17 May 2005


That's an expression I like to use for spending a day, or even a few hours, the way I would if I were truly on vacation. Since I really don't get to go away that often, but live in the most diverse area in the world, this works out really well.

Here's how it works: preferably on a day off, in decent weather, I decide on a neighborhood or street, depending on which borough I plan to visit. I try to choose a country that I'd like to see but may never get a chance to. Then I go to an area where the restaurants and shops specialize in my particular choice.

For instance, yesterday was my day off. It was warm in the afternoon, so I walked to Jackson Heights. I shopped for bangles in Butala Emporium. I was not the only one on a mini-trip: lots of non-Indian woman were in the shop buying incense and hair products. One woman asked the man behind the counter if he had any CD's of morning chants. I told him my morning consisted of more groans than chants and he smiled indulgently. I'm glad they removed their "No Joking" sign a while back. In the end a lady working in the shop showed me how to check what size bangles to go for: I am 2-6 (at least my wrists are thin!)

From there I visited a "Bollywood" music and movie shop, which was reasonably priced. They were helpful in this shop too, but it was good to know a little bit about what I was looking for (Veer Zaara!) And for all you Hindi film lovers, I even found some Karaoke music!

Normally my mini-trip would consist of a nice lunch (in this case maybe Jackson Diner for their buffet), but I wasn't too hungry and (gasp!) didn't even feel like chai. Instead, I opted for mango kulfi. This is similar to ice cream, served on a stick, with a slightly different consistency. It is magnificent on a warm day, and only $1! I ate this on my walk home.

So this was a mini-mini trip, only 2 hours perhaps. But it gave me that feeling that I'd been somewhere that day. I think it helps to stick to the theme for even that short time period. It's not as easy to try this if you live in a one-or two-culture place, but it's worth a try. Just remember to keep your mobile communications to a minimum during this time, or it won't be fun at all!

More on my mini-trips to come.....

1 comment:

Marie said...

I'm going to take your advice and go on a mini trip! Maybe to little Italy one day. This weather is absolutely perfect for it.