"The sharp knife of a short life

I've had just enough time..."

- "If I Die Young" The Band Perry

I see Beauty in many things. And like the ghosts that only speak to you if you notice them, they tell me wondrous tales. With my camera and my thoughts, I captured these as faithfully as I can to share with you. And by doing so, they gave me the reasons. And though the thousand reasons may not all be sweet and some indeed bitter; they are still reasons to live. Come to think about it, that is Life, isn't it?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Tale of Two Baguettes – Part III: Down On Her Luck, True To Her Self.

I've had just enough time to...  lament the passing of lost arts.

Taken in a in-store bakery in a hypermarket in Hanoi.

I was to learn why Paris’s sister chose to live in poverty in the outskirts rather than in the city. In her own way, she chose to be true to herself. She was down on her luck but tolerated no pity. “Judge me if you will but I’m no prostitute” she challenged me with her incisive eyes. I squirmed under her strong gaze. It was not what I meant but I did sound condescending.

We made up and parted on good terms. As I was leaving, she gave me a peck on the cheek and said “be careful of the city girls”. Before I could turn around, she has disappeared into the building. She is not one for long goodbyes.

In Hanoi, I was shocked by what I saw. The baguettes I have come to love so much reduced to mass produced buyers’ trap. The hypermarket called them “lost leader” using them as a hook to draw in the shopper. Paris’s sister may have lost much of the fine qualities of Paris but at least she retained her soul. Now, I understand what she meant by the word she spat out the word with such vehemence.

I took one bite and choked on it. This is just white bread disguised as a baguette. They are tasteless and soulless but people are queuing up to buy literally by the dozens attracted by the price. Would you believe a long baguette going for only USD 20 cents? After the shock, sadness set in as I looked at the happy shoppers. Have the world been degraded to such an extent that the only Art people recognized these days are the sign on the buck? The only music the jingles of the cash register?

Then I recall the journey of Paris to Saigon and Hanoi and know there is hope yet. That among us, there are still those who can see the romance in life and who can discern the taste of passion. I left Vietnam remembering Paris and her fine bread that taste like love.


  1. These couple of shots was taken in a hypermarket in Hanoi recently.
    I was disappointed by the baguette of Hanoi and those sold in supermarkets have little resemblance to the real thing. Those in the South has a distinctive quality all its own and is quite tasty though also quite different from the original in France. However, this evolution is justified because a good product evolved from it. But it is kind of sad that this is going backward with the advent of modern bakeries with modern ‘convenient’ method of production rather than the slow process of long fermentation and craftsmanship. But progress continued its relentless march and the landscape is littered with dead corpses of quality products. Those who lived long enough will remember what a Jacob cracker used to taste like. Now you can never buy back that taste even if you are a billionaire (unless you are prepared to set up such a biscuit factory – contact me!). It is now extinct. Make me sad just to think about it…

    it's a long tale indeed :D

    ★garageismi added this photo to his favorites.

    الله أكبر * " ALLAH HU AKBAR! "

    ★i_still_believe_in_u added this photo to their favorites.

    What a sad tale. . .

    Ah, yes, Jacob's Cream Crackers .... gone but certainly not forgotten. Just the other day I yearned for this old fave & succumbed to buying an alternate available brand. A poor substitute indeed. Crumbled even as I lifted it out of the package. Hard to find craftsmanship in any product these days, everything made of ticky-tack programmed to disintegrate in sync with the expiry of the warranty. Progress just another word for corporate greed. Thanks for your thoughts on the dilemma of confronting pan-handling on the streets. Which country are you referring to where it is an 'organized' crime to the devastating degree that you speak of?
    ★ana_lee_smith added this photo to her favorites.

    This photo was invited and added to the PHODDÁSTICA!!! ® group.

    ★Omair Haq added this photo to his favorites.

  2. Due to a number of questions asked about baguettes and bread in general, I will create a follow-up post about the difference of the baguettes between that in France, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. I will also answer question about why the breads of France generally tasted better than that of England. If there are any other questions you may have about baking and baguettes or about my story even :), please let me know and I'll try to answer them all if I can. Just touch down in KL and will be home for a few days before flying off again.

    الله أكبر * " ALLAH HU AKBAR! "

    ★Tàu Bửu Vương Photography added this photo to his favorites.

    You are so busy ----beautiful image and great information.
    This photo was invited and added to the PHODDÁSTICA!!! ® group.


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