March 2008 Archives

In Hong Kong at last!

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congee place - wan chai

Yes, I am! I started posting stuff on Comme les Chinois, and spent too much time on the Internet. I'm going for a walk. Need to purchase various consumer electronics. Why is everything so overpriced in HK wrt when bought on the Internet? Were my relatives right about radical improvement of the economic climate in Hong Kong?

I am at Starbucks in Causeway Bay. Lack of space in HK also means lack of space at restaurants, cafes, etc. So, it's like Schwartz's, but everywhere! For instance, a group of prehaps-HKU students (their readings are in English) just surrounded me.

YUL-HKG (Stop in Newark)

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Newark Liberty Airport

I'm currently in New Jersey, at the Newark International Airport. I just flew in from Montreal on a Air Canada Jazz flight, and landed about two hours ago. After very slowly making my way from Terminal A to Terminal C via the Sky Train, I arrived at the food court and ordered myself a McDonald's hamburger that I believe can only be found in the States.

McDonald's Angus 1/3 Pound

I am now sitting near gate 98, for my flight to Hong Kong (CO 99), a 15-hour odyssey across the planet, going along the sun. In Eastern Daylight Time, this means that I will arrive at around 7AM. But in Hong Kong Time, it would be Sunday night at 7PM.

So far, so good. I am a little tired from not sleeping too much yesterday night. I had a midnight snack that included some of the cheeses from the previous entry.

Nervous to be back in Hong Kong, since my 2005 trip. Seems to be so many things to do, people to meet. The expectation: to fully "live" today's China? Probably unachievable, I think.

This week in cheese

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Bleubry

Last time that I went to Asia, I invited friends to a Greek restaurant on Prince-Arthur, as something suitable for large groups, but also as something likely not to be found in Asia.

This week has serendipitously one of cheese. Last weekend, I asked my parents to buy me a cheddar from Costco for macaroni and cheese. It was not the greatest cheese, but it did the work for a rich and delicious macaroni and cheese.

I had some grated Parmigiano Reggiano from PA, which I got for my various pasta dishes of the week, and which can presumably be kept for a month or two without (seemingly) going bad.

The next cheese was a new discovery, something called the Bleubry (see photo above), a Quebec cheese produced by La Maison Alexis Portneuf, that makes various kinds of cheese sold under an interesting branding scheme. It's a bloomy rind blue-veined cheese, extremely rich, and I ate 1/4 of it (w/o bread) in five minutes. On the same run, I had many pieces of a truly excellent cheese called the Champfleury, a washed rind made by Agropur, no less.

Then, on Friday, we went to the Fromagerie Hamel, an excellent cheese shop (and producer) in Marché Jean-Talon (Mentioning this to a colleague, I was told there is a better, although more expensive, place on Bernard called Fromagerie Yannick - they have "closets" to hold their cheeses, I heard). At Hamel, I had a Brie de Meaux, that is usually in the refrigerated counter seen in the last photo. I usually dislike Brie, because I always associate it with the infect Agropur kind sold in mainstream supermarkets, which surface constantly has a smell of plastic wrap. But each bite of this Brie de Meaux, in particular, sold to you wrapped in specially designed-for-cheese wrapping paper, tasted of creamy milk. It was a big hit with my friends too.

À la Fromagerie Hamel - Marché Jean-Talon

I then took a chance on the nearest inexpensive-looking cheese, a Saint-Guillaume. From what I found on the Internets, St-Guillaume may be the fromagerie, rather than the cheese itself, and the cheese is perhaps a cheddar. In any case, the piece that I bought turned out to be a fresh cheese, the kind you put in poutine, but instead of being in curds, came as a block.

Finally, not cheese this time, but rather saucisson! Saucisson sec is my péché mignon. Every time my relatives come to visit from France (my aunt who just arrived yesterday is no exception), they smuggle a saucisson or two for me, because you may not find the same quality in Quebec. Oh, how wrong I was! In fact, I limited my search to mainstream supermarkets, when I should've looked at Montreal's public markets. This land produces the best French stuff in the world outside of France (and sometimes better than, if you consider places like bakery Première Moisson), and we arguably make cheese on par with France's. Why wouldn't a decent saucisson?

