June 27, 2010


First year mark!

Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure this is really my life. Yes, I made a huge life change and left a career in the wine business of 17 years, steady paychecks, benefits, great wine, eating and entertaining at terrific restaurants. Like so many people I craved change. I dreamed of being my own boss and to choose like-minded people to work among. I wanted to make a difference in the world I live in and most of all I yearned to travel. A large portion of my childhood was spent living in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. I gravitate so naturally to the art, food, crafts and culture in this part of the world so it seemed fitting that this is where I would begin my new journey; and what a trip it has been.

Beginning next week and for the entire month of July, I will be giving away something from the loaded trunk each week. A little exotic gift from me to you. I am starting with art from Hanoi. It was a place that really caught me by surprise. The burgeoning art scene, amazing food, the warmth of the people in spite of their tumultuous history.

Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi
A lake that has inspired writers, painters and philosophers with its beauty. This small lake between the Old Quarter and the French Quarter is central to Hanoian folklore.
image taken in Hanoi-by me
The Turtle Pagoda
A ghostly shrine standing on an islet, at its center pays homage to a golden turtle. In the 15th century, this heroic reptile is said to have returned a magic sword to its home in the lake after it had been taken. These days, you will find postcard sellers, hawkers, old men playing chess, freelance money changers, lone photographers looking for a lucrative shot and, at about 5 am every day, locals practicing tai chi.
image taken in Hanoi-by me

"Cha ca" is a favorite dish of Hanoi. Located on Cha Ca street (in the old quarter), Cha Ca La Vong ("cha ca" means grilled fish) is a restaurant known to many Hanoians as well as tourists from around the world. The food is supposed to have been created by the Doan family. According to Mrs. Ngo Thi Tinh (a 4th generation descendant of the family), the family started the business of selling "cha ca" to earn money to support family members and to have a meeting place for the Vietnamese people who wanted to fight against French colonialism. Overpriced, very touristy, but I am a sucker for history!
image taken in Hanoi-by me
The role of the poster has been historically connected with Nationalistic struggle in many countries and has played an important role in provoking political action.

So thanks to everyone who helped make it possible to get through my first year at  the loaded trunk. This poster will be the first giveaway, just leave a comment below to enter.  The winner will be chosen at random and announced on each Saturday through July.

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