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That’s so me

9 Sep

I often log in with the intention of writing again.

I like to realize that even if it has been seven months since I wrote my last article, people still enjoys reading my blog.

So I click on “new article”, and feel like I am ready to start writing…then on the right there s a list of bizarre articles names, which I barely recognize as mine.

It feels so far away from that, I feel so different already and then concentration disappear. I say: next time.I prefer reading my funny stories and thoughts of my 90 days backpacking.

Even if I stopped writing on the 25th February,  my way to Rio keeps going on. And I keep traveling quite a lot.

After my return to Naples in January, I passed through Barcelona for a dinner with my friends at Por Venir, visited Switzerland and its quiet lakes and mountains, cooked in Portofino for 150 people with a friend , topped up my oyster card in London just to feel like I was living there again, sung in an underground karaoke in Rome for one of my best friends birthday,  played the hajje in istanbul in order to enter in one of the most famous mosques in the world,  gained arabic residency and driving license for a new, fantastic job opportunity; Swum in crystal clear waters in Formentera and partied a teenager in Ibiza; I was kicked out from a governmental office for having my legs not  covered enough, stood at the foot of the tallest building in Dubai and –  last but not least – during a security inspection of a check control in Iraq I run out from the car because of a grasshopper. I imagined the day after local newspaper mentioning of an  italian woman  in Iraq for business purposes, shot as believed to want to escape from the Iraqi check control.  That’s so me.

 

 

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The city that never sleeps

18 Oct

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Nyc is just fascinating, when you walk those streets looks like all the songs come to your head and want to go through the mouth and shout them loud. I might sound weird but i walked and i suddenly wanted to dance, and sing, and  – talking about dancing-  i saw a pub a sign on the wall that said: no dancing allowed. No, it is not a Joke ! is it not too funny? i though bout Sandrine, my partner in crime, who with i love to dance. i couldn’t imagine to be there in that pub and not be able to dance.

And i have seen things i had never seen before in any other city. The smoke coming out from the ground in the middle of manhattan sounded quite weird to me

This city spreads out smokes and energy in such different ways, and probably this is one of those.

New york is pure energy, flavours, cultures, surprise, life, music, movies, but it has also somehow disappointed me as i found it quite dirty, specially the subway even if I really like the silver color and the shiny American flag on it. On NYC subway passengers have to guess at what time it will come the next train and guess which is the next station unless you don’t want to go very close to the small indication or listen to a crazy subway driver who shouts which is the next stop. One day it was really bizarre, he kind of started to sing when we arrived at times square, everybody started to laugh of course.

That is nice in new york, people interacts, smiles if you look at them, helps you if you need them. That is something i don’t often find in london, but i dont like to generalize nor criticise, probably i have been just lucky to find 99% of the people extremely friendly.

You just ask for a street direction and they start a conversation, no matter if banal or not. There is a lot of contact in ny, physical and mental. I love it.
My first morning in NYC has been really nice, and the waking up funny. Maurizio was wearing a freeze blue mask which he believes is a good anti hangover. Its therapy remedy doesn’t really convinces me, but at least makes me laugh. Plus, with the mask he decided to imitate the statue of liberty just on the window with all the buildings behind. This guy is so funny. I laughed again. Around noon, me and Maurizio joined Jo Anne in the west village and we walk through that area that i really liked a lot. On the street there was a funny photo shooting with a girl crossing with a bizarre pink flower hat and with a fake dog . It might be ordinary in this area but I found it quite funny. We went for a brunch at Tartine, a nice french bistrot on 253 W11th  between 4th St. and Waverly place . I asked  – as usual for brunch for eggs Benedict since they are my favourites.

After Tartine we walked towards soho,  stopped through Magnolia cupcakes, this one in particular famous for having hosted some episodes from Sex and the city. We pass through a street full of italian restaurant, bars and tricolor flags. There is even a school called lady of Pompeii. I went to the real Pompei few weeks ago, and i remembered of an expression you say to someone who really wants something in life: go to lady of Pompei by foot, and you will get it! It is kind of peregrinage thing.
 
After have walked through soho we decided to go to Midtown, together with Chris as well, who in the meantime had joined us after the brunch. He is a funny guy from london,  a colleague of Maurizio; i will always remember him for his polite sentence: “has one ….”

We walked all the popular streets with important griffes and labels, the Trump tower, Tiffany& co, Bergdorf godman and I enjoyed the Apple store a lot, especially the entrance, its stairs and elevator.

