Thursday, August 29, 2013

Istanbul street cat chalets

One day in Istanbul, as we walked through the Cihangir neighborhood, we came across several street cat chalets.  I was surprised by how well stray cats were cared for in Istanbul. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sale alert: Steven Alan, No. 6, Rachel Comey, Mayle, etc

I don't often post sale alerts, but the consignment shop, The Real Real, is having a 50 percent off everything sale until 11:59 PM PDT tonight.  Use code: august50

Monday, August 26, 2013

Hidden Lives: The Untold Story of Urban Refugees

I found this post about urban refugees in draft form.  I must have started it when I was still living in Bangkok.  Well, it's been some months since I left Thailand and ended my work with urban refugees, but only now is news trickling in about the various cases I worked on.  Some days, like today, I think about the Pakistani, Palestinian, and Syrian families I worked with:  Did the UN grant them refugee status?  Did they have any encounters with the Thai police?  Were they detained?  How are their children?    

And, does the same Rohingya man in the refugee camp still call the office, asking for help? 

This exhibit highlighted a few of our clients' stories.  

Take a look at Hidden Lives here.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant

We're scoping out new neighborhoods in the District.  Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, two districts in the northwest quadrant, are high up on our list. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two thoughts

images via Blossom Vintage

Two thoughts tonight.

First: Blossom Vintage is a vintage shop housed in a 1970s Safari Airstream. Isn't that rad?  There's something about the idea of a woman who travels the world and collects vintage dresses that tugs at my heart strings.  I may have to check it out during my overdue trip to Los Angeles in December. 

Second:  It's only Tuesday, but it feels like Thursday, and I wish it was Friday. It must be one of those weeks. Some days, as I'm walking into these meetings with certain government agencies and international organizations, I am struck by the fact that people spend so much time talking, talking, talking in this city- me included!  Months after moving from Thailand, that entire experience still feels so removed.  And some moments--though as the months pass, these moments are less frequest-- I just want to buy a plane ticket to Bangkok or Phnom Penh, just to visit, even if only for a few days.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Beyoğlu, Istanbul

Our afternoons spent walking from Sultanahmet (the Old Town), where we and many tourists stayed, across Galata Bridge to Beyoğlu were some of my favorite memories of Istanbul.  I loved exploring the winding streets in this part of the city.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cafe culture and Turkish coffee, Istanbul

I've been struggling with words lately.  And when I call back to our time in Istanbul, when I try to explain my impressions to friends and family, I tend to ramble in some incoherent manner a mix of thoughts, incongruent expectations, and longings.  Modern Istanbul, with its cafe street culture, cobblestone streets, and numerous mosques dotting the horizon, sweet shops, and tea gardens where men spend afternoon hours over games of backgammon, presents an obvious charm.

But it took some days--a few ferries rides between the European and Asian side of the city (where I had my best meal), several walks through Beyoğlu, and a trip to Cappadocia--to win me over.  Win me over it did.

Istanbul was a destination on my list two previous times. The first was during my train trip from Beijing to St. Petersburg.  I had a half-baked idea to travel from St. Petersburg to Istanbul, which I didn't do.  The second time was three years ago, when Ethan and I did part of our Silk Roads trip.  He and his brother were climbing Mount Blanc, and we considered starting our leg in Istanbul.  Instead, we met in Almaty and traveled east.

I am rambling again.  I confess that some days I feel as if Cambodia smacked the succinct, logical, linear-thinking lawyer right out of me.

Today my Istanbul memories center on Turkish coffee, mud-thick and strong, oft-served with Turkish delight.  I'm also thinking of the many cups of tea I drank in that city.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Weekend Notes in the District

I can feel summer slipping away.  Some documentation from the past few weekends:

One of the great things about this place, which I am certain I will miss someday: all the free concerts and museums.  Clarisse, my former housemate in Phnom Penh, was in town, so we celebrated her birthday at Jazz in the Garden.  The world felt small.

A quick visit to my favorite vintage shop in these parts, Treasury.

Finally digging into the Murakami book I bought in Cambodia.

Renting a zipcar with Dana and her husband C to get proper Vietnamese food and groceries in Virginia.

In and around Eastern Market.

En route on our walk from Mount Pleasant to Georgetown.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dog Days

Thank goodness for summer gingham/plaid.  As I was warned, August days in the District are hot and humid, much like in Southeast Asia.  With its pockets and effortless material, this may be my favorite lazy dress for weekend walks.  When I still lived in Thailand, my favorite dressmaker in Cambodia made one for me using fabrics I found in India. (Unfortunately, that too was in my stolen luggage. I know, I know. Broken record.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cappadocia to Istanbul, and in between

After five days of sitting still in Cappadocia, my obsession with train travel started to emerge.  My resolve not to embark on a train ride that would leave us yet again rushing to catch a flight on the other side of the country started to dwindle.  (Although I appreciated the easy flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia, having not traveled by land left me wondering about the landscape.) 

Eventually, reason won out, and instead we spent a day, traveling by bus, train, and then ferry on the Sea of Marmara back to Istanbul.  As our bus climbed higher and higher, and the sand-colored ground gave way to pink lakes and to green trees and mountains (and a view of the sea), I knew we had made the right choice.  Some of my favorite memories of travel include sitting on a train or bus, marking the slow transition as the landscape (of central Russia or the Gobi Desert, for example) shifted from dramatic snowy landscapes to flat arid desert, and then back.  Cities emerge and then dissolve into the background ... I find that there's something magical about it. 

View from the fast train
Not the Asian buses I am accustomed to, the Turkish buses had a steward, entertainment, drinks and internet.

We stopped for a night in the capital of Ankara, walked through the park, witnessed families' iftar celebrations at dusk, ate at an Urfu kepab restaurant that seated us and others so far out onto the street that our table shook as cars passed by, and woke up early the next day to see the Atatürk Mausoleum, which was impressive.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunset, Cappadocia

The Sunset Cafe - my favorite spot for a cup of tea and a sunset view.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Paperbag memories

Bemoaning the fact that, for the past year, I've been sticking to the practically the same silhouette for dresses (i.e., iterations of this current favorite), I was determined to break the pattern. I revisited this 3.1 Lim paperbag skirt, one of the few skirts I brought with me from California, which thankfully was not in my stolen suitcase.  

I dug my hands in the pockets.  Inside one of the pockets I found a card from Bleuet, a yoghurt shop in Portland, Oregon, prompting a stream of thoughts.

The last time I wore this skirt was in 2006, maybe early 2007.  Given the card in the pocket, that day, I went to NW 23rd Street in Portland.  This was a time before Cambodia, before Thailand, before Ethan, a time when I still lived in Portland, Oregon and when I subscribed to the idea that I'd continue to work in a firm, in the United States.  I remember, that day, ordering yoghurt topped with blueberries, granola, and honey--funny, the same flavors I've been craving this past week--and I remember the taste of tart and sweet.

My, how time flies.  Could the twenty-something me have imagined all the twists and turns life has brought since that day?  

At our wedding, my friend Dom, with whom I worked in Cambodia, said to me, "It seems like you've lived two lives, the one before and the one after Cambodia."

Some days, it really feels like that.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sunrise, Cappadocia

I'm not a morning person and I prefer to sleep through sunrise, but I'm glad I woke up to witness this view.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...