The intrepid Travel Whores from our last installment were once again at their friend’s temple of haute cuisine. Tonight however the normally unflappable Frenchman was as nervous as the proverbial long tailed cat in a room full of those awful American rocking chairs. After several brief jittery conversations they finally asked their friend, “Why are you so nervous? Who’s here the Queen?”. Their friend merely pressed his index finger to his lips. Apparently there was a private dining room upstairs. Travel Whores never know when they will dine with royalty.
Most whores would only dream becoming close friends with the owner of a Paris restaurant with 34 years of three-star Michelin status. A couple, well heeled, well traveled we encountered had done just that. Over twenty five years they spent many nights communing with the deity in the hallowed wainscoted walls of this sanctuary. Then on the eve of one biannual gastronomic pilgrimage to Paris they called their friend for reservations. He replied that he had no table on the night they requested. They check another night. No availability. No, no, no. Finally their friend said, “You have eaten at my humble table too much. I love you, but I am casting you out to find other shores.” My doors are closed to you. And he meant it.
Lessons my fellow travel whores. Yes, the french are very serious about food. A dedicated travel whore is always trying something new and always seeks fresh pastures or risks getting the boot.
PS This is the start of a three part series on these fascinating travel whores. I salute then and their years of whoring together.
So there we were in Yakima, WA for the first time in our lives, at lunchtime, and we were hungry. We drove around downtown Yakima for a few minutes, in a low blood sugar kind of way, and then realized that what we had to do was ask a librarian (well, three librarians, it turned out). They sent us to The Magic Kitchen, at 3rd Ave. and Nob Hill Blvd., and we couldn’t have been happier. Never would have found it without them.
On a recent trip to Hawaii a seasoned Travel Whore of great and ill repute encountered one of the few truly repulsive and pervasive nuisances of this idyllic island paradise; the food. Everywhere there were coconut crusts, and mango melanges of jellied guava reductions. One shudders to think. Even at the finest restaurants the entrees could trigger a diabetic episode. The Travel Whore does not sup on fishy desserts for the secondi.
Survival of course goes to the fittest and the scrapiest. If the top of the food chain does not provide succor then the Travel Whore may take a swift dive to the bottom. Imagine a well Traveled Whore nestled in a “booth” replete with polyurethane coated wood enjoying a very pleasant grilled salmon at Whorrors, an Outback Steakhouse.
Let the eat cake, yes, but sweets like all things in their time and in their place.
Aloha Travel Whores.
Seattle, land of one of the greatest mass conspiracies ever conceived by man. Natives would have you believe that the rain there is hard and unrelenting. But this whore can report after several visits that this simply is untrue. Sunshine rules the day and cool the night. Speaking of cool the restaurant scene should be the envy of most US cities. And the nights, who needs sleep anyway when can prowl the night looking for like minded Travel Whores with whom you can share tales of journeys far and wide.
And then of course to revive the lagging next day Whore there is the coffee. Believe the hype, Victrola, Volunteer park cafe (also notable for its insane pasteries clearly the product of an advanced alien culture). This Whore was left with a warm dreamy buzz that harkened back to languid days spent with lovers long forgotten.
So to the West.
PS: A great star spotting on the way home. By the baggage claim on the cell with that famous smoky voice “Hello, this is Kathleen Turner. I’ve been away from New York for a while but I’m back. Bring me a bottle of Absolut. That will be all.”
Whores far and wide ,the best wildlife might not be in the zoo.
Amsterdam cafés are known around the world for one thing, of course. Wait, actually two things–there’s also great apple cake. But on this sunny afternoon there was an extra enticement to sit at the outdoor table and enjoy a coffee. The café cat hopped up into the windowbox behind us. After determining that we were cat fanciers, he then hopped down into my lap and remained there through lunch. Not all friendly natives are human.
One of our best travel experiences happened because of a chat with the guy behind the counter at The Almost Corner Bookstore in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome (the address is Via del Moro 45). It’s a great English-language bookstore in a keeping-it-real neighborhood, and somehow it came up that we hadn’t been to that part of Rome before. (My husband is a silent, sophisticated traveler, but I’m not, and conversations like these are the pay-off for my goofiness.) The proprietor told us about a handful of things we Had To See, and dictated directions for a walking tour that would take us to them. His tour sent us rambling over the Gianicolo hill, taking in a Pulcinella puppet show and glorious city views along the way, and ended up at the Vatican.
Moral of the story for those who have remained for the wrap up. Find wisdom in those you find along the way.
I recommend leaving some room in your schedule, even if you’re a Type A gal like me. Walking around Venice on our honeymoon, we saw posters tacked up to doors and pillars around the city, advertising a concert happening on two nights during our stay. On a whim we went — how far wrong can you go with a largely Vivaldi program, set in La Chiesa di Vivaldi a Venezia? It was a delightful evening, with the added bonus that the violoncello player (Enrico Martignon, then in the Ars Musica Venetiae) looked exactly like my brother, who does not play the violoncello at all.
Moral to all you Travel Whores. Keep your head up, stay alert and you never know where you will find your brother.
When planning a trip where to start?? One travel whore’s fav is to begin at the NYTimes Travel section and search “36 hours in…” Gives a quick picture of what to do and invariably leads to creative ideas as to how to get into the hottest spots or pushes you to book that restaurant reservation now, just in case…
The Travel Whore is a peaceful creature who wends his or her way through the world on charm and seduction. The Travel Whore abhors violence. A case recently came to our attention of an executive from Paris who, while in Asia, was accused of stealing a cell phone. The accusation was, of course, absurd, but for reasons still obscure the two men came to blows. All well and good for an American action film but not practicable for real life. The Asian man turned out to be a respected local businessman. The Parisian is of course arrested. He secures counsel of the highest regard, who tells him that there is only a 10% chance of being convicted, but if convicted he will spend many years in a Thai prison. The Frenchman flees the country, and for fear of a airplane being diverted can never return to Asia. Remember, go in peace. As a stranger in a strange land do not be provoked. Our mission is to see the world, but not from the inside of a cell.