Late lunch was xiaolongbao from the original spot on Wudong Lu.
Still didn’t take a picture — ate them all with dark rice vinegar (the Zhenjiang variety of legendary origin) before I could even pull out my smartphone.
Later that day I would take a taxi to Pudong with several large bags and check in for a red-eye flight direct to LAX. First, I’d eat these eight dumplings — minced pork mixed with spring onion and aspic set inside circular unleavened dough wrappers then folded and pinched shut — directly from the bamboo steamer. These were the same ones I tried after arriving in Shanghai last year: the ones with vinegar poured in the same saucers, red chili sauce served with the same tiny spoons.
Exactly eight dumplings; no more, no less.
Continue reading “Lunch (Thoughts of Shanghai)”
Evening, approaching the Mekong/Nam Khan confluence.
Tucked in the far back corner of an outdated sleeper bus headed toward Luang Prabang, an impatient American passenger searched through the dirty window for a sign — any sign — that might suggest an end to his 27-hour journey from Kunming, China.
Bumpy, unpaved dirt roads had led him here: cramped and sweaty, peering into the darkening of North Laos. His bus, now hurtling at about 45mph on a thin, one and a half-lane highway in dusk, couldn’t arrive fast enough. A series of yellow-white lights off the left-hand side of the bus peeked through the blanket black night; the passenger blinked back at the shy lights. Air whistled through his opened window, damp like breath. Two left turns separated by a stretch of road resulted in a bus station where he alighted.
Shoving his shoulders back and stretching his arms into the sky, he stepped into the blacked-out indigo-blue of Luang Prabang.
Continue reading “The Two Rivers of Luang Prabang, Laos”