Category Archives: Peregrinations

Nantucket 2014-3

DSC_1820 - Version 2DSC_1821DSC_1826Here’s my buddy, Salvator Seal, lazing a few dozen yards off the beach. And the female contingent of the family preparing for sprinkler tag after dinner af fresco and before sunset. After the Super Moon Sunday, how is this for a sunset on Monday?

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Nantucket 2014-2

We dined at The Pearl last night, where we’ve been going since it opened. We were joined by our friend Julie who’s spending a couple of days with us and enjoyed hamachi and then soft shell crab with noodles, along with a Chassagne Montrechet.

The best, after a wonderful beach day, was the “super moon” hovering over the convertible as we drove back from town to the beach house. (A super moon is a full moon that occurs during the closest approach to the earth in the moon’s orbit.) The night sky was lighted by what looked like a giant Chinese lantern. Down the beach, someone was setting off impressive fireworks.

Just a slight breeze yesterday, with a huge seal cavorting 30 yards off shore for a couple of hours, head bobbing above the surface like a living periscope, then disappearing to catch some fish, I’m guessing. Other than that, a woman taking “selfies” for about a half-hour in every conceivable position, rearranging her hair and other attributes for each shot, and a dog with its own umbrella.

Another day at the beach.

© Alan Weiss 2014

Selfie woman.

Selfie woman.

Umbrella dog.

Umbrella dog.

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Nantucket 2014-1

We’ve arrived for our two-week sojourn, following Bali, and the Jersey Shore. We are eclectic people.

The trip to the ferry which should be 90 minutes (to Hyannis) took 2.5 hours. There were eight-mile backups at the Cape. I still don’t know why. The ferry was 10 minutes late leaving, a rarity, as frantic last-minute arrivals swarmed the ticket office. (It is VERY difficult to get a car on a ferry during the season without a reservation dating back to February.) Every single vehicle around us was an SUV, and while you’re about to tell me that’s the practical way to do it, they all look like ants in a colony headed for food. Boring.

But here we are. As is our 20-year habit, we dined at Topper’s (named after a dog) at the Wauwinet on the opposite side of the island. For those of you who follow me on Vivino, we had a superb Harlan Estate. The food was great and there are few things I know of to equal a 70-degree night, riding through winding, narrow roads under the stars, in a convertible.

This morning is lovely, and I am preparing for the 20-yard trip to the beach.

Lost in the SUV swarm.

Lost in the SUV swarm.

 

Daybreak, overlooking the pool.

Daybreak, overlooking the pool.

 

Calm morning ocean.

Calm morning ocean.

 

Entering the bay.

Entering the bay.

 

A beach near the town.

A beach near the town.

 

Docking.

Docking.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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When Your Audience Is Clearly Tired of Listening

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Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

July 21

 

It’s 6:30 in the morning, and I’m sitting on a small beach chair on our terrace overlooking the Atlantic, which is so serene it’s as if it’s asking permission to come on shore. There’s a light drizzle falling despite the newly-arisen sun, which is why I’m not using the regular furniture out here, but rather cowering under an eave with my lap top.

 

We dined with the family last night in a local landmark, Graziano’s, which has good but not great old-fashioned southern Italian food. The owner herself personally cooks only on Sunday, which she’s done for 47 years, and is a good reason to avoid the place. I was wondering why it was unusually unoccupied until it took over an hour for our meals to appear. The regulars obviously know this. She’s the owner, she can do that if she wants to, but decent food doesn’t overcome extraordinary ineptitude.

 

I bought a “credit card” for $40 at one of the arcades last night, which I can swipe in any of hundreds of machines in our insatiable quest to win the granddaughters 100,000,000 points so that they can buy a A380 for free. It’s a funny sequence: You swipe the card to play the game, the game upchucks tickets for the points you acquire, you then take the tickets (thousands of them bound in a long train) to the ticket-eating machine, which gobbles them up like some kind of rejected creature from the Muppets, and then issues a credit slip, which you take the counter where a human writes you a “check” for the credits which can be used for years (I kid you not). I get my kicks from the ticket-eating machine which is both bizarre and frightening, and I’ve been known to tell small kids in line that I was there before them even though I’m really referring to being on earth before them.

 

The economy is thriving. For the past two years here we’ve seen “vacancy” signs and easily negotiable crowds on the boardwalk and piers. No longer—all the signs are “no vacancy,” traffic is much thicker, and the boardwalk is jammed. These beach resorts are the destination of middle class America (and the odd Canadians who keep apologizing for bumping into you even when it wasn’t them) and people are clearly spending again. (It’s not cheap to come for a long weekend or a week, counting gas, lodging, food (even casual food), beach passes, rentals, games, rides, souvenirs, and so forth.

