by Lillian Csernica on September 10, 2016
by Lillian Csernica on April 27, 2016
Waiting for the oiran parade at Toei Kyoto Studio Park and talking to the little old Japanese gentleman. The one question he asked me in Japanese that I clearly understood was what kind of Japanese food I like to eat. Figures, doesn’t it? 😀
Waiting during the intermission at the Folies Bergere. I bought a can of Coke to drink while I stood there in the lobby watching people go by. I was a trifle stunned by the show. The great advantage of being alone while you travel is not having to worry about your mother finding out what you’ve been up to while you were away!
Waiting to see if the rain in Maui would let up enough for Mom and me to go on the submarine ride. So many tourists on the island were so angry, so upset by their plans being cancelled. It was a bad day to be in the hospitality industry. To me it was still an adventure, a tropical storm with the palm trees bending way over just like in so many movies I’d seen.
Waiting to see if Pat and I would find a gas station before we ran out of gas miles from anywhere in the dark. I’ve experienced this particular wait more than once. All I can do is cross my fingers and pray. We’ve never been stranded by the side of the road. Well, not yet, anyway!
Waiting to see if I really could drive all the way to Fremont. Then all the way to Stockton. Then all the way to Seattle! This wasn’t the usual kind of wait, given that I was driving at the time. That part of my mind that’s always hanging back and observing was doing the waiting. When I’m alone in the car I tend to talk to myself while I drive. I hope anybody who notices thinks I’m singing along with the radio.
Waiting to see if my destination would measure up to my imagination!
by Lillian Csernica on April 22, 2016
When you’re traveling, especially long distances, you want to keep a munchie stash with you because odds are good you will get stuck somewhere waiting for longer than you expect. Low blood sugar makes the trials of traveling even more irritating. These are my favorite snacks from all the places I’ve visited:
Pain au chocolat (Chocolate croissant)
Daifuku mochi — Depending on the characters used, this treat is called either “big belly rice cake” or “great luck rice cake.” The traditional filling is anko, or red bean paste. Crushed melon is also used, and in the springtime strawberries are popular.
Anmitsu: It’s a traditional Japanese dessert that has cubes of agar agar jelly, fresh fruit slices, red bean paste, and a dollop of ice cream. In this case, green tea ice cream. Looks really weird, doesn’t it? Pat and I had this at the Haneda Airport during our twelve hour layover. Not nearly as sweet as an American ice cream sundae, anmitsu combines flavors and textures into a unique and tasty dish.
Stroopwafels are two large, thin cookies with syrup in the middle. The size of stroopwafels vary, and you can get them dipped in chocolate, topped with whipped cream, etc. A small package of these is just right for a snack.
Northern — Potatoes. Baked, fried, or scalloped, I do love the starchy little devils.
Southern — Hush puppies and corn bread. I love hushpuppies. I would live on them if it weren’t for the fact that by the end of the first week I’d be able to actually hear my arteries hardening!
Eastern — New England clam chowder. With lots of black pepper. I do not eat the red stuff.
Western — San Francisco sourdough bread. Whenever I order breakfast in a restaurant, I get sourdough toast. No matter where in the U.S. I might be, the yeast starter probably came from San Francisco.
Central — Cheese. I love cheese, really I do. String cheese, cheddar on my burger, grilled cheese sandwiches, alfredo sauce, you name it. Can’t have bleu cheese because I’m allergic to mold.
by Lillian Csernica on April 6, 2016
The one weekend I spent in Paris included a trip to the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Staring straight up through the tower to its very top was such a dizzying experience I didn’t dare ascend to view the City of Lights from that historic height.
The bus tour of Paris I’d taken allowed us a chunk of time on Sunday afternoon to go shopping. I wanted a gold pendant of the Eiffel Tower for my mother. Off I went through a department store. Mind you, I was 18 then, and the extent of my French was “Parlez-vous Anglais?” More often than not, I got a curt “Non.”
When I finally found the jewelry department, I also found a sales woman who clearly did not like the sight of me nor the sound of my bad French accent. At that point I’d had more than enough of being dismissed. It is an unfortunate truth, but if there is one language universally spoken by salespeople, it is that of Money. I took out my entire supply of traveler’s checks, fanned them out, held them up to Madame Francais, and asked, “Parlez-vous American Express?”
She was quickly replaced by Raoul, a charming young man who spoke perfect British English and was the soul of courtesy. He showed me the range of pendants available, from one as tiny as my little fingernail to one big enough to land a swordfish!
I exchanged the appropriate amount of traveler’s checks, made my purchase, and departed feeling victorious. When it comes to making my mother happy, do not mess with me! 😀