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Istanbul -NYC-MA-VT-ONT-MI-IL, A Sinner and an Angel on Pilgrimage

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Oct 2nd, 2012, 09:44 AM
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Istanbul -NYC-MA-VT-ONT-MI-IL, A Sinner and an Angel on Pilgrimage

The planning started months ago. Even in April low milage frequent flier tickets were nor available, nor were low milage upgrades. Had to pay for full economy and high milage points for upgrades on Turkish Airlines. Drew routes and redrew them according to possibility of gaining HHonors points and visiting some areas. All lines for routes were crooked. I am terrible at drawing straight lines. Eser, DW, is worse, although she claims that she used to help her older brother draw pictures and maps at elementary school.

Can we meet photographer college friend who used to live in Hudson, NY who told me five years ago that he had some originals of photographs he had taken of me on the stage when I performed in Genet's Blacks, Uncle Vanya, Mad Woman of Chaillot, Pinter's Birthday Party, etc. so mamy many years ago?

We wrote to Aduchamp01 and the "Dinner Thread" friends already and will meet Adu in NYC and DhFrost, Jubilada and VtTraveler at Brattleboro for a min GTG. Will also visit the Sister City Jazz Ambassadors in Pittsfield, for whom we had arranged a gig in Nicea and spent a weekend together. Andy Kelly says they will throw a party for us at a small bistro.

Will eat at restaurant which my recently deceased concert pianist cousin loved with two of his close friends, meet wife and possibly son of Cypriot colleague consultant from our days in Saudi Arabia (1980-85) in New York. Just build up some additional stress from being in New York, wander aimlessly, visit MOMA, and a good deli.

Have spices, Turkish cook books and olive oil soap for friends, a small carpet for Andy's daughter as wedding present (keep them in our debt????) and another one for our in-laws in Detroit. DD in Chicago expects bath cloth (not towels) to give as presents. Thus 23 kilograms each in four suitcases plus carry-ons.

Had to rent a large car from Hertz to fit all luggage. Fortunately there was a 33% savings special on it although the Chicago return costs $300. I do not know if AARP membership or Gold Card made a difference on the total cost.

Had to reserve hotel outside Manhattan in NJ because of very high costs. New England prices are not much better and MA or Vt do not have their own NJs.
Auburn and Niagara (Canadian side) were not bad at all, probably because end of October is not really a popular time to visit the area. Have both falls view room at the Hilton.

Then it is off to Detroit for Dinner with in Laws at Troy and breakfast the next day with the angel's cousin and family.
DD the young will be waiting in Chicago where we will be a nuisance for them for 9-10 days.

In the meantime, the kitchen will have been re-done in Istanbul, and the living, dining room, corridor, entrance and balcony will have been repainted.

The nerves already frayed. Three suitcases packed, small cases of medicine, toiletries, some bath cloth and books and things sitting on the suicases, the house full of packed boxes (32 so far) from the kitchen and living room, Eser going crazy picking everything I leave somewhere and leaving it somewhere else so that no one can find it again. The two American shorthairs Fistik and Zipzip, feeling something nasty going on and not happy at all. Two rooms already carry 500 of my books that I managed to salvage after I discovered my publisher left them in a damp basement someplace because he went bankrupt.

DD older (who is an architect for other people) who deserted us since the renovations started to go live with boy friend, has not been seen except when she appears at strange times to get a fresh change of clothing, but is willing to use the credit card I gave her for emergencies to buy stuff from her boyfriend's e-commerce site to help him out.

Tomorrow, an important day before most trips which require walking. I will go have my toe nails done by a specialist. Strange person that I am, I actually enjoy that.

Thursday Oct. 4 I have to act as moderator at the second panel of the day, after lunch (the grave yard shift?) with people I have never heard about as speakers and I have no idea what they will talk away. I know that some of my colleagues in the insurance business expect to see me smiling and being funny. It will all be in English. All speakers are Turkish. Am I going to have to translate their English into English? The president of the Turkish Catastrophe Administration attached to the Primeminister's office. President of the Turkish Arbitration Bureau, a professor from Istanbul Technical University (a professor of what?) and the Director for consumer rights from the Istanbul Bar Association. This is appearing as more and more like a recurring nightmare I used to have at college when I was studying theatre, of finding myself on stage with no idea of what the play was about let alone any of my lines.

