End of the Trip
I couldn't live here in New York. It's too easy to eat. And I don't even mean all the restaraunts. We've only been in one real restraunt so far, a Mexican place over in the West Village or some such neighborhood. Man, that was really good food. After reading the menu, I told our host that I hated places like that because I wanted to try almost everything I saw on the menu. You can get hurt just by the little neighborhood convenience stores and grocery stores. They all seem to have these amazing hot food deli sections with piles and piles of really inviting food. Take the Amish grocery store down the street from us. I thought the Amish were supposed to be non-violent, but they did some serious harm to my wallet every day. And that was just the pastry section. Everything looked good, the produce, the meat section, the hot line. I couldn't go in there after a while. There are two Italian restraunts within twenty feet of our front door. Fortunately, budget-wise, we were never able to try them, as the kids only seemed to want pizza from one of the many by-the-slice places or pretzels and hot dogs from the street vendors.
It didn't take us too much walking around the city to figure out which eating establishment is the most ubiquitous in NYC, the kind of place found in any two block area. Yes, it's Dunkin' Donuts. They are everywhere. Near our place there were even two within a block of each other. My wife really likes their coffee though.
Walking around the neighborhoods, there's a bunch a stuff I didn't quite get. Like what's up with the papaya and hot dog places. There's Gray's Papaya, Papaya Dog, Papaya King, Mike's Papaya (and dogs), etc. I don't get it. Can you think of two more incongruous food groups?
Once we get back home, I'll never be able to eat at what we call a "food court" again. Not after the concourses at Grand Central and some of the other places. Guiliani's efforts have been in vain, New York City remains a very dangerous place. The only thing that saved me was my kids idiotic food preferences. We're in the one of the world's gastronomic cornucopias and so, where do we eat today? T.G.I. Fridays near Rockefeller Center. Disgusting. I only ate two and a half mozzarella sticks. But my dietary good intentions were undone by the witchery at Auntie Anne's Pretzels In the Rockefeller basement concourse. I went to get tickets to the observation deck while they went to get my son his first pretzel fix of the day. As we walked to the security line to get on the elevators, my wife said, "Here try these cinnamon and sugar stick things. They're really good." I downed the entire bag by the time we got to the security guy who checks the bags and cameras for possible purse sized nuclear weapons. I then tried a little of my son's pretzel. This was not one of those disgusting things the umbrella boyz foist on unwitting Times Square oglers. This was delictitude. Salt, greasy crispness, dough with just the right degree of slight sweetness. Unfortunately, when I turned back to him to steal whatever pretzel he had left, he downed the last of it and smiled at me. So, after the female contingent went over to Saks for a quick look, I took Jake next door for a tour of St. Patricks Cathedral. Once I had him bored into stupification by explaining the stations of the cross and what the whole candle lighting for the saint thing was all about, I steered him back over to the Plaza and down to Anne's for another pretzel go-round. We went up to the skating ring and ate while watching for people doing face plants.
New York also has some of the nicest studios I've ever been in. Yoga Sutra, on Fifth Avenue, was very refined. It has a very nice, open lobby with marble floors, very clean bathrooms with showers, and multiple practice rooms, one for every genre: Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa/Other. The prtcie room has big pillars in in that pretty much prevent people like me from doing much looking around. You can really only see the three or four mats around you. The view of everybody else is blocked. But, while in Virabhadrasana, you can look out the window and watch the people on the street below scurrying in and out of traffic, trying to avoid getting wet from the rain or hit by the taxis. Guy's was a more introverted kind of place. It has a darker wooden floor. That, combined with the below street level location and the quiet, serious practice going on, gave the practice room an almost womb like feel. Very good for helping draw the attention inward. Today, we went to Shiva Shala. Although having to use a buzzer to gain entry was a little disconcerting, the studio was gorgeous. It has lustrous, dark red flooring made from timber bamboo. There are a bunch of windows to let in light and two balconies overhead, one running abve each side of the rom. "Hmm," I thought, "I wonder if we go up there to do our finishing?". The ceiling has all this ornate molding, or whatever it's called. I kept my eyes open during Savasana and just looked at it. I kept thinking, "You know, if there's a big earthquake, who ever has their mat below that pretty chandelier is going to be swiss cheese.
