Archive for October, 2008

A Day in Hilton Head

October 20, 2008

So this was to be my first visit ever to Hilton Head Island,  I had been nearby for a few days years before in Ridgeland, South Carolina when driving John Kenney the drummer’s (“John Kenney is a drummer/backing the covering band/covering the backing band”) car southward to the surrealist ball at the Reynolds Morse Salvador Dali Musuem in St. Petersburg Florida and the vehicle died.  I met a guy named Melvin who eventually salvaged the car but, previously Ridgeland was as close as  had come (plus once in the aforementioned town I met a car shop owner who said “Senator Strom was a freind of my daddy used to come by the gas station all the time:”.)

Until now when I followed the signs off the highway to Hilton Head.  I first took the cross island expressway  entrance to the coastal discovery musuem and then got back on the highway. I had to learn about Hilton Head and found out about Gullah culture (the plantation owners did not want to live on the island and the african-american slaves and later freemen and women who did retain some African traditions), the former estate here’s role as a hunting lodge(much of the island was a one time a hunting preserve), and about coastal sea and birdlife. After doing an initial building exhibit run through later I would come back to look some exhibits related to the coastal life including the fiddler crab boardwalk overlook.

I ate in a very pleasant seafood place in a marina (spilling my coke allover the local newspaper and the waitress kindly brought me a new one while the lady at the next table was busy complaining about the absence of her server)  where after driving around the island endlessly eventually I booked a sunset cruise on what turned out to be a catamaran and then drove around the island some more.  I found a closed Burmese restaurant {pretty rare and the first one I’d seen since I dined in Hong Kong multiple times at Hong Kong’s only Burmese restaurant The Golden Mynymar owned and operated by the affable Burmese native Su-Su}.

So before sunset of course it was time to board the catamaran and set sail.  I parked my car back at the marina and waited around at the store which books the tours.   A large group of people showed up and we were led down to the craft’s mooring by our tour guide an affable woman wth a short haircut who turned out to be the signifigant other of the captain.

The catamaran was nice because there was lots of room to move around and to  socialize with the other passengers. There was a dolphin immediatleyspotted in the harbor as we disembarked and a later highlight was some more dolphins and some pelicans.  We learned about some of the big houses across on the other bank of shoreline occupied by the guy who brought cellphone service to Hilton Head.  Then on the closer legnth of shoreline there was another big home on the final jut of sandbar on the particular part of Hilton head we were passing where dogs chased donkeys to one end and donkeys the dogs to the other and after the tour guide was saying it and right after I had correctly identified a sculpture of a C.H.I.P.S (California Highway Patrol like the long ago show with Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada) right after we had seen a small statue of liberty replica on the property I spied and  then said ‘there is one of the dogs”)- later this led to a dream about Dubai where I also pointed something out to a group and made my Mall of the Emirates poem then that much bigger ”

On the simulated mountain

all must go down

in the special four wheel drive people mover craft

and with several aboard including myself

the vehicle takes its’ course

and with my swift and keen eyes

after a brickwall explodes

I guide the guide to miss a large patch of thin cracking ice

 

Down the Grand incline in the all of the mall now

people who weren’t expecting to have more children

having had them appear younger

an Argentinian painter and his wife

a septugenarian dentist and his better half

he looks (is?) so much younger now’

his hair having gone black from white

 

The cruise was refreshing and the company enoyable (including a couple where the postal service supervisor husband was retired and the nurse wife was not and airconditioning contractor official from Pennsylvania and his wife and inlaws who had bought a home on the island and several other Hilton Head residents were aboard) we could see savannah in the distance as welas another island across (). The tour guide’sstories were excellent and refreshed I got back in my car and drove for another few hours still I believe in South Carolina and it was lights out @ the Knights Inn and then the next day almost a straight shot back to New York City including a stop in Smithfield,North Carolina (birthpalce of and home to the Ava Gardener Museum)to buy a Ralph Lauren navy hunting coat which goes with the color coordination aspect of my tour guiding posistion  and a rugby shirt (I once lost a strikingly beautiful Ralph Lauren polo rugby shirt on the beach in Eliat in Israel while snorkeling in the Red Sea).

