Today my friends I booked my tickets to Mexico City. I am incredibly excited, and nervous at the same time. Nervousness can be good, and I go on a very personal journey of discovery to this wonderful country of Mexico.
I shall not elucidate upon the intricacies of why this voyage is so important to me. Suffice to say it is.
Whilst scouring the Internet now for two full days, attempting to find the best ticket, best price, best times for my departure, I found myself day dreaming as I waited for the endless pages of flights and prices to upload. My daydreams were, as you can imagine, all about travelling.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to travel quite a lot. Having a Mexican father and an American mother has meant I have been taken to their home countries from six months old, almost every summer. These places, therefore, have become a part of me, of my identity, and hold very special places in my heart. I miss them tremendously.
There are certain memories I especially relish. Today I will list a few of my New York memories. Tomorrow Mexico....
Arriving in New York and seeing the sky line. I remember when the twin towers were still there, the skyline would take my breath away.
Getting in a NY cab. That for me is heaven. The smell of the leather on the seats, a sort of sweet smell of life buzzing around you. I love the air fresher trees that hang from the car mirror. I always wanted my parents to get one. I still do. I get the impression not many people are fans of them. Why not I ask?
There are certain hotels in NY I remember very fondly. The Kimberly, because, my parents got a suite, and I had the living room, with a TV (which i secretly watched after they had fallen asleep!) The Kimberly was around the corner from a McDonald's, and for me, McDonald's for some strange reason was so exotic in the States. I would beg my mother to have one every time we passed it. One day, my mother and I were going back to the hotel to have a nap (I was a young'un) and we passed McDonald's. I begged. Bless my mother. She conceded, and bought us both a meal. Oh the joy! I was thrilled! We got back to the hotel, sat in the kitchen of our room, and ate. When I was done, I realized that McDonald's in NY wasn't as good as the enormous deli burgers, pastrami sandwiches, steaks, french fries I was having at restaurants and deli's. I learnt my lesson. (Not to say McD's is bad, just when you have so much other choice! Why settle?!)
Then there was the Algonquin. The Algonquin is an old famous NY hotel. It is where the theatre and Broadway actors, directors and producers convene, for a martini. It is very charming, very classic, very NY. In the entrance, to the right, was a sort of old fashioned book shelf. The bottom shelf had a four poster bed, for a cat. The hotel cat. As a little girl, this was amazing. As a grown up, it still makes me smile. I walked by there this summer. I had come from a long walk, in trainers, and was not feeling very attractive. I stopped in front of the entrance and smiled as memories of the Algonquin gushed over me. The doorman came out, and commented on how happy I looked. I told him I had such warm memories of the place. He opened the door, and invited me in for a cold drink. I thanked him kindly, but said i would be back in better attire, and would love the drink another day. I have yet to go back. But when I do, I hope that door man is there, he made my day.
NY also means the Metropolitan Museum of Art to me. And of course the MET shop! I love touching all the books on art, and always want to buy everything. They are so delicate, full of knowledge I wish to acquire. I always have been bought a diary, pencil case, maybe a mirror or pen, pr bag from the MET. It is such a treat. This is followed my a hamburger at the Greek deli around the corner, and then a good humour ice cream. I don't have it. My mother does. there is nothing like watching her enjoy her ice cream. It is her child hood flavour, and every time she gets it she melts with happiness, retelling the tales of when she would count her pennies for when the good humour ice cream man would come selling ice creams.
NY also has meant Smith and Wollensky's to me. Again because my mother adores the meat there. Nobody enjoys a good piece of meat like my mother. I remember when I was little I ordered french fries at Smith and Wollensky's and they gave me three. the size of my hand. Enormous. Everything is big. Delicious. And again, just very very NY for me.
Queens. Ah Queens. My mother's birthplace. Jackson heights. Seeing my Grandmother's friends. Imagining my Grandmother, Grandfather, Mother living there so many years ago. Wishing with all my heart that I could have met my Grandparents. Which makes me sad, but at the same time, being there makes me feel they are right next to me. I believe they are.
Chinatown. Once we went to Chinatown with my mother's cousins who are a ball of laughs. I mean they make you laugh 'till you cry. We were the only group at the restaurant. It was a well known one, but we arrived so early, that nobody was eating dinner yet. There was an elevated large table on a stage. We were given this table. Big mistake. We put on a show. Well they did, i sat in awe and laughed. One of my mom's cousins girlfriends was paranoid that the meat was cat meat. It didn't bother me. Whatever it was, it was delish. We always go to Chinatown, we all love the scrumptious food, crab cakes especially, and oh yes, Chinese broccoli. After our meal we walk over to little Italy. To a famous Italian desert place, whose name escapes me right now, but anyways, it is famous to me because once my grandma was there, and Pavarotti entered. She stood up and said in her beaming voice, "Pavarotti! Maestro!" and a paso doble was playing, so they danced towards one another and embraced. This was my Grandma. She gave him his entrance. She didn't need one, she just was a star.
I love the smell of NY. The streets full of the smells escaping homes, restaurants, shops. The mix is mesmerizing, and takes your mind a wandering when you get a sudden gust of air from who knows where. I love the people. You cannot define New Yorkers. People have tried. There are no words for them. each person is different. Each person has their own tale, their own sorrows and joys, that's what makes NY so unique. It is truly a plethora of people that make up this glorious city.
These are the memories I think of when I first think of NY. There are many more. Many that are far too close to my heart to put down in words, they are feelings, that one just can't define. There are friends and family there that I miss, and long to be with every day. One day I may live there a while....for now? I start to adventure to Mexico. Next time I will write to you about Mexico. Mexico Lindo y Querido...
Have a lovely weekend compadres,
There is a Rum festival on Saturday and Sunday at Victoria. It is great fun! Go along and try some samples! You will be so very happy... Here is the link http://www.rumfest.co.uk/rumfest/html/home.html