I tweaked my back today. I was expecting to get some kind of injury or something before this. I've been doing o little for so long now, that jumping into daily full (or near full) practice was just an inury waiting to happen. This one may not be too bad. I'll kno more tomorrow after we get off of the plane. I was doing Marichyasana A. The teacher had already adjusted me on the first side. She had me get a more legitimte hip and leg position witht the straight leg than I usually get on my own. I did the second side on my own as she was busy helping someone else. I was just coming out of it when she came back to help me. I went back down. I ws expecting the adjustment she gve me on the first side. So, instead of backing off of the forward bend a bit to see what she was trying to do, I kept the forward bend going while she adjusted my hip. As I extended into it, I felt that "proing" broken guitar string feeling in my right low back. I immediately came up. I've hurt that area, on both sides, a number of times, so I knew what that sensation meant. I was expecting to get some immediate stiffness and discomfort but I didn't really feel any discomfort when I came up, so i tentatively did the rest of the Marichy's. No further problems. So I pressed on and did the first series and closed. I did do stand ups and drop backs but blew off trying Viparita Chakrasana.
I probably made the teacher feel bad. When I hurt myself, I gave an audible "Uh oh" kind of thing and then announced in a not quiet enough voice that I had tweaked my quadratus. Then, when i was doing Supta Kurmasana, she was trying to get my feet crossed. I tried to tell her she could go ahead and put my feet behind my head. She moved them up a bit but really only to the top of my head. I'm sure given that my face was flat on the floor that she couldn't understand me and if she could, she probably didn't want to go too far knowing that i had already complained out loud about hurting myself. Then, when I was trying to do my first stand up after dropping back, she came over and helped me up. As she put her hands on my hips, I told her, "I can do it. I can do it." But she went ahead and brought me up. She told me she couldn't hear what I was saying. She said, since I had been up on my toes, she wanted to help me ground my feet as I came up. So, I told her that I knew my feet were up, I was going to try and get them down before i came up and that I wanted to try it once or twice on my own to see if I could get it. "Okay," she said, "I'll leave you alone for the rest of the way" No! No! that's not what I meant. I wasn't trying to tell her to leave me alone. I just wanted to give it a try or two on my own. I could see what's probably going thru her head: "Try to help people and what do you get? Some uppity, snot nosed tourist telling me to leave him alone. Fine. Do it however you want." After I came up the next time, I stopped and went over to tell her that I really wasn't trying to brush her off. I hope she doesn't hate my guts. She was very nice.
We did meet Boodiba today. She was almost finished by the time we came in. As she was leaving, my wife got up and talked to her a bit, to say hi and what not before she left. When we later walked onto our subway train to go home, Boodiba was getting on too, to go to work or home or wherever. I didn't get to say much, just a hello, before our subway stop came. Sometimes, that's enough. Just to put a real face on the persona that one has imagined from reading their writing, that makes the person more tangible or something.
It's been hard trying to keep track of all the little scenes and vignettes from this trip that, at the time of their occurance, I thought would be interesting or maybe entertaining to write about. The kids have been hogging this computer, something about it being theirs, so that when i do get a chance to write, I can't remember a lot of the funny little experiences, like the time my daughter tried to pull her gloves off in the store and it got stuck on her braces, leaving her with this black glove hanging from her mouth for the five minutes that it took us to stop laughing and get it untangled from the wires on her teeth. It's been a great trip, the weather not withstanding. The kids were tired of running around yesterday, so they opted to stay home while my wife went out and did some more shopping and saw a movie. So we, the kids and I spent the day watching about 13 consecutive episodes of America's Top Model, while I made about four trips to that evil Amish grocery for sustanence. I still can't believe Jade didn't win. She seemed like such a lock to me. Further proof that I know diddly about the world of fashion.
Still haven't proofed the last post, despite reading it over and seeing tons of typo's. Use your imagination. I can't do this one yet either. I have to take this thing in the other room to plug it back into the charger and once I do, the kids will slap me around and take it away. Tomorrow, I might get in one more practice, depending on how sketchy the pre-departure preparations are and depending on how my back is functioning tomorrow morning.