Central park is another place i had imagined quite a lot. I liked the contrast of the green tall trees and the silver super tall skyscrapers in the background. We sat down for a while  and then I said them good-bye and  did what i was dreaming of doing a lot lately… walking on my own through the streets and avenues of new york, discovering some new corners and getting a little bit lost.
I walked down the 57th and didn’t even look at map, i decided to follow the road i liked most and i walked right and left and then… And then there was Times Square in front of me. This place symbol of the big apple, icon of the most advertised squares in the world..it was breath-taking, i don’t know why. Then I kept walking towards 34th street and Penn station, did some shopping and  realized it was time to hurry up and join Maurizio and Chris for dinner.

In the tube i bumped into a guy with a 80’s style jeans jacket with white wool inside. I dont know if it was made by him. But on the back there was a picture of a young and quite beautiful lady with the following sentence: ” r.i.p. mum” with the date of born and death.

Now,with all respect, i don’t know if it is more bizarre if the guy made it himself to commemorate his mum, or if he bought it and it is one of the many fashion bizarre trends.

Maurizio was already at his friend’s flat, he had promised her to cook pasta. I arrived there around 9 pm and there was already a lovely smell of a lovely handmade pesto sauce. While Maurizio with the help of Chris was in charge of the pasta, I had a nice chat with April and her two friends. I talked about my trip and as everybody so far, were so excited for me and encouraged and support the choice by giving me tips and energy for my trip.

That upper east side penthouse was really amazing, with an incredible roof terrace with stunning views. I remained on my own up there looking at the high ends of the buildings. I love this city. It makes my heart beat.
Although people looked very friendly, they had all early night plans, and so i decide to join  Ivan on my own.  We had planned to meet for some drinks. Ivan is a school mate i probably had not seen for 12 years. It was nice to update each other with the little news we respectively had about the rest of the school mates. I felt a little bit old remembering teenager moments with him that looked so far away. I joined him and some friends at Pravda, a subterranean Russian speak easy/caviar bar in Soho, at 281 LaFayette street;  You can taste over 70 different Vodkas in this place but I had one of the few ones I really like, the cranberry one.

After few drinks at Pravda we headed to Boom-Boom Room, on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in Meatpacking.

Stunning views, a quite bad Sambuca and nice environment. Ivan left pretty early, and so did the others, but I decided to stay.

It was my last night in New York and didnt want to go back home, so I stayed.  As I was fancying a cigarette, I went to the top and i passed through a crowded place full of very young excited and drunk people, and when i finally got upstairs i had my cigarette and talked to different people, a guy from chile, a girl from Sweden, another from Latvia and some people from Ny. It is nice to talk to strangers, have a chat and just leave it there. It was so freezing and windy at some point so I decided to leave and go to sleep.

I love NY at night, there is people everywhere at all times,  it is so true that it never sleeps!

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The city of music and architecture. Chicago

16 Oct

 

 

Frank Sinatra is worldwide known for his song about New York, but when he sang about “that toddling town, where on state street that great street they do things they don’t do on Broadway” he was clearly referring to the city of blues for excellence: Chicago.

 

The city of renaissance: in 1871, after the great fire caused by a cow that had knocked over a lantern destroying the entire city, it was a good opportunity to rebuild the whole city. Architects from all over the world came to Chicago to transform this city in one of the most beautiful in all Americas, being nowadays proud of its outstanding architecture.

 

Chicago is also knows as the city of corruption, crime and gangsters like Al Capone, the city of the prohibition era. Obama’ s hometown, great proud for the city.

 

As a Dj, Frankie Knuckles developed in Chicago a sound that became known as House Music, a rawer brand of 70′s disco that would spread all over the world making dance entire generations. He is now considered the Godfather of this kind of music, which I personally adore.

 

Mostly considered as the Windy City and not only for its weather peculiarity but also in a metaphoric way. It is said that people in this city change their mind as often as the wind, and New Yorkers often judged its citizens for their endless political conventions.

 

Chicago is also called the City that works for its labour tradition, and for its people who actively participate on civic projects.

 

I loved Chicago, or how a local would say, Shicago. Its architecture is harmonious, it is incredibly clean, tidy and extremely elegant.

 

My friend Tosh lives just downtown Chicago in probably the best intersection, in a modern and cool skyscraper in Delaware and State street (yes, the great street Sinatra was talking about in the above mentioned song) and has amazing views on the city and on lake Michigan.

 

On my first morning in Chicago we walked towards Millennium Park through the beautiful and elegant boutiques on Michigan Avenue, kissed by a stunning sun. I felt really lucky for the sweet weather that was accompanying me.

 

Barney, Saks, Burberry, Nike, Apple, and Victoria Secret are just few of the great labels concentrated on this big avenue called the Magnificent Mile.

