May 22, 2014
I’m backpacking through Europe in less than a month (whoa!)… and of course I’m super excited about the incredible, once in a lifetime photos I’m going to be taking every step of the way. But, I was a little concerned about carrying my Canon 5D Mark iii everywhere with me since we’re going to be walking pretty much everywhere, I’ve heard to be very weary of thieves, and not to mention that sucker (+ 3 lenses) is HEAVY. So, I toyed around with the idea of purchasing and bringing a Fuji X100S – since the quality is almost comparable and it’s much smaller/lighter and can fit in my purse. But, before making the $1000+ decision, my good friend Ryan Moore was kind enough to let me borrow his to test it out. And I figured what better way to test out the camera I’m considering touring Europe with, than using it to be a tourist around these parts. Sooo… off to Chinatown I went!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect in Chinatown. It’s a part of Chicago that I hadn’t been to (or if I had, it was when I was just a child and I don’t remember). But I jumped on the Redline to Cermak-Chinatown and just walked around town for a bit soaking it all in. I explored a few of the gift and grocery stores… which actually brought me back to my childhood. I always went with my parents to similar food marts for Oriental food products they couldn’t get at a regular grocery store… so the aroma and little trinkets that might seem unappetizing or meaningless to some, were especially nostalgic for me. I even picked up a few of my favorite childhood treats for the road… Pocky Sticks and Dried Mango 🙂
I ended my little adventure at Yan Bang Cai after reading rave reviews on Yelp! I had heard mixed reviews of some of the more popular Chinatown stops so I decided to stop here instead. And I’m so glad I did because my waitress was super friendly, it was quiet and not overly crowded like some of the other restaurants I had passed, and totally had that hidden gem feel. I decided to go authentic and order the Fu Qi Fei Pian (cold appetizer of thin beef slices – common ingredients in the modern version include beef heart, tongue and tripe, and a generous amount of various spices – in chili sauce served with steamed rice). And as scary as it sounds, it was DELICIOUS. It was almost see-through thin, and the sauce was super spicy with tons of great flavor. To add even more nostalgia to my day, the people seated behind me were a Filipino family with a little girl and they were all speaking Tagalog. Naturally, I spent the majority of my lunch eavesdropping on their conversation trying to see how much I could understand… the verdict: I got the general jyst but could use some practice 🙂
To get to the point… the reason for this adventure and blog post… the camera. Well, as you can see it does take great photographs. It was super light – I barely knew I had it on my shoulder – and it was so easy to fit in my purse. I struggled a little bit with the settings since I’m so used to my Mark iii, though. I also wish I could have shot a little wider (it is basically a 35mm)… which I’m sure I’m going to also want while traveling through Europe. But it really was so convenient not having to carry such a heavy camera and lenses. BUT, long story short… I think I’m going to suck it up and carry my Mark iii, 35mm, 50mm, and 17-40mm through Europe. I figure these are going to be once in a life time photos – some of which I may get large prints of to display in my home – and I’ll want the best photo I could have taken. Years from now, I’ll look at the beautiful photos and I’m sure there will be plenty more for me to remember than how much my back hurt from carrying such a heavy bag 🙂