So since I already have an entry labeled since coming back (from the Persian Gulf) here I will just include what has happened since. Since fantastic adventures have kind of ceased unless you count my tour guiding on Staten Island where everything that happens should not neccesarily be blogged about even if it hints at something within the culture be it high or low {and sometimes mostly low}.

One day however in the week or so after this last trip driving back and forth to Florida I went to see the initial painting exhibition of Damian Loeb(the ex boyfreind of Bergdof Blondes author Plum Sykes and an artist who I have written about extensively just go to www.damianloeb.com and click on history and scroll down for my articles in nyarts , nyartworld, and PAJ) at Acquavella Gallery on east seventy ninth street (they only now represent three living contemporary artis James Rosenquist, Lucien Freud , and Damian).

The work was different this time it was not taken from movie still but from scenes he had himsef observed.  I enoyed the piece named “Vertigo” above the marble staircase of the townhouse it watery sheen home to a woman face down to the depths(but it was not the human scene. but the textural and color play which drove my atttention).  Bill Acquavella’s son was downstairs and the receptionist who was one of the nicest I had ever met at a big name gallery but god forbid I should get pulled back intot he artworld again mind , body, and soul and my roller coaster emotions should take the ferris wheel no thanks!  Now I get to visit art exhibits on my own time and swim in the forever irrelevant sea of tour guides.

Coming back to my car parked on Madison avenue a woman was in a blue volvo was blocking my departure and talking on the cellphone.  I could have been rude (which I chose not to ) and gone up and rapped on her driver’s side window (which again I did not do) so I returned to my driver’s seat and honked.   Having looked over before she was not necessarily a pretty woman but a handsome pretty woman like Candace Bergen I turned my head backwards and it was Meryl Streep still talking on the cell-phone and I said “Meryl Streep” and she smiled and waved and kept talking on the cell-phone.. The car had Conneticut plates and later googling Meryl Streep and Conneticut and this search engine employer found indeed she has a residence there.

But before ending this blog entry (though never forever which is the beautiful thing about blogs as a literary form) I want to mention the SanRasa Sri Lankan restaurant on Staten Island.  This was the first time I have had Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) food and this writer is not sure if this delightful establishment can speak for the entire Island nations’ I am sure diverse cuisine,however the vegtable dish served in a covered (which was  after being brought to the table removed) earthenware dish was out of this world and definitely out of Manhattan.  I am just now educating myself to this wonderful cuisine now lots of influence from subcontinental Indian food of course and some tropical influences sugar and coconuts but let me stop talking until my palette is more seasoned (anybody want to take the ferry or get a ride in my car and go?)pss- Sanrasa is also known for the two Greek style statues outside of it which stand sentinel.

And now with the close of my current Double Decker bus company schedule (though sometimes like in Staten Island this talker and blogger and rider rides around in a trolley)for the current time being and the begining of a new one (they are called bids) it is time to wrap up the particular catch all blog entry.  One day after taking the  Staten Island Ferry three times a week (it can be quite wonderful as when the Queen Mary pulls out of the  Buttermilk channel between its’ dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn and Govenors island and into the harbor and towards the Ocean and the passengers line the decks and wave at the ferry and vice versa or an Italian submarine comes into port escorted by coast guard crafts or when the Queen Mary Two and The Queen Elizabeth meet for the last time in New York harbor as the QE 2named for the Queen consort of George the sixth who later became the queen mother of Queen Elizabeth for whom none of the ships are named but rather the QE 2 is named for the ship which was named for the queen consort who became the queen mother and then gave her name to the first ship Elizabeth leaves Manhattan for the last time on the way to go to Dubai to become a hotel {which someone on the internet is called a desert hotel it is not a desert hotel it is on a body of water which meets land which will shortly hit the desert}and just to think of it Queen Elizabeth One might have met the future Queen Mary two if Mary Queen of Scots had been put on the English throne by Phillip of Spain but Queen Elizabeth one did meet Queen Mary one Bloody Mary and probably the two boats met as well by but did the Queen Mary One meet the Queen Elizabeth two? But, certainly in real life neither Queen Mary One or Queen Elizabeth One met Queen Mary Two from William and Mary (that Glorious Revolution) or Queen Elizabeth Two.-Well after doing a little more reasearch the HMS Queen Elizabeth (QE 1 and named for Queen Elizabeth who later became the Queen Mum not Elizabeth “the Virgin Queen”) was “the running mate” of the Queen Mary One so they met the Queen Mary retired in 1967 and became a hotel/tourist attraction in Long Beach, California and the QE 2 premiered in 1969 as the flagship of the fleet so they never met while afloat but while the earlier ship was parked at Long beach and the QE was scrapped in 1974 after a fire so the two Elizabeths meet afloatand and the equation is changed between all those previously named Elizabeths and Mary’s because neither of those boats were named for the previous Elizabeths and Mary’s form Elizabethan times but for modern consorts the Mary being the Wife of George the Fifth and Elizabeth the wife of George VI and the queeen mary two is named for the queen mary one which as named for Mary the consort of george the sixth so the second boat is therfore once removed named for her as well and of the consorts the former Elizabeth Bowes Lyon was the daughter in law of the former Mary Teck.

