Sunday, September 16, 2012

Here is my city - in a glass, on a plate, on the stage

So I prattled on in the last post about the Disability conference we'd been having this week and all the various side-events we'd either been hosting or attending.  Well on Friday night I went along to the last of my official engagements - a reception hosted by UNICEF.  The Head of Australia's delegation delivered a speech at the event, and then it was just a couple of glasses of wine and some mingling to work through.

Well wouldn't you know it, just as the speeches were about to start, I turn around to scan the room and see the smiling face of Kricco, a friend of mine I met in London.  Small world, no?  Kricco was grinning and waving at me, so I grinned and waved back at her - and through crazy facial expressions and a bit of charades, we managed to convey the plans to catch up once the official proceedings were over.

Kricco now works for Lumos, an international non-government organisation chaired by JK Rowling.  As part of her work, Kricco travels a lot - largely through Moldova and Bulgaria (of all places) but the stories that she shared with me were inspiring and frustrating in equal measure.  Mixed in of course, were hilarious stories of language barriers, scary eastern European restaurant menus, and hotel rooms that time had forgotten.  When these stories are delivered in Kricco's fantastic Liverpudlian accent, they somehow just get funnier.

On Friday night I showed Kricco the gorgeous Campbell Apartment, where the cocktails flowed and the hostess took good care of us.  After that it was a late, alfresco dinner in Bryant Park, sitting right alongside the garden bed, people-watching and catching up.  I suspect this is where all my mosquito bites came from.

Come Saturday morning, I could avoid laundry no longer.  What followed was several hours of to-ing and fro-ing down the hallway to get clothes, sheets, and towels all spick and span.  This hard work was punctuated by episodes of "Fringe", obviously.

By Saturday night, Kricco had finished Day 2 of her UNICEF workshop and we were ready to hit the town again.  We met up at Wild Edibles, a great oyster bar/restaurant close to my house.  The fact I might be crushing on the waiter there is not the point.  What really matters is the fact that we enjoyed delicious oysters from the American Northwest, followed by vongole pasta for Kricco and lobster rigatoni for me.  Crisp, light lagers washed it all down.  It was delicious.

But dinner wasn't really allowed to settle because I wasn't quite done showing NY off yet.  I dragged Kricco into a cab and down to Greenwich Village to Cafe Wha.  I've mentioned this place once before - when me, Westo and Kittykat fronted up there to dance the night away.  This time, because there were only two of us, we got sandwiched into a small table off stage right, but we still had a great view of the band. This is important, because several of them are HOT.  And great musicians...whatever.

The Soul Man did not disappoint - he belted out the hits and strutted his stuff across the stage, demonstrating his 'soul walk' for everyone, and even trying to get some guy from the audience to do it too.  Oh how we laughed!  And that was just for the warm up because when the band finally started, the crowd went off!  We all sang and clapped, and me and Kricco both remarked at how you could tell we were in an American audience.  Conservative Aussie and British crowds would have taken much longer to get into the spirit.  But we were Americans for the night - whooping it up, singing along with Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, and even Bob Marley.  When the guy got up to start singing Gypsy Kings, of course I joined in.  My resounding chorus of "Bamboleo" certainly needs some work. But I found a karaoke version here, so maybe I can get some rehearsals in before I go back.  PS, those karaoke words are NOTHING like what I have been singing all these years.

When the band finished their first set, we were invited to stay back for the second, but by then we were ready to call it a night.  I managed to get us a cab in record time and before I knew it, we were back at Kricco's hotel saying our goodbyes before her (very) early morning flight back home.

I know I cheated a bit this time, showing Kricco some of my favourite places in New York, rather than taking chances on new spots.  But I guess you have favourite places for a reason  - and really, Kricco was such an easygoing and obliging guest, she didn't mind me dragging her from one end of the island to another.  Wines, beers, food, and music - can you ever go wrong with combinations like that?  Looking forward to Kricco's next visit here for sure!

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