Posts Tagged ‘Boynton Beach’

A New Decade Begins and the Big Bosomed lady with the Dutch accent who tried to change my point of view

January 26, 2010

Well here came the new decade with almost as little fanfare as possible (getting used to it) and finally this goalie was knocked out of the box or off of the bus and he flew south literally in short order to recuperate and attend to business.  After a brief whirlwind through Connecticut and Massachusetts including to introduce a friend to the excellent Indian restaurant in Wilton, Ct named Thali (other locations are New Haven and New Canaan) where the lighting and sound space are just right as to perfectly delight.  Meanwhile a culinary highlight was the fried okra.  Though the waiter did accidentally make a boo boo on my card charge causing a void which he ill explained sending me into a grounded tizzy.

So after the stop for dinner in ct into was onto the southern Berkshire town of Great Barrington, Mass.  There a prep school hockey tournament was being held nearby so the hotel room rates were jacked up accordingly. The next morning we caught some of the hockey at the nearby Berkshire academy though it was pretty sparsely attended and frankly boring and we left after a few goals in a lopsided affair.

Then driving west and south we stopped at a classic white clapboard inn placed a the head of a road convergence in the town of Salisbury , Connecticut (where ski jump competitions  are held and a few weeks later the actor Rip Torn would be arrested and charged with breaking into a bank) called the White Hart Inn for lunch and I did the unthinkable had a cheddar cheese burger plus a black bean chorizo soup.

The dining room was filled with a boisterous yet not overly rowdy crowd and was pleasant as pleasant could be staring either at wood in the fireplace burning or seeing children outside playing in the snow which fit in with the white of the inn.

Soon this trip was over and despite wanting my friend to make the journey south with me again he had to stay and attend to his business while I made the transformative recuperative journey south once again to restore, revitalize, and remember don’t wait until you get sick to get healthy.

So on the way south this time this voyager stopped more seldom than usual the first time being at another Ruby Tuesday for another healthy salad bar with soup for lunch and only water to help it go down.  Meanwhile, it was a this moment that he began planning a side trip to Aruba for his late father had come to him in dream which also featured his father’s also departed younger brother (and though they were not twins they were twin collectors) and he told him to go to Aruba for mineral deposits.  This blogger than googled “Aruba” and found that indeed there had been Gold there and today there were phosphates.  Further the name Aruba itself means Red Gold (in named in Spanish in sort of a portmanteau with “ore” being for gold and “ruba” for red) and so he had it set in his mind though there were other places he wished to visit far and wide he felt he heard a call as with to the vortices of Sedona when a search result entry leading to his blog mentioned Boynton as in Boynton beach but it was Boynton canyon in Sedona (where Senator John McCain has a home) and he was headed in the general direction of where he had this dream about this time. Meanwhile this sometimes now forgetful perhaps middle-aged ponderer and wanderer forget to tell you he stayed in a very nice and inexpensive motel six in North Carolina which was like an enclave and watched the silly “Mama Mia” movie and remembered Meryl Streep waiting for his parking space on Madison avenue in nyc and like others noted Pierce Brosnan really cannot sing (but neither can I just take my bus tour and I will show you unless of course  you  ask me not to).

The next significant stop was South of the Border which in my world is most hits on my blog plaza.  Though not going for a massage of to visit the fantasy dancing-girls (which could perhaps contribute to my entry for the sometime forthcoming “Unbearables”, ” Sex Sells ” being brewed up  by Ron Kolm and Jim Feast among others now) this sombrero visitation specialist finally went up the rise to the brim of the 200 feet in the sky Mexican hat.

The elevator operator was biting her nails and was seemingly very  very disaffected.  I asked her if she was alright and she said that “it was a very very boring job”.   It was a warm day and a couple of Amish people were upstairs.  I wanted to take a pic but they were gone before I could say  Speedy Gonzalez  and the taco bell tolled for this lost photo opportunity I-phone picture on the sly taker and he looked out the highways and the countryside of two states who meet just about where he stood and surveyed.

Meanwhile “the man for all seasonings”

Steve a Man for all Seasonings and a twin eater for a twin emerica

had sent out a group email advertising if you could call it that a certain establishment where they celebrated high calorie creations which might send you to the great beyond.  Our man for all seasonings our tour guide for one story for every calorie had previously traveled to Las Vegas with another of our larger specimens

Joel the other Half of the Culinary Intake Equation

and boasted about eating, greeting, roasting, toasting, boasting , and even posing in Wladziu (Vladziu) Valentino Liberace’s robes at the museum dedicated to him at the East Tropicana Boulevard strip mall that the glitziest pianist once owned.  Now he found this restaurant grille which I dare not speak its name and said nobody could be headed to it even though the other large talker was in the vicinity taking up family matters.  But I was the officer of blog headed in that general direction and said why not celebrate the wonder of instantaneous reference.  Though when I got down there you will see they did not absolutely fall in love with me so this forces this blogger to use what Swiftian skill he doth posses and speak of them as if they created there culinary would be to die fors and to die froms as if they were made in a kitchen stadium on a distant isle perhaps even red meat and red gold or a giant reuben had on Aruba.

So back to time flow the next real driving hiatus was to stop again at the Red Roof Inn once again on Jacksonville airport road (which had raised its rate but not changed the highway sign).  Though it is a great, inexpensive, and convenient stop which also allowed me to try the fried pickles at Saxbys. The strange  taste yet to come  this driver finally learned how to circumnavigate the complicated multi direction traffic light serving Jacksonville airport road and the service roads on either side of it (or its perimeter).  He drove all the way down west then made a left went under a tunnel and came out behind the Jacksonville airport road in the middle.  Then when he was finished with the fried pickles  he repeated the vehicular gesture and never once had to use the main road in this fast food journey to try the modified vegetable which had been modified once before it was modified again.

