Friday, January 29, 2010

Cambodian sandwich

Nicky's is still my favorite for Vietnamese sandwiches. But what about a Cambodian sandwich? 6 days ago, I could not have even imagined what Cambodian food might be like. But now I know...or at least I've tasted (a probably yuppie, NY style) Cambodian sandwich from Num Pang.

I tried Roasted Cauliflower with Thai and Chinese eggplant spread and soy milk chili mayo. Similar to a Vietnamese sandwich, this one came topped with julienned pickled carrots, a thin mandolin sliced cucumber and cilantro. YUM-O. I ate it so quickly, I didn't even have time to take a photo. Rachel enjoyed pulled pork with spiced honey. I think Christina dug into the grilled skirt steak with crushed coriander and peppercorn. I completed my lunch with a blood orange lemonade. Tart and delicious!

Num Pang is just south of Union Square, which makes it all the more appealing for a quick pop in. Stop by, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Deployment

Okay, so Dominican Republic and Haiti-- I was there and have returned safely. Here's the story.

Two Wednesdays ago and with about 7 hours notice, I was on my way to the airport. I was a part of an 8 person team sent to look for citizens who may need help leaving the country. What do I need to bring, will my Cipro prescription work even though it has expired, I've trained for this but what am I getting into?

Thursday was spent in Santo Domingo. We began the process of contacting those who had been reported as missing. This proved difficult because phone lines were down, but it was amazing how much we were able to do through email and text messages. Simultaneously, we were working our contacts to get the team and all of our gear onto a plane heading for Port-au-Prince.

We were told that we should prepare to be completely self sufficient. This was no joke! We had to bring shelter, food, water (for drinking, cooking and maybe bathing in 95 degree heat), communications gear, clothes, medicine, and, and, and... There was no power or bathroom facilities (the ditch and plastic chair with a hole don't really count!)

The ride in was amazing. Lovely mountains separate Dominican Republic and Haiti.

It wasn't until we got much closer in that you could start to see the people in the streets and the devastation.

Media from around the world had set up just outside the airport building, which had been damaged by the quake. I was amazed to see the fire extinguisher in the foreground of this photo. This used to be a pretty sleepy airport.

The sun set soon after our arrival so the decision was made to camp in the field next to the runway. We set up tents in the dark and were surprised to meet our neighbor first thing the next day.

Between arriving aid workers and departing refugees, the tarmack was always busy and surprisingly open. It was surreal to be walking past giant military planes.

Having never felt an earthquake before, feeling 5 after shocks on Saturday was quite something. The first was a surprise, I was actually getting used to the small ones by numbers 3 and 4. But #5 woke up everyone in the tent. I can only imagine how scary the main quake must have been.

Rescuers and aid workers from all over the world camped near us. These photos are of Brits and Germans. It was joyous when they returned with stories of successful rescues. And you could see the toll that unsuccessful rescue attempts took. But they persevered--through the heat, security concerns and lack of ideal equipment. They efforts were amazing!!

I only left the airport once and the devastation I saw is hard to describe. We've all seen the images on CNN, but to see it in person is something I will never forget. I was particularly struck by a 4 or 5 year old girl I saw sitting on the sidewalk with her younger sister. The older girl was reading a comic book as the little one huddled next to her. Where were their parents? What had they lived through in the previous 5 days?

You could tell the aid effort has been overwhelming. The biggest issues now seem to be how to effectively and quickly distribute the aid and how to rotate aid and medical workers so they can continue to address the huge need that exists. It is my most sincere hope that the international effort remains strong not just through the initial phases of the disaster but also long enough to help the Haitains rebuild and become self sufficient. We must not forget.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Back in Brooklyn

Another quick update to let you know that I am back in Brooklyn. It's strange and wonderful to be back. I'm tired and it seems that I've been taking my malaria medicine all wrong, but other than that I'm well:-D

Photos tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Update

Quick update to let you know that I arrived safely in Santo Domingo, then safely in Haiti and am now back in Santo Domingo. Will likely be home by the end of the week.

I can't even put my Haiti experience into words as I sit here. Talking about the conditions just seems like whining compared to what the victims of the quake went and continue to go through. For now I think a photo would be best. See I smiled about as much as was smileable--an amazingly good and amazingly bad experience that I will always remember...and blog about more once I've had a chance to get home and regroup.

Thanks to all for the nice messages. Talk to you all soon.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I am off to Dominican Republic and likely Haiti for the next few days. Please keep the victims of the quake (and me) in your thoughts. Lots of stories and photos next week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Only in New York #467

The Brooklyn Flea(market) has moved inside over the winter to the old Williamsburg Savings Bank building. Dozens of vendors were set up on the main floor underneath a two or three story ornate ceiling. More vendors were set up where the tellers would have worked. Others were set up upstairs.

Of course the most valuable vendors were the vault! As you walk down the stairs and hang a left you see a 3-4 foot deep door. Inside, was dozen or so of the wonderful Flea food vendors. I bought a papusa and grabbed a spot on the floor.

So there I sat, inside the vault of the Williamsburg Savings Bank, eating the national dish of El Salvador. Only in New York:-) (I'll have to go back in a couple weekends and take a photo.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010


I'm going skiing next weekend and I need to train a bit. The solution? Subway surfing.

Think about it, with skiing you need to bend your knees, keep yours legs about shoulder width a part, have a strong core and react to unexpected bumps and turns.

On the subway, if you're not holding a pole, you need to bend your knees, keep your legs about shoulder width a part, have a strong core and react to unexpected bumps and turns.

Plus the winter coat of choice for subway riders seems to be this jacket that makes one look like you are ready for a blizzard.

See the NYC city subway just like skiing in the mountains. Um, well, maybe:-)

Friday, January 08, 2010

NYC According to Me

Back in NYC after the holidays I've made the following (completely pointless) important observations:

1. Leg warmers are still going strong in the city. They seem to have grown with the cold weather. But I feel like if you need to wear thigh-high leg warmers you should probably just consider PANTS (trousers for my UK audience:-))

2. I saw a runner wearing a hand knit turtle/cowl neck. Do you know what I'm talking about? They are all the rage in knitting right now. I do not think that is proper running attire...the lady is probably related to the girl I saw jogging in a puffy vest. Really?!

3. Ladies of New York, listen up. Uggs are not snow boots. There I said it. It's not a commentary, it's fact.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year from Savannah Georgia