariously.

so this obviously calls for a Paris photo - but which to choose from- he has these cool collages of photos on his blog but I don't know how to do that yet so I will see what I can come up with for you.

that one is certainly iconic-

and this one not so much- we pass this sculpture frequently as it is near les Halles and sometimes it looks like this and sometimes it is cleaned of the graffiti. 

and by the way, as I searched for the right picture, the sun has just popped over the horizon and is now creating a silhouette of the steeple of the church to the east of us. 

got to get to my packing list today and I would also like to see if I can figure out how to link to a travel journal on this- maybe you can read up on our last trip to Argentina while we are on this one...just in case I don't get a chance until later to add entries for the blog.

Monday, November 8, 2010

in case you hadn't noticed

there is a mini slide show along the left hand side of the posts in this blog.  right now it has a limited number of photos but it is enough that maybe it will give you the idea to go to the shutterfly link and look at the thousands of photos there from my travel.   today I had lots of work to take care of but tomorrow I hope to be able to get my Argentina things in order and make up a packing list.  it is only next week that we leave and the weather looks fabulous! mid 70s in BA and mid 80s in Mendoza.  A nice respite before our weather (which is actually wonderful this week- mid 60s) turns toward winter. 

meanwhile I loaded some new photo software that might make it easier to find those pictures I know are hiding somewhere.  so today I am going to see if I can get a video uploaded.  this is a video of a wedding we went to in Delhi India (no, it was not Katy Perry and Russell Brand- LOL) it does give a bit of a feel for the event - an evening party at the compound of some ambassador.  very big and very fancy. 

so let's try it-

I don't really know if this will work but we will see- like I said - maybe I need a Dummies book LOL

HA! I think it might be there- keep your fingers crossed for me!