In the morning when he rose he then stopped in St Augustine at the outlet shops which were now were on both side of 1-95 where once they had only been on one.  He did not buy anything at Ralph Lauren polo but amazingly fit into a size 36 waist pair of jeans classic fit from the clearance rack which turned out not to be twenty dollars as he thought but sixty and so he declined but not without being made aware of his slimmer waist line.  This writer than went over to the  Gucci store which was on the other side of the interstate and admired the riding boots which were about eight hundred dollars but which of course he did not by.

The next stop was at a very reasonable Mexican restaurant for lunch and then a straight drive to Boynton Beach to the Marriott courtyard where presently he blogs he had arrived.

An Emergency is Called at Chez Heart Attack

He checked in and then googled a location and after reconnaissance went right over to the next town south for the high Calories chest pump offing venue which turned out to be in a strip mall.  First he asked a passing nurse or medical worker in a blue uniform if she knew where it was she did not  but then there it was right in front of him.  I saw the sign for it. I walked in.  I started taking photos for this blog.  I saw all the hospital elements the wheelchair seating , the waitresses in nurse uniforms (maybe some of them are nurses in real life who knows?) he saw three diners two young men and on older woman who sat by the door.  The three diners sat in the wheelchairs near the iv’s hanging and the medical lights.  He passed the hall of fame for big eaters .  He  sat down at the bar he ordered an ice tea they had only ice d green tea.  A manager had been call she asked why I was taking pictures.  We had a brief discussion I took no more photos.  Meanwhile the nursetress at the bar had made a phone call  and stated we have an emergency–

I was not finding any of this amusing – I am no going to name the place,  I am not ever going to order a multiple patty cheeseburger ( but full disclosure i had two patties of sausage at the Quality Inn in Daytona Beach on the way back as to be full enough not to have to pull over for lunch), I am going to continue to do Bikram Yoga, if I am going to make light of mine or anyone else’s mortality I am going to do so in good humour as so I go so shall we all.

In leaving I left a large gratuity and the nursetress asked me why and this respondent said “because I wanted to tip the scale”

Then I finalized my trip to Aruba ( the flight for which I had pre-booked earlier) .  Then the prices on the telephone line of which I was connected to by American Airlines seemed a bit steep so  being adventurous I tried the internet.  Here looking for hostels I found a place called an apartment complex youth hostel which seemed to have reasonable rates.  My I-phone not being set up for international calls I then had to go over to a local gas station and get an international calling card.  I got a man on the other end in Aruba who said he was the boyfriend of the woman who ran the place so I left my number and she then left a message for me saying to call her back the next day and book it.  The next day I called back and perhaps a bit late so she said she would have to put me at another property for one night and then  back at the main place called harmony for the next two completing my visit.  I had to email like five times to get a confirmation number and by this time I was calling her Barbara and she was calling me Mr.  Klein.

She would also pick me up at the airport.  So the week went on and I had a day or so more to kill and so I went to Bikram yoga classes in West Palm Beach to which as given by google maps were excellent and landed me right in this large and comfortable studio run by a very friendly staff.   Then right down the strip mall from the Marriot Courtyard Boynton Beach was what seemed to be a new bar of the cosmo local well to do crowd who drink cosmos like thy are on Sex in the City but when I returned they were having musical open mike with the de rigueur local guitar wielding songsters with guest vocalists.. Called the living Room they have an exciting and varied menu from which the cross training waiter bartender husband of the owner really wanted me to have the fish and chips which I did despite having just gone to hot yoga it was batter up.  The meal also came with a very pleasant cole slaw seemingly cut from very fresh cabbages.

Soon it was time to check out of the Marriott for the first time leave my car where it was get a taxi cab to the Tri-rail (the southeast coast of Florida’s inter city rail system) to Miami airport and jet off to one of the abc islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) my stop being A for a pirates favorites destination Arruba).

I got to the airport good and early and was rewarded not only by being relaxed ( my version of very relaxed) but with an exit row seat.  There was much time for me to decide what to  including not eating at an overpriced version of Chillis to go, eat at a very reasonably priced chinese takeout, over hear some internal IT  discussions between tech principals from the cell phone sector, retrace my steps from my last trip back from ART Basel Miami Beach such as where I had the Bloody Mary and the excellent portrait of a tropical bird done by a student

(by Antonio Garcia Miami Area Student)

and included in airport art show.  Up close you can see its fine sense of design, contour , and shading.

So then it was off and I sat next to very nice couple from the part of Utah near the Nevada border who like many I met on the island was returning to this place nicknamed on the island’s licence plates “One Happy Island”. They had one long day driving from Utah to Vegas, flying from Vegas to Miami, and then while they were supposed to stay overnight in Miami there were seats available on this flight that night joining me in flying from Miami to Aruba.

