looking back

As I continue to re-edit my travel photos from 2010, I’m revisiting some of my unbelievable experiences from that trip. It also gives me something to do as I navigate the spring allergy season in Chengdu.

My eyes are constantly stinging and watery, my sinuses feel like someone shoved a fistful of dry pine needles up my nose, my breathing is labored and shallow, and my cough persistent.  This is the worst allergy season in recent memory.  The other day I decided to visit my favorite massage therapist, but before I even reached the university gate I was gasping for breath and wheezing.  I gave it up. My next purchase:  a deionizer to purify the air in my apartment. And a face mask.

 

 

Watcher – Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), Delhi, India

 

 

Sher-e-Punjab Restaurant, Manali, India –  before the dinner rush

 

 

Blurred monk photographer, Dharamsala, India – below Bagsu Falls

 

 

 

Group – main square, Dharamsala, India

 

 

Old town Varanasi, India – lone walker

late-night comfort food

Noodles have always been my favorite comfort food.  Nothing will compete, of course, with the memory of huge mounds of butter-and-olive-oil drenched spaghetti whipped up on single electric burners in grad-student basement apartments, redolent with chopped garlic, parsley, and cracked pepper.  Of course, those were also my drinking days, so my memory may be clouded by equally massive quantities of Stolichnaya vodka.

comfort-foodcomfort food:  fresh-mixed noodles with vegetables and sauce

Now that I’m in China, Italian pasta isn’t the norm.  There are endless varieties of noodles, noodle shops, and degrees of spiciness available here in Chengdu, and I indulge myself occasionally.

Living in a university the size of Chuan Da (Sichuan Daxue or University) is great, especially when there’s a nearby food street in the midst of blocks of dormitories, offering cafeterias, noodle stands, Xinjiang grilled meat, and nang (naan), round flattened bread slapped against the walls of fiery-hot ovens to bake. The shops and food stalls tend to stay open until about 11 pm, or until the students aren’t hungry any more.

These noodles were on the mild side of spicy, with a few vegetables thrown in, tucked into a plastic bag for easy carrying, and supplied with chopsticks.  They tasted good after being tossed around in a pan with a couple of fried eggs and some olive oil, leaving me with just the right amount of bloated, satisfied afterglow.

It’s not late, technically, but after after a long shift of teaching and class preparation from 2-10 pm, as well as a commute across the city, they were just what the doctor ordered.