Sometime in between, I should draw the cabinets (crooked lines, remember) in the kitchen and the walls so that I can show the location of all the electricity outlets for the carpenter and tiler, as well as what color knob I want on each cabinet door and drawer. Again, just to show our absurd side, we bought the handles in three colors and will have to assign them to the almost 60 doors and drawers.

What does all that have to do with the trip report? Well, a great deal. I am setting the stage for the great pilgrimage, introducing the characters, painting the backdrop of misery and the partnership between the angel and the sinner. Notice, the angel has not protested yet about anything I wrote. Will she read all this? Yes, she will. Will i also have to write, "Methinks, the lady doth protesteth over much!" ? Possibly

Off to listen to the horrible world news, then to start paying off credit cards on-line and then try to prepare for other credit card payments while away, and of'course the knobs and what about reservations at restaurants en-route?
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 11:37 AM
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we're ready for you, OC!
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 12:19 PM
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Thanks Jubilada.

Two of the things I learned in life are:

cash usually flows one way, outwards. and

"money speaks. it usually says, Goodbye!"

i just remembered these when I sat to prepare for all the expenses for when we are away from the security of our humble abode.

My notes for tomorrow include,
-get flu shot
- buy some more cardboard boxes for additional packing
- buy some masking tape to cover library and small Georgetti desk ourselves.
- find telephone number of photographer friend, Sedat Pakay, in Hudson (who apparently has an exhibition in Seattle, WA later in October)
- google names of speakers on the panel
- check for extended weather on the route
- get printouts of route from NYC hotel to Hudson to pittsfield to Manchester Center to Brattleboro.
- Make restaurant reservation in Lenox after finding out which night Andy is inviting us. (at recommended restaurant)
- paint a portion of each wall to direct the painter so that he does not make any mistakes, because walls are going to be orange, green, blue and almond.
- argue with Eser on a few simple subjects and let her win the argument.
- do twenty minutes on the threadmill.
- visit sister and BIL downstairs
- Calculate share of earthquake insurance premium for brother, sister and myself and try to collect.
- try to get Eser to prepare some CDs of interesting Turkish music for our friends in the States.
- Buy some lions milk for DD in Chicago and for the Brattleboro GTG
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 12:52 PM
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In Manchester, VT have dinner at The Perfect Wife,restaurant is on the lower level, casual pub is upstairs. Or dine at Bistro Henry. Both are excellent.Book sooner than later in this very busy leaf season.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 03:07 PM
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In...
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 12:11 AM
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Thanks Happy Trvir.

received confirmation and nvitation from old schoolmate photographer.

For Pittsfield, the planned reception will be Oct. 12 evening. The band which is deeply religious will play for us and the base player will preach if we attend their church on Sunday before we leave towards Vermont. Eser and I are agnostics so we think it is a great idea to have this church experience. We had attended some lovely services and other occasions at Greek and Armenian churches in istanbul and at the Neve Shalom synagogue as well as Buddhist temples in Thailand and Shinto temples in Japan.

The dinner on Oct 11 in New York in memoriam will have five friends of my cousin, two of whom we have not met before.

The trip is forming up beautifully. Eser says she is disappointed that I cannot find anyone to meet at Auburn or Niagara. I wonder if it is because she is afraid of spending time alone with such a handsome and virile man as I?

- Time to go to Piramid Sanat art house and cafe, owned by the former child prodigy, now outspoken political figure and painter Bedri Baykam, to say hello and to check if they have sold any of the five of my books I left there for sale, and to have a cup of morning tea. Will also buy the cardboard boxes on the same street in Taksim.

- Have arranged for van for airport transfers in Istanbul, departure and arrivals.
- Eser arranged for curtains to be taken down for cleaning and all mattresses to have special cleaning in our absence.
- Paintings down from the walls and stored.