So we set down and when I got out where was Barbara with the Mr. Klein sign she promised nowhere so I  scurried to call her not having been able to acquire any Aruban florins either here or in Florida so I got a Dutch cruise officer to phone her.  She didn’t answer  then minutes later called back and said she would be there in seven minutes and she wasn’t there yet because my flight had come in early which it had.  And then there she was all dressed up and with her boyfriend.. Then they took me where I was going a maroon and yellow apartment complex partially under construction which was an ample walk to the town of Oranjestad.  We had passed bars with names like “Mumbo Jumbo” and she warned me about Colombian girls who put the date rape drug in your drink and take everything you have.  She thought I was younger than I am or perhaps she was just flattering me.    I was upset at where I was staying and she said she would try to get me to the main villa in the morning (which if you read on she did).  So she then ventured if i wanted to be dropped off to get a drink she would do so and she brought ne to a fancy golf resort and I went in by myself.  She said she would wait to see if I wanted to stay she then said she would come in and join me and that the drink was on her.  And she and her boyfriend had beers and I had a bloody mary and then a beer (the second one I paid for) and then she brought me back to the construction site and the luxury apartment where I took a shower and went to sleep.  She had asked me what time she wanted her to pick me up and I said nine and she said nine thirty and a few minutes early in the morning there she was .. She said that she was taking me to harmony and for ten dollars making me breakfast and she quizzed me on what I wanted and we settled on sardines.  She told me of several of the guests I would meet and then we arrived at the lovely villa with a swimming pool in the middle of the courtyard

The Harmony Villa Courtyard and Pool, Oranjestad, Aruba

and I settled in for breakfast.  She told me just where to sit and I got a pancake, and coffee, and more coffee, and the sardines and I was very happy.  I told her that I wanted to take  tour and she had already told me that I could now stay at harmony and she gsave me the huge honeymoon suite and said  that she would move my stuff from the luxury apartment at the construction site here and I could enjoy it all after returning from the tour  and the one that day of which I booked two was happy hour on the boat for snorkeling.

She gave me two receipts and I sat in her office and admired her Chinese purchases including a large multi colored Jade dragon sculpture.  This lady had a lot of style wearing fancy sun dresses with her hair put back in a bow and she was the very definition peripatetic a whirlwind she could wait on a dozen people at once and conduct many matters of business she was truly amazing.   Though she was a  lot to handle she was always one thought ahead of you (but I was at it tit for tat) and after a while she seemed to be that line from Rod Stewart  and I had  met the ” big bosomed lady with the Dutch accent who tried to change my point of view”.  In the end my trip would have been much less if I had not met her.

So sooner than i thought the bus was on the security television camera and it was time for me to go and I brought my bicycle shorts (which i had lost in the Bahamas and had to buy on Ebay again and the towel she had told me tot ake from the luxury room at the maroon and yellow apartment complex overlooking the construction site that it is.  The driver who was early was in a rush than scolded me .  I did not appreciate this and I told him I never scold the tourists unless the situation absolutely threatens mine or someone elses safety.  He was a pain in this ass but he was only dropping me off at the hotel from where to walk to the covered stand and bar dock from where the catamaran for snorkeling off would be leaving for the happy hour trip.

meanwhile in usual fancy resort fashion they would have no lockers on board and that meant where to leave my passport, watch, wallet , and I-phone.  The lady at the kiosk said I could trust her if i wanted and I left it all with her.  Of all the situations that can come up on a trip traveling alone going into the water with no place to secure valuables can be the most tricky as in Cairns, Queensland, Australia where my stuff got locked inside the room safe and I was compensated with free drinks in the lobby bar.  On board there was plenty to drink of rum punch and sandwiches and for snorkeling they made two stops, one atop a German u-boat service boat which the crewmates said the Germans had sunk on purpose themselves. The  sea-life was teeming but the quality of the  light in the water on the reefs seems to be less everywhere whether in the Bahamas off of Nassau, The Great Barrier Reef nothing seems to the aqua and electric light color show I remember from  St .Thomas growing up or later in Eliat in Israel on the Red Sea.

Onboard there was a disinterested mix of people including a couple from Westbrook , Connecticut, a man and his wife or girlfriend from Mississauga, Ontario (near Toronto) who saw food and said grub and i said you were only supposed to eat before swimming or eat  lightly before swimming and he said or  die lightly or maybe he said dive but i think he said die.  and two guys traveling together in matching shortie wetsuits wearing Armani accessories.

On the way back i laid out on the deck and upon docking I gathered up my stuff to get back to the desk to retrieve my valuable and lady pretended to not have my passport which she then returned.. I got on the bus to go back and upon returning to the compound who was waiting  for me but  the big bosomed lady with the Dutch accent who tried to change my point of view.

Image of Aruba Harmony Apartments, Oranjestad

(And on the Right it is the Big Bosomed Woman with the Dutch Accent who Tried to Change My Point of View)

She wanted to hear what I did and I told her and then she said the people who had checked out so as to leave me the opportunity to stay in the large honeymoon suite had returned and she had taken the liberty of moving my stuff to my new headquarter and immediately agreed ok but now I had two women in the same suite as me in two different rooms.  But I just shut the door and watched television while there.  Meanwhile she was driving into downtown Oranjestad and I asked if I could get a ride and she said of course.and she met me with a glass of what she said was their finest local rum and offered me a free breakfast in the morning as compensation for my most recent move.  Meanwhile she directed some other guests in another car to a bbq restaurant and then further towards town she saw the two women who I would be sharing the suite with and told them to get in the car and then she let us all of downtown.  I made my way through the shopping district to the Renaissance hotel to try to use the internet which turned out to be a no go I  didn’t need to be online that bad.  After walking around I decided to try to take the bus back and I had the address of where i was staying in the neighborhood of pontoon but nobody seemed to know where it was.  But when I got there I tried walking into the neighborhood and finding it but it was getting dark and dogs both guard and stray were barking and I saw an ambulance corps outpost on the main road and they gave me directions which didn’t pan out and so i asked them to cal me a cab and when the cab came he said he couldn’t take people in my condition which means he smelled Aruba’s finest rum on my breath of which i drank only one glass and the ambulance crew agreed i wasn’t drunk and I walked over to the Chinese restaurant across the street and asked them to call me a cab which they did and it came and I went in took a dip in the pool watched television (including the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the hilarious Betty White) and went to sleep.

