Posts Tagged ‘Conneticut’

Conneticut, Vermont, Massechussettes, and onto the Winter Olympics in Vancouver

March 1, 2010

So as you were reading in my last post I was now in Waltham ,  to attend the premiere of Gary’s sister-in-law Jeanne Taylor Shapiro’s cinematic debut.  The Shapiro’s house however was in a town named Bolton not that far from Worcester where Gary and I had stopped in at a bar which was having an event which seemed to be a nineteen twenties dress up party musical evening (and also when we saw the sign for the Holy Cross versus Army hockey game which we would later attend).

We were not originally going to stay over but having escaped winter storms in both the mid south and the midwest by making tracks I advised Gary we better leave early to go north of the deluge as to almost totally avoid it.  After a late night arrival and a little reading and a little tough breathing in the morning I enjoyed my first ever pistachio bagel.  Then after conversation with the filmmaker and her spouse we raced over to Waltham to see the film.  Most of the cast attended and the response was ecstatic it was a tour de force of mood, the light dwindling in the late summers caress of lost early love of the dream disappearing into the bitter~sweetness of what is yet to come and perhaps it is or was a bit more Fitzgerldian then what we are used to from a  Hemingway interpretation,  but, there is still a  lot of Greenberg mixed in.

On the way back I had my eye on the hockey game and in my mind with that Holy cross there was a cross burning on the hill a flaming beacon bringing me forth towards the arena and blazing in my presence.  After the screening where the three boys who had played the brothers in the film and their cousin ruled their roost as did Taylor Shapiro and as the cast and crew posed for photographs.  Then soon it was time for the lunch at the Tapas restaurant nearby, where, this blogger had Duck in pomegranate sauce and artichoke fritters.

When we got back Gary brought me over to Walden pond long ago the home of the naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau and we surveyed as much of it as we could upon this frigid day.

On the way back to NYC  we had it perfectly timed to stop at Holy Cross to see the hockey game which was a little into the first period when we arrived.   Though the game was a decisive victory by the cadets  learned that Bob Cousy and Tom Heinson were holy cross alumni and much more later about the Healy brothers (one of whom was the first african american president of a US university (Georgetown) and had the famous hall named after him there.

Then I was home for a few days before I traveled to a motel 6 in Connecticut to watch the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver winter games.  I arrived early at the motel and with the few hours to kill ventured to see some of the sites that i had watch on the Mystic seaport tourist television program broadcast as part of the cable formatting in the room that this traveler had watched through many updates over the years.

The first stop was the Lyman Allyn art museum in New London or thereabouts really this museum was new to me as was going past the United states Coast Guard academy nearby.  here there were lots of regional and older American paintings as well as a survey of modern and contemporary art including that of Wilfredo Lam the Afro-Cuban painter who combined Cubism, surrealism, and magical realism at different times and counted Picasso among his compatriots in Montmartre.

Then this venturer went over to the Nuclear sub base and museum in Groton, Connecticut to see the museum and the historic Nautilus which is docked their permanantly。  Also Nyc tour wise I was able to learn about the Bushnell submersible developed by a Connecticut man andthe aborted attempt tosink  Admiral Howe`s flagship in New York harbor authorized by General George and executed by another Connecticut man, Ezra Lee. Next this motel room bound tv viewer went over to have the buffet (where they serve New England clam chowder) everyday at  Foxwoods.

So then finally after checking all my suff on the internet at the simulated apple store (with apple products but not owned by apple used apples not rotten to the core) conveniently just off the casino floor this television watcher to be drove back to the motel six somewhere in the vicinity of  Flanders and Niantic.Approximately four years prior this blogger had made it to Torino and the one event (besides the opening ceremony wich included a performance by Pavarotti which turned out to be his last) he had seen had been the luge (both one man and two man in the gold medal races), tickets had been available and the motto of the games had been “Passion Lives Here“  most had to work.   Nothing had ever been more exciting more fast the aerodynamic sits the blades on the ice the sliders moving faster then the eye could see a line of chroma blazing only to reappear and zip out of sight once again the swiss and Austrians slinging cow bells the tightly packed crowds the surge the mountain air the multiple cappucinos the executives from U.S steel explaining the corporate sponsorship of the metal edges used for the sport– but now these games opened with a acknowledgement of the first nations chiefs as equals to other world leaders but also the death in a practice run of a young Georgian luger named Nodar.   The luge run would not be the same the start was lowered to where the women’s race began and I could not make it there for soon I was headed with my oft named friend Neil to a farmer`s confrence in Burlington ,Vermont.

