Showing posts from November, 2011

Accents and America

I'm a huge music fan so although I don't follow them every week, I can never resist even scholocky music reality shows like X-Factor. But I was totally thrown off guard last week not by the music but by front runner Melanie Amaro's accent. After two months in the competition, intense emotions finally unleashed her true Virgin Islands accent, which she had covered with a proper American drawl.  Fans watched amazed as a heavy Caribbean patois poured out of Melanie's mouth. "This is the real Melanie," she explained when asked about her suddenly transformed speech pattern.  The singer had learned to adopt an American accent when people complained that they couldn't understand her.  So, like so many immigrants to this country, she felt compelled to blend in and "cater" to American sensibilities. I watched with tears in my eyes because I know the emotional and psychological toll that this embeds on someone's spirit.  It's not simply a matter

Montreal's Jean Talon Market

Montreal is a true foodie destination, you won't be able to take more than a few steps without spotting a chic cafe, gourmet restaurant or specialty food shop. This vibrant city entices with lots of flavors and dishes but my most memorable sensory experience was at the legendary Jean Talon Market. Located in the center of Montreal  in the landmark Little Italy neighborhood, this colorful and lively market is the biggest outdoor market in North America and the most charming.  Opened in 1933, Jean Talon mixes old world character with contemporary style for a shopping experience like no other. Tackling Jean Talon requires fortification  so I headed to a nearby Italian bakery beforehand. The dreamy, creamy, cannoli above stopped me in my tracks. Mind you, I don't even like cannoli but I felt compelled to buy some and after one fluffy, crispy, nibble, I can say that I do like cannoli. As long as they are fresh and from Montreal's Little Italy. Although you can skim the mark

Avoiding The Inevitable at Orange Hill Beach

It's November. Which translates as cold in Chicago, which means the imminent arrival of snow, wind and misery. So how do I cope?  At the beach, of course. I traveled to Nassau over the weekend and spent hours at the beach soaking up the sun and sea as fortification for six months of freezing temperatures. Orange Hill Beach is a small public beach on the north end of Nassau. Lined with coral and mounds of seaweed, I found  the beach charming and mostly untouched. I  only shared the beach with seagulls and the odd beach walkers. The tide was high but the water was warm and soothing. I floated in the waves and then sat on the beach absorbing the serenity. I snapped pix using the KOLA manual color flash, , a collection of colorful plastic lens that I've been lugging around in my carry on for months but have always forgotten to use.  With such a pretty and  unfussy landscape, Orange Hill Beach provided the perfect opportunity to try it out.  First I used red. Then the gre