 

We went to pick up Natalie at work and we had a nice salad at Panera’s. It is a popular bakery/cafe chain, characterized by its interest towards nutrition and calories even in a fast food environment. Apparently it was the first in the Food industry to voluntarily post calorie information in the menu.

Millennium Park is considered the worlds’ largest rooftop garden since it sits on the top of a parking garage and a station. It is incredible, situated in the middle of the town and it was originally planned to celebrate the millennium. It is home of the famous piece of architecture from Anish kapoor, called The Cloud Gate, also nicknamed “the bean” because of its shape. Looks like it was also inspired by liquid mercury. Its surface is reflective. Tosh and me enjoyed a lot walking by it and seeing reflected both the city skyline and us. Pretty cool.

 

Among all the skyscrapers there is one the rumours say it was built with a feminine shape from an architect who was annoyed by the fact that the skyscrapers normally look like phallic symbols.

 

In the park there is also a marvellous pavilion designed by Jay Pritzker where during summer many concerts happen. As a music lover, I thought in this city I would never get bored.

 

I was so lucky enough to be in that park during this time of the year and enjoy its incredible colours of the foliage!

 

Us three walked through the park and enjoyed to look at different types of architecture, and I bumped into a very tall red chair with legs that might refer to those of a dancer. It was actually called the Red Dancer, designed by Gary Kulak.

 

Music, dance and architecture. Passions all together in this amazing city!

 

We walked to the Navy Pier – full of restaurants and shops and a big Ferris wheel with stunning views on the shoreline of lake Michigan.

 

On the top there is a lovely garden which is free to access and that often hosts banquets, wedding and so on. I only tried to imagine a wedding there and although I see that day so far, I imagined it right there J

 

In the end we realized to have walked for about six miles during that day, walking by the beach of Chicago full of sporty people running and biking on the sand and before getting home I passed by one of the most prestigious universities in USA, the Northwestern.

 

Once back at home, we chilled a little bit before to meet Dino for a cocktail at the Signature Room, an amazing bar situated at the floor 96th of the John Hancock tower, a 1506 feet’s skyscraper that back in 1968 was considered the tallest building in the world outside NYC. Now it is still the tallest in Chicago but sixth in the United states.

 

Dino is a lovely and funny guy originally from Naples; I met him in London while I was living there for the past two years. He is now living in the windy city for a one-year fellowship at a famous Chicago hospital.  I always called him “the coach” for his wise and precious advises.

 

After the signature cocktail, we left that building and walked towards home, but first we bumped into the stunning “HOPE” sculpture from Robert Indiana, a pop artist from Chicago area, famous for his “LOVE” sculpture in New York.

 

Once home, we had Triscuits with Philadelphia cheese before to go to sleep: it was first bizarre to Tosh’s eyes but afterwards we both agreed it was a great discovery, she had never tried this famous American crackers with one of my favourite cream cheese.

 

Staring at the amazing views from my room, I thought I was just living a dream!

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Good-byes

15 Oct

I

My last day in Nyc was really melancholic. I usually don’t like good-byes and get upset when something is getting over.

I sipped my second coffee of the day, no Sausalito this time, and I went to visit Erica.

Erica is an Italian-American girl whose father is originally from Ischia, an island in front of Naples where I spent most of my childhood .

She used to come to Ischia to spend her summer holidays there.

It was really emotional to see her  again after all those years, at her home in New York with her lovely daughter and talk a little bit about childhood memories in Italy.

We had a quick chat at her place, I played a little bit with her lovely baby and I left, discovering a little bit her area in the Upper East Side.

I took a bus and  joined my former classmate Ivan  for lunch at his place in a skyscraper with stunning views right on the Empire State building.

We had nice time talking about the future and the past, when we were spending time together as schoolmates.

Of course we  also talked about the present, a present that seems very successful for him.

I was not able to meet his girlfriend, but talked about the fact that  she will probably become his wife soon. He has now  a great job and many satisfactions and a great career ahead.

It was good to see how a little man becomes a big one in another city far away from home and at the same time  he had kept his warm smile and genuine attitude. Bravo Ivan!
I was also able to visit  Bianca, we used to go hang out when we were adolescents, and  now she is living with her husband and two lovely sons in NYC.

On my way to la Guardia airport I grabbed a copy of a Metro newspaper and the main title was: if you can make it here … you’ d better be rich. Ok, it was not what Sinatra sang, but it made me smile.

I didn’t like my terminal at  la Guardia airport but I absolutely loved Chicago O’Hare airport, very well-organized and clean.

The first impressions on Chicago were amazing, and it lasted until I left this great city.

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