Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: chinatown

Short travel reflection: Chinatown

“Chinatown” – a thought occurred to me as I was walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown, where I began to wonder what “locals” or “natives” of a city think of these ethnic communities. Do they seem out of place? Are they respected and appreciated as a place to connect with one’s roots, or are they frowned upon as a sign of the lack of integration/assimilation? Are the residents here (or the people who dwell here) still considered as foreigners?

These questions have never occurred to me especially because I live in Toronto, where Scarborough itself is like a sparse Chinatown with various Chinese communities. I was never too interested in or fascinated by Chinatowns until I saw the one in San Francisco and began to actually ponder the existence of such neighbourhoods. And why are they tourist attractions? I don’t really get it.

I sometimes think that it’s not that a group of people – say the Chinese – don’t want to integrate into society. It’s that when they try, they are not really accepted by the local or native communities. They don’t fit in, because they can’t fit in, and so they stick with their own kind. This is simply my speculation. I should consult a professional on East Asian studies on this matter.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the largest and most impressive in North America. (Photo taken on November 15, 2017.)

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San Francisco in three photos

The second stop of my three-part trip in November 2017 was San Francisco. Here is San Francisco in three photos.

Sunrise over San Francisco, as seem from the Golden Gate Bridge.

A man, a mural, and a taxi in Chinatown.

Can’t miss the iconic Golden Gate Bridge itself, even on a rainy day, near Fort Point.

Chinese food and Chatime in Manchester?!

Earlier this week I was in Manchester for a work collaboration. I stayed two days in the city, mostly spending my time in the lab of my collaborator trying desperately to get preliminary results from a new experiment (which didn’t work, boo). I didn’t get much time to explore the city, but after dinner on the first night, I figured I’d just take a quick stroll around the city centre, even though it was raining. Oh, dear. At least the rain was light and the sky was still bright, so although I didn’t have an umbrella, I didn’t get soaked (unlike that time in Antwerp…) Taking photos in the rain proved to be difficult, but I gave it a try…

Without an umbrella, I wandered into the centre of Manchester in the rain so that I would at least see a little bit of the city. This part of Manchester, which was close to the cathedral, reminded me of Rennes and Strasbourg in France. I would have never thought that this was a place in England if I only saw its photo.

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A few hours in rainy Antwerp

A trip to Antwerp was long overdue. I’ve been meaning to go every single time I was in Belgium, but it eluded me time and time again. After I go back to Bordeaux next week, I don’t know when I’ll come back to Belgium, so I decided last Friday that I’d make that trip to Antwerp on Saturday, rain or shine. Well, it rained, and it rained hard. (Not that I was surprised – I had no hope of a sunny day when the weather forecast boasted a 80% chance of precipitation.) It wasn’t the best condition for going on a day trip, but hey, I wasn’t going to back out. Let the rain fall!

Antwerp is located in Flanders, the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the second largest city in Belgium, after Brussels, and it has one of the largest ports in the world. Antwerp is one of those Belgian cities, like Ghent, whose name is different in English, Flemish, and French. Respectively, the names are Antwerp, Antwerpen, and Anvers.

I had wanted to stay in Antwerp for the whole day, take a stroll around the city, maybe a nice promenade along the Schelde river, but the rain ruined most of the plan. As a result, my umbrella died (it was half broken already) so I got a new one, and my shoes and socks were soaked. Yuck. Definitely not pleasant to walk around with wet feet. So instead of leaving in the evening, I went back to Louvain-la-Neuve in the afternoon to escape the gloom.

I played around with today’s set of images on Picasa, in order to make them look better than they really are, due to the grey skies which show up horribly in photos. Being in the rain all day also trained me in the “skill” of single-handed picture-taking, absolutely necessary in order to stay somewhat dry for the day!

Arriving in Antwerp central station, it was almost 11:30 in the morning. The train station itself is a grand attraction in Antwerp. From every angle, up and down, left and right, in and out, it looks and feels more like a sophisticated museum than a train station.

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Bye

Goodbye Toronto, once again.

I’m at the airport waiting to board my flight to Paris via Zurich. There are 45 minutes left in my laptop battery (unless I plug in my adapter which I don’t want to) and about 30 minutes till boarding, so I’ll make this quick.

It’s been nice seeing you again, Canada. Everything was exactly the way it was when I left a year ago, yet nothing was quite the same anymore, especially with people.

Perhaps when I get back to Bordeaux (which will be next week), unpack, and reflect, I wouldn’t have thought that this was such a disappointing trip after all.

I’ve wanted to write a Toronto entry for awhile. I have the images; I just didn’t have the time to blog. Here goes my final entry in Canada.

Goodbye Chinatown at Dundas and Spadina. Really, Scarborough is a Chinatown on its own, so I don’t have to go all the way downtown to get my Chinese goodies, but you’ve served the Toronto community well over these years. Thank you.

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