 

The rain is letting up, and the 1,876th jogger/runner has passed my perch (no bikes allowed). I admire their intent and I’m sure they have the goal of maintaining this exercise post-vacation, but that isn’t going to happen for most of them. That’s because they mostly return to “work” and “jobs,” wherein I don’t have to, because my career is involved with making these kinds of observations.

 

And now I’m done.

photo

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Departing Bali

It’s a gorgeous morning here (we’re 12 hours ahead of the eastern US) and we’re off to breakfast and the pool. We leave tonight on the 8 pm flight to Singapore, then to Dubai, and home to Boston.

Bali’s people are fantastic, very cordial, and extremely helpful. The streets are clogged with mind-numbing, demolition-derby motorbikes of all sorts, some with infants wedged between parents, some driven by what appear to be 12-year-old girls in school uniforms heading to class. They weave in an out between busses and cars, often on the wrong side of the road, usually with inches to spare. I’m stunned I’ve seen no one hit.

We dined last evening in Mulia, one of the super resorts here, that occupy vast amounts of land on the water. The restaurant was Table 8, and the resort and restaurant have won a slew of awards, including best new offerings in Asia. The restaurant was odd—beautiful decor, but with a buffet as well as set menu, amidst the elegance, and very casual diners, including tables of young kids scrambling over their parents. The wine list was very limited, though I found a nice estate Rioja from 2001.

The food was marvelous, but the place gave the impression of confused intent, with dozens of employees standing idly behind a little used buffet.

DSC_1762IMG_2333© Alan Weiss 2014

 

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Bali

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One of the infinity pools at the Four Seasons, Bali; roadside market; large and modern Catholic church where we attended vigil mass celebrated in Indonesian; and a superb restaurant, Merah Putih (suckling pig, prawns, boneless duck) where those lighted columns conduct rain water from the roof through the restaurant, fascinating design.

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California Dreaming

Remember the Momas and the Papas? California Dreamin’ was one of their best efforts.

I”ve been here for the week, in Beverly Hills, probably in one of the best suites in one of the best hotels—The Peninsula. We’ve wined and dined lavishly, and here are my current reflections on the California Dream:

• The place is so over-regulated it makes Obama look like a hands-off guy. There are warnings and rules and laws about everything. This morning, a formal wall plaque warned of lead paint that may have been used in the painting of certain china in the restaurant.

• The freeways can clog at any time of the day without warning. There are a thousand merges called for in these spiderwebs of roads, and drivers here seem to have a personal pride on not allowing anyone to ever change lanes in front of them and to forsake any form of directional signal.

• There are more Teslas here than I’ve ever seen in all my other travels. They’re okay, a status symbol of sorts (I saw quite a few Friskers here two years ago, but that company went bankrupt), but you can’t convince me they’ll become anything more than a third car for people with that kind of play money.

• No matter what exotic car you talk about, you will see not one, but several, driving by you  later that day.

• In the top restaurants, there is an affectation that makes me giddy. Three guys last night in a top steakhouse, slouched over their seats, looking for all the world like stereotypes of sunglasses-on-your-head, pseudo-swingers who keep demanding favors. In another top place, we identified what must be the blowhard table, because every time we’re there that table contains the guys with open neckties, cell phones constantly in use, too-loud conversations about contracts, and frequent trips outside the restaurant.

• When women tell me they have to wash their hair more frequently here because of the dirt in the air, I’m moved to try to breathe more shallowly.

• Billboards or immense proportion seeking votes for televisions shows and actors prior to the upcoming Emmy awards seem somehow ridiculous. The public isn’t voting, and it looks like a “ransom” paid by the networks to appease the talent.

• There are so many good looking people here everywhere you look that it’s intimidating. That extends to the limo drivers, beauticians, restaurant servers, and guy who cleans our garden outside the suite.

Of course, the song’s lyric was “California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day….” And Huey Lewis and the News had a great number in, “It’s Hop to Be Square.”

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Peninsula Beverly Hills

We are in the Garden Suite, the only one like it, and one of my very favorites anywhere.

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Wedmore Place Inn, Williamsburg

I’m speaking here tomorrow morning, so we’re staying in this gorgeous suite while we explore and enjoy the surroundings. The inn is in the middle of a winery!

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