It was a long drive to Burlington , much longer than I had thought.  I had passed the sign for the ferry across Lake Champlain several times on the way back and forth to Montreal but this was the first time that this blogger would be here.  The conference which Neil would be attending (he wants to start a farm) with I tagging along would be at the University of Vermont.  Upon arriving it was almost as if a Japanese wrestling match sumotaneous he was at the bus station but couldn’t wait so he told me what hill to drie up to find him where.

Where was at the U of V and soon we walked across the street from a large church where they were ending one program and setting up for nother to a question and answer session across the street which was followed by a Vermont farmers celebration cake with heavy icing of which I but not he took part.  After this event which took place in a wonderful wood paneled room which had a hemispherical like shape we talked in the hallway with a man who built and sold moveable greenhouses.  Then I (we) had the first of many cups of Green Mountain Coffee which almost seems to be the official Java of the state ( as is Ben & Jerry the ice cream).

Then we walked across the street and Neil said some senators would be talking (and who knew) and now the whole church was filled as it was both of Vermont’s United States Senators (Patrick Leahy(D) and Bernie Sanders (I) but caucuses like Joe Lieberman with the Democrats and was as a congressman the first socialist ever elected to the US House and is also a former mayor of Burlington) as well as Vermont’s lone United States congressman and lo and behold the United states Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa governor and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack.

this was the Vermont farmers annual meeting and much of the crowd was interested in this issues pertaining to independent and small family farmers versus huge agri business.  They bombarded the affable Vilsack with questions and suggestions and one angry man screamed at him about the Yankee nuclear power plant and perhaps got questions by the  some feds.

Next it was time to do something else and Neil wanted to go to a young farmers event after a meal and some lectures in University of Vermont classrooms on subjects like the future of soil and farm rehabilitation camps.  Still I ate more apples but played it easy on the coffee after a health screening indicated that perhaps I should.

There was a main area in alarge building on campus which featured vendors selling things such as live worms and beekeeping paraphernalia, and meanwhile there were members of the Vermont secessionist movement in the abound (they even have their own Vermont republic flag).  Free ice cream was being given away while sing along guitar music was being played.

The first night we had to stay in the nearby town of St. Alban’s because everything in Burlington was seemingly booked.  First we got the hotel and then we went back to Burlington for a young farmers party where we partook of various refreshments and saw a film about the move to get young people to return to farming.  This was in a multi story building in Burlington on the second floor while on the first floor there was an exhibition opening about the video game in contemporary art (but it was mostly ho hum).

I had wanted to see the University of Vermont Art museum while there but it was closed on this weekend.  Seeing lake Champlain was lovely and now this blogger felt relaxed enough after finally getting all his mileage points from Emirates air posted to his Continental account to book his flight to the winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia with a stopover to help a friend and a friend of this friend with an art escapade and to see the CIty by the Bay to which he had never been before.

Meanwhile somewhere whereabouts on the way back into Burlington from St Alban’s this writer and his friend stopped at the Goodwill store and this blogger got a pair of Paul & Shark linen yellow pants for $5 and a Helly Hansen suit for a similar price.

Meanwhile this blogger had heard an advertisement for the Von Trapp family lodge and was determined to stop there for what turned out to be breakfast in Stowe in the snow on the way out of town.

Meanwhile in town the second morning we were there and the first to eat together we ate in the Blue bird cafe which had many fattening things grown by local farmers but also some healthy choices in lovely wood surroundings and a pleasurable if not expensive breakfast.

