Mojitos all around! Well, almost all. As soon as you sit down in a restaurant in Old Havana (or anywhere else we ate in Cuba), the mojitos appear, often before the menus. It’s assumed you want one of these Ur-Cuban cocktails: rum, lime, mint, sugar, soda. (The overturned glass here is mine, the sole abstainer at our table of four. Lisa and Pam, yes, please. Patti, maybe...but one sip turned out to be suficiente for her to recall an unpleasant college overindulgence with rum, and she pushed hers aside.) Still, I love the glasses (I bought two to bring home) and the Havana Club logo (which is emblazoned on the ribbed athletic shirt I bought for Jay.)
January 21, 2019
January 20, 2019
High-school graduation. And the sight of these three graces brings back some interesting memories. From left... Ray Stato: The first person I knew who had an FM radio (in his car), he began his high-school career as a divinity student (declaiming his faith on the local bus to the horror of his fellow passengers) and ended, rumor has it, touring in summer stock with Joan Fontaine. Gerry Lang: Known affectionately for his pale complexion as White Flang, also a divinity student; he could not control his laughter when I returned to class after my driving test and showed him the certificate indicating that I’d failed because I’d had an accident during the test. And Robert Tirpak: A beloved friend with whom I shared many, many adventures, he was sadly lost to a real car accident years later. What nice boys we were.
January 19, 2019
I love our little town of Gloucester, especially in the off season. The crowds and the noise are gone, the beauty remains. And with fewer summer distractions, we notice things more. Like these two dinghies tied up next to Beacon Marine, seen on a cold December stroll along the harbor. Jay says he likes the off season because the summer drivers are gone from the roads. His complaint about them: “They have no sense of urgency. And they’re unfamiliar with local ways.” Whatever.
January 18, 2019
Jay spent part of his childhood here on this Mediterranean island not far from Barcelona. So when our cruise itinerary was altered, skipping a stop in Palma, we flew there for the day anyway. For lunch, we thought we’d “do as the Mallorcans do” and eat in a small neighborhood restaurant far from the tourist trail. Maybe not such a good idea. Or maybe we should have ordered the menú del día as these guys did instead of the off-menu paté-like local sausage. Or maybe we should have had bottled water. Whatever. We both wound up with food poisoning, an ominous start to an otherwise wonderful sailing.
January 17, 2019
Pretty and shiny. If I can’t be it, can I at least buy it? Yes! Especially so here in the City of the World’s Desire. Touristy? You bet! But who cares when you’re enveloped by the aromas that have made this emporium a center of spicy commerce for centuries. And every time you look up, you see this. Bits of glass, of metal, of multicolored frou-frou. OK, if I can’t be it or buy it...can I at least wear it?
January 16, 2019
For an isolated and small “island” town built into the side of a mountain and accessed only by a very narrow causeway, Monemvasia has an astounding number of churches. In fact, the names of the churches serve as addresses in this maze of a rocky place, confounding tourists at every turn. And because this Peloponnesian outpost has been conquered and ruled by so many countries (each, it seems, with its own official religion), the churches have had their allegiances flip-flop throughout history. Roman Catholic basilica one year, Islamic mosque the next, Greek Orthodox church the next, and so on. Fortunately, because the buildings have been flexible in terms of taking on so many different faiths, they have endured, remaining in place through the centuries.
January 15, 2019
A quick picnic in our hotel room before launching out on an afternoon’s activities? Or did we nap first? Whatever. Excellent bread from one of the dozens of bakeries nearby. Some local Spanish cheeses selected at Poncelet, reputed to be the best cheese shop in the city. The only thing missing from the photo is what we’d already devoured by the time I remembered to take the shot -- the sublime slices of jamon iberico de bellota, the finest (and most expensive) of Spain’s remarkable hams, this one made only from black-footed pigs whose sole diet has been one of acorns. Six slices = 11 euros, if memory serves. Worth it. Once.