Saturday, September 27, 2008

Frog Legs and Watermelon Soup

Wednesday night found me at a cocktail reception for the Museum of Arts & Design (what a great acronym!) on Columbus Circle with Stash. Now that makes it sounds like I have a life, doesn't it? Well... the jury's still out on that one.

Last night I was out until the wee hours with E.B. after a concert -- Jackopierce, a nice harmonizing guitar-playing duo, a smidge too country-sounding for me but easy on the ear and enthusiastic and sweet -- and then a nice dinner and wine at a little French bistro in the bustling Meatpacking District (with B&T'ers and transvestites and youngsters and omg I'm so old :) I had frog legs with watermelon soup. Seriously.

To celebrate dropping another size (yay) I ate a piece of Joe's pizza while watching the first show of this season's ER this rainy afternoon. Tragedy! Makai Pfeiffer's character died on the operating table. {{sob}} Okay, maybe I'm not so old. Maybe I'm actually incredibly immature. So be it. He's a hot tamale and ER won't be the same without him.

Tonight I watch the debate. Since I missed it last night. It won't be easy, even having heard what I've heard so far. That McCain is being considered as a viable candidate for our President, along with that joke from Alaska, hurts my heart. It actually hurts to imagine that our country is so damnably messed up that there are people who want more of what we've gone through in the last eight years. To imagine that actually happening is, well, unthinkable. As I've said before, I don't talk about politics much here, since there are so many more articulate people out there on the subject. Maybe it's time to do some talking anyway. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back in the real world

Spent yesterday on the flip side of the neighborhood street fair, assisting neighbor Ann at a table at the popular 10th Street Fair. It's an interesting position, deciding how you're going to sell -- friendly? Hard sell? Ignore people until they want a price or have a question? I mostly went with the latter. Street fairs (like extended stoop sales, not the ubiquitous smoothies and socks affairs) attract the most interesting people. I met a few, including a guy who got really riled that a videotape of A Streetcar Named Desire demanded $3 not $2.

As a buyer, I got in a tiff with an obnoxious and possibly insane woman over a very cool jewelry set (clear marbles set in thin black metal as 2 necklaces, a ring and drop earrings). Right before I claimed them, she grabbed an earring and said she wanted it and the ring and then dropped it and pretended she couldn't find it. The seller agreed that I was the first to claim the set and then the woman offered me $100 for it. I declined and got the hell away from her.

Captured below: the coat I coveted. I watched from across the street all day (a plush, rose-colored fake-fur Fendi) and kept thinking I'd buy it -- and then suddenly Sarah, who had been volunteering with me -- was wearing it. She who hesitates... loses the fake-fur Fendi. Oh well.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sailing off Meganisi

Okay, I'm lost when it comes to posting videos. But I tried. Here's one. Click on "watch in high quality" under controls, otherwise it looks bad.

I'm Hungry

It's funny -- I was posting my lame Greece videos on YouTube and stumbled across this one, at Yanni's restaurant in Paxos. We were right there! Same guy! Same restaurant! Like it was yesterday...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Notes on Greece sailing trip

Travel tales -- unless you're a Paul Theroux or a Bruce Chatwin or a Henry Miller, etc. etc. -- are like dreams: no one REALLY wants to hear them. The best tellings come out in dribs and drabs, detail by detail over a lifetime of recounting. So I'll keep it short. Pictures here.

I chose to go to Greece on somewhat of a whim -- an email from a stranger in NYC about a sailing opportunity in the Greek islands. I'll give you a few highlights but not everything here. I won't talk about my traveling companions much but can tell you I learned from them and am grateful. I learned that I'd rather travel alone. No indictment implied, just the certaintly that I'm at my best with companions who, like me, have an insatiable curiousity about others, about history, politics, literature and who can talk all night with passion and yet know exactly when to enjoy the silence.

Notes:

  • Greece in early September is hot. HOT HOT HOT HOT. The kind of hot that makes your face sweat and rivulets run down your back.
  • Athens is sprawling and not terribly pleasant, with pockets of wonderfulness. The view of the Acropolis is everything it's made out to be: indelibly memorable and not to be missed at night.