So now back this traveler already had his ticket to Vancouver and now made his way to the airport and even got to San Fransisco on a cloudy day (so the Golden Gate from the sky would and the city by the bay from the heavens would not be seen on this day but the views later of Washington state and Vancouver as approached from the Ocean would be magnificent) early and was able to catch an earlier flight by sprinting through the airport once his continental flight was done and his United from SF to Vancouver was to begin.  On the flight a lovely couple from Canada on their way back from Florida and the Caribbean made for great company and thought the flight was delayed some wine freebies were given up for it and so the trip proceeded well.

Once in Vancouver he was very happy that he had made it there he was amazed by the massive Indian sculptures there from the Tribes today called the First Nations (including the one that is on the Canadian twenty dollar bill as he would find out later thought this one done by a single artist)

"First Nations" Airport Sculpture

This blogger then made his way furhter throught he airport while stopping to take photos of  the arriving olympic airways and worked   to change his flight to stay longer and then began to find out how to navigate his way down to the Olympics themselves in other words Canada Hockey Place.  So he took the train and switched at the appropriate station and then came out by the entrance to the arena and there he had two hot dogs acquired with the loonies and the toonies which had ben tips for him as a double decker tour guide over the years as well as some given to him by tour guide Traci and tour guide Steve.

Soon somebody said that if I wanted tickets that someone was selling them right over there.  And the price was great sixty dollars for what turned out to have been a $200 dollar face value seat in a luxury box for Sweden versus Germany in the opening round robin.  The luxury box was lovely and even came with pitchers of ice water with lime refilled and refreshing   The game was mostly lackluster and a 2-0 win for the swedes but the colorful crowd of Scandinavians and supporters dressed in blue and yellow was a delight.

At Canada Hockey Place Swedes Face off against the Germans

After This I needed to find the bus station which was right nearby a walk away though I took the Train one stopped and past the provincial pavilions glowing in the dark there I went and bought a bus ticket to Edmonton and a Train Ticket return through The Canadian Rockies on Via Rail.

Meanwhile I had seen brightly lit structures including one which said Sochi world which upon walking back turned out to be the Russian pavilion highlighting the next city to host the winter games Sochi, Russia.

Sochi World Looking FoRward to the next Winter Games

So now I walked back to them bus and rail tickets in hand (or pocket) and found the Russian Pavillion (Sochi World) closed but many Russians in the abound. So now I walked across and went to a bunch of pavilions with time on my hands about four hours including the crowded Quebec building

The Quebec Pavilion

which included an electric house concert

Quebec House Party

and some acrobatic act (beers were about ten dollars and I abstained) next I made it into the Saskatchewan Pavillion but when it cam to posing with a Mountie this blogger balked.  I saw the Canadian hockey Pavillion it was a hundred some odd dollars to eat and drink all day there and this was not what I came to do get fat at a sporting event and also did not put this on my calendar.  meanwhile the line to enter the Ontario pavilion was to long and so I headed for Chinatown.

This was lovely and the thought of the Canadian Western frontier mixed with Chinese design tickled my designs on the exotic inside my mind.  The streetlights with the maple leaves on the red Chinese shade for prosperity especially did it for this blogger.  After passing on a first dining choice I found an astoundingly colorful place

Vancouver Chinatown

where I had some seafood soup and who knows I cannot remember but it was good.  Here this traveler watched more of the early olympics and then headed off for the bus.  The wait for the bus in the mixed train and bus terminal seemed like forever but I was there way before the hour recommended that one should be.  I had taken minimal bags so I was minimal maintenance and passed the time having Coke refills at McDonald’s.

Once on the bus I headed straight back for the twenty four hour ride.  I was in the three seater by the bathroom next to a Mexican man with a seat in between.  I also talked to the man in front of me who also turned out to be Mexican as well so I introduced the two Mexicans who bonded so the first left the adjacent seat to me and joined the other so then I could sleep.