But now to say so I took my car to Staten Island from the Inwood section of Manhattan taking the George Washington Bridge over to New Jersey and the turnpike (while stopping at the Vince Lombardi rest-stop to have breakfest) and then the Goethals Bridge onto the island (an eight dollar toll) .  I was able to suprise the trolley driver Manny at a waterside gas station convenience stopa she was having his morning coffee.

After work I drove my car along the winding roads of the St .George neighberhood (named for George Law) to the Bayonne bridge and onto the turnpike and over to rte 80 and to 124 and to Madison , New Jersey to finally catch a set at Shanghai Jazz.  The set was by the Rob Paporozzi band the namesake and singer and blues harmonicist being also the leader of ht enew lineup of sixities stalwart Blood, Sweat, and Tears. There was no seating in the dining room and so I was seated at the bar next to a local music afficinado named Marshall and what helped my breathing was filling out the dining or drinking minimum with an entree of Thai Shrimp.

For those of you not in the know Shanghai Jazz is the perhaps the United States only authentic Chinese restaurant jazz club which offers sets by many reknown jaz acts including multiple grammy winners.  It has a gong which is rung for the beginning of the set and indeed it owners are a chinese couple (could have been a couple of Chinese but a if a couple of the Chinese make up a Chinese couple they are more than a couple of Chinese and lord knows there are more than a couple of Chinese.)

I first found this restaruant after having a dream in which I and the tour guide who I call Miss Blau (Debborah Blau whose father Rapheal co-wrote Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronlad Reagan) had dinner at the eat-in part of a Chinese take-out in Madison, New Jersey and so lo and behold I googled Chinese restaurant Madison, New Jersey and I came up with Shanghai Jazz.  It goes without saying that I became hellbent on convincing Miss Blau  to eat at Shanghai Jazz thus recreating some of the parameters of the dream {which I will let the section I wrote about it in The Great Shoppping Mall Poem of China which later had its named to changed to The Great Shopping Mall Poem of the East ( by me speak of the night})….

“First born in sight of a star fighter pod on a game room floor
This a poem of underwater notions in simacularized cities
And it will of course offer information galore
First born in sight of a star fighter pod in an aviation museum
With further planes on cement Islands around on and into a lake
this poem of underwater notions and simulacarized cities
is a replicant duplicate work
How now Miss Blau
who I run into
as I run into you
in the unscripted quarters
of a Chinese take out restaurant with seating
in Madison, New Jersey
where you live
if only in that dream

If you take out the eat-in part from the take-out
then all you are left with is the take-out

Now it is off to a Chinese restaurant
in the aforementioned vicinity
where they also play jazz

?go to a Chinese restaurant your own age?
Got to go to a Chinese restaurant your own age

“The Shanghai Jazz corporation”
The Shanghai Jazz Corporation opens for business in this poem
At the eat-in part of the eat-in- in the eat-in part of the Eat-in
where were you eating? At the Shanghai Jazz Corporation of course
and what was on
well it was a trio on piano bass and drums
And a quartet of conversationalists including Miss Blau
for our enjoyment and for the enjoyment of the Shanghai enjoinment of course
And the enjoyment on going west and then north to the Shanghai Jazz and enjoyment in the incorporation of Madison New Jersey of course and of the courses
Shrimp toast boneless spare ribs Chilean sea bass Neptune’s basket replete with
Shrimp lobster scallops white rice a beer a coke and a Belgian chocolate truffle with pistachio ice cream not unlike tartuffo and an order of eggplant…”

Finally the dream of Miss Blau which made it into the Chinese Shoping Mall Poem which worked tiself into the Shopping Mall Poem of the East was influenced itself in turn by a stanza on Madison, New Jersey which in turn was based on a dream itself  in the Origianl Worlds’ Biggest Shopping Mall Poem ”

 

Advertisements

Traffic School Saturday

October 9, 2008

The next day, Saturday, was the day of reckoning with Traffic School (Florida style).