The next morning I woke with the express purpose of not being late for the discovering Aruba tour bus.  Meanwhile the large bosomed lady with the Dutch accent had written me two receipts (one for each of the two tours or departures I would be making or taking) and she had taken one back when I left for the happy hour snorkeling cruise.  So when I woke making sure i would get the receipt she began by starting to prepare me the day she had promised me after moving this tourist out of the honeymoon suite to other quarters when the airline personnel had unexpectedly returned. However the tour bus suddenly showed up a half an hour early and she had to give it to me to go.  Still, I was unable to obtain my receipt until the tour guide/driver explained that he needed and I went over and explained that i needed it now and by now she had also handed me a breakfast to go.

The driver was an amiable Afro-Aruban who knew his stuff was mild-mannered and very professional.  he explained he was early because he had to pick up passengers along the shoreline. The next people aboard were a two blondes, a mother and daughter from Kansas.  As they got on i got out to pay the remainder of my balance and observed a wonderful metal sculpture of the fabled Divi-Divi tree.

As the tour began after leaving the so-called high-rise section of hotels, time shares, and casinos among the first sites we were brought to see were homes and villas sometimes upper middle class sometimes for the wealthy including a home once owned by the comic Sinbad (or so we were told).  The first exit from the bus was the scenic California lighthouse named for a ship that went down off the coast near here and hewn from coral retrieved from the sea.  Here I had a coffee or a soda and mingled .  Then it was back on the bus to see the arid coastline and towards the next stop at a tiny church and along the way we learned about the islands cacti.   Soon it was off to the famous natural bridge Aruba’s biggest scenic attraction until it collapsed a few years back a few million years work by the sea gone in a few seconds are so they say to paraphrase.  But a baby bridge still stands  but can only be walked onto as far as it says zona peligrosa or dangerous area stay back.. Also along the way we saw the remains of the old castle structure where was the gold mine it looked just like it did on the net and tourists on all terrain vehicles made their way over there but an up close visit was not on our tour (but we also passed the ranch where they gave such tours) and after  Soon it was time for a bbq chicken lunch overlooking a building which was used to refine or smelt the gold or package it for distribution or further refinement . and soon it was off to baby beach for snorkeling and we also passed a couple of iguanas on top of  a roof heard about the political history of the island and its moves towards independence and the variety of languages spoken in Aruba including Papiamento a blend of spanish, portuguese, dutch, indian , and african dialects plus spoken in different version on all three of the ABC islands Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

The tour guide-driver pointed out his neighborhood which he called “Chocolate City”, and on the way back into town pointed out where a pre carnival youth parade featuring champagne and balloons (from the Aruban version of New Orleans Crewes perhaps) and this blogger knew that he wished to make this event as he would not be staying on the for the Aruban holiday Benito Nieves day which would be celebrated the next day.

This tour guide driver was so good and said so much that in my long walk towards “halfheimers” (as Taylor Meade would say) I cannot remember everything he said in absolute order , and though he had one moment where he had a cough or a sneezing fit (and still operated the bus perhaps why in Nyc you cannot be both the tour driver and the guide wise perhaps , non?) when the tour was done the ladies from Kansas and I agreed at how well he  had done.  It is always a pleasure as a tour guide to watch others manage their sets of ingredients and watch how they present themselves , bravo to this guy!

So when I arrived back at Parliministraat while pondering I decided th make the parade and I booked off through Pontoon and remembering the path of the bus made it over to where the music was coming from.  Passing what is said to be Aruba’s oldest standing structure I also previous to that took pictures of all the street names so that I would be able to make it back to where I was staying prior to a post sunset showdown with the guard dogs.  Along the way during this photographic journey among the people I passed was one of the passengers from the bus who was not able to give me directions the night before.  Nevertheless I made it to the parade and they were the champagne Crewe and they wore balloons.  I saw the brief lineup bands floats, majorettes and such and then walked back to the beautiful pink coral Ramada Renaissance to check the net (which i did not do) and arrange for an early morning taxi to the airport which I did do.  It was happy hours and New Yorker’s (in the metropolitan sense) were gathered at the tables and the main bar in the open air lobby to watch the Jets (who were about to go down).

This suddenly among this happy hour’s happiest had two mixed rum drinks of the same variety and made nicey nice with a New Jersey couple.  He then waited for the buffet to begin and indulged in the all you could eat Renaissance gourmet buffet and will not soon forget the honey Dipped Lamb chops among other delicacies.  Next he knew he had to get back before dark and with a little effort and a few stops to take pictures of local churches he made it back to be awake for the quarter to five in the morning taxi cab back to the airport so he could fly back to the States.

He still had the problem of returning the gate key to the big bosomed woman with the Dutch accent who changed his point of view.  So being that most of the rooms at Harmony are around a swimming pool in the middle he asked a friendly Dutch couple if they could take the key but then remembered that then he would not be able to lock the gate on the way out.  Of course after taking the key back and agreeing with them to leave it in the mailbox he watched television in preparedness for falling asleep.  Then there was a knock at the door and guess who? -T.B.B.W.W.T.D.A.W.T.T.C.M.P.O.V.  She asked if she could come in (and she really has protocol down) and I said of course .  We agreed that I would leave it in the mailbox (“just drop off the key Lee” as Paul Simon once sang) and she asked for a received a double cheeked European kiss-kiSs from me (and it seemed we chalked up the towel to being exploded anti-matter of the multiverse but no as you will see).

