Thursday, August 26, 2010

Me time in Boston...ah and Chinatown

Spent the day in Boston yesterday, actually took some me time. I was originally going so I could meet up with a fellow student so we could study for our final, but she bailed. I was already on the train and, well before plans for Korea I did set a goal for myself to kick it through the Beantown streets at least one more time.

 As soon as I got off at South Station I felt safe, almost. There was no criticism following me, endlessly ringing in my ears, nothing...amongst a community of noises, yet I was in the bubble of serenity.

Having not been to Harvard Square in so long I took the subway there, I miss subways. The constant disarray, overwhelming confusion that is just accepted, and communally understood. I was soaking in the surroundings, passing each stop  and witnessing the awkward altercation, conversations, and gazes. Everyone is people watching...Harvard square is...a college section. It was raining, as it has been here for the past three (approaching four) days, so lost in my huge rain coat and with an over-sized umbrella, my only plan was to explore. I stumbled into Dado and got a steaming cup of dark oolong and ginseng tea...instant pleasure.

I haven't gone to a tea house in forever, there isn't much around my spot. )O: Cruising through streets I found a used book store, and Veggie Planet, I have one of their reusable bags and am so glad I know where they're located now. I didn't get anything, but it smelt so comforting. Basil and tomatoes sauce wafted through the air, an open and approachable kitchen  was easily accessible...and even though there wasn't much direction, it was just understood what the "rules" were. Everything seemed reasonabley priced too, the menu looked alluring enough, but wasn't too hungry and I had plans on hitting up my FAVORITE Boston area...China Town.

Durian hunting, that was my mission, and I my plan. along with Bijiu. I haven't had Durian or Bijou since my trip to China and I was seriously missing China. And I want to celebrate, I'm finishing up my FINAL class for my undergrad tomorrow and hell, I want some cheap rice wine!

 I can't quite explain it, or accurately describe how I feel whenever I enter China town. Something feels so right, I mesh right in, I feel confident walking those streets and through the stores. As uncomfortable as I feel in my home when Koreans come over, in China town amongst the Koreans and Chinese, I feel so much more accepted, my lungs expand freely. Right down to the smells of China town I feel at ease. Also it brings me back, these memories flow straight into my head from when I was younger and used to buy grapes juice or cabbage with my mother here, when I would converse in horribly broken Korean with store owners, and the time I was in Changchun. The smells of dumplings filling street corners, along with the crackling of roasting geese and cooking pigs (as much as it pains me, it does remind me.) Even the trash riddled corners, where the cardboard is stacked upon high sandy covered plastic and wooden chopsticks makes me feel at comfortably at ease. The combination of community, people, smells, produce, all of's a taste of Asia that is not at all like Asia but a kiss of it.

I think I went into every store, when I saw produce, I ventured in. Plump pumpkins, wasabi peas (the American brands..pish posh), the dried mushrooms, Ah I love it. I walked into this tiny tiny store and found the usual dried ginseng, fish, sweet potatoes, ramens of all flavors, but there were barely any Korean products, the ones I am so used to seeing, smelling, and tasting. The produce section was so tiny that I feared my Durian mission would be a fail...a man saw my confusion and I showed him a cell phone picture and he guided me straight the the horrid smelling spikey fruit!! YESS!! but...$1.99/lb, these guys are huge...should I drop $20 on this...

I decided to venture on wards, good thing I did too. I stumbled into a bigger store, full of SO much more produce. And I spoiled myself. I made quite a bounty. Got water spinach, Chinese broccoli, and sesame leaves for $1.69/lb, king oyster mushrooms for $3, enoki mushrooms for $1, dried "black fungus" (the same pillowy seaweed like ones I had in Changchun), two bags of white seaweed (I am not sure what they are called but they're so yummy), and yes...durian for $1.50/lb...I spoiled myself hardcore, and well, spending only $32.50 I left a happy vegan gal!
 And luckily next door was a Chinese liquor store, I found my cheap bijiu. The last time I had this I was with Spy and I got more than sick. Bijou is this clear rice liquor from China that seriously is like gin, tequila, and vodka mixed all together to form this gut wrenching, lung clasping, blood stopping liquid consumption reaction. And it does not do well in mixers, so shot it or nothing. I saw so many people swigging these babies back with not even a dI couldn't take more than two without feeling like I was going to die. On one of his days off Spy and I bought a bottle (only for 10 kuai=US $1.65) and tried desperately to make it tolerable...peach and kiwi nectar, fail fail fail. I took maybe one shot and while walking to some nearby gathering, I had to turn back...
anyways long story short...I'ma have to be very gentle with this round.

The day in Boston was a great day...I finally enjoyed some me time...and when that exam is turned in and I can stretch out and breath without any assignments eagerly requesting my attention...I'll enjoy a little bijiu, and a section of durian. I'll be to giddy to smell the rotten stench that misrepresents this glorious fruit.

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