As the adage says, “March came in like a lion”, with a snowstorm and freezing temperatures , here in NYC. Let’s hope that “it goes out like a lamb”.
A visit to London would not be complete without a trip to one of its famous shopping arcades or markets. There are upscale arcades found in some of the fancier parts of town and then there are glorified flea markets such as The Camden Market, which reminded me of a Middle Eastern bazaar. Despite the dreary UK weather, the colorful buildings, murals and wares brightened my day. The kitschy, inexpensive finds are almost secondary to the festive atmosphere at this market.
While I had not seen any of the Oscar-nominated movies this year, I still looked forward to watching the spectacle of the red carpet and the award celebration, itself. My nominees for the best dressed were Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johannson, Naomi Watts, Lupita Nyong’o, and Dakota Johnson. And the award goes to Lupita Nyong’l, whose custom-designed Calvin Klein Dress was made with 6000 pearls. She looked stunning, but I wonder just how heavy that dress was.
Sitting atop the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), at Columbus Circle in New York City, is the restaurant Robert’s. It is a colorful, brightly lit space, overlooking the southwestern entrance to Central Park. I came here to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. The view from the restaurant is breathtaking and we had the pleasure of watching a snowstorm blow in, which created blizzard-like conditions. I enjoyed my meal but especially loved the artfully crafted desserts.
While I didn’t have a chance to see any exhibits on this visit, I look forward to returning. This museum exhibits a wide range of decorative arts such as textiles, jewelry, home decor and fashion, to name a few. They also have artists’ studios on the premises, where visitors can observe the creative process that artists undertake, as they work with various materials, creating original works of art.
Henri Matisse had an illustrious career as an artist and is largely considered one of the greatest, most influential artists of the 20th century. He painted in a wide range of styles throughout his life but focused on painted, paper cut-outs in his latter years. During this period, he was confined to a wheelchair, which hindered his ability to paint on large canvases and easels. He cut out abstract shapes from paper that had been painted in vibrant tones of gouache paint by his assistants and, with their help, arranged them on paper or canvas. This body of work, which he described as “Painting with scissors” has been on display at the Museum of Modern Art and seen by over half a million visitors.
Congratulations to the New England Patriots. During their last two appearances at a Super Bowl, my hometown team, the NY Giants, upset them. My Massachusetts cousins felt gypped by those losses. Now that my team wasn’t in contention, I was routing for the Patriots, in support of my cousins. This game was another nail-biter and could have gone either way but, fortunately, resulted in a Patriots win. The Seahawks will be second-guessing themselves for years to come. They were within spitting distance of a touchdown that would have resulted in their victory but they made a foolish play. They threw the ball, which was brilliantly intercepted by the little-known, free agent, rookie, Malcolm Butler. Way to go Patriots!
I am drawn to bright, colorful doorways but La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina near the old port takes color to a whole new level. Entire buildings are painted in patchworks of vibrant colors. Trees are covered in colorful, crocheted “sweaters”. Costumed tango dancers line the streets, demonstrating their moves and, happily, teaching tourists who are willing to try. All of this color and entertainment lends a carnival atmosphere to this neighborhood and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love the festivity of a carnival.
There are more heads of cattle in Argentina than there are people. With such a large population of cattle, there are vast ranches, otherwise known as estancia, all over the country. Several are open to the public so guests can experience the life of a gaucho (or cowboy). Here I am communing with a fellow blond on the grounds of an estancia near the town of El Calafate in Patagonia.
Before this trip, I had never laid eyes on a glacier, let alone stepped foot upon one. I had seen photographs of them but it is difficult to get a sense of their size, scale, and activity from a picture. The Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentine Patagonia is 97 square miles in size. It is one small part of the third largest ice field in the world, which despite global warming, is actually expanding in size. It averages 250 feet in height and there is constant activity as it calves and large chunks of ice split off and crash down into the lake below. We strapped on our crampons, the spiky footwear of choice, to trek on the glacier. For about an hour and a half, we walked amongst beautiful, richly colored blue ice formations and observed crevasses, streams, and small pools of water. What a magnificent part of the world, it is no wonder that UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) added it to its list of world heritage sites.
The next stop on our South American journey was Patagonia in the southern part of Chile. The area has magnificent views of glaciers, bright blue glacial lakes, and a litany of wild life that made us feel like we were on a South American safari. There were guanacas (which are related to llama), rhea (which are large flightless birds that resemble ostrich), puma, fox, and many species of birds. Amidst all of this wildlife, are enormous sheep stations, where the population of sheep in this region far outnumbers the population of humans.
Much of our activity was centered around hiking. It may be summer in South America at this time of year but in Patagonia the weather can be very variable, and it can turn on a moment’s notice, so you have to be prepared for everything, all of the time, including cold, heat, wind, rain, and even snow. We outfitted ourselves, primarily, in the brand Patagonia for our trip to Patagonia, with some of our base layers from Under Armour, for additional warmth. We added and peeled off layers, as needed.