The open road

15250008-002

Here we are at the beginning of a new year.  The time of year when plans are conceived and resolutions are made.  We shake off the disappointments of last year and dream of possibilities.

Like a traveler on the eve of a trip, we are full of anticipation.  Our senses are heightened.  We see, hear, smell, touch and taste with childlike intensity.

It is the time of year when courage visits us, kicks the chair from under us and propels us to explore new realms.  Listen to her and travel the open road.

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”           – Rainer Maria Rilke

Advertisements

The rain in Spain

Several months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of loud drumming.  My hazy brain still full of dreams tried to make sense of the racket.  Is someone banging on my door?  Did my neighbor suddenly take up the drums? Am I still dreaming?

It took another minute or two before full consciousness set in.  My neighbor wasn’t playing the drums.  No one was at the door. The sounds came from right outside my bedroom window.

Heavy rains rattled against the metal body of the air conditioner like the tapping of typewriter keys. The steady pitter-patter of the rain and the gush of water flowing down the drains hypnotized me.

Last year in April, it rained everyday for almost a week. Every morning, I woke up to raindrops hitting the cobblestone streets of a small village in Andalusia.  After a long and snowy winter in New York, I was looking forward to warm and sunny days in Competa, a whitewashed hill town in the south of Spain. Instead, we were rained out in an ancient stone house with no central heating, 2,000 feet above sea level.

I spent every morning in Competa staring out the kitchen window and wishing away the rain.  Like a sulky child,  you could almost hear me chant, “rain, rain go away, come again another day.”

With barely enough heat inside the house, I whiled away the long afternoons up on the covered roof terrace, where it was warmer during the day.  I read books.  I ate meals. I wrote. I ate some more and wrote some more.

The rain didn’t diminish the view of the mountains that surrounded the village.  On those rare occasions when the skies did clear up, albeit momentarily, I saw the Mediterranean.

Some nights, we braved the slippery streets of Competa to venture down to the local bar. Rainwater flowed from the highest point of the village like miniature waterfalls that followed us down the steep steps to the Plaza Almijara.

Bar Perico became our haven in Competa.  We sat outside when the rain cleared or at the bar next to locals and ate boquerones fritos or jamon serrano topped off with red sangria.

Several rainy days in a row in a sleepy hill town brought on cabin fever.  Driving on narrow, winding, cliff-hugging roads in the rain seemed like a bad idea but one day we braved the slippery roads and drove to the neighboring villages.  We went to the beach in Nerja where we ate delicious seafood and walked along the Balcon de Europa. We also ventured to Frigiliana another mountain village a few miles away.

But, most of the time on those long drizzly days with nothing to do, we stayed put. Up there on the terrace under the tin roof, I listened to the rain.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

-Langston Hughes

I love brunch

I love brunch. I love waking up a little later on the weekends and think about what I’ll have that morning.

Coffee is an essential part of the meal but it is equally appropriate to have champagne cocktails. You can have a sweet and savory meal at the same time.

But, most of all, I love lingering over my food and catching up with friends or family after a busy week.

I took the first three pictures last January at Untitled in what essentially is the basement of the Whitney Museum in New York. It has a relaxed and casual atmosphere making you feel refined and homey at the same time.

The last two pictures were taken at two different restaurants last February in Johannesburg.

The Hudson River

One afternoon in late November, I received my “new” used Pentax K1000 in the mail.  It didn’t come with a manual so I had to look up the instructions.  It took me about thirty minutes just to load the film.  Determined not to miss the last minutes of light, I walked down to the river and took these pictures.

The weather was crisp.  The sun was setting.  It was a perfect autumn evening caught on film.

Imagine

I had been living in New York City for over a year before I finally got to Strawberry Fields in Central Park.  I had always wanted to see it.  A few times while walking through the park, I thought of passing by but, because of something or another, it eluded me.  Finally, on a crisp October day when I was out finishing a roll of film, I finally made it to this popular spot.

Just inside Central Park on the West side a few blocks from where he died, this memorial to John Lennon was created by his widow, Yoko Ono.  At the heart of Strawberry Fields is this black and white mosaic bearing the word Imagine.  I like the simplicity and timelessness of this mosaic that pays homage to Lennon’s famous song.  Created by Italian craftsmen based on a Greco-Roman design, it was a gift from the city of Naples.

Brunch at The Dutch

Some photos from the weekend before Christmas taken with instagram.

I met Sarah and her sister, Alyson, in SoHo for brunch on a chilly morning last Sunday, perhaps the only time I’ve ever seen the streets there empty.  Priceless.

We went to The Dutch, the new restaurant by the same chef at Locanda Verde, Andrew Carmellini.  We ordered the pastry board to share, which came with a curry sugar donut, apple cheddar scone and a banana nut muffin.

Sarah had the fried chicken with coleslaw and honey biscuits.  I had the eggs with chorizo and hominy grits and Alyson had the cornmeal flapjacks with blueberries.

We had to wait for the bloody marys (in NY, alcohol isn’t served until noon on Sunday) but it was worth it.

Happy Holidays!

Some photos from the past few weeks taken with instagram

Bryant Park Christmas tree
Santa as Christmas tree vendor
Choir singing at South St. Seaport
Metropolitan Opera
Santa display in Soho storefront window