It was sometime this past week that I started to wonder why on earth we chose so many hot places to visit. What would have been so bad about, say, northern Europe? I’m a little tired of feeling sweaty and sticky and, eight months in, have really started to loathe my limited wardrobe. I know, I know, cry you a river. But I do know why I wanted to come to Vietnam. It was all about the food. The damp, chilly winters in Seattle have long fostered our love for a warm bowl of pho, and what’s not to like about a banh mi? It was this article in Bon Appetit that got me thinking about the food beyond those two things, and put Vietnam so firmly onto our itinerary. Read more
Posts from the ‘food’ Category
It was with mixed feelings and Willy Nelson singing in our heads that we crammed our belongings back into our backpacks last week and got ready to hit the road again. The kids, more firmly dug into school and new friends, tilted towards sadness and reluctance, but we adults, living a weird idyllic-but-strangely-disconnected half-life, were itchier to get on with it. Get on with it we did, and plunged into some hard travel, flying four hours to Sydney and then another ten to steamy Bangkok (before we even pulled up to the gate I heard a woman say to her friend, “I can feel my hair frizzing.”) The kids were satisfyingly grateful I booked a hotel with a pool.
We spent so long planning this trip, somehow I still have a hard time believing we’re actually in these exotic locations. Like Borneo! Land of fantastical beasts and plants (and much less interesting palm oil plantations and oil development.) Although we dreamed of going really off road here, the logistics required a little more derring-do than we felt we possessed. We settled on 12 days in Sarawak on the Malaysian side of Borneo, using Kuching as our base for smaller trips. Read more
In many ways Dubai and Singapore, the recent big city stops on our trip, are fraternal twins. Both are multicultural, rich, glittery and hot (although one’s steamy and one bone dry.) Both governments run pretty tight ships. Both have changed immeasurably in the past 40 years. Of the two, I don’t mind saying Singapore appeals to me more- it retains some colonial charm amidst the glitz, the streets are more lively and pedestrian friendly and the dense landscaping helps it feel lush and cooler, even when you are in the middle of the Central Business District with sweat running down your back.
At some point this spring while practicing French on Duolingo it gave me this phrase to translate “Nous mangeons pour vivre, mais vivre pour manger.” I had to laugh, it applies to me so well.
I’ve thought before that I was born in the wrong place or at least the wrong food culture. Chowder, baked beans, haddock…except for the occasional lobster roll most of the food of my home state leaves me lukewarm. It’s the food of other places that I find most exciting. I’ve wondered if other people feel this way? If I had grown up on mole or bibimbap would I be so eager for a new food frontier? It seems impossible somehow.