“I don’t care for Paris.”

January 15, 2010

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.”

Café Aroma in Yangon, Myanmar

Café Aroma in Yangon, Myanmar

Almost a year ago, my life took a five-week detour to Southeast Asia. The blog basically took a hiatus for five weeks and restarted with my only mention of the trip being a post about a dream I later had about Fiji. I had posted plenty on the band’s travel blog, and I returned with little else to say about the experience. As indicated many times, I do not romanticize travel and I look forward to the day when I’m too much of a curmudgeon to step on a plane. While I’m neither a tourist nor an adventurer, I did have a wonderful trip and brought back two truly personally fulfilling moments. The first I chronicled here, and the second happened while perusing the shops near my hotel in Yangon, Myanmar.

Untitled impressionist painting. Author unknown.

Untitled impressionist painting. Author unknown.

After hitting up the bookstores and a few clothing shops, I came across a small shop selling original art works. I greeted whom I thought to be owner, a young woman, and browsed for a few minutes. As I thumbed through some miniature pieces, the young woman approached, pointed at the collection and quietly said “impressionist.” When I asked if they were her works, she said no and said she studied with a local artist, and that the paintings were his work. She told me she had no paintings for sale, but her preferred style was realism. We chatted for a few moments about art styles and I drew upon my limited knowledge of art history to make conversation. She seemed happy to share what she knew, and I later wondered how often she had the opportunity to discuss art with someone besides her teacher. I browsed for a bit longer before eventually coming across one striking piece whose color scheme made it stand out from the others. I bought the piece for the marked price—five dollars—and would later regret both not buying more and not paying more.

I met a lot of people on my trip, and I regret that I only really connected with a handful. I set foot in cities I never would have ever thought to visit, yet it didn’t change that it was always my foot. That fact did not necessarily take away from the trip as much as it affirmed that I was looking for the same things abroad that I looked for on a daily basis—meaningful connections, coffee shops, and spacious bathrooms.

“If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same.”
-Jake Barnes

One Response to ““I don’t care for Paris.””

  1. […] be a shame to let it go to waste, and my reflecting on trips weeks (or months) after they happen is hardly uncharacteristic. So, everyone pretend that it’s January 24th and enjoy: You'll eventually figure out […]

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