Portugal, India, New York and Oslo in a week

I can see you, sitting there, staring at my headline, saying to yourselves, “that’s not possible, and even if it was, who’d be crazy enough to do it?” Relax, I have no intention of trying it. But my week did include bits of all of them.

It began last Wednesday night when I had dinner with a friend. I don’t know if you’re the same, but I tend to always end up in the same neighborhood when I go out to eat — the one I live in. Why we tend to fall back on what’s familiar I don’t know, but it sure does get boring after a while.

So we decided to venture further afield and go to a little family-run Portuguese restaurant she’s been to before. It’s called Rush Hour and it’s in the west end of Toronto, on Dufferin.

No, I don’t know how a Portuguese restaurant ended up with that name, either. I must ask the next time I go.

Anyway I loved it. My friend’s a vegetarian who eats fish. Yes, yes I know. That makes her a pescatarian. I prefer fish and eat it most of the time. They do have beef and chicken on the menu, and it did sound good, but we both stuck to items from the sea. My friend had her favourite, tuna. She gave me a taste and it was fabulous. I had dover sole, which I have always adored and have never seen either on a menu or at a fishmonger’s in Toronto. It was a real treat and I savoured every mouthful.

For my next stop, another friend and I traveled to India, to a restaurant just up the street from where I live. She had never been and suggested we go there. I’ve been to The Host often and enjoy it, so I was more than amenable. Our plan was to try their special Summerlicious menu. But when we arrived, most of the people there were going back and forth to the buffet. Their plates looked and smelled so good, we decided to try the buffet too; and a great decision that turned out to be!

From there, I moved on to New York, or more specifically, to a documentary about the fabulous, iconic, Carlyle Hotel. Lucky me, I stayed there once, for a weekend, specifically because I’d always wanted to hear Bobby Short at the Cafe Carlyle. It was every bit as fabulous as I’d hoped and imagined, so the film evoked a wonderful memory for me.

Essentially the documentary is clips of interviews with staff members who have worked there for years and years and years, and many of the notable people who have stayed there, including Anthony Bourdain. That was kind of bittersweet, I have to say, but what really struck me, was how much better he looked when this film was shot than he had recently.

The movie was just released this past May and apparently it took three years from concept to completion. So it wasn’t that long ago that it was filmed, but the difference in Bourdain was so dramatic, I can’t believe that the people who saw him regularly weren’t alarmed at the physical change in him. It does make me think there had to have been clues that he was struggling.

And last but not least, it was another documentary that took me to Oslo. This time it was all about the Middle East peace talks of the 90’s, between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Of course it was fairly recent and I remember what happened, but it was really startling and depressing to see how close they came to achieving peace.

Netanyahu, who was then the leader of the opposition, and opposed the deal vehemently basically encouraged his supporters to become violent. The film, The Oslo Diaries, showed clips of him at rallies, with the crowds chanting “death to Rabin,” who was Prime Minister at the time. He was assassinated, by extremist right-wing Zionists, while at a huge rally celebrating the pact.

Made me think of Donald Trump doing the same to his supporters, and that gave me pause, I’ll tell you.

But despite the dose of reality I could certainly have lived without, it was a terrific week and wonderful to do so much traveling without having to take my shoes off, empty my pockets and line up for hours at security. I did, however, have to loosen my belt.

“Globe” by Martin Abeggien on Flickr, through Creative Commons

4 thoughts on “Portugal, India, New York and Oslo in a week

  1. How fabulous to travel and go to the movies with you! Thank you! I recently picked up a little book I’ve had a while (long while) unnoticed on a shelf as the title “Begin with Yes” jumped at me. Nothing transcendental about it except it stirred thoughts of all the things Barbara and I had planned to do “soon” and won’t be able to. Loosing someone close is such a wake up call, and I find myself lately saying more yes to the most insignificant things I’d normally pass by just from the habit of clinging to the familiar. Two friends I haven’t seen in a while suggested lunch two days ago in a familiar close by shopping center where we normally go to the same little Sicilian spot over and and over, one of them said, the other friend wanted to go to the Japanese place next to the Winn Dixie, “is it new?” I asked, well, no, it’s been there since the beginning. Never noticed by me. It was amazing! And I got there under the most hellacious thunder storm which normally would make me turn around and run home. So my dear Fransi, I feel you wrote this just for me! (kidding) I miss my friend so very much, and to honor her memory I have promised myself to say more yeses, even little ones make a difference.

    • Thank you so much, Daisy, for your beautiful and heartfelt words. I can only imagine how much you miss Barbara. I miss her too; and think of her every time I am on facebook, write a blog post, go to an art exhibit, try a fabulous new restaurant or simply live life. Good for you for saying “yes” more often. There is no better way to honour Barbara. It is what she always did and what she would want you to do. It is what we all must do.

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