Relying on my watch (and knowing the time change with no DLS in Aruba) and internal clock I awoke with time to spare already packed.  When I got outside the cab was already there but soon also pulling up was another car and you got it – it was T.B.B.W.W.T.D.A.W.T.T.C.M.P.O.V and she came to get the key and when i went over to the driver who was also a woman she said she could wait as she was more than a few minutes early and of course the T.B.B.W.W.T.D.A.W.T.T.C.M.P.O.V wanted the towel money though now we were on salutation kissy bye bye terms she wanted my card to swipe ad I said to her you only came back for the towel and she said if she only came back for the towel why would she have bought she her boyfriend and I a beer (for some price) and we said bye and I wanted to take a photo to post here of her but she wasn’t dressed up so she said not like this and we did another double kiss.  The driver soon said that she must have liked me that a woman does not act like that at five in the morning unless se likes you.  She had also said theT.B.B.W.W.T.D.A.W.T.T.C.M.P.O.V that the towel charged was actually twenty-five and she would eat the last five.   Well I was soon off to the airport where I joined after ticket check in a line outside the door where customs would son open at like six.  Meanwhile when i went through U.S immigration the gent turned out to be the husband of one of my many past and present co-workers (who I did not know was living in Aruba but did know that she was a Jew from Curacao and when i got back to foraging in Boynton Beach among the things I found upon this last visit was a history of jews in the Caribbean given to my late father by his friend Mike Bartels and this made me think that this trip had come full circle and that the dream was righted to go and I facebooked my friend  and told her that husband was the official who inquisited me and stamped my passport and she soon answered and she is a wonderful woman who was once my secret Santa at worked who gave me a hardcover book with one painting for everyday of the year and though I endeavored to look at it each day sometimes catching up  on lapses eventually I had to go all the way through at once.

So then I was back in the states to resume yoga in West Palm Beach, finish the after work of a life spent by a very hard working though sometimes very angry man named Sheldon Klein who indeed filled the first packing order for a company called Haagen-Daz and appears in the late Rose Mattuss’es “The Emperor of Ice Cream” (a title someone swiped without giving proper attribution to the great poet Wallace Stevens) who had the container for Carvel’s flying saucer packages made, who was once the fourth fastest miler in the Bronx, who helped with John Davis’s book on JFK-  good night man who changed the face of the Ice Cream industry-here is to all of us let us pray that we do not melt).  “Sub Five Minute Miler” his headstone reads – I wrote this blog – I wrote his epitaph.

Meanwhile back on the subject of Heartstopovers though the very large Joel Terry Freidland  was in the vicinity what I should have done was to wait for him and eat at the big calorie wonder palace which could still kill Bill Clinton and thus celebrate what is not celebratory for we all must confront what is confrontable or here that which does not kill us makes us wider (had off the Nietzsche and to Heath) but no and turns out that the man for all seasonings Mr. Irolla thus sent out another email with ‘Joel Terry Freidland’s description of the free-meal he was granted and the wall of fame he made.

Meanwhile on the healthier side I also came back to the living room where the cross training waiter maitre d husband of the owner keeper of the Audrey Hepburn shrine guided me to fish and chips and before leaving for the A of the ABC islands this wanderer ponderer had seen an open mic featuring a singer named Sheldon which was as your read if your reading my father’s name.  And not only had this writer this listener said well done Sheldon he had found out that the British named had been formerly popular in the former British colony of  Jamaica once upon a time (or at least according to this Sheldon).  Now later on this excellent culinary tour guide led me away from cherry cider and onto a beer float featuring real Chocolate stout (and that’s what its all about).  Having done more yoga now and having then decided to go to Bonefish one more time where this writer had an excellent Kobe beef burger by accident (he had really ordered the Salmon one but did not want to point up the mix up because the service had been so polite and the diner next to him offered him a couple of fried shrimp to enjoy while saying a couple of plates of these and he was good for an entire meal) and along with the chowder he joined many of the Boynton Beach cognoscenti at this offshoot of outback the steakhouse which always so crowded.

Soon having finished his business and he was on the road.  Getting pulled over for an out headlight (he did not know) it turned out the pep boys he was referred to by the lovely state trooper was in Daytona.  Then being just in time for President Obama’s State of the Union address he got the car fixed had a dinner at another Outback offshoot Carraba’s (good salad and soup over priced) where he met the former mayor of Daytona Beach Richard Kane with whom he dined and conversed at the bar and then when into the hotel to hear B.O’ s speech.

Next morning while not waiting to try out the drag racing attraction (try it yourself next door) he could not help but go over to Daytona Speedway across the street.  He paid ten dollars to attend time trials and practice for the upcoming Rolex race.  I t was loud but very interesting to hear the roar of the cars but no  place to take a cell phone call.

And by this point I had also stopped in Tradition off of I-95 but I do not want to go backwards or backwards against time or take a break and break back for Tradition it is a lovely planned community with a city center and a clapboard town hall and now there is now another Tradition tradition Hilton, Head in South Carolina but I decided not to break for that Tradition after all.

So soon I was back on the road stopping for lunch in St. Marys Georgia just over from the Florida line. Here toyed with seeing Cumberland Island, its wild horses, and the Thomas (Andrew’s brother) Carnegie Mansion but decided to head on stopping for the night in a hotel in South Carolina at a very inexpensive motel 6 where the Sean William Scott Paul Rudd movie “Role Models” which features a serious Kiss storyline as well as a roleplaying game scenario it was hilarious.

Where as a few trips before I had visited the museum of the marines in Quantico, Virginia  now I visited the museum of the special operations forces (paratroopers) in Fayetteville , North Carolina  near Fort Bragg where the special force originates from which had very similar diorama though a different story line.  Afterwards I tried a Mi Casita a Mexican restaurant in town for lunch and then returned north on the highway. This pretty much concluded this journey south and though   to see the first Chinese map to incorporate the Americas at the Library of Congress I did not time it right and it was back to NYC.

Soon later I journeyed to a midwestern state to see the winter national diving championships  to see the mens 3m platform .   The competition was astounding and one more sport went onto my educational banner-head plus I saw much of the campus of the university where the event was held and attended my first world class diving competition since Sydney Australia in 2000 and I got to see Kristian Ipsen the new US diving phenom.

