||Welcome to Eric Cheng's online journal!
You are not logged in.
[ Log in ]
Archive for September, 2004
risotto, at a market in padua
To see all of the photos from my September 2004 trip to Italy and Berlin (Milan, Lake Como, Padua, Venice, and Berlin), check out the gallery page
To link to this travel journal in the future use: http://echeng.com/journal/?group=italy2004
Here are some links to specific image groups:
- Italy: Lake Como
- Italy: Milan
- Italy: Venice
- Italy: Padua
- Germany: Berlin
Airplane, September 27, 2004 – I wanted to write a bit about my train ride from Venice to Milan a few days ago. After a rather painful train experience with my mother a couple of weeks ago, I splurged and purchased a first class ticket, which was not much more expensive than a second class ticket: around 26 Euros instead of 19. After I boarded, I was sitting in a compartment with an older Italian woman, when suddenly the door flew open, and a blond woman waltzed in carrying a blue, rectangular bag. (read more »)
September 26, 2004 – Milan, Italy: Ahhh, Italy. I had cioccolato al peperoncino gelato today at the gelateria close to Marta’s house — a wonderful flavor! At first it has a rich taste indistinguishable from normal chocolate, but moments after swallowing a spoonful the throat begins to tingle with spice. Marta, her family, and her friends have been loving hosts here in Milan. We had a morning coffee with her cousin Alberto, and spent part of a day with her crazy architect friend Pietro, who arrived via bicycle as he pedaled nonchalantly down the middle of the road with both hands clasped behind his back (followed closely by a stream of cars and buses). While Marta waited on the other side of the tall fence (which had a sign on it that said, “big nuts falling from tall trees”), Pietro and I climbed over into a beautiful botanical garden and walked around while I was given a thorough history lesson. I have no idea how he knows so much about the area. (read more »)
Berlin, Germany – On the 21st, I made my way to Berlin and was met at the airport by Lars Kirchhoff, one of the Digideep.com guys. After waiting in the train terminal for awhile, Andreas Voeltz arrived, and we made our way to the Aquadom for a beer (Andi gets really excited by visitors and takes them straight to interesting attractions. :). At night, the Aquadom looks like a mysterious cylinder both glowing with and reflecting the blue light illuminating it from above; it’s very cool. After sitting for awhile, we went to the Berlin version of a Tiki bar, complete with a sandy floor and drunken teenagers (legal here) making noise in a really annoying way. It is strange, however, to enter a setting like that from the cold rain. I drank a speciality drink that Andi was excited about, and then proceeded to drain a large glass of something called a “Zombie,” which was not the best idea, because its after-effects lingered on for more than two days. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since then. (read more »)
I hate technology. I have no land line. I have no mobile phone (it’s currently almost literally thrashing around in the throes of death). I’m nearly useless now. At least my internet connection still works.
Thank you, Cindy, for being my voice this evening. :)
18 Sept 2004, Venice: You know, the streets of Venice remind me a lot of the “streets” of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, especially on an a windless evening like tonight, with the sky a muted deep blue and the temperature a perfect 70 degrees or so. It’s truly bizarre — and sad — that I’m here in Venice for the second time in my life and I’m reminded of Las Vegas. The people in the tourist areas have mostly been a mix of Italians, Americans, Brits, and Japanese. During the day, it was a madhouse in the tiny little streets around Piazza San Marco, and we had to fight to get through to our hotel with our luggage intact! (read more »)
You know those one-click mistakes that cost you either a wad of cash or several hours of one’s time? I hate those. In general, I hate making mistakes, but that class of mistakes makes me feel physically ill. I bought a ticket from Venice to Berlin today; that part went smoothly. But after that, while attempting to purchase a ticket from Berlin to Milan, I accidentally purchased one back to Venice instead. Unfortunately, the route on cheapie Euro tickets cannot be changed once purchased. Doh! So now I’m stuck taking the train from Venice to Milan. I think what stressed me out was the timer in the corner counting down the seconds of life-giving online connectivity I have remaining. It counts down even as I type this, reminding me that I have to hurry along or pay another few Euros. Internet cafes in Venice are not cheap.
