Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Directions to Northgate Mosque, Seattle (Idriss)

Today I have had many hits – over 20 – on a post I wrote a year ago about the Northgate Mosque. I am guessing that people in Seattle are looking for directions to the mosque, to celebrate the Eid. Here is a map:

View Larger Map

I must be doing something wrong, but if you click on the blue print, it will take you to a Google Map that shows you how to get to the Idriss Mosque in the Northgate Area of Seattle.

October 12, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Community, Cross Cultural, Eid, ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Social Issues, Spiritual | Leave a comment

Aimee Leduc: Murder in the Marais

Not every book can be one of the best books you ever read. Some books are so good, so filled with nuance, insights and subtleties that even if they are made into a movie, they can’t begin to capture the experience of having read the book.

(available from at $10.40 new and from $1.97 + shipping used)

This isn’t one of those. As I read this book, as I followed the main character, Aimee LeDuc, through the streets of Paris, solving the mystery of who is killing Jews who survived the Holocaust – and why – I kept thinking “this is like reading a made-for-TV movie, you know, the ones that went almost straight to video/DVD?”

I was intrigued when Amazon recommended this series to me, but not surprised – remember, I read Donna Leon, James Lee Burke, and have a history of buying mysteries and detective stories set in exotic locations. But I only ordered one, to test the waters.

There isn’t a lot of depth. The author, Cara Black, gives her main character Aimee LeDuc about as much substance as a cartoon character. She changes clothes a lot, she has very interesting friends, she is smart, and sassy, and savvy, and more than a little edgy. And . . . I kept reading. I even think I will buy another one, just to see. I’m not enamored, but . . . I am intrigued, mildly intrigued, intrigued enough to give it another shot.

There is something about the book that keeps me reading. Could it be the Paris setting? 🙂 Could it be the gritty reality of Aimee’s interactions? Could it be that her shallowness is deceptive, and that if I read more books in the series I will understand her better? Could it be her amazing cast of characters, including her partner, a computer-savant-dwarf?

She includes a lot of Paris-reality. Aimee’s apartment has serious heating problems, and she often takes a hot bath just to warm up – as long as the hot water lasts. In her Paris it rains. In her Paris, dealing with the bureaucracy, while not particularly corrupt, is endlessly frustrating. Her Paris is peopled with people a whole lot like us, warts and all. For me, this is a plus.

Cara Black is a little skimpy on motivation; the plot reminds me of The DaVinci Code, it doesn’t really hang together all that well. In spite of all that, I found myself enjoying riding through Paris in the rain on a little mo-ped, crashing through the back of the Issa Miyake showroom and grabbing some items from the bin to disguise me as I escaped, and grabbing a croissant here and there, smelling the Tarte Tatin from the alleyway . . . I did not enjoy the fight on the slick tiles of the Paris rooftops at all.

If you like mysteries, you need to get acquainted with Cara Black’s Aimee LeDuc, just to be able to have an opinion when another detective-loving-book-reader asks. If you already have stacks of books waiting to be read – this is a good one for reading in airports while waiting for a delayed flight.

(Side Note: The Marais is the old Jewish Quarter of Paris, and it is in the process of serious gentrification. There is an old post-card and poster store located there, with items to die for – at prices to match. It is also near the Musee Carnavalet, probably one of the best museums in Paris.

Hôtel Carnavalet
23, rue de Sévigné
75003 Paris
Standard : 01 44 59 58 58
Fax : 01 44 59 58 11)

October 12, 2007 Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Community, Crime, Detective/Mystery, France, Living Conditions | 2 Comments

Eid Mubarak!

I was totally caught by surprise! I thought we were going to have a very very quiet Friday, last day of Ramadan, but awoke to hear an unusual and continuous amount of traffic in the middle of the night.

“I think the Eid started,” Adventure Man said groggily. “I got an Eid message.”

“I don’t think so, ” I said, based on absolutely nothing, “it’s not supposed to start until Saturday.”

In all our years living in the Middle East, I have never known an Eid to come early. I have known Eids to wait a day – even two – while the fasting seemed endless, and people dragged themselves to get through one more day, and then one more. But this totally caught me by surprise!

(This photo from a fabulous blog: Astropix.

Blessings of Eid to all my Muslim friends! Blessings! Blessings! May you always have enough! May you be surrounded by friends and family who love you! May your hearts be full of gratitude to God, for all these blessings, known and unknown!

October 12, 2007 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, Eid, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Middle East, Spiritual | 11 Comments