Nov 21, 2010

My favorite shoes, Converse, Chuck Taylor All-Stars

I think my feet are a size wider than they’re longer, which means that it’s kind of complicated for me to buy shoes… either they’re the right length but too tight on the sides, or they’re comfortable on the sides but too long. It might be due to the bunion that I inherited from my mother: a bunion is when the joint at the big toe is enlarged for some estrange reason. Most of the time it doesn’t really bother me but if my feet get too cold, it might hurt.

The only shoes that actually fit me well are the Converse… however, the reason I wear them is because I really like them. The first pair of Converse I wore was back in Colombian when I was a teenager, maybe 15 years old… I used them for a while, and then stopped wearing them for a few years while I was in university—I couldn’t afford them simply. After I moved to Sweden I began using them continuously ever since and I’m not planning to stop wearing them on my everyday life for the time being.

Now that I’m in Paris the problem is that they wear out really quickly! Perhaps, because I walk a lot more than I did in Sweden: the last pair only lasted 6 months before I had a hole in the sole of both shoes… check the picture.

Don't worry, I already got a new pair.

Luckily, Converse could be the coolest single pair of shoes ever invented. So classy, versatile, and timeless, thanks Chuck Taylor All-Stars!

Did you know that the Converse was designed in the 1910’s and that the brand was bought by Nike in 2003? I didn’t!

Nov 4, 2010

Where is Dulcinea del Toboso?

[…] he came to the conclusion that nothing more was needed now but to look out for a lady to be in love with; for a knight-errant without love was like a tree without leaves or fruit, or a body without a soul. (From Don Quijote de la Mancha, by Cervantes)

I remember the first time I read this passage, back then I was a naïve teen at the university, in Bogotá. I was a delusional romantic, falling in love with my female classmates, writing poems of love and solitude, and composing love letters to my beautiful beloveds. I couldn't agree more with Don Quijote!

Today, I couldn’t be less concerned about finding my Dulcinea del Toboso; although it’s been quite sometime since I felt legitimately in love… ever since then I’ve been enjoying of the short nightly adventures that life my bestow upon me! So distant I’ve kept myself from getting involved romantically that a life without marriage and offspring is starting to seem quite reasonable: I’ve always wanted a family and children, but at this time of history it isn’t really necessary for me to pass my genes to the next generation… is it? It’d be more for the gratification and the satisfaction of familial love than for anything else.

I’m wondering if I should become a knight-errand and find her, my Dulcinea… just as the one Don Quijote describes in chapter XIII:

[…] her rank must be at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and lady, and her beauty superhuman, since all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her; for her hairs are gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow, and what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol, not compare.

And go crazy and abandon all my wits for the sake of love and adventure! It doesn’t sound so bad, too lose oneself and sacrifice reason and logic for an exceedingly beautiful and exceedingly intelligent lady. It could be the perfect excuse to stop worrying about the insignificance and mundanity of the human condition; like paying taxes, buying the milk, waking up early to catch the bus, or bothering the secretary because after eight months in France I still can’t get my social security number…

A field of tulips in Holland (1886), Claude Monet

Nov 3, 2010

A bowl of ramen, s'il vous plaît! Sapporo Ramen in Paris

If you know me, you should know by now that I love Asian food; Chinese food, Thai, Indian, sushi… it’s all so very good. To my opinion, the Asian way of cooking is so much better than the European, I would say like a thousand times better.

Back when I was living in Uppsala, I used to go almost every day to a Chinese restaurant called Fugu. It was simply delicious, I couldn’t get enough of it; and for that reason I ended visiting the place since the very first day they opened it about four years ago, until the last day of my stay in Sweden. It was very nostalgic for me to think I wouldn’t have my dear restaurant so close any longer.

However; life is like a river, it flows continuously… things come and things go, people come and people go, restaurants come and restaurants go. So I have come across with my favorite restaurant in Paris, it’s a Japanese restaurant! They don’t sell sushi, they specialize in ramen! Oh god, such mighty ramen… it’s almost miraculous, Sapporo Ramen! The place is tiny and it’s located in Rue Saint-Honoré… close to the Louvre Museum and it’s a street full of Japanese restaurants of all sorts.

Sapporo Ramen Paris My new favorite food, very nutritious

Sapporo Ramen is special, it has a bar where you can seat and eat watching the cook prepare the ramen, that’s so awesome. I think the restaurant is very authentic, they don't sell any sushi, and it’s run by a Japanese family; there are plenty of Japanese people eating there at all times… so I think that’s a good sign of authenticity.

I personally love it.

Music for the soul, Palais Garnier

I was talking once with a Spanish girl about Paris when she told me that she didn’t like the city because she thought there was no culture, no art, and pretty much nothing to do. I was literally shock… what was she thinking? Did she really understand anything about the ways of life?

Last week I had the craving for some higher forms of musical expression, to delight my soul and clear for a moment the storm that rages within me. I was feeling like going to see some opera, a ballet, or a concert. I decided to go to a chamber music concert at the beautiful Palais Garnier; they were going to play music from Robert Schumman (1810-1856), Ernst Krenek (1900-1991), and Paul Hindemith (1895-1963). The last two musicians were new to me, never heard from them before… It was really nice to have the contrast of Schumman with the more modern sounds of Krenek and Hindemith that to my impression still sounds very random, though I’m sure it isn’t like that.

The ceiling of the concert hall, painted in 1964 by Marc Chagall

Going to the Palais Garnier is an amazing experience; it’s like time traveling to the XIX century. It’s so beautiful and luxurious, statues of the great composers here and there, marble of all colors, the gold, the red velvet and the satin. I particularly love the roof of the concert hall; it was painted in 1964, so colorful and vivid contrasting very much in style with the entire palace that was actually inaugurated in 1875, built in a neo-baroque style… as I just learnt.

If you ever get to be in Paris, you definitively have to come to the Palais Garnier and go to a show... It will transport you to a different world. And it isn’t that expensive, I paid 20 Euro for my ticket but it's possible to find tickets down to 8 Euro, which means that it’s pretty much accessible for anyone. It’s a great pity that most people believe that going to the opera is unaffordable, or that you have to go fully dressed up with gown and what not… though most people wouldn’t really find entertaining an opera show, a ballet, or a Beethoven’s symphony; so, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Bravo! Bravissimo!