My Baggage About Baggage

Overstuffed Baggage

I love to travel. I just hate getting there. And after this afternoon, I’m considering taking a contract out on Richard Branson.

The One and I leave in several hours to fly to London, our first time on Branson’s vaunted Virgin Atlantic. Now admittedly, packing has always been a problem for us. A big problem. We never seem to get it right. Too many bags. Too few bags. Overweight carry-ons. That sort of thing. When we flew to Barcelona two years ago on Lufthansa, we had to suffer through the humiliation of opening our suitcases and rifling through our clothes at the check-in counter in front of dozens of people so we could meet the airline’s stringent carry-on requirements—while a constipated-looking, SS-type airline representative stood watch over us, toe a-tapping. Read more “My Baggage About Baggage” »

That Paris Effect

Eiffel Tower

The moment I disembark at Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, something starts to happen. It’s an odd sensation, kind of like that moment when the Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne I’ve been knocking back begins tickling the backside of my eyeballs. At first it’s barely perceptible. Then it begins to bubble up as I watch the people in the airport, on the bus to Place d’Étoile, on the walk to the apartment we rent on Rue Balzac. But it doesn’t hit its effervescent climax until The One and I are sitting in a bistro tucked away somewhere on the Left Bank, watching Parisian life flit by. Read more “That Paris Effect” »

Carrot Cake of the Singaporean Kind

Maxwell Food Centre

Last September when I visited Singapore—that sleek, sexy, steam room of a city—the first thing I did was hit its famed food stalls. (Well, okay, the first thing I did was sleep for 16 hours and sweat through what felt like my entire two-week wardrobe.) We were fortunate enough to have food and travel docent Vivian Pei and Willin Low, chef and owner of Wild Rocket, as our guides. By “we” I mean my college girlfriend, The Original Grace. As in, “Will & Grace.” The One had to stay home and make us some money.

We commenced our opus of eating at the Maxwell Food Centre (shown above) in the city’s Cantonese neighborhood. In Viv’s inimitable, tireless, Type A fashion, she motioned us over to a plastic table in the open-air market, pulled a packet of tissues from her purse, and placed some on three seats to stave off any impertinents, an act Singaporeans call “to chope a chair.” The Original Grace and I followed as Viv did her rounds, stopping at nearly every stall the way a devout Catholic kneels and worships at every sign of the cross, until she found a dish suitable to undo our hawker virginity. She triumphantly carried over the booty from Marina South Delicious Food, stall 35, and pushed the green plastic plate across the table at us. On a banana leaf was what looked like a heap of scrambled eggs with chunks of potatoes, fried shallots, and a sprinkling of scallions. Read more “Carrot Cake of the Singaporean Kind” »