Kristian Ipsen at the 2010 Winter Nationals Diving Championships in Columbus

Soon then after a stop in Wheeling West Virgina to see the casino on the river island and a stop at the hunting and outdoor goods store carbella and no sooner was I back in NYC that I joined former NY Sun Columnist Gary Shapiro for a trip to Waltham, Massachusetts to attend the premiere of his sister in law’s  Jeanne Taylor Shapiro’s short film “Ten Indians’ loosely based on an Ernest Hemingway short story.

Down to Fla to Go to Where Its’ Better in the Bahamas

May 5, 2009

Well after the stint at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York it was down by auto to Boynton Beach, Fla to go to Fort Lauderdale to fly to Nassau in the Bahamas ( a new country for this blogger Newfoundland).  The stops along the way were very few as to have a couple of days of rest at the wonderful Courtyard Marriot- Marriot Courtyard on Congress avenue (formerly the Catalina Holiday Inn) before jettisoning to the island of New Providence.

The major stops off of I-95 were at “The National Museum of the Marines” in Quantico, Virginia (and its magnificent building made to look like a sword in the stone or a raised blade in salute coming to an apex).  On the way in there was a fully overturned car and a military personage  impromptu directing traffic around the wreck .  Once inside the diorama and history time-line  presentations were great.  This is an excellently produced museum however if one enjoys a presentation that does mean that one necessarily agrees with the view of history it is attempting to progress.

The history of the marine band which has and continues to play for the Commander- and- Chief at the White House was also excellent (including the historic role of John Phillip Sousa who got the president to agree to allow the band to tour and how “Hail to the chief” came into usage).

The next stop was at “South of the Border” to possibly report on the doings at the Osaka Spa again (which my  first post about is by far my most popular entry on “WordPress”) but press forward progression it was to be.  It was sixty dollars for a brief massage so as to get more googling vehicle and truck operators to click on my page so what!  But I bought a gag roll of toilet paper for “cheap asshole”s to wipe theirs’ with- just so I could show it around back at the stew in your own’ juices theater back at the double decker bus tour terminal and jokingly suggest as an application when tourists ask for something to wipe off their seats.

Afterwards in a fast dash and thanks to some coffee we made it (friend Neil and I) to Boynton Beach in a dash in time to the check into the Courtyard by Marriot for an entire day.  We mostly relaxed but in a frenzy of eBay bidding for vintage Versace neckwear and updating the designers’ Wikipedia page and trying to live inside my long ago attempt at a futuristic novel “Speedboats of the Sky’ (which follows the exploits of a group of speedboats of the sky racers {in a vehicles not unlike Annakin Skywalker raced in the second series of Star Wars movies or a more recent parallel perhaps but not exactly being the red bull pilot obstacle course races} as they travel around the world in very colorful highly eroticized corporately sponsored  paradigm where coteries of models, money men , designers, and a million hangers on vibrate.  The initial scenes take place at a beautiful Jade inlaid freestanding nightclub structure called Casa Azul which lays somewhat offshore in the Miami Beach Zone.  There is a character in the work called Gianfranco Baroque whom I attempted to base on the then still alive Gianni Versace.  Here is the opening line from the work….. “it was a world  fresh with the  powerful scent of jet fuel, and of the effects of  expensive items purchased at duty free shops; cartons of cigarettes, bottles of well aged scotch and the complexions of the moguls who partook of the imbibe, of the palisading fluorescence of a vibrant world at play, of hallucinogenic cyber spice, and exquisite women in violet-marine well tanned from long weekends in Curical”……

Meanwhile once in the actual vicinity the large indoor municipal parking lot behind Lincoln Road had been taken down (or so it seemed at the time) and we chose a small side one instead. It was a beautiful evening as was nearly every one on this trip and we dined at a favorite Miami Beach spot of mine Tiramisu on among other plates monkfish salad (with a couple of glasses of  an excellent Chianti to boot).

The next day it was relaxation time and then over to Boca Raton in the evening to check out the Boca Raton Museum of art on open late until 9 PM and pay nothing night (otherwise known as Wednesday). What brought us here was perusing the South Florida museum listings on the internet and finding an exhibition curated by the critic Karen Wilkin (a posthumous Cleve Gray retrospective).  Meanwhile arriving at the large public plaza  mall condo city center Mizner Park the museum was unexpectedly closed however there was a large celebrate Israel music event which provided an adequate backdrop to an outdoor meal at a Mexican restaurant which consisted of a portion of guacamole, a grilled vegetable platter, and for me a passion fruit margarita (which much to my surprise turned out not to be frozen). Later googling again I found that the name of the restaurant is “Uncle Julio”s and had been written about by a food writer with my same first and last calling cards “Lee Klein” (watch out food critic Klein if I eat enough food in the sunshine state I might traipse into that business but watching what I eat which should be the opposite of eating it and until then this might stop this blogger from sampling too many morsels not to mention dollops of monetarial concern– and please note rather now that I am neither the food critic or the reputed organized crime associate who lives in the Boynton beach vicinity),

The next morning it was time to go abroad again on Spirit airlines which is by no means as annoying at the airport as it is on the internet.  We took a cab to the tri-rail (South Floridian inter city rapid transit) to the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood  airport stop and then to a bus shuttle link.  I was so paranoid about the airline that we arrived about four hours early for the flight and got the exit row (hint only bring carry-ons to escape extraordinary checked baggage charges and also get your seat at the airport for there is a booking fee online as well and the flight to Nassau from South Florida is not even an hour).