Suffice to say it was a bizare unequal experience but one about which it is not necessarily judicious to go on and on about right here.  Though I will now mention the ninety two year old man who when we were asked to describe the incident or accident which brought us there spoke of his girlfreind with alzheimers who was a back seat driver and barked out orders causing him to travel through a stop sign without stopping and thus smashing the front end of his lexus(he has a five hundred dollar deductible).

Another guy who had gotten into a traffic accident was later ticketed for driving under the influence of influenza (it is against the law to knowingly drive with a tempature in Florida non?- however it is still legal to use a hand held cellphone while operating a motor vehicle).

Later that day I made tracks north towards NYC stopping for the night in Brunswick, Georgia.

It was my plan the enext morning to get to the Hard Rock Amusement park in Myrtle Beach ,South Carolina and then make it to one of several Ralph Lauren factory outlets off 1-95 (in those strip mall clusters of specialty outlet stores) to purchase a blue hunting jacket.  However stopping at the Palmetto state’s welcome center I learned that the first major new Theme park to have built in the United States in some years had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed (thought it hoped to open again in the spring).

So hearing an advertisement for Beaufort, South Carolina (Savannah or Charleston without the traffic) I decided to exit for there but then seeing the sides for Hilton Head I headed there instead9 though first stopping for a walk and some bird watching at the national wildlife perserve on Pickney Island on which the patriot from South Carolina Charles Pickney lived for some years). The bird which appeared in the most abundance was the White Egret.

The Next Day Friday Still in Florida

October 7, 2008

Again the next day Friday I had the day free and started it as has become my tradition by drinking three venti green ice teas unsweetened at Starbucks.  With a a whole day I thought I would definitley make it to South Beach before having to turn around to watch the debate in my hotel room in the Holiday Inn (and the hotel p.c was finally working by now).

I decided this time to visit the four for one combination outdoor world/ BASS Pro shop. Divers Direct/International Fishing Hall of Fame in Hollywood which I had wound up bypassing on my Seminole Hard Rock cafe hotel casino complex (all built on the proceeds of decades of bingo) trajectory the day before.  First however I had to cover my tracks and visit the gardens and greenhouse of the American Orchid Society (where I discovered the Bottle Nose Palm from Madagascar and the Chenille plant from Malaysia with a hot dark pink fuzzy streamer of a blossom among other varieties of flora too numerous to mention ).

When i got to the everything about the great outdoors complex tucked behind a Tri-rail station and adjacent to a Marriot Courtyard Hotel I chose to go to the International Fishing Hall of Fame where I caught the feature legnth documentary ‘Sharkwater” by the young Canadian Diver, photographer, adventurer, and shark savior Rob Stewart (who is in tip top no body fat shape and does a mean athletic free dive into the depths to swim with great predators).

Here I saw what seemed funny in Hong Kong (shark fin soup everywhere) unmasked as tragic (ninety percent of the worlds’ sharks have been killed in the last few years to provide this delicacy which the Chinese believe has curative properties).  Only two real havens for sharks remain (the Cocos Islands off of Costa Rica and the Galagapos) and even these are threatened.  This movie presents the evidence and the information and has begun to help to turn things around.

Afterwards this itinerant blogger had dinner at the Islamorada fish company restaurant (fried tuna in wasabi sauce), tried on a couple of thick wetsuits, saw a magnificent sunset, and turned around to watch the presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Made it back in time to watch the debate saw the opening slavos and fell asleep.  Then stayed up for Dancing with the Stars night three and then was off (as I have failed to mention) as I had at every morning and evening oppurtunity to loosen up my back muscles and thus breathing with the pulsating jets of the the hot tub and starlight as I did yoga moves in the aquatic atmosophere of the  swimming pool gazing up at the heavenly bodies.

