The Occasional Tales of Ailsa B du Bois

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Inside the funky, cool medina…

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 28, 2009

Yesterday we spent the majority of the day within the 16 (distinctively un-) square kilometres of the ancient medina in the oldest part of Fez.  Fez was settled in 808 A.D. and it really does show: there are 9,400 known streets within the medina, and it is a medieval maze of the purest surviving type.  These alley-ways are very narrow, and often covered or semi-covered with an ensemble of bric-o-brac wooden planks.  The walls that enclose each building within the medina tower up about 3 to 4 stories, at all sorts of irregular angles.  Everything is crumbling, and the pathways are cobbled and uneven with broken and dishevelled sections underfoot.   One must tread even more carefully than in a New York street, and putrid waste is often under-foot.  It is a step way back in time, to a genuinely medieval way of life that you rarely witness elsewhere; except maybe Cairo or Calcutta by memory, or possibly also Damascus, I’m told.

I could not tell you how many thousands of people live their lives in there, but I can report that every little merchant shop is 2 metres-wide and maybe 2.5 metres deep, and they go on and on beyond the stretch of imagination, each competing for the surely finite local consumer dhurum.  There are an enormous range of goods and services within the medina; whole alleys of the most ornately embroidered and glittering wedding jalaba’s, and huge glitzy wedding chariots and oversized thrones for the married couple, made of tin, it seemed to me, but covered in the sparkliest of adornments.

The Moroccans are oustanding artisans and craftspeople, and countless people toil by hand on the most detailed of repetitive tasks: some highly skilled, and others not so skilled.  We observed carpet makers, tanners (sulpher and natural dye), silk threaders, ceramacists, tailors, barbers, jewellers, goldsmiths, tile makers,copper-smiths, dentists (eek…),  sweet-makers, cherry sellers, nougat-makers, nut and spice sellers, fish-mongers with their unrefridgerated seafood crawling with flies, chicken and pidgeon breeders, butchers with whole marinated raw ram’s heads hanging from their stalls, and so on and so on…  Merchants, vendors, tradespeople, and the poor, all sênd their lives in this congested environment, scratching a living together.

As you trudge through the medina, up sloped paths and around sudden corners and down steps in the dark, and momentarily out into a shot of blinding sunshine, and back into the yellowed half light again, one must be ready at any moment to stick quickly against the cold, dank, side walls to avoid the poor, wretched mule or donkey that charges past, wobbling with a body loaded with potatoes, or carting a large metal carriage of bags of rice or cous-cous, or one must make way for the grisly motor-bike laden with bags of fresh mint, or tobacco or whatever else they may be carrying along somewhere in a great hurry, to service someone.  And be careful not to step on an old one eyed cat, or a litter of adolescent kittens, that slink about, keeping the potential rat problem under wraps.  Elderly Berber women with their facial and hand tattoos indicating tribal affiliation and marital status sit cross-legged under foot, peeling vegetables or stringing beans,  and all in all this is a very fascinating place to visit.  The Arabic music plays and the aroma’s of all varieties, add to the experience.  So many people living their lives inside the medina, down darkened alley’s and behind grand closed wood and metal gates that are often over 1,000 years old.

Gorgeous, dusty looking children run past you constanatly, some saying ‘Bonjor Madame’ as French is taught here as the second language fro, Grade ” onward.  Blind men beg of course, and some entertain in traditional Berber dress, with swirling bells on their lttle hats, hoping for baksheesh.  Many women of the veil wear their scarf over their face often to protect themselves from the dust it seems to me, as many carts clatter past with loose plaster and concrete dust aboard, and you never know what you might inhale next.  Most of the homes here do not have internal water, so women and children collect water from the communal pumps.  You could get seriously lost in the medina, and frankly anything could happen to you.

I could type on for hours about the medina, but this tri-lingual key-board is rather challenging: part French, Arabic and English in lay-out and conventions – It’s a bit of a brain-twister for me.  And so, I conclude that the funky, cool medina is a sincerely fascinating place to visit, and everyone should do so, at some point, to get things into perspective!

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On the road from Casablanca to Fez, Maroc.

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 26, 2009

We’ve just arrived in Fez, following a fascinating 2.5 days travelling through Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes and Volubilis.  We’re having a really amazing time; and have seen so many things already and we still have 7 more days here!  Having spent a month in Egypt many moons ago, it’s not entiurely exotic for me, but still it is a distinctly different time and place.

