A Transylvanian in New York

Don’t know if you know the story “Prince & Beggar”. Mark Twain, I think. If you do, fine, if not, never mind. The point is, if someone asked me what I wd rather be, prince or bum, I’d say – yes. Prince AND bum. It puts things into perspective. And my time so far in NY is a good example why I like that.

Yesterday. Dinner at 9 pm, at Cipriani restaurant, on West Broadway. Unbelievable place. Very small, just a few tables, INSANELY CROWDED – people standing on the narrow isle and sometimes between tables, with a drink in their hand, waiting for tables to be freed. Waiters doing slalom with food n drinks thru the crowd to get to the tables.. the most eclectic and diverse dress code I’ve seen in a public place outside halloween – some in jeans, others in suits, some in-between, some with very funky clothes, both men and women, some women in night dresses, some in pull-overs.. some men in very colorful outfits.. then many italian or italian-like dudes, with shawls and shirts open 3-4 buttons.. oh, ve are so macho.. some old italian dudes, like in the movies, fat, dark skin, big nose, arrogant face – like from the mafia movies. At one table I thought I saw leonardo di caprio in a corner.. am still not sure it was him. we waited maybe an hour to get a table (10 people, the entswiss recruiting team, an ex-colleague who is now in the NY office, a swiss intern from NYU I had met in the summer, the harvard couple from last time and an new recruit, a german MD from NY), and shortly after sitting down, I thought – maybe it was de caprio after all. Coz pamela anderson just walked in front of us to sit at the table nearby. Night dress, assets wide exposed.. the old mama looks good for her age.. yes, artificial.. yes, skin shows age… Gave the impression of an old smoking Barbie. But she really must have been a beautiful woman in her prime. Like nav’s babe gwen, less makeup I think wd do her well too.. She sat at a table with an italian-looking macho and two other parachutes.. ayay, those were.. its not nice to say about women they are ugly. But.. maybe these wd have looked good, had they not done stuff to themselves.. You could see the silicone implant overdone in their lips.. plus excess makeup.. yukk.
People at our table became a bit restless :).. shd we stare, shd we not.. i laughed inside, remembered the claudia schiffer episode.. this time I didn’t do anything like that, furthermore, when going to get my coat I was not more than 1 meter away from pam, all I did was.. turn backwards, and get out :).
I went to a bar with the two younger dudes.. one of them got a snapshot with his phone camera J. I told them the claudia schiffer story, they laughed, and from what they said I realized, only now (!!!) what was the big mistake.. I asked her to take a photo of me, like an unassuming normal tourist.. only.. I spoke to her in GERMAN! We were in VENEZIA, ITALY!! So it was very obvious I DID know who she was… duh.. didn’t think of playing the role to the end and ask in italian or at least english.. anyway.. at least she knew that I knew, and still didn’t ask for a photo of HER :P..

speaking of languages.. today I wanted to ask for directions.. stopped at an intersection, two gils stopped too, talking in italian. Were in little italy. So I asked them in italian where this thing is. they clarified the question in italian… I answered “ha” instead of “si” or “yes”… they responded in… spanish!! I was laughing out loud already in my head, didn’t even pay attention to their directions..

Yeah, so yesterday after dinner we went to this bar. With the german dude. After I got beer, I see him talking to a couple. Ok, thought they were his friends. They weren’t. the chick had talked him up, “what cute glasses you have”, blablabla.. they were from texas, he said after he got rid of them, texas people seem to be talkative.. I thought.. dude, this is NY. I doubt they wd display a similar kind of initiative somewhere in dallas or baton rouge.. or – who knows. Maybe it is like that.

Then, this guy went out, I was alone at the table for 2 minutes.. a girl comes to me, young, cute, very young, I thought, the kind that looks at 17 (how much she might have had) like 25.. and at 25… she said “hi, how are you today”. I thought “WTF”, but said “fine, thanks”. The asking-back-fine-howareyou-thing is still not working for me.. if I don’t care I don’t ask.. so I didn’t.. she went on – can I ask you a question? I thought – “double-u-tee…” and said “sure”. She asked me – “do you think I can do better than him?” and pointed to a guy.
I thought – “WHAT???” and said.. nothing. Looked sheepishly at her and then at him – she was with a boy, who was standing somewhat embarrased a little further away. Young too, good looking. Looked sheepishly at her, thought again “wtf???”, then said “excuse me?”.. she repeated the question. So then I thought – “if I say yes, I offend the dude, he seems like a nice guy.. if I say no, (like I was tempted :P), I offend the crazy woman – who knows what she’ll do? I gave her the tame variant of the ‘ambiguous response’ – “I don’t know”. “oh, no, that’s not an answer”, she said. “You have to say yes or no. can I do better than him?” and she looked at him, seeming to really evaluate the poor dude.. he wasn’t saying anything.. my brain was paralyzed. “Sorry”, I said. “I really don’t know”. “Ok – thank you”, she said, “sorry for disturbing”.. and left.. they looked like they were looking for someone else to ask (!!), but eventually after a bit of hesitation sat down and started a conversation.. I was speechless..

