Saturday, July 31, 2010

International trending: ping-pong

As I’m off to London for a day of eating, shopping and hanging with my big brother, I will scope out the new ping-pong scene. Allegedly paddle fever is consuming the Brits, thanks to the city’s Ping! Program and Soho’s Ping-Pong Parlor.

Tell that to Michael and Jo. Here in Paris, they both pack their own paddles, have fiercely competitive stances and, for all I know, could be warming up for the 2012 Olympics.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sensory Friday

This week…

I listened to The Drums again and again and again. (And so should you.)
I saw two movies; a record in recent months. No wait, make that four since I watched two on the plane back from Uganda. The Blind Side, Small Time Crooks, Date Night and Brooklyn’s Finest. (Hey, I said I saw four movies, not four good movies.)
I felt so good getting to the gym every morning (before my membership expires this weekend).
The scent of the lemongrass essential oil my yoga teacher used for our end-of-the-class neck massage made me very relaxed indeed.
This morning, I broke my 10-day pastry-free spell by inhaling a Nutella crepe along with a croissant slathered in Nutella.

Daily Poll: jam or honey?

Mercedes girl

When I was little I wanted a charcoal gray 450SL. This cherry red 500, parked in the Marais, would do just fine, too.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

American speak

Just me and my tank top

Seen on rue Montorgueil—an actual tank top. Worn by a man.

Daily Poll: dinner party or dinner reservations?

Inspiring curves, angles and textures


You can't walk two minutes in this city without being charmed.

Everywhere you look, there are little pockets of beauty.

Unexpected angles.

Views that make your whole day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weather check: stuck in May… or is it March?

I don’t know if it’s the cool, grey weather that’s been hanging over Paris for the past few months, or if it’s something more personal and internal. But life just feels like one big rinse-and-repeat cycle. Seriously, today could be a good day in March, an average day in May, or a blah day in July. It’s all the same. The weather has been the same for months (crap). My life has been the same for months (ho-hum). And while the forecast for the former looks to be yet the same for days, I’m determined to sprinkle some sunshine into the latter. Time to shake things up!

French word of the day: boutons d’or

Def: buttercups

A cute-sounding word for cute little flowers.

Daily Poll: dark or milk chocolate?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I read it in Uganda

While English is the official language of Uganda, it’s still a little different from the English we/I know and speak. There’s something really simple and pure about it. So direct and honest, it was both refreshing and entertaining not to read such cleverly crafted, sometimes convoluted messages.

For example, the headline for a juice ad read:
Taste the fruits of nature

And a purified water company was named:
Rain Drop

On the drive from Kampala to Gulu, we passed everything from hair salons (Faithfull Beauty Saloon) to pharmacies (ABC Drug Shop).

Dining options included Meal Time Restaurant, Quick Action Takeout and Pork Joint.

There was also Mumu’s Takeout, which was just two doors down from Mumu’s Coffins.

We stayed at a place called the Acholi Inn, but other options might have been the Highlife Guesthouse or Miss Guesthouse.

There were tons of schools everywhere, including Happy Hours Kindergarten and Brilliant High School.

But the most prevalent theme was religion. God and Jesus were everywhere. From the Trust God Hotel to Trust Jesus Saloon to God’s Mercy Phone Repairing. Amen.

Welcome to Uganda

It was a week not likely to be forgotten, ever. A week of beauty and pain; vivid colors and, sometimes, dull boredom; warmth, gratitude, awe—and monkeys.

I had my very first photo opp—and adapted a new personal motto—upon arriving at the Entebbe Airport Sunday night:

As I quickly learned, the Ugandans have a way with words.

A trip to the supermarket the following morning, to stock up for our five-hour drive to Gulu, offered a couple other gems:

(Awww, Milo.)

Otherwise, the week was filled with meeting local farmers and families, organizing photo shoots and long drives in between. I won’t reveal too much as the web site for which we were there launches in mid-September, but these photos will give you an idea of the daily routine and landscape.

We were graciously welcomed into many homes—the people were always so warm and high-spirited.

They grew their own crops (peanuts, roasting in the sun)…

… raised farm animals, which freely roamed everywhere…

… and of course there were tons of kids (the birth rate in Uganda is 6.8 children), who were alternately shy and silly.

The blue skies and green country were beautiful contrasts to the red earth.

We did so much driving. I hated sitting for hours every day, but I loved the way the road always stretched ahead of us….

… and seeing all the pedestrians and bicyclists that added texture and personality to the trip.

It was amazing what the bicyclists could carry, which I unfortunately didn’t capture: stacks of sugar cane, sacks of charcoal, towers of water jugs, mattresses, goats, chickens hanging from the handlebars… It was crazy.

On our drive to Gulu, we also crossed the Nile, which churned madly below us.

And, finally, on our return to Kampala, wait, what is that up ahead??


I still want to make it to Africa for a proper safari and to see some of the southern beaches and wild jungles. But this was a trip that I never, ever could have planned for myself and left me with many simple but profound memories.