about all this


Posts on food, arts, events, natural sites, Jewish stuff, queer stuff and whatnot, both about places I've lived in (Beijing, Shanghai, Beirut, Toronto, Mexico City and Guangzhou – where I currently reside) and any number of places I travel to.


This blog was born, with my real name as title, on July 24th 2006 from a series of bilingual (Spanish-English) e-mails I started sharing around 1997 with friends and family whenever I went travelling. Yet translating the (sometimes really long) e-mails from one language into another meant less time for writing and I finally opted for the one language almost all my contacts knew to one degree or another: English.   Some time later I created a mirror blog, "La pata de buda", with the same content, but slightly edited as to protect my privacy and that of friends and family.

Around 2009, when I discovered mobile blogging, I began a parallel blog too, "帥の遊記 LITE", where I used to post just a photo or two of everyday things where I lived, sometimes with a short comment.

Later on, as my posts started being read by both strangers and people close to me, in December 2011 I decided to make "La pata de buda" my main publishing space, replacing completely the original blog.  I also realised that, increasingly, I would occasionally publish in "La pata de buda" simple short posts about plain everyday things or happenings where I lived, while posts in "帥の遊記 LITE" would sometimes have 5 or more photos, a longer comment, and even refer to travel. As both blogs became less and less different from each other, I wondered if there was any point in treating them as separate things. 

In January 2013 I took the step and merged both into this one, "Chai by the fjord".  As for the name, it combines images of two of my favourite countries to visit: Having tea (chai in Persian) in a cosy teahouse inside one of Esfahan's bridges, in Iran; and admiring the fjord of Sigló in winter, in Iceland. Alternatively, though, you could take "Chai" as the Hebrew word for "alive" or "living" (חי), in which case the title means "Living by the fjord", which is pretty cool too!

In January 2013 too I tried publishing posts in three languages: English, Spanish and Mandarin, to make them more accessible to non-Anglophones.  It was a very short-lived experiment:  I don't have much free time to write, so there was no way I could keep up with both writing and translating. So I guess this means the blog stays monolingual? for the time being?  

Finally, beginning 2015 I decided it was time to include adventures that took place before this blog was born. It's proved a great travelogue for me to share and reflect, so why not? So all posts you see published before July 2006 are in fact written after January 2015, but refer to things that actually happened before July 2006. I'm afraid the photo quality of those older posts does indeed betray the date the pics were taken, as I didn't get a digital camera until 2006 – as a gift from my habib, in Osaka.


So... an apology for defaulting (twice now) to English, a thank-you for putting up with my mistakes and the frequent changes to this blog, and welcome to "have a cup of chai by the fjord".