Posts Tagged With: daily life

I’m a Loca Parisienne!! Revision: a LocaL Parisienne! :)

Today is a day of errands.  My companion is off helping a student filmmaker make his thesis film and I am left to my own devices.  I wake early (Yes, you heard that right… early!) to see him go and to start my day.

So what do Parisians do in the morning?  Perhaps prepare their first cup of coffee.  Perhaps.  Probably go get the morning croissant and baguette.  Even if that isn’t what they do that is what I will do!  I go in search of the neighborhood boulangerie (bakery for all you non-Parisians) and return to my closest supermarché.

So once I map out my route, I depart.  I also must go to the bank, so first I head there while enjoying “my” neighborhood.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene,   The walk is only two blocks but it takes me a while since I stop to photograph anything that catches my eye.

A door.  Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, 10 Rue de la Liberté  A window. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, window, flower box

A street. Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene, Rue de la Liberté

Once there, I return to the apartment (pied-a-terre) and towards Paris, France, neighborhood, 19th arrondissement, street scene the boulangerie where I confidently (Okay, not so confidently ask for 4 croissants, donut, and can he add another two croissants please?  Bonne journée madame.  The equivalent of “Have a good day.” A vous aussi.  You too.  Yay!  I manage to feel like I belong.

And with my precious croissants – my, do they smell good – I go to the supermarket supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, French supermarket chain that reminds me when they opened in Elkins Park, Philadelphia a million (well, maybe about 20 years ago).  I like their baskets, which have a curve so I can carry it on my side without having to lean like the Tower of Pisa.  shopping basket, basket, Carrefour, supermarket, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France  Now back to the apartment.  I put away my groceries. Munch on a croissant. Vaguely think that all these carbs that I am consuming are going to make me fat.  Quickly discard that fact and stare at the pile of clothes I have to take to the lavomatique (laundromat).  Procrastinating sounds just the way to deal with this, but I do not…mainly propelled by the fact that I have no more socks or undies left clean, than by a recognition that procrastinating will get me nowhere.

Again I map my course and off I go!  I pick up the keys which are the oddest shape.  odd shape keys, antique keys, keys  And with my very heavy two bags of clothes I go into the unknown.  I’m really not that sure of where it is.  After a quite a few blocks I must admit to myself (though not to others) that I have mapped out my course dreadfully wrong.  So I ask a woman on the street where is the closest laundromat and manage to understand perfectly well her directions.  Am relieved to know it is only two more blocks away and that I will not have to climb these steps to get to it.   P1150492  Or these…stairs, climb, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement  By the way, on the side is “The Aztec” club which is a weight training gym.  I get a kick out of that.

What I’m not getting a kick out of is carrying these two heavy bags of clothes.  As I approach the laundromat I spot a word that propels me back home:  Audition.  Never mind that it refers to nothing about my profession (acting) but does refer to auditory needs.  Auditory needs, earpieces, hearing aids, audition   And I arrive.  Phew!  I don’t take a picture ’cause I am way too busy trying to figure out how to work/pay for the wash.  The machines are tiny.  It’s about $6 a wash.  Yikes!  And only after somebody actually comes to my aid am I able to use them.

What I do with great ease is go to the café, the Arch in the Sky,  Parisian café, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France (L’arc en Ciel) next door, empty except for one table of locals outside, and sit and feel like I am really part of this neighborhood.  Une noisette s’il vous plait.  A little espresso with a drop of milk please (And can I feel any more French today?).  I read.  I look out the lace curtain.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, lace, café,   I survey the place. Parisian café, Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, café I like the fact that my waiter seems to be 100 years old and doesn’t question my choice of boisson (drink).  Time to pay and return to my errands.  I fold. I feel good. I am loving everything just about now.

I return home to a welcoming by Tutu koala  From my kitchen I see Paris’ rooftops.  I wonder about who lives in them and spin webs of words that gel into lives that really may be far from reality.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, windows

Would love to see this particular wood window open one day.  Paris, France, 19th arrondissement, rooftop, window  Even through the bars I find myself enjoying washing dishes.  rooftops, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France, windows  Dean comes home just in time to enjoy another beautiful sunset in the neighborhood!

Rooftops, windows, 19th arrondissement, Paris, France

 

🙂

Categories: 19th arrondissement, France, Paris, Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Oi Goi Oi!

Again my eyes open early though I can’t capture a sunrise on my lens due to the fact that the hotel is in a very busy area of Ho Chi Minh City.  Not much of a sky to see here.

After our morning ritual of coffee, breakfast and climbing on the bus we are all set for our day-long trip to Chau Doc via Cantho.

