– Anthony Bourdain
– Anthony Bourdain
“My father started to cry and I realized that he never had cried when we listened to that carol before, when my grandfather was still with us. ‘Why are you crying?’ I once asked him and he said he cried because he was the oldest in our family, that he remembered how it was when he was in the pack, singing those beautiful carols, and he cried because he was the next man in our family to die.”
from The Pigs Slaughter by Florin Grancea
”…a lot of people have written about how he [Bourdain] lived doing all the things they wanted to do (“I wanted his life,” Drew Magary’s eulogy starts) but the more important and equally universal feeling is that of wanting to be more like him—more curious, more confident, more capable, more generous. Traveling the world eating and drinking well and making friends with seemingly everyone you come across does seem like just about the perfect life…”
As I’ve said on Facebook, I wasn’t a Bourdain fan. I hadn’t seen any of his shows or read any of his books before his death. I vaguely knew of him as a guy doing a food show. It is clear now that he was much more than that, and that I’ve been missing out.
Since his untimely passing I have read many quotes attributed to him and watched season 1, episode 1 of Parts Unknown. I will be watching more.
It was about more than eating. It was about introducing a new place, and new people, and showing that we’re more alike than we are different.
“Kids will learn anything they want to learn, anything they have a use for. But to make them learn things they don’t have any use for, you have to send them to school. We need schools to force kids to learn things they have no use for.”
“Which in fact they do not learn.”
“Which in fact, when it’s all over and the last bell rings, they have not learned.”
Daniel Quinn, My Ishmael
and then the Metro to Pershing Square.
First stop, The Last Bookstore, where we walked around and enjoyed the ambiance (but not the heat) and made a few small purchases. Sarah bought an LP that she’s had her eye on, Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book, and a book which I forget the title of at the moment.
I found a copy of The History of the Romanian People for 6 bucks that I couldn’t pass up. There were other treasures to be had, and we will return.
A short walkabout with a couple photos and then to Grand Central Market for a restroom break, and then we snagged a seat at the counter for a late lunch-early dinner at Prawn Coastal. Unfortunately, they had neither the Spicy Scallops or Mac and Cheese which were both things we wanted to try. Sarah ended up with the Thai Lobster Roll and I had the Paella. Both were very good and too much food to eat. Sarah also tried a red wine that I forget the name of, which she didn’t like too much. I had an Expatriate IPA by Three Weavers Brewing Company, which was ok.
We tried to see the inside of the Bradbury Building, but it had closed at 5, so we went on to The Redwood Bar for a much-needed cocktail to wash the taste of bad wine out of Sarah’s mouth. We sat and talked and then decided that we should try to make it back to Union Station for the 6:45 train home. I figured that if we didn’t make it, we could always go to Traxx and have another drink.
Sarah got to see the outside of the building that I work in as we hurried to the Metro station…
We made the train, barely, with the conductor stepping off to close the door and telling us to “Hurry up, we’re leaving!”
We both wished that Aunt Carol had been there with us since she had just gone home last weekend after a wonderful visit, but all in all, a great day.
“We’re constantly changed by events going on in our lives. Sometimes they’re cumulative and chip away at our psyche, like yet another bad day at the office, or another smile from a pretty girl that raises our confidence. But occasionally something happens that alters us in the blink of an eye, and we instantly become a different person, for better or for worse.”
from I Just Had to go Back to Di Island by Anthony Bjorklund
From I’m an Old Commie by Dan Lungu
“Coming home, I took a close look at the block of flats where we live…The block was no longer new like it was when we moved in, deliriously happy. More than 30 years have passed since then and it hadn’t seen so much as a lick of paint in all that time. The walls were peeling, and the corners have been eaten away by the rain. On the wall above a window on the first floor, there was a thick black streak left by smoke. In the winter they’d probably put a wood stove in and stuck the flue out the window. The steps in front of the entrance were chipped and the banisters were bent, rattling to the touch.”
This description took me immediately back to the giant communist era edifices that line Bulevardul Unirii in Bucharest.