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Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Half Day

Today is a holiday in Canada so while I had to work this morning, I’m taking the afternoon off to sit outside, read, and drink a tasty beverage. I’m thinking Sangria-ish, a new drink I’m perfecting with whatever I happen to have in the fridge, like half a bottle of Alsatian red, frozen lime cubes, haskap juice, lemonade, cherries, and sparkling water:)

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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Today is Bastille Day.

Photo by Joe deSousa on Unsplash

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Today is also a family member’s birthday, yay!

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

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And on this day, years ago, I visited a floating market in Thailand.

At 6:45 this morning I hopped a bus for a two-hour ride to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. I’m sure the pictures will tell the tale well, as long as the viewer can also imagine the sticky heat of the morning sun rising over a town whose streets are made entirely of water. It was totally touristy and, admittedly, lots of fun.

On the way there the bus stopped at a coconut oil factory, made obvious from the road by the mounds of coconuts piled everywhere. A woman stood by a huge stove and swirled coconut oil or juice around and around in the largest wok I’ve ever seen. She actually had three of these monstrosities cooking at once, each in various stages of reduction. Every so often she’d reach over and grab another handful of coconut husk to stoke the fire. I couldn’t resist a bag of coconut candy; it’s probably 99 percent fat and terrible for me, but it tasted like richly-flavored brown sugar. Delicious.

The first boat driver was a little throttle happy, so we got the speed demon tour of the town’s waterways. He’d race full ahead toward a wall, then turn at the last minute. The front of the boat would turn sharply, the back swing around, and we’d race off to the next corner to do it all again. Along the way I realized how little difference there is between streets of gravel and water. All along the banks there were walkways leading up to people’s houses, small yards where they kept everything from pets to fishing traps, and little garages off to the side where they parked their boats at night. One difference: on the canals’ sides I noticed an odd creature, a fluffy pink worm-like animal that looked a little like a small sea cucumber. It was easy to spot because it was hot hot pink. 

The first thing we were encouraged to do after stepping out of the boat was to get right back in another. For a few dollars a sightseeing boat of sorts would shuttle tourists around the main market canal. In a few seconds we were off with the rest of the boats, making our way along the canal crowded with boats carrying food, trinkets, and other tourists. The only thing they told us was to watch our fingers, as the boat’s metal-rimmed edges collided frequently. Good to know. 

Almost all of the boats selling things were occupied by women. They talked amongst themselves while making fried rice cakes or chopping open coconuts for us to drink. It seemed like a crowded market anywhere, just on the water.

A woman with a Bunsen burner and stack of bowls in her boat made noodle soup. As my boat mate sat back to slurp up his lunch, a man came over and asked me a question.

He wanted to know why I wasn’t eating too, and wanted to assure me that the food was both good and safe. By pointing at a passing boat and a billboard adorned with smiling faces and happy stomachs, he managed to let me know that the market had been established as a “Safe Eating Zone” which was enforced by police. I could eat without fear. I thanked him and let him know by pointing at my stomach that I just wasn’t hungry. I tasted some of the soup soup and declared it delicious. We concluded the conversation with smiles and thanks. 

Pretty good, considering neither knew a word of the other’s language.

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J.R. Johnson

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It’s a holiday weekend, bookended by Canada Day and the Fourth of July. As a dual citizen, I feel obligated to celebrate as much as possible, which means I am trying to work as little as possible. Today, that means learning something fun. Like perspective bending, with sheep.

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Original photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

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O Canada!

I originally hail from the United States but I’m also proud to be a citizen of Canada. Is it perfect? (Is either country?) No. But this is a multi-faceted country with a complex history and also a lot of good, and being part of something is the best way to both contribute to its present and better its future.

Happy Canada Day, Canada! Let’s all work together for brighter days.

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Photo by Steve Philpott on Unsplash

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To my dad, who taught us to read without genres, cook without recipes, and love without limits.

Happy Father’s Day!

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We’ve taken a lot of steps to be where we are now. The Emancipation Proclamation, issued in 1863 and announced, finally, on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas, was a big one.

Is everything perfect? Of course not. But our path is clear and the goal is righteous. This is a good next step.

Happy Juneteenth, America!*

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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to change the world.

— Harriet Tubman

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Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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* Is this only a Black American thing? Nope, it’s a “let’s all celebrate a better world” thing:)

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I am fortunate enough to have one, two, three mothers! To them, and to you, I send all my very best wishes.

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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Dear Air New Zealand and Australia.com,

Please stop showing me perky web ads with weather maps of your fair region. I know that it is summer there when it is winter here, but you don’t have to rub my face in it. I know that my −24C is your +24C, but thinking about it makes me want to cry. I also know how lovely it is Down Under, how full of stunning vistas and sumptuous wines and delectable foodstuffs, and sigh as I peer over the wind-swept mounds of snow outside my window.

DownUnder

So please, please, Air New Zealand and Australia.com, stop rubbing it in. Have pity on a poor Northern Hemisphere-ite, and let me freeze in peace.

Yours in winter,

J.R. Johnson

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