Saturday was a really gorgeous winter’s day in New York (it felt like a South African winter day) and since I have a friend staying with me, we headed out for an afternoon of shooting…starting out at Union Sq, making our way down through then East Village, then down to Chinatown, over the Brooklyn Bridge and then to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The whole Chinatown/Little Italy area downtown sometimes seems surreal – you walk down one street (Mott) and you feel like you’re in Asia; then step one street over to Mulberry and you’re surrounded by Italian restaurants. Anyway while we were there was a parade going on – with drummers, Santas, snowmen – and Chinese dragons. It was a lot of fun to watch especially since we had no idea it was going to be happening.
“Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present… the name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in – its a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present” – Midnight in Paris
Two weekends ago, and again this past weekend, I took a ride on the nostalgia train in New York City. This is a train composed of museum train cars that were used on the subway lines between 1931 and the 1970s. It was so much fun seeing everyone dressed up for the occasion and to read some of the advertising signage inside the old cars, which had ceiling fans and not air-conditioning (obviously). The train runs during the winter holidays on Sundays, along the M line, making all the stops between the 2nd Ave and Queens Plaza stations.
There is only one weekend left this year (30 December) – for more information, visit the MTA website.
Yesterday morning I checked the weather outside and saw a warning about heavy fog in Manhattan. I threw on some clothes and ran outside looking completely disheveled because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to shoot the city enveloped by fog. By the time I made it outside the fog was already more of a mist and the photos weren’t really what I had in mind. These are the only three I felt were worth the upload. Proof again that for the most part, good photos require the perfect combination of planning and luck.
On Wednesday I was at home, bed bound by a neck spasm, but as a result lucky enough to enjoy the daytime. Lately I have been arriving at work when it is dark, and leaving when it is dark and it has been making me feel like some nocturnal creature.
Wednesday was also chilly and windy – and then the strangest thing happened. These dark clouds rolled in and it rained, albeit for 5 minutes. Still, it never rains at this time in Johannesburg and it was lovely to see those beautiful clouds that rarely adorn the winter highveld sky.
Another day, another airport. My three days in Poland have gone very quickly and I have had a great time here. My cousins are grown up now so it is a lot more fun to hang out than a few years ago. This morning our plans to travel to Warsaw by car were thrown out of the window as it had started snowing during the night so we had a rather hairaising trip to the train station and we caught the train to Warsaw with only 3 minutes to spare. I was actually quite happy about this change because I love traveling by train and staring out the window for hours.
As a little goodbye note I wanted to share a collection of landscape photos I took this week. A lot has changed about Poland since we left, but some things have stayed the same and the scenes of my childhood remain.
I love how spooky the landscapes look in winter, with the bare trees, empty fields, and old ramshackle buildings. All these photos have been edited using Pixlromatic on my iPad since I have not taken my slow and heavy laptop on the trip (the iPad is the only way to travel).
This morning I woke up to a wonderful surprise – my favorite pancakes for breakfast. The best thing about these is that I can’t have them in South Africa because the cheese we use for the filling is not available in South Africa. It is similar in consistency to Ricotta but it is much more sour. A similar effect can be achieved if you squeeze lots and lots of lemon juice into it but this is a labour intensive process.
Aside from the cheese the recipe is simple:
2 cups of flour
2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of sugar
Polish cheese (twaróg) or Ricotta with lots of lemon juice
A bit of cream
One egg yolk
You mix all the pancake ingredients and fry them as you normally would. You also mix the filling and when the plain pancakes are ready you spread the filling on them, fold them or roll them and then put them back on the pan for a few minutes to warm up the filling. Then enjoy.
Then – if you are not burning calories trying to stay alive in the cold – go for a run..
I have been in Europe (Switzerland) for less than 24 hours and I really don’t know how people live in this cold. I realized within ten minutes of being outside that I would have to cast off any last shred of vanity I had in order to survive. Sorry, no more trying to do winter chic, I like having digits too much. I am on my way to Poland in an hours time and there I will be stocking up on proper socks and better the gloves – the adorable leather ones I found at the market the other day simply weren’t made for below zero degree temperatures.
I hope the weather gods will smile on me and the temperatures will creep up a little. Those who know me must be laughing in between pitying me because they know how much I struggle in Joburg winters. I am glad we left Poland before I reached an age when you actually start to notice how cold it is because you have to be outside for reasons other than playing.
On the plus side, Zug, where I am staying in Switzerland, is really beautiful and you can see from some of these photos. I am looking forward to photographing it some more when I am back (and suitably attired) on Thursday and Friday.