There are some North American cities where a visit to Chinatown is a must: San Francisco, New York (actually prefer Flushing to Manhattan's) and of course, Chicago. But when in Vancouver, a visit to Chinatown is a must. The Chinese population in the city is about 600,000 (125,000 of which are Canadian born).‚ One of the best ways to take everything in is to take a tour with Bob Sung.‚ His family was in the produce business for 80 years, so he knows the area like the back of his hand. His "Wok Around Chinatown" tour includes a dim sum lunch, lots of snacking, and visits to a Taoist Temple, a bunch of funky grocery stores, cookware shops and fish markets, plus a private tea ceremony in a well-appointed shop (although beware of the hard sell for teapots and other tea paraphernalia afterward). Bob peppers his talk with cultural notes and ties in the history of the area with culinary sidebars. The tours begin in the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, every piece of which was literally transported from China to Vancouver.
Aug. 26, 2010
Earlier today I went with Yusra to one of Tripoli's largest banks. Most of the employees were women - including the branch manager. In fact, I didn't see any men employees. Later that day I put in a press request to interview the women at the bank. These are the kinds of stories that I've been researching and looking for in Libya. In some ways, they may not sound that extraordinary, but I think the Western image of Arab women is completely distorted. Women are allowed to drive in Libya. Women here serve in high-ranking government posts and in parliament. Women work, some even after having a family. There are doctors, lawyers, artists. No, I don't have to be covered from head to toe during my visit. Just no cleavage or miniskirts. There is a conservative Islamic culture in Libya, but women are quick to tell me that Libyan law supports their rights. There's one particular woman I'm requesting to interview: Aisha Qaddafi, the leader's 30something daughter. She's a Paris-trained lawyer who is sometimes referred to as the "Claudia Schiffer" of North Africa because of her blond good looks. Aisha Qaddafi heads Libya's main charity group, and she has served as Libya's National "Å½Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. Development Program. But she rarely gives interviews. Check out this column Yusra did about Aisha Qaddafi last year.
Aug. 26, 2010
I'm off getting married and honeymooning and all that so, in my absence, some good friends are filling in. Today's look at the Havana Libre Hotel, the former Havana Hilton, modernism's stake in the Cuban capital, comes from Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, who resides on the island. The piece is dedicated to the 10th anniversary of his dad's passing.
On the 13th of August,
the first 10 years without my dad.
As a child, I lived on the outskirts of Havana, in a neighborhood called Lawton.
Aug. 26, 2010
“It’s called compassion fatigue,” he adds.
I work with everyone, I mean from people who are on probation because they—it’s an anger management clinic. I get clients who come in to deal with shyness. I work with cops. We’re on Michigan and Monroe, so it’s right in the financial district, so we got a lot of bankers, hedge-fund guys. Fortune 500, I own a law firm and I punched a bailiff in the courtroom, versus, you know, I beat my wife and this is part of my plea agreement. The private practice is fairly diverse, and the phone counseling reality is—I mean, it’s phone counseling, so it can be people from anywhere.
I've fished in lakes throughout Minnesota - even went up to Lake-of-the-Woods once on the Canadian border - in search of walleye pike and Northerns. But fishing off the coast of Vancouver, it's all about the sockeye salmon. Fortunately for me, the local fishery is in the midst of a four-year cycle, and last week proved to be the heart of it, as the salmon are preparing to swim back upstream to their birthplace very soon. Our captain was awfully optimistic as we launched from the dock in the heart of Vancouver, near Stanley Park.
Bites-On Salmon Charters
Westin Bayshore Hotel dock
1601 Bayshore Drive (Westin Bayshore)
Aug. 26, 2010
After guest appearances from our favorite advice columnist, Amy Dickinson, and our favorite talker, John Williams, our f*ck it list mission marches on like a f*ck list mission should. For today's list we decided to march right on upstairs to Tory Malatia's office. ("Worry about my job?" That's on my list). You don't make it up there without knowing what to put on a f*ck it list.
As president and chief executive officer, Torey oversees all day-to-day operations and programming and production decisions at Chicago Public Media. Under his leadership, WBEZ has developed The Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2000, Sound Opinions, in 2005, Wait, Wait. . . Don't Tell Me! a co-production with National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. in 1998. And of course, This American Life with Ira Glass.
Here is Torey's list:
Chicago restaurateurs have been trying - in vain - to jump-start the izakaya trend here, but it hasn't worked, at least not yet. These Japanese pubs are more lively than the typical sushi joint, with boisterous crowds, excellent sake and beer lists, and food options that go far beyond spicy tuna rolls. Masu Izakaya lasted in Lincoln Park for barely four months. Chizakaya was supposed to open in July, but after repeated efforts to contact them to find out when they're opening, I still haven't heard when or if that's going to happen in Lake View. There is an Izakaya Hapa in one of the downtown hotels in Chicago, but it was so lame, it's not even worth mentioning. These entrepreneurs would do well to come to Vancouver for a bit of research. Nothing I've seen in Chicago compares to the vibrant culture of izakayas here.
Aug. 26, 2010
Robert Plant, "Band of Joy" (Rounder) Rating:3/4
Throughout a long and often rewarding post-Led Zeppelin career, that band’s legendary golden god often has stretched out in unexpected directions, challenging himself and his fans as he endeavored to shake the soul-killing taint of nostalgia.
Yes, there have been missteps: The Honeydrippers’ genre exercise added nothing to the rockabilly canon and wasn’t really worthy of the supergroup billing, and I am no fan of “Raising Sand,” the sleepy and conservative 2007 collaboration with Alison Krauss that was rewarded with an armful of Grammys, including album of the year. But Robert Plant is nonetheless the rare classic-rock hero whose latter-day work doesn’t detract from and seriously soil the music that made him famous.
As every Zep fan knows, Plant first caught Jimmy Page’s ear when he was singing with the psychedelic soul/blues group Band of Joy, which also featured the mighty John Bonham on drums. The 62-year-old singer’s reasons for resurrecting that name for his current project are unclear—he told the U.K. press that he feels “somewhere between a teenager and an old man, making my debut album.