Live Music and indie kids, We're not in India anymore

Sunday, March 26

A week in Seattle and I was starting to wonder what this city was all about besides tourists and drug dealers around Pike Market and a seemingly endless choice of art galleries and furniture stores around my brother loft. I took a trip to the suburbs but they looked like any other suburb in North America. I have to say thought beggars on the street here know how to do it and should hold training classes in India. There are guys singin motown songs acapella, waving cardboard signs that say SMILE and if you say you don't have spare change they generally say, "That's cool have a good night." These tactics could go over well in India and I'm thinking of starting a consulting business on "The Art of Friendly Begging".

So after being somewhat disappointed with the city it's now starting to grow on me. The turning point was last night when after a hot chocolate from the original Starbucks store, my brother Jeremy and I walked up to Paramount Theatre to see The New Pornographers and Belle and Sebastian. The theatre itself is fantastic with big old chandeliers hanging from the gold walls and ceiling. We were on the floor about 10 feet from stage and surrounded by the hip indie kids and adults. There were enough converse sneakers to pile to the roof and I loved every second of it. The New Pornographers who if you didn't know are from Vancouver and kick ass. Electric Versions, their first
cd is still my favourite and despite lacking Neko Case, their co lead singer the concert was great.

I was set to be a little disappointed by Belle and Sebastian because they just didn't seem like they would be a good live band but damn was I wrong. The set got off on the right foot when they walked out and said, "So how is everyone feeling tonight? Sexy, good, well we'll try to play some sexy numbers for ya." Remember this is with a Scottish accent. The show was great and just when it started to slow down they almost started a riot with "I'm a Cuckoo".

The concert and the people at it made me think that Seattle may have more to offer but I'll have to dig to find it. A women wearing a pin stripe suit with a
mohawk seemed to say, there's more to this place then yuppy software developers. I'm going searching today so I'll let you know what I find.
nicholas, 1:08 PM | link | 1 comments |

Home sweet home, wherever it is

Thursday, March 16

Sorry to my faithful following, I am back in Canada and I've had the craziest weeks since being back. I haven't been in the same place for more than five days for almost 3 months now and I have kept up the pace in Canada. Once I got my feet on the ground in Kelowna I had a day to do laundry and wash the smell of India out of my clothes before packing up again and hitting the road for an 11 hour drive to Edmonton. Of course it snowed the whole way and Edmonton which was beautiful the week before was now -15c with about a foot of snow. I love winter though. There's something about it that just freezes time and makes everything slow down.

Edmonton was almost like I never left. Some of my friends were still there and I hit up West Ed, the biggest mall in the world to pick up a new pair of jeans. The mall seems a little over the top and rediculous but I love that there is a water park, submarines, a replica of Columbus' ship, a roller coaster, an ice rink, two movie theaters, a hotel, flamingos, and every single store you could ever want. Mmmmm, rampant consumerism, it's nice to be back home.

First on my Edmonton stop was trying to surprise my friend Beth Arrison at her cd release party for her first cd, "Modest Charms". It was a great show at an old jazz club, The Yardbird Suite. Her sets were amazing and her choice of covers inspired with Rufus Wainrights' Poses, Leonar Cohens' Hallalujeh, Girl from Ipinema and a Beck song I don't know the name of. I have to update her website once I stop moving for a day or two but her cd is great (hopefully this week). You'll be able to buy it off the website soon when I get my shit together,

On Saturday I slept in after crawling around in the snow from bar to bar. Then it was time for what I consider one of my favourite Alberta times with my friend Sando. Driving down the highway to a dance show with snow blowing all around lisening to music so loud you end up singing along to Sigur Ros.Edmonton still feels like home and I miss my friends like crazy. It was nice to see you all and congrads Andrea on your engagement!

Then it was one day skiing back in Kelowna, I know I look like a pro in this photo thanks to my Dad's great photography skills. Now I'm in Seattle for a couple weeks of rest and relaxation with my hospitable brother. Hahaha, no acutally I have to find a job, fun I know!
nicholas, 10:48 AM | link | 4 comments |

Chai Talk - Hong Kong

Tuesday, March 7

Location: MIX (IFC location, Central HK), Uncle Russ Coffee (Discovery Bay, Lantau Island)
Rating: 0/5, ***/5

Stepping off the plane in Hong Kong and riding the comfortable bus out to Discovery Bay was a little like falling down the rabbit hole, hitting my head and then having a seizure. The first thing I noticed was it was freezing, 8c the day I got there and I swear the humidity felt like -8c. Right away I was astounded, the bus came on time, no one even attempted to steal anything from me or carry it and the bus ride cost more than I would pay for a hotel room in India.