Excitement building up.
Checked file folder. Confirmations from all hotels, e-ticket copies, Hertz confirmation there. Need to add addresses and telephone numbers of restaurants, people and route maps and directions.

I shall roll down my trousers for at least till November.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 02:38 AM
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OC, your list is exhausting. I hope you have some energy left to enjoy your trip. You are a brave man to leave your walls and cabinets at a time like this.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 06:24 AM
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dfrost, i hope your cold is better.
It is not bravery, it is pure escapism.

DW reminded me of rising blood sugar and failure of diet. Satan was an angel also, I reminded her back.

among other things, bought a kilo of fresh walnuts which we shall eat while watching a good film tonight. They are very good for HDL Cholesterol.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Aduchamp made the mistake of giving the date of his return from visiting parent in Florida. So he and Mrs.Adu have to meet us October 10.

This will be after our lunch with Louise our Irish neighbor in Riyadh who once walked in the door one very hot summer afternoon in 1982 when I was sitting reading a book in only my jockey classics, sat across from me and started talking before I could get up to sneak away. By that time, getting up was out of the question. Eser could not leave the kitchen to come to my rescue because she was doubled up in laughter. What is worse, I do not think that she even noticed me except as a person who was prepared to listen to her. About ten years ago we met again in NYC and she continued the one sided conversation where she left it in 1982 I think,

Please do not tell me that the Hampton Inn at Secaucus, NJ is a terrible choice for NYC. Anything in Manhattan started at $350. And I think that was for one of those cubicles which are popular for siestas in Tokyo.

On the other hand, please tell me your favorite deli for a hot pastrami sandwich and pickles because times change and I do not want to rely on touristic info.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:52 PM
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There are several good delis in NYC, dozens of mediocre delis, and very few magnificent, belly-busting, delis, where each bite is a life-fulfilling experience. Not only should a sandwich from one of the elite delis be on everyone's list of things to do before they die, that sandwich will help to expedite the latter event.

My strong recommendation is Katz's Deli, in the Lower East Side on Houston St (pronounced HOW-sten, not HYEW-sten). Oh lordy lordy, my cholesterol jumps for joy just thinking about the plac. I prefer leaner meats (so sue me), so I get corned beef or brisket, extra-lean, sandwiches rather than pastrami. And dear me are they good.

The Katz experience is nothing like the more touristy midtown delis (Carnegie Deli, Stage Deli, etc). You order the sandwich at the counter, from the person who will hand-slice the meat. To do things the right way, you tip the carver $1 before he makes the sandwich. Lines will be long at lunch, but they'll move fast.

Trust me on this one.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Thank you Don. Will definitely follow your advice even if it means I will have to eat salads with no dressing the week after.

A decent London substitute for a corned beef sandwich on rye used to be found within Selfridges, on the ground floor, off the left side entrance many years ago. Alas, it had disappeared when I visited London last two times, gone to the place that many others travel to when they have allowed us their memorable experiences. So, I should not miss this chance to visit Katz at Howsten at NooYock.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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I second Katz's, though I'd go for the pastrami. And a side of chopped liver. And a Dr. Brown's cel-ray tonic.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 09:00 PM
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Hi OC, looking forward to reading about your adventures and reports from GTG.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 12:55 AM
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Adu sent me a PM saying that he will supply the chopped liver if I buy the pastrami sandwiches.

The panel went very well. I do not think I offended anyone. There were enough smiling faces in the audience. I woke them up a few times by raising my voice and interrupting the speakers with hopefully interesting questions, although the speakers may not have been too happy about that.

Used an Auden quote, "A professor is someone who speaks in other people's sleep" and a doctor joke when talking about issues with calculating PMLs reagarding earthquake exposures where one doctor says, "well, we will know who was right at the autopsy, won't we?" at the end of the discussion regarding the diagnosis of a patient's symptomps. A French underwriter we sat with at dinner last night told us that he will not forget and use some of my humorous asides at times, afterwards.
Finally, the belly dancer who somehow appeared at the dinner venue last night was a young kid, did not have the training or the body for the belly dance. So i took pity and under Eser's lightning producing eyes slipped a largish green banknote under her bra. I hope Eser understoon my compassion.
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Oct 6th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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Very hectic two days. New website designer came in midst of all, followed by the handy man in charge of renovations. Assigned the knobs to drawers and cupboards in kithchen and the different color paints to the walls. Ordered the new radiator for kitchen, bought new electricity outlets to match the paint of the different walls in living and dining rooms, entrance and corridors, printed all route directions for the trip, confirmed all lunch and dinner meetings. Prepared file with all printouts, confirmations, phones, addresses, etc.
Will re-do suitcase today to make sure we have everything for temperatures between 32 to 67.