NY people?… well… marina… and whoever might go to NY as well.. any of you.. goodluck…

Yeah.. if yesterday I was a prince, dining next to Pam, today I turned into an awara.. left the nice hotel for a shadier one (still ok, small room, but clean, much better than the YWCA thing in boston, and centrally located). And started to walk… walk alone, walk alone.. took the subway.. walked on the wall street.. then took the ferry to liberty island.. the last ferry.. came back when sun was setting behind the statue and on the skyscrapers of the financial center.. was a FANTASTIC scenery.. manhattan seen from the water is unbelievable.. unfortunately battery died for both camera and camera.. so no pictures at all.. am thinking of doing it again tomorrow, was too fabulous.. then I went to the world trade center.. then bumped into century 21, where adrian had told me there are great deals.. so I did some shopping.. then walked to chinatown and little italy.. at night they are not much.. food in little italy was disappointing.. ice cream as well, very.. gave it to a homeless old man.. lil italy in boston much nicer.. but hey.. cant have everything.. then walked up broadway and got home. Got to see the restaurant again.. from a very different mindset now.. was very cool to be there again and looking at those people, crowding again.. but this time I happened to be on the other side of the street.. surprisingly symbolic J.. they have the same life.. don’t have the bum perspective, like I was having that very moment.. that’s when the idea came to my head, and I smiled.. princes don’t have time for this kind of stuff.. they don’t have time for sunsets.. too busy ruling their kingdoms of time and money.. you gotta have a little piece of awara to make time to walk and see a sunset. now I’m home, charging the cameras. Meanwhile I wanna check out a jazz bar with live music.. lets see.

Saturday, February 04, 2006, 02:42

Went to Groove bar. Cover 5 bucks. Inside, live music.. supposed to be one of the live blues places, except for Blue Note, wich is the. We’ll get there too J. Groove is a nice place, very small, cozy. There was some lady with a band singing Fugees style.. first songs were good (live music in a bar has something special), but
then got kinda rythmnblues, that talking on an undefinite boring melody type thing which I dislike.. so after a short while I decided to treat the cost as sunk (and thus Kristy Towry has just made a difference in my life) and getta hell outa there. One of the advantages of traveling alone.. decision making is ..sometimes a bit faster and painless.
I went next door to Blue Note. The 12:30 show. Bigger place.. different. More “upscale”. A peculiar band was playing.. a swiss POET with a band.. not rap.. not hiphop.. modern poetry, combined with blues/rock music.. interesting.. some “pieces” were really nice. And the atmosphere actually made everything. Have no idea how they wd sound on a cd.. but THERE it was very cool.

On the way home.. walking… open restaurants, bars, fast food.. at 2:30 am.. New york, city that halfways never sleeps… I like this place..

Back in my little room. Lets see if hp catches some wireless to send you this stuff. I can feel an ironic comment rising in dilivala.. made something like that before, after one of my indian reports, using one of those words for proficient native speakers.. truth is, it is a weird kind of fun I am having.. it is great to be here, I am doing things I enjoy a lot.. just feel the need to share, at times. Weird things, humans.. one would think that you cannot have fun and be lonely at the same time. Well, I can. Goodnight.

Sunday, February 05, 2006, 01:08

New york is amazing.. I didn’t want to leave times square.. its fantastic at night.. and day :). Strolled along broadway from downtown to central park today.. unfortunately raining.. not in the mood for pictures, especially with the rain poncho on. but had time to enjoy the city, the buildings, the streets, the crowd, the whole irresistible atmosphere lifting you off your feet the moment you step out on the street.. for a transylvanian from a small town the simple fact of walking on broadway or on 5th avenue is a very special thing in itself.. so much fun, just looking at people.. so many people, colorful people.. or naked people, like the naked cowboy at the times square :).. the moment when the streetlamp turns on “walk” is especially funny, with a sea of people moving at once, like a big group of those fish.. sardines i think.. which move at the same time, change directions at the same time.. different to india, where the sea of people moves constantly and brownian.. related but different kinds of charm..
Madison square garden was 17 bucks to visit. No show tonight. so left it for another time, to see a game or a real show, not an empty room. Went thru central park to the metropolitan museum of art, strolled for 2 hours and barely covered half (greek/roman and egyptian art). Therefore in the next hour I covered all the rest.. at a very fast pace. Very fast.. I don’t know if I should go back, or focus on the few other museums left in the world to see.
The highlight of the evening was the broadway show.. thought that since I’m here, why not broadway.. say beauty and the beast.. very very good..
After a yummy desert at planet hollywood (crème brulee with 3 ice creams & banana…mmm… :), I reluctantly left times square and strolled home..

I like this place.

(pictures are here: http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=jml3aap.660sd6w9&x=0&y=-dfuphc )

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