It has not been a very happy year so far and it shows no sign of getting better any time soon. I know I’ve been off the radar for two years now and I can’t seem to get back on the horse. I am putting a link that will tell the tale for me in the hopes of getting some help. Here it is http://www.gofundme.com/bm047c
I never thought it come to this but desperate times call for desperate measures. Thanks for reading, and to any who used my work for term papers and such. I hope you got good grades.
Category Archives: Thai Food
While we march to our lunch destination there is an occasional stop to check for Ranch flavored Pringles in shops, but we either find old outdated cans or none. Eventually we find ourselves sitting down in a Thai place called Siam Grill on 9th Ave between 42nd and 43rd St and we are soon sipping cold Singha beer and looking at the extensive menu. I listen with great interest to the secret of their travel fund, they pay it like a bill that’s due each month almost without fail, therefore they have the cash in the bank to travel, just like the old Xmas clubs that I remember my mom and dad having… it works well for them. But it has also required discipline and sacrifice, you can’t blow money on CD’s, meals out or takeout food every day, or books, clothes, shoes etc if you want the travel lifestyle. We enjoy a beautiful lunch, chicken and veg with red curry sauce for them (it’s always a sign of a good relationship when couples order the same food) and I opt for a lunch special of crispy fried duck (sorry Daffy) with veg and green curry that comes with clear veg soup. We spend over an hour eating, talking about travel and tourism before leaving to have a walk about, with no destinations in mind we walk uptown almost to Central Park again before turning back towards the area of the hotel, we come down 7th Ave and start searching for a watering hole. I wish I could remember all the details of every moment but as I’m writing this after the fact some has been lost. But of course I wouldn’t bore you with our family chatter so it is sufficient to say that hours have passed since our lunch and we sit down in a large noisy pub in the back to continue our talk.
I ask them to tell me about their travels, I even suggest they ought to write a book about it but they both reject that idea, even after I read an excerpt from the first day of our adventures. They are not interested in writing and don’t posess my gift for stories, I think it’s high praise as they go on to tell me of their travels past. They have been to Egypt three times and explain how a few tips will get you treated like royalty, the barman will set your drinks out, your table will be reserved and all your preferences will be noted within 24 hours. They tell me that Morocco is not a place where Americams and English are treated well, and Gambia where every bit of your money will be taken from you in corrupt practices by almost everyone. This a wake up call to me, for us regular people things don’t go the way they do for TV hosts on the Travel Channel, heck even Anthony Bourdain and his crew were stuck in a war in Beirut. You have to be careful and read up on the customs and culture of your destinations, the DK travel guides are the best for this kind of info I think.
But in all their travels they haven’t run into such a nasty surley bunch of people as the arrivals staff at JFK, The line of questions asked in a half annoyed yet dis-interested monotone are especially rude…What’s your business here? Are you married? Where you stayin? When you leavin? and then STAMP STAMP off you go without really checking you out properly at all, a man with a large trunk was passed through while Mark and Sharon were practically stripped searched for a few small bags, it makes no sense. They have been to Canada and taken a side trip to San Francisco from there, and they have done Vegas more than once too as well as the whole Elvis Tour down south. We talk for hours and by the time we leave I’m a little looped, I had about 4 beers on a empty stomach and now I’m hungry. But although I didn’t intend to horn in on their dinner together, when Mark suggests we eat, I gladly and go along with the program. But I try not to show my loopy state of mind and quickly suggest Brazillian, Spanish tapas, Greek Taverna, etc. They both settle on Spanish so I direct them to restaurant rown on 46th St and we settle on Sangria 46, just a few doors down from Le Rivage… my favorite French restaurant.