My father arrived today. Once again, Wendy is the only Cheng in North America. Hi, Wendy! :) Oh. I only have a few seconds left. Bye!
I’ve been enjoying Italy so far. Both my mother and I have been here a few times already, so we don’t feel any real urge to be ubertourists or anything; as a result, I’ve been getting plenty of rest (very much needed!).
We’re in Padova (Padua) at the moment, which I am enjoying a lot. In a postcard I wrote today while sitting outside at a cafe near a large market, I scrawled something about the city being about “food, fashion, and academia,” and a line about it being “very cool.” The academic part of the city seems to be locked up behind gates, and we couldn’t simply wander in and explore, but guide books expound on the historical importance of academics in Padova. But after wandering around for awhile on Saturday evening, I started to notice that the “trendy kids hanging out” factor creates a vibe that quenches the possiblity of any aura of academia. There are young people everywhere — all dressed to please — and… how many ways can young Italian women show their stomachs and upper torsos? It’s obvious that “not enough,” or perhaps, “who cares?” is any sane male’s answer, so people-watching in Padova has certainly been a great deal of fun. In other news, it appears that the mullet has become a fashionable male hairstyle here. How unfortunate.
Oh yeah. Lake Como is gorgeous. I haven’t been keeping any sort of proper journal on this trip, so photos upon my return will have to suffice. :)
The flight from SFO to London went very quickly! I think I’m getting used to flying. :)
My mother and I have been sitting up here at Caffe Nero in Terminal 1 of Heathrow Airport for the past three hours. I banged out 50 e-mails (I’m behind!) and paid the 6£ for an hour of internet access to get them all sent out, and now… I guess I’ll browse around the web for a bit.
My Oakland place has been left in shambles, but at least I managed to pull off all of the moving/storage/car-stuck-in-garage coordination with the help of some super-generous friends. It still sort of boggles my mind that it all happened without serious hiccups!
I do, however, think I pushed myself a bit beyond my body’s ability to cope without sleep. I feel like shit.
backstage, sf opera
Paul Groves and the rest of the cast were fantastic at the opening night of Così fan tutte! I really, really enjoyed the performance. :) As usual,we bumped into lots of familiar faces; in addition to those I went with (Vienna, Ilya, his roommate Lena, and Clara), I saw Stephanie, Michel Flexer, and Monica Sather. Small world. :)
After the show we went backstage and hung out with the cast for a bit. Frederica von Stade (“Flicka”) wandered around her dressing room offering us cookies (a cute call accompanied the offer: “cookies? cookies?” she was awesome in the show, by the way). Instead of going to the celebration dinner, we met up with Clara and some of her friends at Absinthe for drinks and a bite to eat.
Finally, I returned to the Performing Arts Parking Garage only to discover that it closes at midnight, which frankly is bullshit (AND — my camera was locked up in the trunk of the car, which accounts for the lack of photos from the evening). I also discovered via a few phone calls that the garage was to remain closed until Monday morning (!!). Unfortunately, I am leaving the country on Monday (today!), so some transportation gymnastics involving very generous friends (Vienna and Clara) has been involved in helping me and my stranded car to get through the rest of the weekend. I owe you guys. [see some photos]
I thought it might be cool to solicit some anecdotes about your Lasik and/or CustomCornea Wavefront surgeries. Specifically, it would be cool to know where you had your surgery done, your doctor’s name, your prescription before surgery, your vision after surgery, and any complications or side effects you’ve had since surgery.
I’ll start, using the body of this message. (read more »)
acertainsafariphotographer: i am doumb
echeng: that ruled.
About to pack up my router. See you on the other side!
Goodbye, Noe Valley! Movers show up in less than four hours, and then I’m back here on Sunday for a final cleanup.