Sleep I did and woke for good early the next morning still in British Columbia but not yet in the high Rockies, though here they came.  These were the most amazing peaks I had seen since the ranges is like the Remarkables on the South Island of New Zealand.  We went through them for most of the day before traveling along the Albertan prairie at night.  At the stopover to change buses  in Calgary there was quite a show as some ridiculous type street-walker kept walking and taking the attention away from the butch security guard set up to check people before getting on the bus.  Then when on the bus to Edmonton for an early morning arrival there was a mildly drunk chatty Indian Canadian chic who had met some guy from the oil services center and she wouldn’t shut up or stop moving around.  When I arrived in Edmonton this blogger went right across the street and checked into the nearest  hotel (across the street), which turned out to be a dive.  The next morning after spending the breakfast voucher plus at A&W back at the bus terminal on multiple hash browns and orange juices I took my stuff and made for the West Edmonton Mall hopefully to stay at the West Edmonton Mall Inn where I had stayed once before in 2003 in hopes of getting a whole big shopping mall novel done.  I got directions left the dive and made it over there to scope out my surroundings and make plans to play horsey later.

I went to the apple store therein and checked email and flight plans had spring rolls at the Vietnamese restaurant on the theme eatery mall road Bourbon street which had moved across the hall from my last visit earlier in the decade and then walked outside and across a main access road to the West Mall inn to find that there rooms were about $200 a night. So I called and called to the Comfort Inn downtown and made a reservation there. Next I returned to the mall to check out the large water slide park.  Then at some point I returned to the apple store and read on wikipedia that Emillio lavazza the head of Lavazza coffee had die and then went to a middle of the mall hallway expresso cafe and had a dopio in his honor (trying to remember all the Italian art fairs and Venetian visits where finishing an Italian  shopping mall poem was to supposed to be to be all about my business).

Meanwhile once  I got tot the hotel in downtown Edmonton this tired traveler began to settle in for the next couple of nights doing yoga by the pool watching the winter olympics on the television, and going to the sauna.  His room looked right out on the great atrium which seemed just out of biosphere with the pool several floors down but tiers of rooms looking out on the space rising. There was a Chinese restaraunt in the lobby named Bird’s Nest of Beijing which I could tell right off the bat just was going to be excellent.  When eventuallyl I returned for lunch on my last day in town this bloogger remembers having the sauteed bok choi and  a spicy Mongolian lamb dish (though the memory of the meal is now  hazy but at the time all of the wonderful food was well explained by the affable and and informative owner maitre d what have you who made the establishment such an unepectedly  charming place).

While in town I took the time to go over to the brand new home of the Art Gallery of Alberta, a geometric freast done by a one time acolyte of Frank Gherys but now creative force of his own, Randall Stout.

The New Art Gallery of Alberta Building by Randall Stout

Here there were exhibits of Goyas , etchings, works by Degas, and a survey of the work of the Candain portrait photographer Yousef Karsh.

Also playing in Edmonton was the dramady I Google myself (which I frequently do) but time had run out for me here. I went over to the chateau like Fairmont hotel at some point for the last time this traveler was in Edmonton he had been given an icy once over there.

The Fairmont, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The next morning it was time to go on VIA rail back through the rockies after a trip on the prarie through to Vancouver.  The train was late inleaving and this writer thought this would reduce the time we had in the national park in Jaspar (but this fear later turned out to be unfounded).  The wait in the depot listening to a coupole carry on about having had their home robbed as they went on and on about all the places they went or were going to.

Meanwhile once on the train Isnared the fared four across seats let my stuff there and as the train was underway made my way for the dining car (while scoping out the bubble domed observation car as well).  Once ther I was seated there for breakfast with a young woman just back form a stint in South Africa who had done a degree in journalism before traveling abroad.  This done I settled in the watch the long haul through the Albertan prarie to the foothills of the rockies and our late day stop for about an hour in Jaspar ( a town which lies inside a national park)-One thing I did to sharpen my skill as we trekked along was to notate all the differnet things we saw as differntiated nouns so as to build up the use of the words to describe things later (and partially erase the  going around and around on the bus which I partially counteract by even citing that experience here).

On the way in once we hit the Rockies Mount Robson, the highest peak in the range

Mount Robson fromthe Observation Train Car on Via Rail

was pointed out and observed by most including moi.  Further along once the national park was entered a large group of big horn sheep was cited and announced and fast enough this blogger snapped a photo of the herd.


