Archive for October, 2012

Cape Cod

October 26, 2012


On ferry returning from a day on Nantucket which seems to be closing down for winter. Stunning day, very large houses- many of which are closed down- lots of money. Barman tells us that the season starts up again in April. Very nice clothes shops apparently, fantastic museum. Apparently Nantucket was the capital of the whaling industry in the 19th century. It’s doing pretty well on tourism now though.
Got to drive back to Provincetown which will be ok. I have a tendency to drift to the right; apart from this and Kim’s exclamations and instructions it’s easy.

New York update

October 24, 2012

I forgot to mention the show. The Book of Mormon is the best musical I’ve seen (I’ve seen 3), sacrilegious, very rude, hilariously funny with great songs all put together smoothly and with apparent ease. It mercilessly ridicules the Mormon religion and religion in general. It questions the relevance of our western stories to other cultures facing huge problems in their everyday lives. It then draws you to the conclusion;- happy or sad, depending on your point of view- that we are all susceptible to the same message delivered in stories that are relevant to our own lives. Haven’t laughed so much since……..

New York is not just another city it is cities within a city. One week touristing gave us but a glimpse. I think it is about the people more than the buildings. Their history and their achievements, all over the place. The tenement buildings in the lower east was a fascinating area. We wandered aimlessly around Greenwich Village and walked the high line to dinner at “Pastis” in Chelsea, had a few beers on pier 26 looking over the Hudson to New Jersey. A fantastic place to spend time with friends and to shop.

On the train to Providence and thence to Cape Cod. I can see the autumn colours everywhere and can feel the cares of the city peel off (until I start to drive that is). The Europeans must have thought they’d found Eden when they landed in this place.

Horizon

October 24, 2012

Horizon

View from our bedroom at P town Massachusetts. Note the time of day (dawn) and the sky line.

Netherlands June 2012

October 21, 2012

I started this about four months ago and have not been back since so here it is, posted from New York.
Am in the Netherlands for a couple of weeks. Attended a day of Rabobank international farmer master class which was fascinating. Not there because I’m a master farmer but because Kim was a key note speaker. She went well, lots of positive feedback. Went to Wageningen University to hear the Dutch perspective on the challenges facing agriculture. Essentially, food demand is expected to double and productive land not expected to increase, which leaves increase in production per hectare. Plus reduction in supply chain waste which represents up to 25%. I can not believe that Netherlands is the 2nd largest exporter of agricultural produce after the US. It is 250 km by 150 km for god’s sake! Obviously they mean by value but it is still an extraordinary achievement. Interestingly, the scientists at the uni see great potential in genetically modified plants despite the current EU policies.
Love Amsterdam 700,000 bicycles and 200,000 cars! Bikes rule, even pedestrians have to give way. Crooked old building leaning against each other. Rode our bikes out along the dykes for lunch by the sea. Ran into another group of Aussies doing the same thing. In the afternoon we sit at our local bar by the canal with a beer and a plate of Bitterbollen. Bliss.

Pretty feeble travelogue, I must have got busy. I think I like Amsterdam more than NYC.

New York City

October 20, 2012

No one that I know that has been to NY has not loved it. Anyone who has been to the US says forget the stereo types it is a big country, it’s great, there are all types of people and circumstances. I’ve been here four days and most of my prejudices are being confirmed. Don’t get me wrong we are having a ball. This city is vibrant, huge, never stops; never seems to slow down even (Not that I can confirm the hours from 2am to 7am). The stereotypes stand though, the food is too salty for me, too much, much too much. The poverty and class and racial divides seem to be huge. I suppose magnificent tall, modern buildings don’t do as much for me as magnificent ancient buildings do because I am not overawed by NY like I have been in the cities of Europe. I have got a stiff neck though. Central Park is magnificent but because of the grid pattern of the streets there are not many other parks or little squares in Manhattan, only Broadway enables the monotony of intersections to be broken. They are doing a great job with the piers and foreshore parks, it is a blessed relief to get down their.
Four Middle aged Aussie friends have walked across Brooklyn Bridge and up into Brooklyn, caught the ferry to Stratin Island and admired the lady. She was a lot smaller than my imagination had built her up to be, but magnificent alone on her island. We wanted to see the sun set from the top of the Rockefella building but by the time we had battled the alternately crawling and then surging cues to get to the top it was well and truly dark. We discussed whether the sight was beautiful and decided that was not the right adjective. Awesome, incredible, BIG, “”bright””, a monument to all the little workers and queens that had lived and worked down there for decades. The termite metaphor works on a number of levels. There is beauty in the Frick Museum (now that’s a house), and in Central Park. We rode bikes around Central Park the other day after doing battle with the bike hire hawkers as soon as we emerged from the subway. Following a man from Algiers blocks from the park we found to our surprise a good business and great bikes. You need 3 hours at least, it is beautiful but you can’t get a decent cup of coffee. After declaring the cliches confirmed here’s one shattered. The land of service and smiles has two levels of service. The commission salespeople who service you to within an inch of your life and the Footlocker staff who don’t give a shit.
I have bought 12 pairs of socks for $7 and Kim has found a pair of shoes on 5th Avenue that make her really happy. She has just got to negotiate the sale of Some real estate to afford them. About a week to go and a few days up the coast yet so well see how the prejudices go.