Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things on the Mind

1) Enchiladas -- namely cheese and green chile enchiladas, bulked out with black beans, potatoes, and smoked almonds (which I could feed to various and sundry Seattle veggie-types).  There are times when I don't have enchiladas on the brain, most of them involve anxiety dreams about showing up to sing somewhere without rehearsals or functional sheet music.

2) Smoked salmon wraps may be the world's best nearly instant meal.  Too bad I'm headed back to the land of exile and not enough salmon, especially not the smoked kind. 

3) Moon cakes -- someday I will understand Asian pastries that aren't hum bao. It's probably not today.  For now they are on the list of foods that I find deeply inexplicable, like horchata. I feel I have had a nearly intuitive grasp on the true place of hum bao in my life since my first one, when I worked upstairs from Charlie's Bakery, and one was a buck seventy-five, which made it an even cheaper lunch than going to Taco King for tacos.  At least you can get hum bao  in Seattle.  I should check out the tacos at Rancho Bravo sometime soon.  I have a feeling that they might be an acceptable substitute.  (After all, they serve horchata, which I don't like, but it is a good marker for Mexican joints that might make me happy.)

4) The woods in Anchorage September smell like home.  This really may be the most beautiful place on earth.  (If you ignore the urban architecture, mostly.) We saw a moose. Another downside to Seattle: no moose.  (Or bears, wolves, coyotes, or lynx.  Oh well.)

5) It's been a very short time, but I am going to miss my coworkers at the UAA bookstore.  All that bouncy youthful energy.  All those interesting conversations with international students about what it's like to be a long way from home.  YU being unearthly cheerful even in the morning. 

Sorry, this post is short on literary merit, but I have to be up early tomorrow, and I want to go bond with Peter Fleming.  Peter Fleming, being the much funnier brother of the more famous Ian, wrote travel books, in which he deploys British imperturbability in the face of the insane, the outrageous, and toads hopping through his sleeping quarters all night long. I offer this quotation from the beginning of News from Tartary as an amuse bouche (because really everyone ought to read him):
It was time to take stock of the situation, and this, with a kind of luxurious incredulity, I did.  It was a sufficiently improbable situation. I found myself the leader of a party of four people who had left Peking the night before with the undisclosed intention of proceeding overland to India ( a distance of some three or four thousand miles) by way of North Tibet and Sinkiang.  For the latter province, which had until recently been rent by civil war and which was virtually closed to foreign travellers, we had no passports. Apart from a rook rifle, six bottles of brandy, and Macaulay's  History of England, we had no equipment or supplies worth mentioning. Two of us were women; and our only common language was Russian. I felt extremely cheerful nonetheless.
He goes on like this for hundreds of pages. Cheefully. Currently, I am not reading News from Tartary, but rather Brazilian Adventure which outlines an expedition at least as mad.

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