I miss getting into playful Egyptological arguments with scholars over martinis at The Royal Bar. I even miss the touts demanding baksheesh and donkey drivers hollering at me. I miss the filth in the streets and the flies that buzz around the horses. I miss the robes and the heat and the ferry across the Nile. I miss the cacophony of sounds at night when you’d hear honking horns and bellowing camels and the call to prayer. It suited me and I need to get back. Once I get this terrible year behind me, I’m going to treat myself to a glorious return to the sands of Egypt.
Little Chiffon came over for treats, and she was so wonderfully sweet. She hopped in my lap like it was last year and made herself comfortable as she coiled up. After a while she wanted to explore the apartment and she found Jessica absolutely fascinating. I couldn’t blame her, she did present an interesting spectacle, sprawled out on the couch, snoring so loudly that it was occasionally unsettling. Little Chiffon jumped on the couch and then jumped onto Jessica and then did her best to apparently wake my sister up. Jessica didn’t move or acknowledge Little Chiffon, who was not at all amused by this lack of attention. She decided she had better things to do than waste her time being ignored, so she headed out the door.
Jessica and I haunted the hottest gay club, which turned out to be the movie theater at Reforma 222. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know the answer. We were at the movies at least every other day it seemed. The first one we sat down and saw was something called Crucifixion. This drew our attention for very different reasons. Jessica loves a horror film and I love a Romanian hay farmer.
In high school, I would not miss an episode of Así es la Vida. It was on Univision without subtitles and I couldn’t understand a thing. It was brilliant. Eventually it became the foundation of my Spanish education, which is surely why it’s easier to talk about my cheating husband than it is the weather. Still, no knowledge is bad knowledge.
The best part of learning is that it’s never over, you know, and when you start looking into one thing, you discover an entire world that should have been in your face the entire time.
If there’s one thing that I love, it’s the architecture of the Antebellum South. I think plantations are sumptuous and gorgeous, and I oftentimes dream of buying a crumbling one in Louisiana and restoring it. With what money, I don’t know. I just imagine someday I will have money to do these things that I dream of. One day before I die, I will sip a mint julep whilst lounging on my expansive patio that overlooks an allee of live oaks drowning in Spanish moss.
I don’t care how beautiful you think puffy piles of crystalline snow are. I don’t care about your cozy sweaters and your hot tea and your crackling fires. I don’t care about skiing or or parkas or that Scandinavian concept of Hygge that all the hipsters and wine moms have adopted. I don’t want anything to do with it. To me, as I’m sure you know, winter is a hellish misery of frozen doors and chilled fingers and darkness and eternal misery.
Picture it, Paris 2009, a cozy winter night, me in a vintage Dior suit, snow gently falling and making the streets glitter under the yellow streetlights. There I am in a highly regarded restaurant on Left Bank just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame. That evening would prove to be one of the most influential in my gastronomic life.
It came to me in a dream, a gastronomic fever dream. In my mind, whilst dying of what could have been the most severe headache in human history, I saw toasted corn tortillas stuffed with curried egg salad. Upon awakening and rejoining the living, my stomach lurched, and my legs propelled me into the kitchen. After downing about four liters of espresso, I began concocting my divinely inspired culinary creation.
I know that what I’m about to relate isn’t real, at least I don’t think it is, but I think that I myself am a plague on the nations I love most. For whatever bizarre reason, when I leave a place after a few weeks of being there and falling madly in love with the culture, a devastating earthquake seems to strike. I was in Turin, Italy last year when there was a minor earthquake that shook the buildings. It spilled some of my wine. Truly a traumatizing moment.