Travel

While Waiting In New York

Do you know what the term “it’s in the waiting” means?

I first heard the phrase in the song, “Take Courage,” but the exact line is “He’s in the waiting.

The He refers to Christ.

The phrase means, to me, there’s value during the in-between time.

The in-between time is when one needs to have courage and hope.

That’s the positive take.

And I’m trying, desperately, to hang onto the positive.

For the past 100 days I’ve had an apartment under contract in NY. Closing was due weeks ago and postponed to June 1.

My daughter and I came up to NY from California on June 1 thinking we’d help my son, due in on June 4, to move in and get settled.

June 1st has come and gone and we’re not closing until I don’t know when.

What to do except call the agent who has no recourse; out of his control.

In the waiting, we’ve visited several sites and I decided to blog a travel log of our time here.

A favorite, so far, has been the Metropolitan Museum of Art, especially the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion in the Catholic Imagination,” exhibit. A stunner.

Several designers created gowns for the show:

Versace

Another favorite place was Central Park, a refuge from the heat and humidity of Sunday.

Walking through the perfumed roses and trees of Shakespeare’s Gardens took me away from the blaring horns of police cars, ambulances, and construction.

The lake had a rowboat traffic jam but was still enjoyable because the guitarist playing in the surrounding grassy area sounded so good.

We visited the 9/11 Memorial which is quite emotional both inside (museum) and the outside water features.

Along the way to these sights we took the subways ( yay we haven’t taken a wrong one yet) and had a chance to talk with other travelers and native NY’s.

An elderly woman with crooked lipstick (like my mom) and a voice like Katherine Hepburn offered us directions when we stopped to glance at google maps. We were looking for Strawberry Fields.

Her old dog had trouble trying to squat because his hind legs were shaking so. We chatted about her dog who she said was a good boy for a lonely woman.

She pointed us in the right direction, smiled, and told us to enjoy the music that was sure to be at the site.

A mob of selfie taking people were at the John Lennon Memorial, posing on the site, so unlike the first time I saw the place in 2001.

This is someone else’s photo:

A man wearing a hospital gown, scabbed sores on his arms, some cuts on his face, sat in the subway car while another man talked to him about giving up his drug use.

The man spoke to him in the most compassionate way, gently but realistically painting the picture of his future if he kept using drugs.

I caught the date of birth on the man’s hospital wristband, 49 years old, but he looked 75.

The man handed him a sandwich and a bottle of water, patted him on the shoulder.

“I tell you because I care about you,” he said as he got off on the next stop.

Tomorrow, we’ll travel some more and keep hope alive for a closing date.

Send me some prayer and good vibes 😉.

Thanks for reading.

Latino culture, Travel

A to Z Challenge: Few K words in Spanish

How far is it? Photo by Daniel Levis Pelusi for unsplash.com

K is for Kilogramo and Kilómetro.

Not acquainted with the metric system nor thinking it had much importance proved that ignorance is not bliss.

I was in my twenties when I traveled to Mexico and had no idea that it was important to know what a kilómetro (km) or kilogramo (kg) meant.

Okay, I’d heard the word ‘kilos’ a lot but I really didn’t know what that meant physically or distance wise. On a trip to Mexico City, I found out.

“How far is Teotihuacan?”

“Cinco kilómetros.” (five kilometers).

My mind interpreted this as five miles but we arrived quickly at our destination. I later found a kilometer is .6 miles.

So I figured if a kilometer was about half a mile, a kilogram was half a pound.

At an outdoor market the next day I wanted some strawberries. My husband reminded me that Mexico used kilograms for weight and left to a store nearby.

So I asked the vendor:

“Un kilogramo de fresas, por favor.” One kilogram of strawberries, please.

See, I thought I was getting a half pound of strawberries.

A kilo is not a pound. Kelly Neil photo unsplash.com

 

Not.

Petrified with embarrassment, this pocha walked away with over two pounds of strawberries!

To complicate matters, the shortened version of kilogramo is kilo, which doesn’t mean 2.2 pounds but “loads of” as in:

“Me comé un helado con kilos de chocolate.”

“I ate ice cream with loads of chocolate.”

But, it’s okay to make that mistake.

Loads or un kilo of chocolate. Photo by Flavio Shibata for unsplash.com
Travel

Traveling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.-Ibn Battuta

Chelsea Bridge, London photo by alvaradofrazier.com

The quotes on this page sum up a great deal of why I travel. Some years I go overseas, other years I’m exploring a new U.S. state.

I’m a planner. I’ll search for the best flight, best hotel deal, research the sights, read the reviews of tours, and generally go on a quest of the intended travel site at least four months in advance of the trip.

Detailing an itinerary is not on the menu. Instead of “we need to see this in this day,” I list top sights to see on the trip. We usually get to most of the sights and find new ones when we get lost. And we always get lost, not scary lost, just wrong turn lost.

 

Churchill Arms Pub, London. photo by m. alvaradofrazier

“When overseas you learn more about your own country than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borgen

 

The Churchill Arms pub is full of atmosphere inside and out, but I’d stick to having a beer or beverage and skip the food, which isn’t pub food but Thai (mediocre).

