20090716

Packing Up


I'm in the midst of packing and figuring out what to do with what I've packed. The process is a bit more complicated than last year, since I actually had to buy housewares when I arrived. I have two weeks to move out of my apartment, and am not sure yet whether I will try to ship my things home, pay excess baggage to take them on the plane (possibly the cheapest solution, although a pain, since I plan to travel a bit before I leave and I'd have to tote them everywhere), or give them away to my neighbors or the next tenant of this apartment. I think I am probably agonizing over this more than I should, but I am a worrier by nature, so I guess I am just doing what comes naturally to me.

I did make time Tuesday night to join the festivities for the Féte Nationale/quatorze juillet (we call it Bastille Day in the US, probably to distinguish it from the national holidays of other countries). I took some photos of the fireworks (above) and carnival rides (left), and since I was out, took the opportunity to snap other sites around town I have been meaning to shooot at night, including Temple Neuf, which I had photographed during the day when I first arrived. I don't have a tripod, and was using a long exposure time, so it was difficult to get a good shot, but I actually like the way that shaky shot turned out!

On a bittersweet note, I found a store here that sells my favorite Single Malt, Benromach Peat Smoke. Back home, I have to drive ten miles to the Wine Globe to get it (I can also order it from the web, but I am an immediate want kind of shopper). Here, I take a 15 minute walk to the town center. I bought a bottle this week, and am debating cracking it open before I pack it up (I cannot polish off a bottle in two weeks). Too bad I have to leave...

... and something to look forward to when I get home: a used bookstore has opened in downtown San Mateo, which is walking distance from my house. Back before the chain bookstores, sometime in the 1980's, I spent countless happy hours perusing books and newspapers from around the world at the Central Park Bookstore/Café while I sipped my favorite drink at the time, a double mocha with soy milk (I'm asian -- if I use real milk, everyone is miserable). Unfortunately, the building owner refused to renew the lease when it came up, and there has not been a decent bookstore in the area since then, and it has been at least 15 years since it closed. It is not quite the same, as I believe the new store lacks the café and newspapers, and my drink has changed to a shot of espresso with a spoonful of honey (or maple syrup, if I'm home) and a little rice milk on the days my stomach acid is making me unhappy, but I am looking forward to the books! I hope they have a copy of Perfume, by Patrick Süskind. I have the French version, but the vocabulary is too advanced for me to read with any decent comprehension.