By definition, it is to be hard and firm when you feel it, with a thick salpeter-laden white powder covering it, and a strong meat aroma. They were to be found at Cochons tout ronds, an artisan charcuterie all the way from Île-de-la-Madeleine. It took samples of saucisson freshly cut above the counter filled with saucissons of all size, to convince me that you don't need to go all the way to France (or Hong Kong - scroll down) to get good saucisson that tastes exactly like the real thing. I got mine "ménage", which is the cute way of saying "ordinaire" (as in pain ménage).

Saucisson de Les cochons tout ronds

"Real" Spring Scream at Eluanbi

"Fake" Spring Scream at Maobitou

In English, there may be only a single "Spring Scream", but in Chinese, there are at least two festivals whose sites I've found.

There is the so-called "original" one, founded fifteen years ago by an American expat duo, Jimi and Wade. Theirs is a lot bigger act compared with any other, as described in this preview that I wrote last month. The other festival, however, holds the big local pop names, such as Tanya Chua, Sodagreen and Cheer Chen. I am very tempted to at least attend the Cheer Chen evening, just because all this Spring Scream deal started from seeing her last year performance at the _other_ Spring Scream on YouTube.

Spring Scream, whichever I end up going to, starts in less than two weeks now. I have booked a place in Da Wan, Kenting, called the Hawaii Inn, manned by a Duggar fellow and his little family of three.

More on the serious blog, once I get all my infos together.

Spring Scream likens to a mass migration thing to me. Finally, I booked the Taipei-Kaohsiung train fairly easily. However, the two-hour bus ride from KH to Kenting might be another deal. I read somewhere that 300,000 people were expected at last year's event(s). If this is not the number of tickets/day sold, then how the hell will I find a bus to drive me there. Hitchhike all the way to Kenting?

The schedule of the original Spring Scream mentions Stars as a band on the second day... Is it some random Taiwanese act or *the* Montreal-based Stars?

(Seriously, maybe they have a lot more bands, a lot more fun than us in Montreal, but man do their websites suck ass!)

Later: after a lengthy chat with the patient clerk at the HOT墾丁 MSN outlet (hotkt088882517@hotmail.com), in Chinese, no less, I was able to understand that you could get tickets online that you pickup when you get there. Adventure, adventure, where will you take me...

My how-to guide for Kenting during Spring Scream on Comme les Chinois:
Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Is that it may crash and unequivocally prevent you from ever being able to log on to your system ever again. :(

I had Ubuntu Hardy Heron for a couple of weeks already. After upgrading with tonight's updates, on libc6 and various other critical-looking packages, the upgrader crashed, and now, I can't even boot into my system, no matter what kernel I use. These bugs on Launchpad (201688 | 201694) were filed just a few minutes ago, about the same problem that I experienced (thankfully, in real life, you have Windows). We hope that there are still brilliant techniques to save a system that is now un-usuable, even in recovery mode.

Edit: It was indeed glibc... (Launchpad: 201673) Looks like the solution is boot from a Live CD, and fix the system from there.

Chinatown Montreal - 2008-03-11

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Ruby Rouge - Quartier Chinois de Montréal

Went to Chinatown after work yesterday to do my groceries, and took pictures of businesses over there.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/smurfmatic/sets/72157604098265388/

Three weeks until Hong Kong!

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Hong Kong 2002

It's just three weeks away from my trip to Hong Kong/Taiwan/China! One of the goals this time is to explore, explore and explore, and write about it live, as it happens whenever that's possible. It is going to be a very exciting trip - beyond the initial days in HK and the week in Taiwan, I've been quite apathetic at organizing my trip... Suggestions, suggestions?

C'est fini, en personne

Ben, en personne, voyons donc.

Seriously multitasking

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Cedric SAM

Just finished writing the last Q&A, and already at least one scheduled within two weeks. Three stories sitting on the back-burner for both sorta-work blogs. One real-work website to be launched next week... Still have time to upload my old pics and take new ones?

Comme les Chinois


Article de Marie-Claude Lortie
sur la communauté chinoise à Montréal.

Third time this week that I am plugging Comme les Chinois on Smurfmatic... Ok, I will have Montréal en Lumière pictures to show on this blog later today / this week. But for now, a tutorial on Chinese languages... in French.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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