Casablanca is a white walled, blocky type of city beside the ocean, adorned with endless palm trees, but unfortunately it is merely an entry point for the nation’s commerce.  It is filthy, with few redeeming features to speak of other than the incredibly enormous and gracious Mosque of Hassan II.  This religious site is something to behold, and up to 25,000 worshippers can pray there at one time.  The architecture and the grandeur of it is stunning.  Following our breath-taking surveyance of this fine Mosque, we drove to Rabat, further North along the coast.  Rabat was a joy, and we saw an impressive Mausoleum, the original settlement of Rabat, and some fragrant gardens, and a walk through the Kasbah by the sea.  This was surprisingly like picture postcards of Santorini or Mykonos in Greece, I thought, with all the blue and white stucco painted walls, and we emerged to a sunny, elevated vista, overlooking the ocean and thousands of young people enjoying the fine weather.   In the late afternoon we wandered through the Rabat Souk, and bought a few sparkling trinkets for our daughter.  In the evening we went to another traditional Maroccan restaurant, and enjoyed tajine with some fellow travellers.

This morning we left Rabat, and drove for 2 hours to Meknes, where we toured an ancient underground prison, and lerant a lot about how lucky we are not to have lived in Morocco at that time.  After seeing various interesting sites, and also having a fabulous roof-top luncheon, of exquisite warm salads, we then drove on for an hour or so up into the mountains.

Volubilis was once a provincial Roman capital, a distant outpost of the empire, prominently sited along the edge of a high plateau in a gorgeous olive rich valley. Is was an impressive Roman site and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explored the many public buildings and at the House of Orpheus we saw fine mosaic floors intact.  It was really extraordinary, actually. We have been on the go non-stop all of yesterday and today, doing a great deal of walking.

So much more to report about everything, but Laurie and I are keen for an apricot, fig and lamb tajine now; so must dash!  It has been a very active day.

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Our Last Day in Le Marais…

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 23, 2009

Not much time to type right now, as we’re off for ‘Bon Soir’ bevvies with Fred & Philippe at a local bar.  Tomorrow we must rise at 4am (irk!!!) to fly to Casablanca.

Montmatre, Moulin Rouge, Pompidou Centre, Place Des Vogues and more meandering through the cobbled lanes of this incredibly artistically rich city.  Such a shame we can’t just live here ad infinitum… but we must be away soon…

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Lunch at Le Jules Verne (within Le Tour Eiffel) and a cruise along the Seine

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 22, 2009

This morning Fred, Philippe, Laurie & I were all tremendously excited to get into Philippe’s Renault and zip over to Le Tour Eiffel for our very special lunch at the critically acclaimed and celebrated modern French cuisine restaurant, Le Jules Verne.  We skipped the 2 hour queue, and went straight to the restaurant’s exclusive elevator up 134 metres along the angled leg of the tower.  We were very lucky to be given a prized window table, and to be blessed with a clear, warm day.  The view over the Left Bank was to die for, and the cutlery, the plates, the glass-ware all innovative and highly modern.  We opted for a set menu, which is written up as 3 courses, but was in fact 5 courses (2 of which were dessert).  Each course was accompanied by a dedicated glass off wine or sauterne, appropriate to the texture and taste of the specific meal.  We were offered a delicious array of unique breads and croissant type creations to have with the main course, and it was seriously sublime.  Upon leaving in an advanced state of gentle euphoria, ‘ladies’ are presented with a gift of 3 madeleine’s (petite sponge cakes of delicate consistency).  Alaine Ducasse is the Managing Chef, and his expertise certainly are evident here in terms of creative direction and supreme quality and attention to detail.  It is true that it cost a week (or two) of an average salary to indulge in this way (and I heard a very urbane French Canadian man at the next table remark that they’d lapsed on a mortgage payment to be there, which is fair comment!), but it was well worth it, in every respect.  We will never forget this special day, and it was so lovely to be able to treat our friends’ who are getting married next Friday.  This gesture of an extraordinary luncheon within a global architectural icon, was our way of wishing them congratulations, a happy future together, and also to say thank-you for hosting us, and being so generous with their hospitality.  It is such a joy to be here in Paris, with these two absolutely wonderful people.  And it must be said that this whole dream-like experience is an exceptionally rare treat.