We got he exit row seats but the flight was delayed an hour while people complained that they should have taken JetBlue (while a hefty duo stood around  in anti-swine-flu masks while attempting to drink Starbucks beverages)photo-2.  Once in flight the airline was not so bad at all , the plane was clean, and the flight itself was very brief (though there was a group of intoxicated stockjokers or whatever being loud and drinking from an open bottle of vodka).  Inside customs and passport control were fun with a pirate character welcoming you to the Bahamas , free Bacardi mixed rum drink shots , and even a duo doing Island music next to a colorfully painted semblance of house next to passport control.

Once through all the entry procedures and stops it was time to take a taxicab to the place where we were supposed to be staying on Paradise Island.  We shared a minivan with a Venezuelan couple staying at The Atlantis and got to see New providence and Nassau for the first time on the way over there.  I left my Italian bicycling shorts in the cab and threw a tizzy fit which distracted from the viewing of the marine life in the Atlantis but we did spot Nobu just off of the casino floor which did not open until five thirty for dinner-(eventually I was taken out of my mood by a beautiful sales girl at the Atlantis’ Versace boutique who gave me a hug).

Then we found out the hostel we had been hoping on staying in on Paradise Island was no longer open for business (or just their three phone numbers no longer worked).  So we had to scramble to find other accommodations and after some debate settled on a ride back to New Providence by taxi to the Nassau Palm hotel downtown all the while eventually planning to make our way back by ferry back across to the Sivinanda Yoga Resort on Paradise Island.

So we checked into the Nassau Palm whose winding outdoor corridors seem to be scripted for a role in one of the many past, present, and future James Bond films to have been filmed around here.

Almost immediately I set out upon trying either to find the one day shark dive where no diving certification is required ( this adventure turned out to leave only on selected dates from Freeport on the Island of Grand Bahama) or a one day resort course (taking a prep and go diving the on the same excursion).  I could not get this information out of the ladies at the tourist desk in the lobby so I went down Bay Street to the canary yellow colored Hilton googled it in the business center printed it presented it to them and booked it for the following day with Stuart’s Cove.  Meanwhile we had the rest of the day to whittle away and we walked down to Rawson Square where a nice guard or be he a caretaker in civilian garb gave us a brief tour of the Bahamian version of Congress or British parliament.

Then it was off to Cafe Matisse (a restaurant Neil had found) for a dinner just off the square.  It was a pleasant place if not tipping too much a of a hat to the fauvist favorite of sun worshippers.  For the main course I had duck in blueberry sauce while Neil dined on fresh vegetables and a couple of plates of gnocchi were thrown in.

Afterwards it was to sleep for an early morning wake-up for breakfast in the lobby and than taking my one bag and yoga mat with me to return not to the hotel after diving but to the Mermaid Dock at Bay and Deveaux streets to take the boat launch over to Paradise Island to the Sivinanda Yoga Resort which is inaccessible by road.

The Bus to Stuarts’ Cove was colorfully painted silver and pink was swift in its trajectory and picked up passengers at multiple hotels along the route to the diving and snorkeling hub. Also on the way we passed through Lyford Cay which this blogger mentions on his tours of Manhattan, Nyc that Huntington Hartford the original mega-developer of Paradise Island lived when he passed away in his late nineties not that long ago.

Once there I had to pick up my equipment and join a boat which was leaving fast and the instructors told me that I was on Bahamas time now and to slow down.  The boat departed the cove and though this correspondent thought he was going to get classroom time he  would be instructed on the boat and participate in the second dive.  His instructor was a spirited Aussie gal who said she had been in the Bahamas for three years.

This was the first time I had gone diving since around the time of the start of the  Gulf War having overcome some breathing adversity and though I was a bit nervous and had to come back up a couple of time while demonstrating the skills needed to go down when this blogger finally did he was elated.  The instructor was an excellent communicator and pulled me down when my weight belt was not quite enough. The reef itself seemed a bit barren for the sub tropics though I did see a lobster but no sharks or for that matter the dreaded Lionfish invaders.

So after finishing I got the hotel bus to drop me off at the Mermaid dock (where luckily there was a launch which was just arriving to depart again) .  On the way over the ashram horticulturist was returning with a scented geranium and other plants which this blogger helped carry off and the headed for the check-in kiosk. i had missed the days yoga classes but after getting a temple side cabin went to dinner than the evening prayers, chanting, talks, and music convergence in one of the Ashram’s temples and here a visiting Krishna scholar talked of the divinity who walked among men’ adventures in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and had the rapt attention  of his audience with his deft references and wonderous humour (please forgive that I am not a seasoned devotee and am only recapturing events for a travel log and will update as I learn more).

So we were at the ashram for two nights and the part of three days and with its close proximity to the Atlantis it also allowed for one more visit over there.  I took three yoga classes and finally got going on doing some other form of the ancient practice besides “Bikram” as people have been telling me to do all along). What struck this writer here among many other things was the textural interface between the Sivinanda campus and peace and quiet and the large party boats which moved through the harbor ( one time the visiting scholar said as a loud vessel invaded the sound space during the evening gathering in the temple “I am reminded that George Harrison once said “All things must pass”), the cruise ships with large attractions built onto their decks (such as a water slide or a climbing wall) , the behemoth Atlantis rising as if out of the sea, the islanders and the strange vibe of Nassau.

At the Ashram we met a Taiwanese American artist named Charmin, a couple of expatriated Brits working in corporate disaster relief, and some nice women from all over the place.  Upon leaving we went back to Nassau and this time strayed at a very reasonably priced Quality Inn.  I went up and saw the exterior of Fort Charlotte.  Then came back briefly lost my passport and then found it by the pool (lucky).  Then Neil and I went back to the fort and then for a brief dinner a touristy spot which was quite good.