  • We took a bus across Greece to the Ionian and it was fine. One bathroom stop in 5 hours -- loved that! The bus station in Athens is like bus stations the world over: sad and dirty and fume-filled and confusing but this one had stray dogs to look at and the best coffee we had in Greece, bar none.
  • In the tiny town of Vounitsa, we had to ask for a ride from a stranger who had wild hair and was covered in grease (ha). He turned out to be educated, bright and sanguine and a lovely man who drove us 14 kilometers and refused our money when we reached our port town.
  • Our sailboat at Vounakis on the Ionian Sea was lined up with twenty or thirty or forty cookie-cutter boats and I didn't -- and never did -- feel its soul. I'm spoiled by a lifetime of learning appreciation for the "authentic" from my parents and carried with me an unfortunate sense of loathing for the fiberglass, everything-automatic, overly electronically-equipped vessel.
  • Our one night in the port was a blast. After the rest of the crew (who had rented a car for the ride to Vounakis) left us (E. and I) I befriended two chaps from Manchester on a nearby boat who were finishing their own adventure (as part of a flotilla of sailboats -- something I'd not heard of). We spent most of the night with them, met the rest of their friendly flotilla-mates and generally drank too much and had more fun than I've had in nearly a year. Cheers, Philip and Patrick from Manchester -- and thank you.
  • Our crew was eclectic and generally kind. Our conversations (for the 3 nights I spent on the boat) were completely forgettable. No books, no politics, no poetry.
  • We got in some sailing and it was great. We averaged a paltry 3 knots, unfortunately, and had to motor, mostly, to our first stop, at the beautiful island of Meganisi.
  • Swimming was a highlight: the water was warm and clear and an otherworldly blue (cobalt and seaglass green). Unfortunately, it was too warm for me (not refreshing, really) and the amazing cobalt blue reminded me of 2000 Flushes from my childhood.
  • I left the boat at the island of Paxos (where I also left my heart). I needed to go to Corfu (had always had a thing in my head for the island) and the crew was experiencing some dissent and I was too hot and needed some downtime. I figured this out after a hot hike up the highest hill to a lighthouse that I couldn't access (Greek Army/Navy, I was told). I had meandered up, up, up and found myself gazing at the ancient olive trees and the winding paths and zigzagging stone walls and felt an incredible peace for the first time since leaving New York.
  • Corfu. I felt very much at home there, despite the heat. It's an amazing place, with an Old Town like most Old Towns that charmed immediately. Our hotel, Hotel Astron, was perfect: not too expensive but newly renovated with a cool marble lobby and even cooler room looking out to the sea and the New Fort. I highly recommend it.
  • A highlight of Corfu for me was a solitary afternoon. I decided to visit Kanoni, mentioned in The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller which I had been re-reading (or trying to). Another was a late night of wine and music near the top of the New Fort with a couple of local boys.
  • After 2 nights in Corfu, we flew back to Athens to start our long trip home. We had a scary time in the taxi on the way from the airport to our hotel near the Acropolis: the car died, right in the middle of a tunnel, with a blind turn behind us, motorcycles and Mac trucks whizzing by at 90 miles an hour. I really thought there was a good chance we'd be killed. But we weren't.
  • The flight from Athens to JFK is an appalling 10.5 hours. I can't recommend Delta for a trip this long (horrible in-flight entertainment, so-so food, expensive drinks).
  • Finally, I don't know that I'll ever set foot in Athens again but plan to (god willing) return to both Corfu and Paxos in the off season one day soon. Yassou!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paxos

Walked alone up the hills above Lakka harbor on the wonderful island
of Paxos. The hills are covered with winding 4' stone walls and olive
trees. Very "Secret Garden" looking." Lighthouse at the top was my
destination. I made it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spartakhori

Best fish in tiny Spartakhori harbor, Meganisi (southern Ionian) after
hours-long swim. Heading north toward Anti-Paxos,Paxoi, Corfu..Dolphin
following. Many thx to FD (for my healthy mindset), Cleo (great Athens
tips), JT for helping me pack and keeping me sane), M and L for being
shanghai-ed into watching cats.C - wish you were here...and a happy
shout-out to P from Manchester for making first night in port such a
blast.Filia!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Athens!

I'm surprised to see mountains. I may be hallucinating. Good landing..
Itchy eyes.

Off to Greece

In a hot cab to JFK.Thank you JT for helping me pack. Bye, cats.

 
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