Hold the Crowd Back for the Person We Don’t Want You to See

I was walking into The White Elephant here in Nantucket to meet my wife for brunch after parking my car a quarter mile away. As I approached the main entry, a Massachusetts State Police SUV pulls in, followed by a high-end Mercedes sedan, followed by another, private SUV. A civilian woman hops out of the police vehicle, and stands with arms folded in front of the rear passenger’s door of the Mercedes. A guy gets out and hops into the …


Wind

I’m in the study of our house in Nantucket, the breakers 30 yards away. It’s 6:30 am on a cloudy, blustery morning. The flag, down near the water and waving from a 40-foot pole, is taking a beating. The hammock on the deck is roiling like a restless sleeper having a frightening nightmare. Even the waves are losing their crests to the unforgiving winds. Meanwhile, a rabbit sits a few feet away on the lawn studying the breakfast options surrounding …


The Power of the Shore

The garage door opens to a temperature of 70 degrees at 7 am, a briny air, a crisp stillness. A cat wanders by, its night’s work completed, seeking some sleep. I drive through deserted streets, obeying the obsessive traffic lights with no traffic in sight. Mechanics are adjusting rides powered up with invisible riders on the boardwalk. City workers empty meters guarded by an armed officer, but they take time out to spread the food they brought with them for …


Taxi!

I don’t use Uber in London because the taxis are so good—plentiful, roomy, safe, clean, and driven by drivers who know where everything is, never talk on cell phones or eat while driving, and are extremely polite. In other words, the antitheses of the fetid, horrid, New York taxis. I grabbed one after my speech at the Institute of Directors to get to dinner with colleagues in what should have been a ten-minute trip. Instead it took twenty—London traffic, winding …



Istanbul II

This city was founded around 660 BC as Byzantium, was later Constantinople, and served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. There are over 15 million people here, and it is cited as the fifth leading tourist destination in the world. I’m looking at Asia across the Bosphorus from my balcony, since the city is in both Asia and Europe. There is a “transcontinental marathon” being run here today. The huge Hagia Sophia, once a church …


Istanbul

I’m running the Million Dollar Club in Sevilla next week, and we always visit somewhere we’ve never been before or after the meetings. We chose Istanbul, because we’ve heard so much about it and everyone raves about it. (Note below that it took three men to get all of out stuff into the car upon arrival!) We’re at the Four Seasons Bosphorus, overlooking the water and staring at Asia from the European side. We’re going on our first tour today, …


Not So Sweet Dreams

A Play in One Act Dramatis Personae:   Me: A seasoned traveler with about 4 million air miles, approved by US Global Entry, a man the police would call an “upstanding citizen.”   Katrinka (KT): Security supervisor at British Airways Terminal 5.   The Inspector (IN): British police inspector called upon when possible bomb materials are detected.   Plain Clothes Counter-Terrorist Official #1 (PC #1): Called by an inspector when there may be a serious threat.   Plain Clothes Counter-Terrorism …


Why I Love London

• The cabs are clean, can hold 5-6 people comfortably, and the drivers know where everything is. You’re lucky if you get a cab driver in New York who knows where the Empire State Building is, and the cab will stink while he yaks in a foreign language on a cell phone. • No one honks car horns. The city is bustling, streets are crowded, but the noise level is very low. • Harrods. • Tipping is not an issue. …


The Express Life

Up at 4:30, I found the limo idling outside at 5, both dogs oblivious to its presence, too intent on their deep sleep. I slipped into the clothes I had readied the night before like a firefighter donning turnout gear about to jump on an engine.   I read the papers in the penlight of the car’s rear illumination, traveling through the dark as if on a fast train. As we approached the expressway on the final leg to Boston, …