Thursday, March 23, 2017

Turning sixty in New York City- a blow by blow of my day

I first came to NYC alone to celebrate my 30th birthday. With limited funds to spend, the big attractions were mostly beyond my means, however thankfully I did go up the World Trade Centre Towers for the views. I was naive or stupid enough to think walking down Broadway, hanging with the homeless in Grand Central Station, riding the subway and viewing Central Park were all acceptable activities. Without a doubt it was the most challenging, intimidating and confronting travel experience of my life at that point in time. NYC was no place for the weak or ill informed. It was dangerous and the streets were scary. 

Over the years I have returned several times and so it seemed sweet and fitting to want to celebrate my 60th birthday here too, even though we usually like to go somewhere new for auspicious events. 

This time round it certainly helped to have arrived almost a week earlier with Anthony and to have settled into his beautiful apartment on 145 Street with spectacular skyline and nightlight views. Mastering the subway system and stepping up to the speed of a cosmopolitan existence was only possible due to his expert advice and his incredible generosity of accommodation. 

My day my way!

I savoured lying in bed and listening to the wind roar down the canyons of avenues marvelling that even on the 14th floor it was so audible and adding to the cacophony of honking and sirens of the traffic below. Clear blue skies and sunshine greeted me and were the perfect compensation for the freezing temperatures and howling winds. I even heard a local say "The wind tunnels are back." Just before we were nearly blown onto the road in front of the Dakota Building this morning.


After a deliciously decadent brunch at Le Pain Quotidien (the daily bread) and pots of coffee served French style in the huge white bowls we headed off to buy flowers.


Every time I have ever been to Strawberry Fields there have been flowers at the "Imagine" mosaic so I felt I was long over due honouring my first ever rock hero in the same way. 

The tear shaped park and mosaic were a brief stop as it was literally freezing outdoors but I'm glad I did it and that my flowers were not the first of the day. The crowds were gathering and the guides lecturing in strong New York accents and at a speed, even I struggled to comprehend.

Next stop was Little India and a charming Indian grocery store, which I predicted would sell the henna I wanted to keep my hair colour the orange I adore. Sure enough it sold the exact same brand I have used in Bhutan for the last 3 years!! I have had daily comments and compliments on my hair since arriving in America and it is one of those endearing things that everyone who thinks something positive has no qualms about sharing it. The Bangladeshi shop assistant was delighted to assist and even offered us a sweet from the nearby cabinet. I think not too many white folk shop there. We now have a new restaurant zone to explore. 

The third subway ride for the day took us to the Fulton Street stop adjacent to The One World Observatory, for which we had pre-purchased tickets online. Despite the raging wind and bleak conditions the Ground Zero monument honouring those who lost their lives in 9-11 was a must stop and a few quiet moments had to be spent contemplating the way this one event changed the world forever. Upon entering, security was tight as was to be expected but the staff were courteous, formal and polite. At the 100th floor observatory, the clear views (for more than 42 miles according to the presentation) were as spectacular as we had hoped and we looped around the 360° platform several times identifying buildings, bridges, rivers and streets and marveling at the sheer enormity of the city. 

By the time we managed to get to the impressively deco Flatiron Lounge it was already cocktail hour and we were fortunate to score a table near the bar. A New York Sour for E and a Lady Chairman for me before indulging in a couple of Cosmopolitans for the road and we were humming along nicely and glad to leave the then packed and very noisy bar. I would never have thought it would fill up by 6pm on a midweek night. 

Candle 79 was our choice for dinner as we were attracted by the organic vegan - vegetarian cuisine and although I wouldn't have thought it possible, it topped our previous favourite of Blossoms easily. It was a fantastic meal washed down with Prosecco and our table by the window on the second floor allowed us to observe the street scenes and twilight wash over the Upper East Side.

The final and sixth subway ride of the evening took us "home" to 145 Street and we didn't get lost or confuse lines or directions once all day, so I guess we actually are masters of the subway uptown, downtown, crosstown and beyond now. 

What a day. What a ride. 60 and loving it! If orange is the new new black, then perhaps 60 is the new 30. Alive and well and loving the ride thanks New york City. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

oNe PhOtO a DaY FeBrUArY 2017


WEDNESDAY 1st A STREET: One of our tasks while we are home is to downsize our possessions and move those we intend to keep to a smaller storage unit. This was happening on a street in suburbia this morning. Dealing with our stuff in the "lock up" as we like to call it

THURSDAY 2nd LIGHT: Just one of the lovely things about staying in Glenelg is the nightly light show. Stunning beach sunsets and intense colours

FRIDAY 3rd HAPPY: to be home, happy to be spending time with family and happy to think that our presence would be reason enough to open a bottle of Mo√ęt