It’s a long intimate crowded place where the food has a five star rating with only a three dollar sign rating, so that’s a good combo! Mark starts right in and orders a bottle of wine for all of us, he is a wine expert…a man after my own heart when it comes to the grape. He seems to love red and I do too, yet another reason to believe that we are genetically closer than second cousins. There is a guitarist in full dress regaling us with such Spanish classics as the Eagles, Billy Joel, Elton John, and The Doors…anything but Spanish classics but it’s cool so Mark and Sharon order veg medley and Chicken cooked in wine and I opt for a cup of Gazpacheo soup and two tapas plates (that’s small appetizers) of sauteed baby squid and pork shish kabobs, all was exceedingly delicious for me and Mark but Sharon struggled with a stray chicken bone or two. Sharon and Mark haven’t had much luck with chicken this trip I’m afraid. When the check comes there’s a problem, the tip is too small. Now Mark is not cheap by any means but the waiter explains the problem and points out the mistake in percentages. I will take the time to explain this now because the next night we all gather at Le Rivage to eat dinner, myself , Mark, Sharon, my mom and dad and my brother and when the check comes there again the tip is wrong. The waitress explains the different levels of tipping based on the number of people at a table, the more people the bigger the percentage. But she also tells Mark something I didn’t know, the wait staff isn’t paid an hourly wage by the owners, they work for tips only, now I don’t know how this got set up I mean nobody ever complained to me but then again I’m new to eating good food out in the city. Most of the places I go for lunch don’t seen to have these strict guidelines, and in the suburbs where I live the rule of thumb is to double the tax. This is easier for people like me who can’t do percentages easily in our heads, people seem to get really insulted if you don’t tip well however, and now I have to ramp up my knowledge of the city to avoid any future problems for myself.
So Mark sorts out the bill again and we walk leisurely back to the hotel and after a few more minutes of chatting out side I give then a group hug and walk down 8th Ave for my trip back home. I sit on the train later sipping a decaf coffee and try to collect my thoughts on an eventful and glorious day, a day full of firsts for me.
I now have an idea of what I must do to ensure the life changes I want , the feeling that the tourism industry is my true calling is very strong. I can’t wait for the day that it is I staying in a hotel in England, paying to feed and water Mark and Sharon when they show me their town, and we have many laughs over many pints or drinkies, great meals and tasty snacks. But it will all begin with the group hug that for me has come to symbolize my special relationship with them, the three musketeers if you will. These two wonderful people have given me what I prayed for, a new career path to follow, and they have become much more than family to me, they are my friends.
In the bright sun of a new day I find myself walking from my car to Hicksville station to catch the next train west. Even with sunglasses on I’m getting blinded by the light coming right at my eyes. I found a legal parking space easily this time but I literally have 3 minutes to get my ticket from the machine, grab a coffee and run up the escalator to get the train I hear pulling in as I approach the station building.
But somehow I manage to accomplish all and find a window seat, I see the clouds are rolling in and it’s supposed to rain today and tomorrow too, I feel bad for my relatives from England, Mark and Sharon had only one nice day yesterday when I wasn’t with them, on their own to explore the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Central Park. They asked me the other day (see The British Invasion story) to come in today to help them navigate around midtown, they want to see Times Square, Rockefeller Center and the Plaza. I also thought St Patricks Cathedral would be nice but England is loaded with those so maybe not. The thing is their hotel on 44Th St is close to all of these places so they don’t really need me, they just want to share my company and I’m flattered by that. It would have been a boring vacation if they didn’t come to New York, I actually took this week off to be available to do whatever I could for them and to get my parents in to see them before they go back. I get on and again find myself in packed rush hour trains but this time I get a seat and this is an express train so only two stops before Penn Station is just what I need.
I get out at the station and immediately head for Duane Reed to get a gift bag for the knit cap and tweed hat I bought then last night at Sears, these are from the hipster section in the young men’s and girls dept’s and are “Right out of the fridge”- that’s Village talk for cool for all you squares out there. I walk down to 44TH St in the fading sunlight hoping for no rain today. I pass by Macy’s Herald Square, they are having a show today, flowers decorate the famous windows outside and I look through the door to see thousands of flowers decorating the store which is not open yet. I know they want to see Macy’s and this will be perfect! I already feel great about today, I feel like one of those people that are contacted by the Travel Channel when Anthony Bourdain needs to be shown around somewhere for his No Reservation’s series on cable TV. I feel like I’m a “contact” even though it’s my first time doing this I’m growing more confident about my ability to do this for a living and I’m starting to wonder if this is my true calling. I arrive at 9:00 AM and go inside to have the concierge phone up to Mark and Sharon’s to tell them I’m here. They come down after a while smiling and ready but first I present them with their gifts which are appreciated and the first thing they want to do is go to Central Park because they didn’t make it there yesterday so we pile into a cab