After lunch we floated down to the general look-out area, and took some happy snaps (some of which I will upload onto FaceBook).  We then seperated to glide off in different, but comparably dreamy, directions.  Laurie and I skipped another queue (which looked to be up to an hour long), and used our pre-paid tickets (courtest of Fred) to board the Bateaux Parisienne for an hour’s boat cruise up to near the Champs-Elysées, and back again.  Most relaxing, though in fact we felt so relaxed we could have quite easily fallen into the Seine and floated away blissfully…  But, we didn’t!

Next we wandered over to a little market street called Rue Cler, and observed old fashioned style butchers, fish stores, fruit and veg stores, chocolatiers, patissereies and florists’.  It was like the little red beetle children’s books I have from the 1960’s: so sweet.  We felt we had to buy something, however small, so when we found a huge, but completely unpretentious, cheese store, we ventured to purchase a round of Neufchàtel, fromage artisanal au lait cru, fabrique en Normandie.  We looked with some slight discomfort at cheeses with thick patches of furry mould, and while we have no doubt they may be delicious, it’s just a step too far for our Anglo sensibilities.  Anyway, we’re home now in Le Marais, and Philippe is cooking dinner for us: goat’s cheese with crusty bread, then fish for main with thick white asparagus.  All this walking we’ve done may well be erased by these gastronomic  ways of ours, but we are on vacation, and so ‘Voilà’!

Other observations of today include witnessing a thief, dressed in a suave fasion, running like hell on wheels from under the Le Tour Eiffel, almost crashing into Laurie on his way, and being pursued at a ferocious speed by 3 men dressed in black, with gold and hot pink Eifell Tower key rings jangling by the dozen from their belt rings, and off they all went, crashing through the otherwise genteel park of Ecole Militaire…  On the Met home we changed at Operà Station, and witnessed some almost frightening crush of humanity trying to squueze both in and out of the Met doors.  But all things considered, we’re finding the public transport here very civilised.  The mood on the Met is friendly, and relaxed, and people chat away comfortably.  Also the African French in the inner city are very cultivated and stylish, diverse in their physical beauty, and hold the integrity of the cultures’ from which they have emigrated.  It’s really nice to see.

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A Sunny Day in Le Marais

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 21, 2009

We had a beautiful afternoon today, strolling throughout Le Marais; saw many ancient buildings of significance,  ate pistachio macaroons, spied upon the precincts of the very rich, the Palace Royal, and saw the latest La Chapelle photography exhibition at Le Museo de Money.  We then checked out the quirky items at Collette, a cool urban design goods store.  Caught the very shiny clean and hip Met up to Isle de la Cite, came back up to earth beside the Seine, and crossed over onto the Left Bank.  Sauntered over to the Notre Dame, went for a caramel with salt sherbet (in a petite waffle cone), then stopped for une càfe at a bar, and then strolled happily back through the discreet gay districts of Paris, with our friends’ Fred & Philippe.

Le Marais is labarynth of cobble stoned lane-ways, and every crevice is enchanting.  The apartment block we are staying in was built in 1788, and the buildings on our rue are all built at slightly, but noticably, different angles.

At  8ish 5 of  Fred’s friends came over, opened exquisite Champagne, and then we all grazed on fois de gras (again) and paté, dried pork sausage and cherries.  Great people and great conversation.  Portugese French, Irish French, Belgium French, Normandy French, French New Yorker and an authentic Parisian French woman – a fabulously cosmopolitan group; each with their own unique life story and perspective. Eventually we all left for dinner together at a nearby bistro, with excellent ambience.  We do like it here.  It is all so supremely stylish, and everyone speaks and dresses well.

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Parading Around Paris

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 20, 2009

Here we are in our friend Fred’s generously sized 4th floor 2 b.r. apartment in Le Marais, the 3rd arrondissement of Paris: the ancient city centre.  Fred kindly collected us from the Charles DeGaulle, and then spun all around central Paris, like a human pin-ball at the wheel, giving us a guided tour of all the land-marks, all at once.  The 6.5 hour flight really threw us, as you leave at 10pm NYC time and arrive at 11.30am Parisian time, but having had only about 2 or 3 hours sleep if you’re lucky (being bolt upright in cattle-class AA chairs: horrible).  Very disorientating.   Fred took us to a café for lunch oppositie the Square du Temple.  We were presented with enormous Croque du Monsieur de Salmon with Oueff, and thousands of ‘frittes’, each! 