Big Horned Sheep on the Rocks

So once in Jaspar the town within the park thought told elk would graze by the train depot there were none there upon this day.  I was feeling like a traveler filling up time on the open road and seeing a bread store this blogger went wild and  got two , including the Hawaiin pineapple bread and then there was no need for the overpriced gourmet diner with assigned seating for singles in the dining car.

Meanwhile as time went on this tourist became obsessed even more than he had been with sighting a moose.  This person asked many about other moose sightings and sat and sought out the site of a moose or moose site.  Finally a man who had been studying a detailed map of the area as we coursed along back country rivers said there was a moose see him and I looked and then he said across the river and then he was gone and he inferred that he had heard the train and got up or perhaps now after long reflection and making the joke over and over on my Nyc tours that this is museum mile named that for the abundance of cultural institutions which like to display things otherwise known as museums including the mooseum the moose see him and that comes from this now perhaps there was really a moose and perhaps he was leading me on and laughing to his wife somewhere else- but then later they called everybody over to the freight car where a wildcat caretaker had to lion cubs about seven weeks old in the fold being transported back to his compound and which we were allowed to hold and this beat a moose with a two of cubs.

Lion Cub on Vancouver Bound Via Rail Train

So after this I though the day had been complete and lay across the four seats across and slept.  Upon waking the moutians were sparse and soon we were back in Vancouver and this traveler had the day to spare.   Being that the train station was(is) in the same building as the bus station this blogger decided to go to Whistler which was easily accessed from there and arranged to then metro it to the airport to sleep there in advance of his flight to San Francisco the next day.

So ticket in hand this voyage went back to the provincial pavilion park with the intent of arriving with an hour a spare to go by bus along the famous sea to sky highway to the olympic alpine village of Whistler.

On the bus he met a local biologist who specialized in fish and past Squamish and the beautiful vistas along the road now well traveled. Upon arriving in Whistler he checked out when the medal ceremonies would be investigated the village got in on the media computers and attended to drinking at the Slovenia hospitality suite at the Whistler Westin.

meanwhile much of the enjoyment this writer had inteneded to partak of was to be the high flying dynamics of the luge.  Unfortunately the practice run for the mens single was a scen to tragedy plus this itinerant typer could not leave in tiem to make it there.  Though when in Whistler he was able to sign the condolence book for the Young Georgian slider

Nodar Kumaritashvilli Memorial and Condolence Book

Nodar Kumaritashvilli Condolence Book

Still walking around this blogger passed the injured U.S skier T. J Knight hosting a tv spot and eventually made it to the media center at the Whistler Westin and then went onto to crash the Slovenian Hospitality suite where he  had more than one hearty Eastern European Brew and very nice chicken dinner.  Later he waited on line to get into the medal ceremony , took some picture of mounties


, danced sang” tonights gonna be a good a night” with Norwegian revelers


and saw among other the German two man bobsled team

Crowned German and Russian Bobsled Duos

and the Austrian ski jump team receive their medals

Austrian Ski Jumpers Wolfgang Loitzl, Thomas Morgenstern, Gregor Schlierenzauer and Andreas Kofler, receiving their olympic gold medals

.  Nervous about making it back to the last bus to go back to Vanocuver from Whistler to make it to the airport to fly to San Francisco the next morn he left early during the time that the Austrian team took off their snow hats to show off their locks blonde and otherwise to go aslong with their gold medals which look liked warped compact discs and missed the concert by Devo, but, able to convince those on line with him to allow him to hold his space to run up to briefly catch the group on one of the many large video screens.

So the bus ride back was swift having been almost the very first passenger to board and soon i was back at the bus station .  Next I simply walked across to the street to the rapid transit station and mad it back to the airport as the train filled with hordes of Olympic hockey fans coming out of the stadium.  Once at he airport I made a survey of the  Tribal sculptures in the terminal and then mad it over to a Starbucks couch where I slept.

The next morning after ana rdous trip through customs this travler boarded the flight and this time coming into the bay area saw the Golden Gate Bridge and what he thought to be Alcatraz. California here he came, California here he was.

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.

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 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 ”