A few weeks ago, I received an email from a total stranger asking me if I would be a guest speaker at an offal night he was planning in his restaurant in Bournemouth. I didn’t know the restaurant but I liked the tone of his email. I also liked the idea of going to the seaside not to mention his enthusiasm for the Fifth Quarter. So, I said yes.
I think I am addicted to travelling. I am not sure which I like most. The excitement of discovering new places and new foods? Or the fun of meeting new people who often become new best friends? Or just revisiting places and people that I love? I returned from China with plenty of great stories and memories and lots of new best friends including delightful Joanna Lee and Ken Smith who I met through an old best friend now, Rabih Alameddine. Joanna suggested we meet at the Hong Kong film festival press conference, a glitzy occasion where we became fleeting best friends with Miriam Yeung who had starred in the weirdest film ever, Dumplings, where she plays the role of a former TV star who eats dumplings made with feotuses in the search for eternal youth! Then we left her and the glamour of the film world to go to a wet market after which we hopped from one great place to the next, tasting all kinds of delicious things.
It’s not often these days that I come across a shop sign that I love but I saw a great one recently, while walking through the souks of Aleppo. It wasn’t your average enseigne but rather a beautiful young boy sitting on a stool by the entrance of a rather elegant shop, decked out in almost every single item of traditional Syrian clothing, from the sherwal (baggy trousers that have been translated for westerners at different times by great couturiers), to the embroidered cap, to the striped gilet and striped tunic. He sat there quite impassive, neither ushering people in nor doing or saying anything to encourage would-be buyers to go inside. I looked at him quite intrigued, wondering why he was dressed this way then it dawned on me that he must be advertising the clothes and fabrics inside the shop. And he was!