After this Fred dispatched us at the Northern end of Rue Vielle du Temple (as he had to return to work) and we promptly proceeded to get completely and utterly lost for three hours amid the cobble-stoned maze of Le Marais.  We rambled hopelessly in the sultry sunshine, dazed with jet-lag, and incomprehension.  We happened upon an extraordinary exhibition called “Mary Goes Round” which was a female Tokyo inspired ensemble of LaChappelle-esque candy colours and giant fibre-glass ponies, with a strong fetish flavour. Very interesting we thought.  We saw so many curious things today, and traipsed unwittingly all around Le Marais, bumbling upon Le Boubourg (Pompidou Centre) and the Bastille and all sorts of mammothly significant  cultural & architectural icons.  It seems just as enchanting as when I was here 22 years ago (ouch!), but unfortunately more polluted with smog.  Still a delight to be here, but extremely expensive.  We will not be purchasing anything here, except food, vino and gallery entry.  I saw a meringe in a shop window today for AUD$7 – one meringue (very delicious, I am sure), but… it  was all of 7cm in diameter!  A can of coke is $7, and one glass of average wine in an average sort of bistro is $16 – You get the idea!  Anyway, we’re here to observe and enjoy; but not to spend more than we have to, with the exception of lunch at Le Jules Verne, in the Tour Eiffel, of course!!! :-0)

The Marais district is very arty indeed; galleries and boutiques everywhere, and many café’s.  It is a real mixture of the modern & old worlds, living comfortably together. Superb architecture, and very clean, and safe.   Gay, Chinese, and Jewish quarters all co-exist within it, along with BoBo’s, arts students, theatres and clubs.  I’ve learnt, much to my delight, that there is a social category for me here in French society: I am a BoBo.  This is the label for ‘Bohemian Bourgeousie’ – I can live with that quite happily, I feel!  It’s much more relaxing here than in NYC, and we are so lucky that Fred is accommodating us, and helping us with all sorts of inside info.  We’ve already learnt a great deal about the insanely generous social security system here – it’s bizarre.  A bunch of his friends are coming over this evening for Champagne and to inspect we ‘kangaroo’s’, but sadly we can not possibly go out with them for dinner and clubs afterwards, as we are seriously ‘pooped’.

I must mention that French key-boards are very confusing – all the letters are in different spots and the function keys are all different. It’s a very slow process updating my blog, as I keep having to go back and erase endless ‘q’s’… and inappropriate semi-colons, so forgive me in my presentation seems sloppier than usual while in Paris!

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Lower East Side Again, the MOMA & the MET

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 20, 2009

On Sunday, we ventured back to the Lower East Side by subway, to see The Tenement Museum and did a fascinating 90 minute walking tour, learning how new immigrants lived 135 or so years ago: not pretty.  However, the tour-guide was clear, knowledgeable and had strong impact, and we learnt a lot.  The part around Orchard & Allen Streets there is quite funky, with stunning gritty heritage street-scapes, and a handfull of really cool cafés.  Walked over to the New Museum after that for “The Next Generational: The Generation Younger Than Jesus.”  The space is amazing, and the purpose of the gallery is to be applauded for this particular exhibition – some interesting pieces, but mostly, I didn’t see much that was ‘new’. Its like yes, I get it: adolescent and early adult-hood angst, anomie and so on… same old stuff.  Nothing new about it at all.  But, still, its kind of sweet to see that the junior art world is still alive with Toyah Wilcox, Siouxie Sioux, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and Warhol style creativity.   But it is simply not new!

On Monday we went to MOMA expecting it to be good.  We were excited and inspired by the first two floors (working down from the top), and feeling really energised by what we saw, but then it just kept going, and going, and it began to blow our minds to sawdust.  We have never, ever seen such a comprehensive collection of modern art in one gallery.  It was really too much, a complete over-load, but oh, what a gallery.  All the greats, and loads more to boot.  We would highly recommend the MOMA – it is unquestionqbly the best collection we have ever witnessed.

