City of Water

  How did the chicken cross the road in Venice? By riding on a little commuter boat called a vaporetto. A commuter’s gondola: a traghetto, like this one. A water taxi. Or, a gondola. After awhile I stopped taking pictures of the things they transport on boats in Venice: commuters, tourists, garbage, police and firemen, furniture, water and vegetables for the ristoranti, pipes, televisions, ...

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Istanbul Bites & Pieces

BAZAAR NEGOTIATING   I’ve never been one for shopping. My New York friends laugh at me because I shop retail. Sales shopping is definitely not my thing. And, forget the hondle. Until Istanbul. I figured the nearly six-century-old Grand Bazaar was the best place to practice. The guidebooks say negotiating is not so prevalent anymore, but tell that to the ...

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Not Constantinople

A dear friend decided he wanted to spend his 65th birthday with 24 of his closest friends.  We’re not talking ice cream cake and candles here: we celebrated in Istanbul. I understand now why they call those Sufi mystics Whirling Dervishes. My head was whirling after just one week in Turkey — that mad, exotic, magical collage of a country. ...

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Winter Wondering-Land

The Mohonk Mountain House invites you to enjoy the icy solitude of frozen trails traversed only with snow shoes and skis.  The sun startingly clear and nighttime silent. The Mohonk Mountain House outside of New Paltz, New York is one of my favorite getaway destinations. It is a resort built on Quaker principles of quiet and recreation – in one ...

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Musings on Getting Lost

Getting lost is a sore subject with me. I do it easily and often. It causes me anxiety.  So, what do you do when you find yourself someplace unfamiliar? What else — you get lost. There is this chocolate shop in Rome that I adore. It’s called Moriondo & Gariglio. I try to visit it every time I’m here. “Try” is ...

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American in Roma

  Having missed my annual trek to Italy in ’05, I gave myself two full weeks this year for much needed R&R in my adopted città.  So many missions: study, shop, mangia bene and explore my neighborhood. My first day in Rome, I wandered from my apartment near the Colosseum to explore another ancient site: the Roman Forum. It continues to amaze me ...

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All-Soles Day

On Tuesday, the 20th of December 2005, I became one of millions who had to get to work without my trusted subway. For me, that meant walking.  New York City definitely looks different when experienced on foot. I already had my walking shoes. New Balance. Black. Orthopedic looking, yes, but broken in. I set out for work that first morning just ...

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Last Week in Rome 2001 Edition

GRAZIE E ARRIVEDERCI  Thank you and Goodbye.  This is the phrase printed on the bottom of every receipt you get in Italy. It seemed somehow fitting as I bid farewell to my ancient city. Writing my final dispatch from Rome was almost impossible. What could I possibly say to wrap up this adventure? That last week, I walked from temple ...

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Festa del Ringraziamento 2001

During the week of Thanksgiving, folks back home were having their Festa del Ringraziamento.  Back here in Rome, we were having our own festival, an international party of foods from our home countries. The international festival at school was a party to which we are all asked to share typical dishes from our own countries. Last time, you may recall, ...

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Sempre Diritto Part Three 2001

During this week, sempre diritto reared its head once again. Literally, it means “always straight” or, straight ahead. Italians often say this when you ask for directions. It signifies to me that I am lost. I had a revelation: getting lost is una metafora per la vita. It is not so much that we have lost our way, but that ...

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