I overheard a seventyish English gentleman having a conversation with an American couple, in their forties with Southern accents, about President Trump. They were Trump supporters. The Englishman said, “He’s a stupid arse,” to which the conversation ceased and the couple left the pub.

Several times we were approached and asked if we were Americans; a couple of times we were invited to drinks. I wasn’t viewed as an ethnic minority from the USA, I was identified as an American. This made me think about how we are seen by the citizens of another country. Refreshing change. There was an interest in what we thought about issues but a strange fascination with Southern California.

 

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Although I’ve been to London twice before, I’d not seen several areas beyond the city. Planning this was a little trickier since I needed train reservations from London to Manchester, Manchester to Bath, and Bath to Heathrow.

I used National Rail to find routes and fares. Buy your tickets at least two weeks in advance; a month is better. Buy the day before or day of almost doubles the price. I had no problem using the self-service machines to collect my pre-paid tickets and the staff at the machines was always helpful. Take a train and explore the region.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

Every day we made our ‘activity’ goal, you know the one on the iPhone app that tracks your steps. Each day we walked more than five miles, once it was twelve miles. Those Tube and train stairs made me so glad we only brought one piece of carry-on luggage each.

We had friends in Manchester, an industrial city, where we visited the Rylands Library, a library to rival libraries. It’s a late Victorian, Neo-Gothic building, with a tremendous amount of books and archives, including medieval illuminated manuscripts and a Gutenberg Bible. Interestingly, this was built as a memorial to John Rylands by his wife, Enriqueta, his Cuban born widow.

John Rylands Library, Manchester, UK

“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

Bath was a hub for us. You can walk or take a bus or a river barge and see the sites in one twenty-four hour period or a leisurely two days. Walking is better.

The city was in a Jane Austen Festival frenzy with the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death. Several women dressed in Jane Austen attire strolled the streets or ducked into a pub for a Jane Austen Earl Gray Red Ale, a beer brewed special for this occasion.  The main garden area had this lovely floral structure, an ode to Jane, although my photo doesn’t do it justice. They’re taking volunteers for the 2018 festival next September.

Jane Austen floral tribute for 200 year anniversary

 

The highlight of our trip was the mini-van tour, Mad Max Tours, from Bath to Stonehenge, the Avebury Stone Circles, Cherhill White Horse (the Uffington White Horse is 3,000 yrs. old), and two Cotswold villages. Gorgeous scenery and such interesting commentary.  We went early before the crowds and had a chance to take photos without too many people swarming Stonehenge.

 

Stonehenge. Photo by m. alvaradofrazier

Enroute to our destination we stopped to view the Avery and Cherhill White Horses on the hillsides. These are from 1750 and 1805 and part of seven white horses etched into the hills. They signified protection in ancient times.

Lalock and Castle Comb villages were a step into another time. Castle Comb is the quintessential English village. Both places are home to several movie scenes from Dr. Doolittle, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, and we just missed Johnny Depp at the pub by two days, when filming for Fantastic Beast 2 wrapped up.

This 1361 pub in Lalock used to roast meat on a spit turned by specially bred dogs called Turnspits (of course) which was a long-bodied, short-legged dog, now extinct.

The George Inn a 13th Century pub, Lalock, UK photo by m. alvaradofrazier

 

Part of our memories in our travels was the food. My favorites: Steak pies, chicken and mushroom pies, Cornish pastries (pas-tays), fish and chips, elderflower beverages, the beer, minted peas, mushy peas, and Sunday roast. I need a meat pie and minted peas recipe and find Elderflower beverages.

There was a diversity of dishes, from Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Turkish you name it, they had it, even Mexican burritos (which we didn’t have because, well, we’re from California).

I could go on and on about the wonderful sites, the food, the people, but I have included some photos on my Instagram (newly opened) page. I’m at m. alvaradofrazier in case, you’d like to view my other photos.

Next year I may go back and see the more of the Cotswolds and travel to the rest of the UK. I’m thinking I can fly solo, something I’ve never done before, but why not.

 

poetry, Travel

An Amazing Tree is a Symbol of Hope, Peace, and Endurance

path with several ginkgo yellow trees
Ginkgo tree lined path-flickr.com cc

Half the month of October is gone, fallen by the wayside like the autumn leaves.

My favorite autumn tree is the Ginkgo. It’s a tree I rarely see where I live, but abundant in Denver where I frequently visit my kids.

There is a Ginkgo tree in China that is 3,500 years old (give or take a decade). In China, the ginkgo  is a symbol of hope and peace.

After Hiroshima, Japan was bombed in 1945, the only living trees were a few Ginkgoes, which are presently alive. In Japan, the tree is symbolic of endurance and vitality.

An interesting aside, for book lovers, is a Japanese tradition. The ginkgo leaves were used as book markers as they are believed to drive away silverfish and other pests from paper.

During my last writing retreat, we had a free write of three minutes. I thought of Gingko trees.

Leaves shimmer gold

on a living fossil

Shaken by winds

of atomic magnitude

jolting earth, quake of destruction

Rises again, moves

across Asia to my world

 Saffron reminders

of hope and peace,

 gentle as a baby’s yawn

Lights the path with a glowing aura

gives itself for my delight.

To see some gorgeous photos, check these out:  An Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Drops an Ocean of Golden Leaves.

Peace and hope for the rest of October.