and off we go to the top of 6TH Ave. During the ride they tell me that I would have been proud of them, they made their way by subway all the way to Battery Park and took the boat to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island and navigated themselves to Ground Zero and Chinatown and made it back by subway without getting lost or missing a stop. We are dropped off at the base of the park and walk towards the entrance where the horse drawn carriages park. Which is good because they want to have a carriage ride around Central Park so I say OK I’ll find a shop or a coffee while your gone but they insist that I come too! I tell them it’s a couples thing but Mark says that they’re not going to make out in the back of the carriage and I must come too. The only problem is…there isn’t a horse in sight and it’s ten o’clock, so are we in the right place? maybe they don’t start up till noon because of some law we don’t know about. I can’t answer the speculations but just then I see a groundskeeper down below so I dash down the stairs into the park itself and ask when the carriages come, the man looks at his watch and says “soon, very soon .” So I run back up to my friends and tell them it’s OK we’ll be riding shortly and just then Mark say “Here we go then” and I turn around to see them across the traffic circle cuing up and taking passengers already. We cross the street and miss the first coach and wait just a minute to get the second one and then we are off on a pleasant ride around the park, stopping at key points for the horse to drink water and to take pictures of certain views that our driver points out to us along the route. It’s a nice ride I recommend to anyone visiting New York and not expensive at all, about $34 plus tip for a thirty minute ride. We stop where we started from and the driver takes our picture in the carriage together and then gives Sharon a carrot to feed to the horse who swallows it whole and we pet the horse and move off to find a loo for Sharon and myself. We go down the stairs of the Apple store right across from The Plaza Hotel and use the bathrooms, the store is amazingly arrayed with all manner of IPOD products and computers. People are running about like ants in a nest chattering like monkeys about the products and God only knows. It’s making me wish for fresh air however so I take them down the street to a hot/cold buffet deli and grocery store for some coffee and muffins. They are amazed to see all the different kinds of food here, deli sandwiches, burgers, wraps, burritos all made to order and the hot table with Chinese, Italian, American, Soup, Salad, Chilli’s and more than I can remember now. There is nothing like this in England they tell me and I suggest they should open one and start a new craze, but we get our coffee and sit down at a table in front of the store to talk about all the family history some more. This is real nice time for me but unfortunately they are asking me questions I cannot answer such as the time-line of the passing of several relatives that I miss, I guess my memory for much is shot, too many things running round my head for too long or maybe it’s just that I block out the unhappy memories. But I find Sharon’s talk of her medium like experiences fascinating as she has a connection with the other side like my mother but way stronger, it’s the same intuition that has saved me from a few near accidents when the little voice tells me to keep away from that car next to me and I back off just in time to not be hit by a wreck-less driver who’s cut me off.
We leave now and it’s incredible how the weather changes in New York so rapidly, one moment we are warm and opening coats and the next a damp breeze blows and reminds us that April is a wet and muddy month. We walk down from Central Park area to Herald Square so they can see the city, it’s people and places, stopping to look at huge diamonds in a store window, taking some video or pictures and generally sharing tales and laughs over this and that. The streets are alive, tourists and stressed out workers, students and lovers all moving toward something unknown by you until you see what they are after. You hear family disputes one minute then raucous laughter the next depending on where you look and listen, always changing the city reminds us of how big it’s pull is for the people of the world and we finally arrive at Macy’s Herald Square to see the flower show. It’s a mob scene that would make old Mr. Macy happy, we look at the window display and see the fictitious flight of a huge pink flamingo being depicted going to various countries, some window panels show only his long legs and others part of his body in flight and his huge head is shown in yet another. You have to go to the Macy’s web site to see it for yourself it’s unbelievable! We go inside and it’s a zoo, people crowd every inch of space and it’s just beautiful, there are pink flowering plants that have been grown into flamingo topiary surrounded by all manner of flowering trees, plants and bulbs. There are over 1 million bulbs and 30,000 plants and trees. We walk through dazed crowds to get to the old wooden escalators to go down for a loo stop again, after we men talk over the mystery of handbags and shoes while Sharon shops till she’s had enough and slowly make our way back to the exit. They are hungry for a little lunch and so am I, last night I took the time to research a few meal suggestions for their dinner tonight so I pull out a short list and suggest maybe Brazilian, Tapas, and Greek. But they love curry so I ask if they like Thai and bingo! the magic word so it’s off to find Thai, only problem is I don’t have any written down, so as we move back up towards restaurant row I suddenly duck into a shop or two and come back almost before they realize I’m gone, I ask store employees for a good Thai place and finally I hit on a guy who knows. We have to head over to 46Th between 8Th & 9TH Ave so we march along not caring for the time just enjoying the easy camaraderie of the three musketeers we have become.