On Tuesday, our last day in NYC we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: NY’s pride and joy (justifiably) housing the largest and most comprehensive collection of all genres of art, in the English speaking world.  Sensibly, I elected just 3 wings to inspect: Modern, American and Medieval.  The Modern wing contained select Warhol, Pollack, Johns and so on.  This is an enormously gracefull building, with a stunning roof-top terrace with sensational views of Central Park, and a sprawling silver installation across the top.  Fabulous!

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The Guggenheim, The Whitney & Hell’s Kitchen

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 17, 2009

What a lovely day we had – grabbed a cab (as they are very cheap here) to the Solomon Guggenheim (an art gallery to die for) and saw a bit of the permanent collection, which was out-standing.  However, what was really breath-taking was the space itself of course.  This is the iconic, bright white, circular 1959 gallery designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (one of my most favourite modernist achitects’, and the man who most inspired Australia’s Harry Seidler).  Incredibly, we lucked in on the 50 year anniversary retrospective of Wrights’ work, built and unbuilt (sketches, plans, elevations, models, film, the lot!).  This was an absolute feast for an architectural freak, such as myself.  My Grand-father was a builder, and so as a 7 year old I spent many a day studying 1960s architectural magazines, which were all highly modernist and ‘futuristic’ at the time.  I even attempted my own innovative triangular floor-plans, but nothing like Wright’s!  His is the genius; no question!  Following a glorious 3 hours at the Guggenheim, we lunched in the cafe there, on tuna and caper brioche, which was mouth-watering, then popped over to Central Park to have a peek at the most familiar, but still unreal, vista across the Jacquie O Reservoir to the condo’s on the Upper West Side.  We then taxi’d to The Whitney, which really knocked our socks off.  The merits of its giant box like quality only become truly apparent from the inside.  We saw some really great stuff; amazing works by several highly accomplished contemporary artists; a lot of it political in one way or another.  This gallery was a real surprise to me; much better than I was anticipating.  After 1.5 hours there, we wandered through Central Park, past the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party monument, the toy boats on the Conservatorty Water, and past the Children’s Zoo.

After a brief interlude back in our ship’s cabin like room (it’s only 3.5 x 3.5), we noticed a street fair happening outside, 10 floor’s down, so ventured out again.  Wow!  This was a lovely surprise experince, that we could never have found out about from any guide book.  We walked ultra slowly down through 9 blocks into the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, among an endless ocean of locals, enjoying roasted corn on the cob, fried onion flowers, Italian sausage, curly fries, epinada’s, caramel corn, deep fried Oreo’s and gosh only knows what else.  The whole of 8th Street looking down was populated by the multicultural colours, sights and sounds of NYC inhabitants.  There was a massive range of side-stalls with games for kids, and gold-fish for sale, and even 600 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linen for $20 (so naturally we felt compelled to buy a pack).  The whole street fair thing went for about 15 or more blocks I’d guess.  So many people.

In the evening we caught up with a woman I work with, who’s just moved to Chelsea, from Sydney, and we had a really lovely evening of cocktails and tuna sashimi, tempura oysters, chicken tepinyaki and so on.  It was great to spend time with her.  Came back to the Patio Bar here afterwards, at the Hudson, among the vined walls, and thought about how mind-blowingly wonderful this city is to visit.  We are having a spectacular time.

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The Hudson Hotel, The Flatiron District, NY Public Library & Hair on Broadway.

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 16, 2009

Cinnamon Babka with Philly for breakfast this morning – we’ve worked out that some good quality items from Dean & Deluca’s can see you well for a few days of breakfast.  Last night we had a Cosmopolitan on the Rooftop Lounge Bar here at the Hudson.  What a cool scene that is, and such incredible roof-top views.  Many beautiful young things gliding among the vastly over-sized potted plants.  It took me back to my Tokyo days: very cool.  This is a delicious hotel.  Meeting a friend for cock-tails and Japanese a few doors up from here tonight.  We should may try the Library Bar afterwards; a gorgeos wood pannelled, yet modern space, full of books up high, and with large quirky photo’s of cows wearing flamboyant hats.  I like this area, and of course the Upper West Side is the most exxie real estate, second to Soho.  Saw Yoko Ono’s condo the other day up here – the Dakota Building.  I do like this area, near Columbus Circle, and Central Park.