Eser needed emergency care against stress allergy triggered by wine or tomatoes or walnuts and is trying to sleep whatever they gave her by IV.

I want to make a list of things that are most likely to be forgotten at home, but I keep forgetting what they are.

Beginning to feel like Alfred E. Neuman, possibly look like an aged version of him too. I wonder if Mad magazine still survives. The cats have gotten too fat, but when we change to diet meals their urine becomes acidy. The vet keeps us selling different urinary tract and diet food everytime we call. Unless we start eating some of that ourselves we will have to go hungry before we can treat the cats properly.
So, my friend at the dinner thread, do not be surprised if I start giving you recipes containing Hills or Royal Canine ingredients.

Tuesday morning the wreckers (removers of the lower kitchen cupboards and the tiles) arrive at 7:30AM, but our fligh is at 13:00. We will have to leave the house by 8AM and possibly take refuge downstairs in my sister's flat with suitcases and all, kiss her grandchildren goodbye to school, read the morning papers aloud to whoever is there and pet their cat Michelle before we take sense numbing medicine and are picked by our free transfer van to IST airport.
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Oct 6th, 2012, 09:13 PM
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I am back and I have been misquoted and misrepresnted too many times. I prefer 2nd Ave Deli to Katz's, even though the patrami at Katz's is among the best. The side dishes at 2nd Ave are far superior.

I have had pastrami in Goreme and I am still not sure why that called that pastrami. But I do love Turkish cooking, if it is by OC. One of the most underappreciated cuisines.

First I had my mother's 90th b-day party and now I have to see OC. I am surely going to heaven. Fortunately OC's wife will be there also. I am not sure what OC said about me, but she hid in the hall closet during our visit to Istanbul.

Let me know what type of food you are looking for and I will be more than happy to take you there. And we might even join you. On Oct 10, I have alloted between 4:01-4:07 for your visit. This should be enough for a three course meal.
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Oct 7th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Thanks for the renewed offer Adu. Pastrami it is. Have tried to see how much I can eat in 6 minutes today and the result was 21 ounces of Cappadocia style pastrami, which is actually called "pastirma" and is sun dried beef with a strongly spicy, thick fenugreek and red pepper layer.

I will be at Katz's at 4.01 and Eser at 2nd Ave. just in case you decide to forget which one it was.

We also have some fenugreek for you in case you wish to make your own Cappadocia pastrami.
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Oct 7th, 2012, 09:54 PM
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Thank you. I sent you an e-mail.

Most people think fenugreek is part of their financial crisis.
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Oct 8th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Awesome report so far. Can't wait to hear more.

Loved the Second Avenue Deli and went there on Adu's and others' recommendation.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 09:53 AM
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Writing from THY TK 001 midway on the Atlantic about five hours to JFK. Eser wanted change seats and sit next to a Syrian orthodox Priest in full garb because she deeply feels for their plight ( not flight). Earlier we made facetime communication with DD in Chicago. You should have seen the surprise on her face.
So far no sleep. We can probably make up for the lost sleep when we meet all those people in New York, with the exception of Adu meeting whom will should keep us awake for at least 72 hours.
Comfort class cabin fine,leg room fine, bum room fine, leg lift miserable, no belly dancer on this flight (check my profile photo) .
Walking statistics show that out of hundred 5 play games , 20 watch films, 10 stare dumbly into space, 10 stare intelligently into space, 10 eat or drink something, 5 are on wi-fi, and 60 sleep. If that's adds up to more than 100 it means that some are multi-tasking.
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