Over the next few days of hanging with my nephews, meeting my sister in laws friends and enjoying the city I began to notice a few things.

1. I'm pretty sure I went at least 50 years into the future on that plane to Hong Kong
2. Modern architecture is really cool and shiny
3. Some places in the world are clean?
4. Things actually cost money, lots of money!
5. No one can make chai like India

I had two chai samplings while in Hong Kong both thanks to my brother which was nice since they cost the same as about 50 chais in India. The first was from Uncle Russ Coffee in Discovery Bay. It was a typical coffee shop chai made from a mix that is combined with hot milk. The flavor is nice but lacks the ginger and cardamom of an India chai while focusing on nutmeg and cinnamon for strength. With a heavy frothy texture it's more of a meal than a refreshing drink but nonetheless it was tastey in it's own right but not what I would call an Indian Chai. The egg tart and pineapple bun from the chinese bakery near the coffee shop were great even though I got the wrong bun and it was filled with sweet red bean paste. Somehow my western tastebuds have trouble with sweet beans? The creamy warm chai was perfect for a cold rainy day looking out towards Disney Land and then wathcing my nephews soccer practice.

The second chai was from MIX, a health food chain in Hong Kong. I hit up the IFC building location (International Finance Center). The chai, like the thai chicken wrap I had, lacked flavor. Maybe it's because it's a health food place but there was no sugar and it was basically milk with nutmeg. Knowing that my bad review might break their business I tried to chalk it up to a mistake and asked them to fix it. The second attempt was hotter but no better. I've never rated a chai at zero before but MIX earned it. The saving grace was the location. The IFC building which was under construction when I lived in Hong Kong is now a massive and beautiful building filled with expensive stores and attached to the anime like sky walkways that run all over central and up the elevators to Soho and also to Central station of the MTR (underground metro).

Hong Kong was a great stop on the way back from India though the beer from Lan Kwai Fung and hot and sour soup from Causeway Bay left my stomach going, "where am I?". I love the city and thanks Todd, Karla, Jericho, Brayden and Christopher for the good times enroute to Canada and trying to 'save' me. Maybe one day.
nicholas, 10:50 PM | link | 2 comments |

Chai Talk - It's Not You, It's Me

Wednesday, March 1

On my last night in India I had my last chai in the country that, for me at least, invented it. It was a sweet chai with a nice mix of ginger and cardamon with was surprising from a street stand in front of the Vivek Hotel. It left me refreshed and talkative with memories floating through my head. As I talked with the chai guy and a few other people who inevitably stopped to chat I couldn't stop thinking about India and all the times we had together. We started out on the wrong foot I think with her leading me to rip off travel agents in Delhi and then throwing me into the middle of nowhere of Mohali with no furniture and no hot water. The first month while we got acquainted we were constantly fighting leaving me sick more than once.

Once we got better acquainted though our relationship began to blossom. I learned how to argue, fight and bargain with her to come out on top. She took me out partying with all my fiends and introduced us to the local police and liquor store owners and ensured that a night with her was never boring.

Traveling with her was always a highlight and it never ceased to be an adventure. The week in Leh was beautiful and amazing while the 37 hour trip to and from Pushkar to see the camel fair for 24 hours was a test of stamina but rewarding. In the end it was a somewhat abusive relationship with marks left mostly on me because she's too big to notice when I got mad at her. I saw amazing things and it was everything; good, bad, painful, relaxing, stressful and fun but in the end I think it's the good things I'll remember most like the people that she brought together and the unbelievable experiences she makes possible.

As I rode through the streets of Delhi towards the airport I couldn't get John Denver, "I'm leavin on a jet plane" out of my head. It is strange to be in Hong Kong because India is so different from other women. The rest seem so foreign now compared to her but at the same time a little more gentle. Really though it's not you, it's me and while it's good to be leaving on a jet plane, I don't know when I'll be back again but I know there will be a day when I'm ready for more of your abusive lovin.

I couldn't sleep the night before I met India and she kept me up most of our last night together. Thanks India, for the good times and the bad and let's just call what we have is an open, nontraditional relationship. Call if you ever need to talk.
nicholas, 7:10 PM | link | 5 comments |