There’s a few things from days past that I neglected to share earlier, so let me back-track.  On Wednesday we walked from 45th Street all the way down to 20th Street and back up again.  We went to the Flatiron district and admired that amazing 1903 building (it reminds me of the Oxford Street bar, where I first met Laurie & struck up a rapport with him at a friend’s cocktail party).   Then we went and sat in Madison Square Park for a bit – very peaceful and green, while still being full of people, of course.  Had a really lovely lunch catching up with a friend at a bistro on Park Avenue.  It was so interesting to hear about what its like to actually live in the U.S. (from an Australian’s perspective).  Checked out the beautiful lobby, and glimmering subway entrances under the NY Life Insurance Building.  We then strolled back up to mid-town, and spent a good hour walking through the New York Public Library – such an indulgent public pace, but so necessary in this crazed city.  Really tranquil.

On Tuesday night we walked through the teeming Times Square and Theatre District areas’, and had an amazing evening enjoying Hair the Musical.  It was extraordinary.  If I hadn’t been so completely blown away by jet-lag, I would have loved to get up on stage at the end, with the broad range of people that jumped at the chance to get up there for that 5 minutes of pretend fame.  Such talented and well cast performers by the way.  I jut loved it, but then I do know every word of every song in Hair, so naturally I felt very moved by the end of it all.  I’d happily see it all again.  When we got back to Times Square it was glittering with perpetual neon, and pumping with people.  We could be forgiven for thinking it was New Year’s Eve, I sware, yet in fact it was just a normal Tuesday night there.  It was so intense – All those people there on the streets, wearing their life-long hopes and dreams on their sleeves.  The social and psychological fragility of all of these lives mixed in together actually brought tears to my eyes.  I just had to stand there beside a police-man for a while, reflecting on a whole lot of things.

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Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Oyster Bar & Richard Avedon…

Posted by Ailsa B du Bois on May 15, 2009

I haven’t had time to blog for a while coz I’m too busy doing things!  This morning we were on the subway by 8ish, and down to Battery Point for the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  She is awe-inspiring, truly.  Standing underneath her, and gazing up at this Gustav Eifell created master-piece, set against the mid-blue sky, is quite an emotional experience.  I really liked it.  Freedom, liberty and opportunity – I say YES to these privileges.  Went into the monument museum as well, and climbed the 156 stairs (and yes, I counted them) up to the base.  Sub-wayed back up to mid-town for a really spesh lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar underneath Grand Central Station (and it is indeed large and grand on the causeway there – though all I could think of was Carey Grant in a Hitchcock scene…).  We were given complimentary Champagne on account of this being an important occasion for us  (I’m not silly – never hurts to mention it!). We shared various individually differentiated oysters for starters, then I had soft skinned Carolina crab in garlic butter sauce for main.  It was great: a real land-mark, NYC lunch-time dining experience.  After that we inspected the lobby of the Chrysler Building, and oh, we melted.  This is unquestionably the most impeccable example of Art Deco marble grandeur and steel and precious wood trimmings I have ever seen in my life.  I could have just stood there for hours (if my legs weren’t aching so much from the insane amount of walking we’ve been doing these past 6 days).  After this, we walked a few more blocks to 5th Avenue and saw the Richard Avedon fashion photography exhibition on at the International Centre for Photography.  This was pure visual poetry: stunning.  After this, we popped our heads into the Algonquin, literary lobby, but felt we needed to relax a whole lot more, and give our aching feet a rest, so headed back to make the transfer to the Hudson Hotel by Central Park.  So now, here we are, in the Phillip Stark designed Morgan hotel, and it is rather sexy, I must say.  Even the elevators are sexy.  We have a view of W58th Street, and two water glimpses of the Hudson – doing well!

Yesterday we went up to the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, and it was really fabulous to see all of New York City, and get the big picture on all the parts we have seen since last Sunday morning.  We have truly packed it in.  Laurie thinks I have him on a boot camp program!  We have been zig-zagging all over town, from Wall Street to Harlem, and everywhere in between, and we’re loving it.  Will try to type more soon.  Off to the Guggenheim and the Whitney tomorrow, as it will be a rainy day.  Those who know us well, also know that we do love our modern art… as evidenced by our prior art gallery investment… 😦  Never-mind: We are very happy to be here amid the definitive art scene in the English speaking Western world – very happy!

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