Breakfast options on the outbound plane consisted of congee
or eggs with sausage. Armed with the
knowledge that I can eat shitty American food any time I want, I opted for the
slightly more Asian meal offering.
When I received the tray, the first item that caught my
eye was the “Fish Floss”:
prior knowledge of this product and nothing to go on but the ingredients,
Ingredient: Sugar, Fish Sauce, Palm Oil, Salt.
I zeroed in on the sugar and figured it was something
sweet and salty to be enjoyed at the end of the meal.
Having powered through the porridge, fried garlic and
green beans, dinner roll and diced fruit I was left to enjoy my Fish
Floss. It was upon opening the package
that I realized it was probably supposed to be used as some sort of flavor
enhancer or accessory to the porridge.
Inside the little pouch was a sort of brown, flaky lint through which I
dragged my fork and had a taste. It was
not unlike eating crushed up graham crackers…with a hint of anchovies. Whether eaten in the correct context or not,
I finished out my Fish Floss, assured that it would not be the last culinary
faux pas I would encounter on the trip.
My thumb carves a wide swath amidst the dust covering the
face of my passport and I can’t help but smile as a series of memories rise up to
fill its empty wake. With all of the
domestic traveling I’ve been doing lately it seems surprising that I’m aching
to get on another plane (or, more correctly, 5 over the next 3 days), but the anesthetic
effects of global travel are strong. I’ll
be checking another continent off of my travel bingo card with upcoming
adventures in Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Bali.
In front yards across America, the blow up Santas and snow globes have been replaced by half-dead Christmas trees, cast to the curb like needle dropping lepers, which usually means a new year is upon us. 2010…Twenty-ten
. Jesus, I remember being a young teen and the concept of even making it to the year 2000 seemed unlikely. It's a sad coincidence, lest I lump myself in with the rest of the “resolutioners” who annually annoy me by flocking to the gym for the first few weeks of the year (early February for the true die-hards), but for me, January will mark a month of detoxification and rebalancing.
My wake-up call came recently when I glanced at my side profile in the mirror and realized I was starting to take the form of Demi Moore when she posed for the cover of Vanity Fair. Probably a little less sexy, too, even if you are into the whole bun about to pop the oven look. Since I’m unable to birth all of that fat in one shot, starting after the New Year’s hangover fades, I begin my goal of losing 10-15 pounds. Better eating, little to no booze and, even if it means just walking around the block, being active each day.
Santa did give me a bit of a kick-start by giving me the Swine Flu for Christmas, this year. That must’ve been good for an easy 2-3 pound lead.
(available at Trader Joes unless noted otherwise):
2 Handmade corn tortillas
2 Slices of Healthy Ham
1 Container of mango salsa
1 Ripe Hass avocado
Cotija cheese (not carried by TJ’s)
Vegetable oil cooking sprayDirections
1. Halve, peel and remove the pit from the avocado. Cut into thin slices and set aside.
2. Place a frying pan coated with the cooking spray on medium high heat and place a corn tortilla in the pan. While the bottom side is cooking, spray the exposed side of the tortilla with the cooking spray. Flip when the bottom side is hot/beginning to crisp. When the second side is complete, repeat with the 2nd tortilla.
3. While the tortillas are cooking, do the same with the slices of ham in another pan also on medium high heat.
4. In a third pan, also treated with cooking spray, cook the eggs over-easy so the yolks are still runny.
5. On a plate, assemble two stacks in the following order: tortilla, ham, egg, salsa, avocado slices.
6. Crumble the cheese over the top and enjoy.
Note: to time everything correctly, this will require 3 pans. To avoid cleaning extra pans or if you’re short on burners, I would cook in the following order: ham, tortilla, eggs.
Not wanting to move twice (esp. with regard to heavy, bulky objects), I decided to go the Aerobed route in the new place and leave my regular bed in storage. All was well and good: pulled the mattress out of storage, inflated it, set up linens and prepared for a restful night's sleep. Imagine my disappointment when the bed tried to swallow me whole at 1:00 in the morning due to a pinhole-sized hole in the bottom. Sound sleep was systematically interrupted every two hours following with a need to reinflate the bed.
Whether the recent bout of working out or the preceding period of not working out is responsible, I can't say, but I can tell you that my neck is too fat to fit into any of my old dress shirts. I had to undo the top button at lunch yesterday so my food could slip past the collar. It's also helping to curb my recently acquired habit of cracking my neck since I can barely move my head without cutting off the blood supply to my brain.
Other than that, just been doing a lot of work on the Penske file.
It's official: The adventure is over. Tonight marks the eve of my return to the real world. The last 14 months have been nothing short of incredible -- so many amazing adventures and experiences it's hard to believe it was only that long.
I feel like I'm returning an improved person. This last year has provided me with a lot of insight and perspective and I can truly say I've grown during that time. Backpacking across Europe taught me the value of minimizing and distilling down what is really needed to be happy. Living away from Southern California reiterated the value of friends and family and how it's easy to take the time spent with those who are close and are readily accessible, for granted. Not being able to play with the ice hockey team or see the guys for the weekly poker game helped me to appreciate all of the social activities that filled my time and the camaraderie created within. And, finally, not being able to find a decent carne asada burrito in what some argue to be the world's greatest city, somehow leads me to believe that I belong in the World's Finest City.
So, I'm back. Del Mar is where I'm calling home until my place opens up again in July and then I'll be moving back in there. The new job starts tomorrow so I'm dealing with the seemingly foreign concept of a routine -- something that I never thought I'd say I'm looking forward to. While the fast, erratic pace of the last year was exciting, stability sounds very welcoming, at the moment.
Would I do it all again? Without a moment's hesitation. I think 2020's looking good for the next go-round...