A few hours in, most on the bus need either a coffee or a bathroom  break so we stop at the Vietnamese version of a Starbucks.   Much more relaxed atmosphere than the chain, with much better coffee!  They use this aluminum coffee filter and place it on top of a glass, one-third filled with condensed milk.  They pour hot water on the filter of ground coffee beans and when the condensed milk and freshly brewed coffee meet, the result is heaven to the taste buds! Don’t know how these people remain thin!     

There are hammocks all over and when you order your coffee they will bring it to your selected hammock.  We congregate around some low, small tables so we can chat.  Again, Vietnam unexpectedly is providing me a flood of memories of my childhood and my country.   Hammocks are a standard in Paraguay.  Rarely will you see a back yard that doesn’t have one.  The shade from the trees they are usually tied to, providing a perfect setting for a siesta and shelter from the brutal sun, while the hypnotic side-to-side swing helps keep the flies away and you sound asleep.  But no time to sleep now.  I do not waste the chance to go back in time and space and lie on one, nonetheless.  I recall, while I do so, that it takes a bit of balance to climb on!  

After a few more hours (observing daily life alongside my window)  

and a stop at a lotus plantation

we arrive to Cantho   and it’s time for lunch near the river.   

Lunch of vegetable soup,  steamed shrimp with mango sauce,

stuffed pumpkin flower   and crispy pork with mushroom sauce, is divine.  Heavenly coffee, divine lunch… there’s an out of this world theme in this post. 🙂

There is a market on the side and I buy yet another scarf and t-shirt.   Our guide has taught me to say “Oh my god!” in Vietnamese and when I exclaim:  “Oi gioi oi!” when a vendor quotes me the price, I get a look of total surprise and the most charming  of giggles  as she calls the other vendors and has me repeat it.  This was me just before I said it.  They are having a ball.  Didn’t get me much of a discount but it did make for fabulous interaction.

A short distance from there we climb on scooters for another of what my tour company calls UFE’s (Unforgettable Experiences).  Scooters and drivers wait for us to take us to a bird sanctuary at the other end of the town, Banglang.    Didn’t spot many birds.

They leave us and we walk through town.  My “inside quietness” surfaces as I photograph their faces, their houses, their town.   


Back to bus.   Karaoke or Internet anyone?  

Long Xuyen is our next stop where we visit the Cao Dai Temple.  Not a promising start…  

Then a surprisingly pretty building…  

Then puzzlement when I see the monument in front with a reverse swastika embedded. Turns out that the reverse swastika, which happens to have a Buddhist influence, is sacred to many Vietnamese.  The swastika (a Sanskrit word) is also a tantric symbol to evoke ‘shakti’ or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness.

Cao Dai is a religion that aims “to unite all of humanity through a common vision of the Supreme Being, whatever our minor differences, in order to promote peace and understanding throughout the world.  Cao Dai does not seek to create a gray world, where all religions are exactly the same, only to create a more tolerant world, where all can see each other as sisters and brothers form a common divine source reaching out to a common divine destiny realizing peace within and without.”  May get my vote on that premise.   I am mesmerized by its colors and by its principles.  About 2 million people practice it in Vietnam.  Persecuted by the communist rule, it gained in the ’80’s its acceptance.

Back on the bus.  Am really liking crossing the countryside.  We are taking this route so as to be near the Cambodian border.  Tomorrow we are cruising from Chau Doc, Vietnam to Pnom Penh, Cambodia on the Mekong River.

On the way we view a bit more of daily life.  School is out and some girls are in the traditional ào dái dress, used as uniforms in the school. They are heading towards the local ferry which will take them home.  A lot of life takes place on the river; they are so dependent on it.  

We arrive to the Dong Nam Hotel in Chau Doc.  I take a shower and again get on the bus to go to dinner at a local family’s house.  It’s actually a bakery by day and at night she hosts small dinners for tourists.  I try taro and rice soup –purple in color with what to me was a pretty strange taste.   Egg noodle with seafood –great.  Stir-fried morning glory (a plant not the same as the one in the US which is not edible) –delicious!   Catfish cooked in a clay pot –good.

When we arrive it was pouring. First downpour in almost 20 days of travel. It reminded me so much of the storms that hit Asunción and used to scare my mom so much. Ay Vietnam, what are you doing to me?  You have generated so many memories!

The rain brings in a visitor that was not invited to the table.    Mom did not like them; I liked them less.  She got accustomed to them; my aversion got stronger.

Back to the hotel.  The rain is steady and strong and turns into the prequel of dreams of times long gone.

Categories: BLT+ (Burma) Myanmar, Cantho, Chau Doc, Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Long Xuyen, Ramblings, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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