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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
                 Wednesday, September 10 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Jetlagged...reflections - 1

I picked up the title of my "reflections" from last year's vacation series because it has a bit of cachet, but in fact jetlag is a much less noticeable factor on the three-hour time difference between California and New York than it is on the 11-hour flight with a six-hour time difference trip between California and London. I may have been a bit more sleepy since getting back from my vacation three weeks ago than I was before, but that's as far as it goes. And that may be more from trouble with sleeping some of the nights we were gone than the plane ride. I remember Dad complaining about the changes he felt when we made 400-mile motoring trips in my youth, so can't complain over this vacation's jetlag.

My main reflection on this year's trip is that New York City was an excellent choice as a main destination; this year's visit may have been the best one I've had to the cultural capital of America. I've been hoping to revisit New York for some time. The last trip was, I believe, during the Carter Administration (which seems like just yesterday in some ways, but that's another topic). That summer our whole family drove across the continent in an old Cadillac owned by a man who was returning from Hawaii to the East Coast and wanted the car driven from San Francisco to Newark, whence it was going to be shipped on to be at his disposal in Europe.

After leaving the young children and their mother at one of their grandparents' home, I made the rather chancey last leg from greater Philadelphia to the wetlands near the North Jersey ports. One of the chancey things occurred just after I turned in the car. I noticed before turning it in that there was a city bus route nearby, so walked there to catch a ride into New York where I'd then find Trailways coaches back to Philly. Not a bad plan, but I had no idea how much the bus would cost. It was only a dollar, but when I reached to put my bill in the toll machine, the driver blocked my hand. "No paper money," I was told. Searching my pockets for enough change, I then beseeched the faces of the already seated passengers, and someone then offered to change my folding money for the kind that rings when dropped into a metal receptacle.

That was a short visit, and like most of the ones I'd taken to New York in the years I lived in the Philadelphia area it was concentrated within a walking circumference of my hotel and centered around Times Square and Greenwich Village. Believing that there was safety in numbers, when I visited the city alone I kept to the busy streets, looking for cuisine and bargains in the latest electronic gadgetry, especially cassette recorders, stereo radios, and cameras. My favorite cuisine at that time was souvlaki, a then-new import from the middle east. I have never determined what's actually in it, but I think the main and unique ingredient is marinated lamb. It's served in a pita and was the most popular of the new "gyros" making the streetscene in Manhattan. When I felt like celebrating I would have dinner at my favorite French restaurant, somewhere around east 52nd Street, a step or two down from street level. Several times I attended off-Broadway plays, and occasionally walked around Greenwich Village, and while researching my articles and book on the hippies, did interviews in that part of the city.

I always wanted to explore Central Park, but was afraid to venture in farther than the Tavern on the Green, which was visible from the nearby street. It is famous, having been written up in all the old columns about New York, like Sardis and 21. I wanted to see it, but like those other expensive establishments, I never did go inside. This trip, in a cleaned up city and with a fellow traveler for protection, was different.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Marriage

Marriage is very difficult. Marriage is like a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle—all sky.

— Cathy Ladman

Thought for today

We read to know that we are not alone.

— From Shadowlands, a fictionalized
biography of C. S. Lewis

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