After watching some television  (a National Geographic special on the preserved Woolly mammoth infant found in the Siberian Tundra and a canine reality a show where dogs were voted out of a house by a family and then taken for a walk)  it was time for sleep .

The next morning we set out for The Marley’s families resort where we had breakfast and watched a great documentary on the clan’s patriarch Bob (finally getting down the political milieu in which he wrote and lived in Jamaica at the height of his fame in the nineteen seventies and early eighties)




then we got back on local transport which brought us there and got off at a cave which was supposedly used by indigenous people before transplanted Europeans and Africans arrived.  After this I convinced Neil to walk tot the airport as it was only about a mile along. Then we came along a strip mall with a lovely tea shop and decided to have banana and also pineapple rum brews.  Meanwhile stretch limousines brought gaggles of tourists to a the duty free liquor store which was next door to buy spirits to  take home on the plane.

Finally after asking directions we found the entry road to the terminal and finally this blogger learned the correct spelling of aufwiederzehn from and airport sign.

So we checked and went through customs and and then making small talk met a couple who turned out to be mediums .  So we set down for an impromptu reading at the gate ( first I got them a bag of popcorn) and the lady was correct about almost everything and without giving away the bulk of here reading this blogger is following much her direction today (as much as practically possible such as not flying Aeroflot to Dubai with a stopover in Moscow).

Upon returning we had a straining stretch waiting for the shuttle link to the tri-rail to walk back to the hotel and missed the final food call at the Pei-Wei Asian diner which is a spinoff from P.F Changs.  So instead we had a meal at one of the Asian Fusion places and then it was off to work out(or so I remember).  The next day featured at turn at the slot machines at the Hard Rock cafe casino (my second visit) which was featuring a free slot play and food giveaway).   The next day after that featured a voyage over to Palm Beach to walk along the famous Worth avenue where among other worthwhile sights was a great painting by Gerome in art gallery of youths and goddesses and swans. The Ralph Lauren Polo store here is almost as if a museum and their painting collection excellent including marvelous portraits by Leon Kroll.  Then we made tracks back to Boca Raton to finally catch the free night at the museum which features a stunning collection. The retrospective of Cleve Gray (whose work before I was unfamiliar with) was not my cup or not my cup of tea usually it had some very pleasing designs and as usual the firm Ms. Wilkin who curated it staked out her ground well.  This is quite a pleasing museum and one could spend hours marveling at the small gems by so many of the famous names of the recent and far recent past from a self portrait by Jose Clement Orozco, to a large Larry Rivers, to a humongous Sandro Chia work in the sculpture garden called “la offeretta”.

So then finally it was time depart the sunshine state and so we did all while listening to the audio version of the John Grisham novel ‘”The Broker”.  The first stop was in Flagler Beach for lunch once again at the Fisherman’s Net where Neil ordered fried Alligator Tail bites which he than decided not to eat.  Getting back int he auto we then stopped to watch the dolphins both adult and babies frolic at Marineland.  Then we made our way up the coastal highway into St. Augustine itself with stops at the nations’ oldest pharmacy founded before Florida was part of the United States) , The Casa Monica , and a few other spots.  Neil was not as keen on St. Augustine as I have been and so it was off finally stopping for the night in a motel in Santee South Carolina.

No stops of any major importance occurred again until Vienna, Virgina where I picked up my microphone at the home of a friend in whose car I had left it.  Than it was back and back to work in quick succession I think the next day.

Voting and Back to Florida

November 5, 2008

So I had to vote and did so after eating breakfest thus just leaving enought time to get to the airport and go to Florida again. 

I saw the new Jet Blue JFK terminal which was more streamlined and less thematic than I would have thought though I did not really have the time to sample all the restaurants and I found the bars and coffee stands right in the seating areas at the gates amazing (though I try not to drink before or on flights any longer).  The flight on Jet Blue meanwhile was wonderful with a great variety of snacks and beverages and all those channels on the personal viewing screen (though headphones are a dollar I managed to talk myself into a pair for free).

I watched the election results come in until landing and got a toyota minvan as my rental (I have a toyota solara myself in New Yorkand after over a hundred and eighty five thousand miles though I have only driven it for over a hundred and fifty it is still like wow!).  I made it south from West Palm to Boynton Beach and found that the Catalina Holiday Inn during metamorphosis had become a Courtyard by Marriot (so goodbye Pete Rose Ballpark restaurant goodbye bases loaded French fries (oh jalapenos, melted hot cheese, sour cream, scallions, bacon bits-no good for me anyway but remembered fondly nevertheless- and yes there is another Pete Rose restaurant in Boca I will have to google as to whether it is still open).

Watched the election all night McCain of course is an admimarble man but hallelujah!….. Lets see what this country can do trying to do the right thing again (of course I am doing the writing thing again). Congratulations from this blogger to Barack Obama the President elect (and to be the forty fourth President of the united States).

I had a champagne in the courtyard lobby all spanish mission california contemporary red and yellow color schemed with silver starfish objets d’art and even a calcified alligator skull (teeth and all).

Also I must enter that last week finding the time to go to Broadway this itinerant blogger got to make use of the newly opened Times Square revamped TKTS pavillion….  and chose to see the fantastic restaging of Peter Schaefer’s Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame) and Richard Griffiths (from the History Boys) who (and lets be honest) should really shed a few pounds and stop smoking even if just for the sake of drama.  While it seems everybody older than I had seen the original Bway production with the very late Richard Burton I did not so being an Equus virgin it was an approached with much internal fanfare.

The staging while minimalist was fantastic especially the actors playing horses donning the metal masks hung overhead at the beginning of the play.  The acting was excellent and the interplay naturalistic. The ponyboys could have been in a Madonna video. Bravo!

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.