Visiting Pita

Pita is soon mov­ing to the west coast of Canada, so I went to vis­it him in Montreal on the week­end. We lived togeth­er in res­i­dence in uni­ver­si­ty and for two years in an apart­ment down­town, but had­n’t seen each oth­er in years. I’m prob­a­bly the only per­son to still think of him as Pita, the nick­name giv­en to him from the first week of res­i­dence. There were two pairs of room­mates named Jeff and Peter, so every­one decid­ed that one pair should have nick­names to make the dis­tinc­tion, and that end­ed up being us.

Pita's house

He’s mov­ing out in two days, so his house is a jum­ble of packed box­es and mis­cel­la­neous items.

We spent most of the week­end play­ing Gamecube and watch­ing movies like old times. It so fun to be able to turn off the brain and lose myself in a game like a kid again. It’s not like play­ing with ____, where I have to pan­der to his casu­al gam­ing abil­i­ties; Pita and I are both very com­pet­i­tive and often don’t stop play­ing until we fin­ish a goal. In this case it was defeat­ing Bowser, Captain Falcon, and Ganondorf in Super Smash Bros: Melee with a 3‑handicap. To our sur­prise, we even­tu­al­ly defeat­ed Bowser with a 1‑handicap, and both agreed that we were sat­is­fied enough to retire from this game we start­ed play­ing almost ten years ago.


His small black cat is named Lethe, after the Greek spir­it of for­get­ful­ness and obliv­ion. For some rea­son, she kept attack­ing me, and she was the first cat I’ve met a cat I could­n’t pre­dict.

I won­der if grow­ing up as Chinese boys in Canada has caused us to devel­op sim­i­lar­ly. Pita’s the most sim­i­lar per­son to me I’ve ever met in terms of intel­lec­tu­al ten­den­cies. We’re the same per­son in a way, and we’re our old selves when we’re with each oth­er.

But there are sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in our atti­tudes and mind­sets, as if our expe­ri­ences had refined us. Most of the details were like ice­bergs; tiny details vis­i­ble on the sur­face but clues to larg­er under­ly­ing changes. The most obvi­ous things being my tat­toos and pierc­ing, and his long hair which he wears like a samu­rai war­rior.

Serving sushi


Various breads

Assorted breads for break­fast: in focus are a few herbs cooked into a sun­ny­side egg, to the left is capi­co­la with driz­zled maple syrup (the sweet­ness is an inter­est­ing con­trast to the dry salti­ness of the cold cut), and in the back are herbs on plain toast.

Pita tends to be very ana­lyt­ic, method­i­cal, and exper­i­men­tal about cook­ing, and I’d want­ed to see how his skills have devel­oped so I asked him to cook for me.


Aside from my trip to Hong Kong last year, it’s been a long time since I’ve tak­en the sub­way.

Montreal seems to be between Toronto and Ottawa in terms of the mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, crime, and cul­ture. The roads are ter­ri­bly main­tained, fre­quent­ly jut­ting off at awk­ward angles, and seri­ous­ly, what’s with the dia­mond yel­low light that turns on after the red?

Kabuli Palaw

Jarret d’ag­neau servi avec un riz bas­mati brun aux épices afghanes, raisins secs et juli­ennes de car­rottes.

Lamb shank served with brown bas­mati rice flavoured with afghan spices, raisins and car­rot juli­ennes.

For din­ner on Saturday, Pita made reser­va­tions at an Afghani restau­rant named Khyber Pass. It was amaz­ing; the lamb was cooked until it fell off the bone, the spices gave the rice a dis­tinct­ly region­al taste, and every now and then a raisin would pop-in and sur­prise me with it’s sweet­ness.

Charlie Chaplin


On Saturday night we caught John Leguizamo’s one-man show called Klass Klown, which he also wrote him­self. I chose him because I did­n’t care for any of the come­di­ans in the line-up (and this was before Steve Martin announced that he was going to be per­form­ing there, but after we’d already bought the tick­ets). It’s an adap­ta­tion of his mem­oirs about work­ing in Hollywood, and prob­a­bly the most hilar­i­ous thing I’ve seen in years, filled with danc­ing, wit­ty com­men­tary, and impres­sions of his co-stars and direc­tors.

There were lots of lit­tle insights into the indus­try too, such as Harrison Ford being a pot smok­er, and MADtv being a sketch com­e­dy show that grew out of Leguizamo’s own vari­ety show after they fired all the Latin actors and kept the only white one.

It was a dream come true to be at the Just For Laughs fes­ti­val in Montreal.

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