June is a big month around these parts. We have our anniversary, my birthday, the anniversary of my accident. And then, of course, it’s the beginning of summer, replete with outdoor lolling and lazing. Every week we manage an excuse to celebrate something–behavior I don’t think we’ll outgrow once July starts.
For my birthday, I did one of those things people expect you to do all the time if you live in NYC: taking a day off to go to the museum, shop, and buy expensive pastries. I went up to the Met to see the Charles James exhibit, then walked down Madison for window shopping (and a little real shopping). Ultimately I did skip it out on the pastry portion of the afternoon–I walked by Laduree but it felt like a silly thing when really I just wanted a good piece of cake. So down to Momofuku I went.
Now that I’m 28 with easy access to midtown Manhattan, I think it’s time I start doing that once a month. Seems right.
May 15 2014: Yesterday morning we took a bus from Chefchaouen to Fez. It was a four hour journey, terrifying at times as the bus swayed down the winding mountain roads. Often the edge of the road was inches from a cliff, and our bus driver was not exactly driving slowly. More often than not he straddled the dividing line, narrowly avoiding small cars. I didn’t sleep until we reached a flat region.
Arriving in Fez was completely overwhelming though. The directions to our riad were in French, so we walked in circles through the medina. We probably passed our riad at least once, before finally using the wifi of a cafe.
The riad itself is opulent. Beautifully laid tiles, impressive carved stones, high ceilings, and an enchanting courtyard. It’s something from a movie. There is even a pet tortue.
Speaking of tortoises, I bought a basket shaped like a tagine, and while walking someone offered me a live tortoise “pour tagine.” I declined.
Today we went to the terraces overlooking the tannery. We bought two poufs with the intention of giving one to my mom, but I don’t think she’ll like either! I also found a lovely blanket, blue and white pottery, and argan cream, whose label has a hotmail email address.
On our walk back from the souks, we got slightly lost (again) and wandered into the meat market. Birds were being slaughtered, others were near death, barely lifting their heads. We found a passage out and quickly left.
Yesterday was our fourth wedding anniversary. I got back from a press trip to North Carolina earlier in the day, so I didn’t really feel like doing the whole Manhattan thing. So instead I put on my new favorite Zara dress, an oldie but goodie Revlon lipstick, and we went out in Astoria.
Mar’s is an oyster bar with a speakeasy vibe and fantastic cocktails. We were absolute gluttons. First an oyster, mussel, clam, shrimp, and crab claw platter. Then a 48 ounce steak with truffle butter “for two” that we nibbled at…and wrapped up for home. Everything was washed down with champagne and gin cocktails.
As for an anniversary gift, Kirk brought home hot pink peonies. I carried those in my wedding bouquet, so I think it’s sweet he remembers that particle shade of pink.
Have a great weekend and happy Father’s Day!
From my travel journal: “We arrived by air, flying into Tangier across the Strait of Gibraltar. We immediately took a grand taxi from the airport to Chefchaouen–probably overpaying in the process, but we avoided having to transfer taxis in Tetouan this way. We drove about two hours through the Rif mountains, the roads extremely windy. Mules dotted the rugged countryside, along with sheep.”“The medina here is inaccessible to cars, so the cab driver dropped us at the edge of the medina, having driven down an extremely steep dirt road to do so.”
“Someone from our riad met us at this point, guiding us into the medina. As soon as we passed through an archway, the Blue City materialized. All of the buildings here are awash in periwinkle blue. The architecture has Spanish influences like barrel tile roofs, but the city is unmistakably Moorish.”
“We’ve been here a few hours and have heard (and seen) roosters, drank several mint teas (hot!), and had tagine. We’re waiting to see the sunset over the mountain range–then we’re giving into jet lag.”
“This morning we ate petit dejeuner on the terrace of our riad, then set out for a hike up to the old Spanish mosque. Though the mosque is no longer in use, the path to it was well-worn, used by Berbers crossing to the city. We saw a goat herder in the mountains too.”
“It was a fairly steep climb, and though it was only 10 a.m., quite hot in the sun. But the views at the top were spectacular–the whole city is on view, cradled between mountains. The morning light was very pretty, bathing the blue city in a gentle glow.”
“On our walk back this morning, we saw a woman herding goats through the medina. We stood to the side, but the goats were apprehensive of us. We snapped a few photos and the woman started shouting. She only spoke arabic, but seemed upset we took her photo–which we weren’t trying to do. It was impossible to explain it was just the goats. It was embarrassing –not the first of our accidental slights against locals– and as much as we try not to be tourists, we are.”
I got back late Monday from Florida, and what a successful trip it was! I ate every meal outside, drank outside, shopped outside, and saw the ocean. Somehow it had been 5 years since I last visited–a strange realization considering I spent most school vacations at my grandparents’ home there.
All of those formative years spent floating in a screened-in pool, napping on rattan love seats, and eating fresh-picked grapefruits for breakfast have made me very fond of the state, faux bamboo and all. So it should be no surprise that I bought these from Circa Who in West Palm Beach:
They were marked half off, so even when the shipping was factored in (a not inconsequential amount), the chairs, individually, were still less than $200 each. The cushions aren’t attached to the chairs, so when I eventually find fabric to have them redone, it won’t be as costly as upholstery. But the colors in the cushions work with what I have, so there’s no rush.
And now I’m reinstating my moratorium on faux bamboo. But if I ever retire to Florida, I am set.