SPECIAL THANKS to Geoff and Livia for their selfless packing help, Clara, for coming in to hang out for a bit despite her long day, my roomies Mandy, Elliot, and Mike, for bearing with me during these crazy times, Vienna, for always being there to drag me out of the house, Beverly, for spending a good part of her day with me running around in Oakland, Ilya, for his ass-saving storage offer and Labor Day party, Victor A., for his call to see how I was doing, Julia and Jeffrey for their last-minute stage retrofit, and everyone else for their support. :)
By the way, do you know what happens when you send out an address change announcement? You get about 100 messages coming back that say, “Oh! Why are you moving?” and “Aren’t you still in New York?” I just can’t keep everyone in the loop, it seems — especially friends that don’t check this page.
What are you doing? How are you doing? Do you have any plans for the future you’d like to share with me? Please? ;)
On top of packing and moving, I’m having to deal with DNS and server issues for the 13(ish) domains that I host (my friends’ domains that I host for free). I don’t mind doing it, but it’s starting to kill me.
And, I’m either still jetlagged, or I’m suffering from mild insomnia. Oh, and I can’t see because I haven’t had my contact lenses in for a week (having custom wavefront on Friday). Speaking of custom wavefront, all sorts of people around me are emerging who have had Lasik! And I never even knew.
Blurry, frazzled, and immersed in tangled bits,
What a long day. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon packing, which in my estimation is probably what I will be doing for all of tomorrow and Wednesday as well. There’s just so much crap tucked away in various drawers! I’m just glad that the new place is only 20 minutes away — at least I can come back here to collect anything I didn’t have time to box up.
a cute bev
At around 3PM, Geoff Nuttall, Livia Sohn, Paul Groves and I drove down to Woodside in Geoff’s cool new bright orange Scion to a music nerding party at Ilya Levtov’s place. It was such a beautiful day! We took dramatic leaps off of the diving board, soaked in the hot tub, ate tuna and tri-tip steak, and read Mendelssohn and Schubert. A perfect day, really, especially because I read with Livia, Geoff, and Deborah; playing with people better than you is a great way to boost your playing level. :) Vienna Teng and Heidi Kim showed up for awhile, too. I’m glad they could make it, although I do wish the piano had been there (it’s coming soon) so we could have bullied Vienna and Paul into playing and singing. :)
Mandy and Elliot moved into a cool new loft down the street. I can’t wait to see what they do with it! [see some photos]
A final note: be sure to support Paul and see Così fan tutte at the SF Opera!
a warrior jumps at a sing-sing
I’ve finally finished a rudimentary version of my travel journal
to the Solomon Islands. I’m finding it harder to get photo journals finished on the road these days because I’m now using a database to manage images posted to the web. But that’s ok; I’m learning a lot in the process. :)
Again, the journal isn’t finished, but all of the photos are online. Expect a polished version sometime in the next week. :)
And now, I have to go play a wedding.
Wow. My friend’s mom just won the lottery in the U.K. I’ve never known anyone who has known anyone who has won the lottery! Bizarre, and cool. :)
On another note, my friend Jim Abernethy and some of his crew members have moved his boats up a river and beached the bows on sand in order to ride out Hurricane Frances. I wish him safety and the best of luck!
And now, back to packing. We have four people moving out of my place here in San Francisco, which is pretty exciting.
mom, wen, and me
I was home not too long ago because my grandparents and cousin, Li-Chia, were in town from Taiwan. I only get to see Li-Chia every few years, but it was good to see that I was still able to communicate with him. He’s very patient with me and tries very hard to use small words when speaking with me in Mandarin. His English is surprisingly good, though, so sometimes he uses that if I’m really being dense. :)
Also, I have to say that I love the photos of my Mom in this gallery. She’s very cute, no? [see some photos]
I’m lame. It’s taken me a month to post these images — but better late than never, right? A month ago, Tamar and Jennifer, two friends of Mike’s, came into town from Los Angeles. I took some photos and promised to put them up somewhere. So here they are. :) It’s going to be sad to leave Noe Valley, but I think it’s the right decision. In an ironic twist, for some reason, too much comfort makes me a bit uncomfortable. Make sense? :) [see some photos]