SATURDAY 4th MIX: This salad was a mix of roasted, raw and blanched veggies and something I often ate for lunch in Bhutan (without the feta) I enjoyed adding it to the mix of dishes provided tonight at Dallas and Dave's house. We all provided dishes and it was sensational

SUNDAY 5th MORNING SKY: Looking south from the back door of this apartment in Glenelg the morning sky created a foreboding atmosphere and the unseasonal summer rain commenced shortly after

MONDAY 6th CORNER: This Japanese Step Chest or 'tansu' can only be placed in a corner in this exact direction as the two sides, which can't be seen, are unfinished. This shot is our living room from seven years ago. Today it went into a new smaller storage unit in the corner as the first item around which, to pack the boxes (see the picture below)

TUESDAY 7th FASHION: Two things that never go out of fashion- a good sun hat and a polarised pair of sunglasses especially when you live near the sea. My 20-year old sun hat and the sunnies I bought 1 hour ago. The old ones are now 10 years old but will remain as my cycling glasses. Travelling light and feeling free
PS from this you may well assume that I’m not very into fashion and actually loath clothes shopping!!

WEDNESDAY 8th FACELESS PORTRAIT: at Adelaide's iconic balls in the mall

THURSDAY 9th TREAT:36°and  sunny here today. The best treat I can think of is gelato - lime and raspberry flavours

FRIDAY 10th THE VIEW FROM HERE: is delicious as far as the eye can see. We take every opportunity to visit Adelaide Central Market when we are home and always love it. Still my all time favourite market

SATURDAY 11th WORDS: This is just one of many hundreds of postcards I have stumbled across since we started on the task of reducing our possessions. I can't read any of the words except Moissac and that is enough to tell me where I bought it and many memories of France filter back to me despite it being over a decade ago

SUNDAY 12th PATERN: This could be an animal print or feather but it is actually the leaf of a prayer plant in Adelaide Botanical Gardens. The ever- repeating patterns of nature

MONDAY 13th FLAT LAY: The current state of my carry on hand luggage in flat lay looks like this. That's just about maximum weight already. Technology will be my undoing but how could I live without it

TUESDAY 14th HEART: Happy Valentine's Day to my best friend, husband, partner in adventure, co-traveller, soul mate and companion cook. The man who stole my heart 34 years ago

WEDNESDAY 15th BRIGHT: I had this prompt in my head all day when we were wandering around in the city but didn't spot anything. Then we got out of the tram in Glenelg and instantly saw this cyclist's socks. After complimenting him on them I asked to take a photo!! The things we do for PAD

THURSDAY 16th FROM WHERE I STAND: My dear friend Jenny standing with her contributions to the Bouquet Exhibition at Gallery Yampu. She looks fabulous from where I stand

FRIDAY 17th SPORT: The only sport I have ever really persisted with is swimming. This is an archive shot from our favorite hotel in Bangkok taken by Ian

SATURDAY 18th HABIT: The habit I always revert to in Australia is drinking the delicious Aussie wine

SUNDAY 19th INVENTION: This collapsible coffee banet is the best invention ever for someone like me with a serious coffee habit. We take it and the stainless steel cup with us everywhere so we can make REAL coffee wherever we are

MONDAY 20th BOOKS: These are just a few of the books in this beautiful Art Deco apartment where we are staying. They perfectly match the restored decor, character and charm of the place. Beautifully styled and presented thanks Miss Jane

TUESDAY 21st LINES: the lines of the horizon and shadows and pylons of Largs Bay Jetty in the morning. Taking every opportunity to enjoy the beach

WEDNESDAY 22nd ON THE SHELF: the miniature copies of the Chrysler Building and The Empire State Building on the shelf in the kitchen at Retten Building Glenelg

THURSDAY 23rd DRIP: The final drips of water falling from the "deer scarer" in Himeji Gardens today 

FRIDAY 24th TREASURE: The true treasures in our lives are the friends and family who bring us joy and bless us. These are a few of the Adelaide people who fit that category in my life

SATURDAY 25th GRASS: It's the beginning of the autumn here in Australia and the grass is pretty dried out. I took this from the train yesterday and that vista still signals "the green, green grass of home" to my eyes

SUNDAY 26th ARTSY: The graffiti and street art lanes of Melbourne contain many images that are very artsy. This mixed media one incorporating newspaper took my fancy in Hosier Lane near Federation Square

MONDAY 27th NEW: Anyone who knows me knows I love orange and although my birthday is still several weeks away, at a surprise birthday party on Saturday night Vinola gave me this gorgeous maxi dress. I particularly like the detail in the bodice. Now I just have to find the right occasion to wear it. The final addition to my suitcase

TUESDAY 28th EVENING SKY: Taken about a week ago on Glenelg beach at twilight. This evening sky epitomizes summer for me. A sweet and fitting ending to our brief time in Oz