Bush Speaks, Japanese Gardens, The Seminole Hard Rock, more Dancing with the Stars

October 6, 2008

The Next day I got up and corresponding to the fact that the Holiday Inn had no working computer (and I never bring either of my laptops out of my appartment anymore goodbye wi-fi) I went over to a Hampton Inn to use theirs to find a Florida traffic school which I needed to attend (more about this later but albeit I got a ticket for doing 56 in a forty zone from a whiteshirted policeman who was standing in the middle of the street with a hand held radar device and I sped up towards him because I couldn’t see who it was in the middle of the street and I wanted to gain vantage so as to avoid hitting whoever it was plus I was on the way to a funeral home to make final arrangements for my father I was told I could probably beat it in court but in the end it would have been more trouble and more confusion than paying the ticket and attending traffic school or more than it was worth).

So I was booked into traffic school (later I was to find much to my amazement they got all my information right ticket # lisence all that) for Saturday which meant for the most part I had Thursday and Friday free ( except for the fact that it was a trouble to breathe).

So free I took to the highway intending to head for South Beach but stopping first after seeing to sign for the Morikami Japanese Gardens in Del Ray Beach.  The Morikami gardens are on land donated by Mr. Morikami one of the last Japanese settler from the Yamato farm community which was in the area about a century back (though after world war two the last of this settlement as an organized community it was gone Mr. morikami retained ownership of the land and donated it to the city for the formal gardens including waterfalls, a collection of bonsai trees,galleries and exhibits all on the grounds).  Meanwhile the American Orchid Soceity was across the way (it was too late to see both so as you will see later I came back to see the second attraction the next day).

Next after trying on wetsuits and not being measured for a custom one I ventured over to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood(Fla).  Here I parked on the roof marveled at the white of the hotel/casino/entertainment complex, scanned memrobilia, made passing comments to gamblers (the kind my father would have made whats the hurry you have all the time in the world to loose your money) ventured out to the huge faux waterfall rock cliff structure surrounding the massive swimming pool (and the massive swimming pool in return surrounding it).  Here i met two guys from New Orleans who had won a raffle in the Big Easy’s Hard Rock restaurant to see Fergie here ( though they didn’t have a rental car and complained about what there was to do on the grounds.  I had two bloody marys at only five dollars a piece with both olives and okra and watched news of the economic collapse.

 I walked out around the open air mall section of the compound and then after a couple of hours drove back to the holiday inn.  Here I of course watched George W. Bush speak about the need for a bailout (I found this talk suprisingly effective usually to paraphrase he said such companies should be alowed to go out of business but this bailout was absolutley necessary to restore credit and liquidity to the markets and the economy)

 

After the president was over on came Dancing with the stars inlast part of the three day opening spectacular and Ted McGinley Was voted off (good night).

Next day St Augustine, Flagler Beach and arrival in Boynton

October 1, 2008

So I went to sleep and the next day ventured right over to St. Augustine. There my first effort afer parking was to get green tea which I did at the lovely cafe at the sidewind of the Casa Monica hotel.  This was across from Flagler college which much to my amazement as the Ponce de Leon Hotel opened by Henry Flager was designed by Carrere and Hastings (the latter of whom also did the Frick Mansion on Fifth avenue in Nyc which I am supposed to be writing on right now and was on the phone talking about it to a concerned party and did not realize this ironic fact)

Later it was over to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm where I learned all about Gomek the monster amphibian from Papua New Guinea who was brought here after being anattraction in Melanesia and Australia first.  Gomek is now deceased but he is Taxidemied and placed in a pavillion with indigenous art from the wilds of Papua New Guinea all around.

Eventually Gomek was replaced by Maximo (rescued form an alligator hand bag farm in Oz) who came along wih his breeding partner Sydney.  After investigating every possible variety of Alligator (including the American Albino which and is hatched and lives in the wild almost exclusively in Lousiana), crocodile, caiman and etceteras I left.

Next I got on I-95 bypassing my usual drive past marineland and to Flagler Beach.  When the exit came up on the highway however I regretted my decision and made way back to Flagler Beach and the seaside seafood favorite The Fisherman’s Net.

Then it was back down the highway to the Catalina Holiday Inn in Boynton Beach and a well deserved rest.  But not before finding out that the Pete Rose Ballpark restaurant was closed during the final stage of construction (their new lobby supposedly premiering on October 9th) and with the hotel pc not working turning on Dancing with the Stars instead.