Bacolod languor seems to have infected self’s bones: this trip, she is just not in the mood to rush around seeing plays or visiting museums. If she does nothing else than finish reading the two books she brought with her (Laurence Bergreen’s Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu, which she actually managed to finish late last night; and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, (whose first 20 or so pages are killing her, just killing her! Thompson is hilarious!), she will consider the time well-spent.
Yesterday was warm (like summer) on the streets of Manhattan. Today, it seemed as though time had speeded up, skipped through summer, and gone into fall. Because self was under the mistaken impression that today’s weather would be similar to yesterday’s, she left the apartment in nothing but a thin T-shirt, slacks, and sandals. And at the first blast of that chill wind — achoo! Achoo and achoo and achoo! Neither does it help that almost every other person in the subway seems to be sniffling. Today she sat in a subway car that aimed a positively Arctic blast of cold air directly at the top of her head. She wanted to move but that would mean giving up her seat and standing the rest of the way, and since her destination was at least 50 blocks away, self decided to endure the chill air and the inevitable cold (Anything for a subway seat! Anything!)
Every trip to the Splendid City is, of course, different, depending on who self meets or what serendipitous occasions come self’s way. Here are a few things self has noticed since arriving, late Monday night:
Discovery # 1: New York is always warm, at least on the 9th floor.
There are two weather zones: the apartment, and the street. In the apartment, no matter what the the weather is outside, it is always warm. Which is why self tends to think of New York (even in November) as warm, like a cocoon. So different from California where, to conserve money, hubby never wants to turn on the heater, even in the winter. So, naturally, when she is back home, she spends most of the time bundled up in multiple sweaters, as long as she is inside the house. Which then makes her think: California is cold! And New York is warm!
Discovery # 2: New York (or is it the apartment; or is it the Upper East Side) is positively, amazingly soporific.
Back home in California, she never naps. Here, the minute she sets foot in the apartment, her eyelids start to droop, and next thing you know, she is dozing. She even has dreams. This happened to her yesterday, while she waited for brother-in-law to return home from the office. She actually fell asleep, had a dream, and when she awoke, brother-in-law was already in the kitchen, putting dinner on the table.
Discovery 3: Japanese restaurants near St. Mark’s Place have the best desserts.
She has discovered the most fabulous desserts, all from hanging out yesterday with Luis Francia and adorable Midori. In a bakery just around the corner from St. Mark’s Bookshop (Panya, on Stuyvesant b/w 8th and 9th) she tried green tea tiramisu. She had it with a steaming glass of Yuzu tea, and the tea was surprisingly sweet but very, very good. Seated at the table next to hers was a man who was suffering from terrible allergies. At least, that was what he was telling a friend. And he went to Panya because, while searching the web for a solution to his allergy problem — that’s what the web does to us; it turns us all into persistent self-medicators — he read somewhere that horseradish would help, and he thought: horseradish = wasabi = Japanese food = Panya on Stuyvesant. Is that not a really neat process of deduction?
Another place that has really good desserts is Cha’an on 9th. Here, Midori had yogurt sorbet with melon and grapefruit (Yum Yum!). A film-maker friend of hers had chocolate soufflé with raspberry sauce, another yummy concoction.
Discovery # 4: Nephew has agreed to accompany self to Penny’s birthday party tonight, somewhere in Tribeca. Wait, that’s not a discovery, that’s a fact. Well, the discovery is that she invited him and didn’t think he would agree, but he did!
Penny’s birthday party is the whole reason self is here. It’s being held in Plein Sud, in The Smyth Hotel on Broadway and Chambers. Self thinks it is the most fantastic stroke of luck that nephew William is around, for she finds taking the subway a little iff-y, when it’s late at night. But tonight she will not have that problem, for she will be with nephew (He is going off to Washington University, to begin Medical School, in August). Thank God for niece G in San Francisco and nephews in New York!
Discovery # 5: Manicures on the upper east side cost as much as they do in Redwood City, CA.
In anticipation of Penny’s fab party, self decided to get a manicure, her first in many weeks. So she walked down Lexington and found a place that was open. And self discovered that manicures here cost exactly the same as they do in Redwood City, CA, and the pedicures are about $10 less. Not only that, the woman applied all kinds of bases and primers to self’s nails before applying the polish. Then she sprayed self’s nails with something. The result: self’s nails look as hard and polished as a Japanese lacquer box. Color she chose this time: neon pink (The last manicure color self chose was blue, which was an absolute hit with her students, the check-out girl at Safeway, Lillian H, you name it. Zack even sent self a text that said: “I’m with Lillian. She says hello to you and your blue nails.” — !!!)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.