Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day Four, Kitsch Galore

I had every intention of going to the gym this morning, but you know these things go. No sooner had I made the pledge to myself, than I instead decided to accompany Mum & Dad on the bus down to Battery Park, so they could take the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Having been to both of these places multiple times myself, I only played bus chaperone and then hung out on the mainland on my own while they toured around.

Arriving around 11am at Battery Park meant that we were just in time for recess, or play lunch, or whatever you grew up calling it. So we bought some ultra strong coffees and some tasty apple-filled churros from a street vendor. Delicious, if not at all nutritious. Naturally I went back for a caramel-filled churro later (for research purposes). With Mum & Dad safely on the boat, I wandered off to see what mischief I could cause.

Across the street from Battery Park is the National Museum of the American Indian, and I'd never been there before. But it was warm inside, and it didn't cost me anything to go in, so I hung out there for about 90 minutes and checked out the exhibitions. The Museum is actually in the old US Customs House and the building's architecture is beautiful, including the gorgeous statues and the beautiful murals in the rotunda. When I bought Mum & Dad back into the Museum later in the day (after the cruise that they very much enjoyed), we all commented on the real similarities between the demise of indigenous cultures around the world. Of course this included some discussion about Australia and it was interesting to also read some of the stories of how native peoples from the US, Canada, South America and even the Arctic had to adjust to the arrival of white people. The parallels between the stories make for quite a powerful tale all told - and not really a pretty one, to be honest. I thought the Museum presented a very comprehensive collection with some great photos, artefacts and some really intricate costumes and jewellery too. Naturally I purchased some treats from the gift shop, including a gorgeous three-legged pig for my mum. Chilean legend has it that the cute little chanchitos are supposed to bring good luck, so I thought Mum would particularly like to keep him at work so he can grin up at her.

The weather down by the water was particularly chilly today, so we thought it wise to come out of the Museum and head straight for the street vendor settling Italian sausage sandwiches with grilled onions and peppers (capsicum). Obviously. Well, actually I dragged Mum & Dad there - I was starving! The sandwiches really hit the spot, even though I bit into the sandwich quite forcefully and got BBQ sauce up my nose. Even that couldn't dampen the culinary experience.

After an hour or so back at home we were up and out of the house, to enjoy a pre-Christmas dinner with K at Rolf's, the German restaurant that is a New York institution. Throughout the year, Rolf's goes all out to decorate the restaurant with all manner of tacky, kitschy decorations. At this time of year, it is quite honestly like dining inside a Christmas decoration. Just see for yourself - and let me assure you, while I did not make this video, it is pretty much on the money for how the restaurant looked tonight:

Sigh, that video makes me so happy. But seriously - everywhere we looked, there were baubles and creepy dolls and Santas in sleighs and bundt cake pans (random!) and every manner of ribbon and fairy light and it was AMAZING. The pork chop I had was bigger than my head, but I washed it down with a German beer and then really wanted to lay down. It was a case of total sensory overload, but I wouldn't have had it any other way!

We stopped off for an Aussie beer on the walk home, but now I'm back here in my PJs and feeling totally in the Christmas spirit. Tomorrow is December 24 and another big day, but I have so far loved every minute of this yuletide celebration and I'm ready to see what's next.

No comments: