Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Hola Chicos!!

So, I am back in work today after my South American jaunt. I arrived home yesterday and my God I was soooo knackered. We left the hotel in Santiago at 7pm Chilean time (5pm US) on Sunday and I finally arrived at my apartment at 1.30pm on Monday. What's that, 18.5hours of travelling? I really don't know how people make those long distance trips to the likes of Australia, especially when you factor in jet lag, at least that's not a problem with Chile, they’re only 2hours ahead of New York, but I was so tired from being scrunched up in a plane seat for 12hours, I spent much of yesterday at home trying to relax and simultaneously minimise my air travel induced cankles by lying on my living room floor with my legs up against the wall whilst catching up with my DVR. It was quite a nice way to spend the afternoon :-)

Anyway Chile was FABBO, well worth the long trip and YES, the water really does go down the plughole the other way. We were thrilled when we realised that. We tried to determine whether that was true when we went to Argentina a few years back, but couldn’t quite tell, but we discovered it is indeed a fact while rinsing out wine glasses in our hotel room – yes, it was that sort of vacation, well it would have been rude not to partake of a beverage. The Chileans are famed for their grape pressing abilities and I have to say they do a lovely line in Cab Sauv.

Anyway, I shall report on my trip in detail in the coming days/weeks. I need to plough through my notes – yes kids I made notes – and the 300 or so photos I took of mountains and glaciers first to pick out some good/decent ones, but in summary, Melissa and I both loved Chile to bits. It’s the most phenomenal country and we both definitely hope to go back in the not too distant future.

We arrived in Santiago on Saturday 10th November and used the city as a base for 3days for exploring, including a day to the coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar and a half day’s visit to a vineyard in the Maipo valley, about an hour south of Santiago, before heading down to Patagonia for 4days, first stopping in the formerly wealthy port town of Punta Arenas and visit the Otway Sound penguins and then heading to Puerto Natales to experience Torres Del Paine national park (spectacular) and then taking a boat trip through Bernardo O'Higgins National Park to see a couple of glaciers. After 4days of jaw dropping scenery – seeing nature up close like that really does make you feel very small and insignificant – we headed back to Santiago for a day and a bit before our late flight back to New York on Sunday night.

As I said I am back in work today, but thankfully it's a short week since the office closes at 1pm tomorrow for Thanksgiving and doesn’t reopen until Monday 26th.

Do I know how to time a vacation or what?

I'll pretty much have time to wade through my emails, shuffle a few papers before I'm off again. Whoo hoo!!
I love Thanksgiving. It’s not stressful for me like it is for some of my American friends since I don’t have any family obligations; it’s just 2.5 lovely days off work as far as I am concerned. Tel Aviv, work-a-holic that he is, is disappointed his office is closed and is considering working anyway. Do you think he is mentally impaired? Or maybe it’s just because I threatened to take him ice skating at the free rink in Bryant Park :-)

I coerced my friend Nick into going with me last year, when he was over visiting from London. It was um…interesting. Nick is 6foot 4 and built like the proverbial outhouse and non-too steady on two thin blades, especially not after a glass of Rioja. On the other hand I err on the petite side (5ft 1), with a decent sense of balance from all the gymnastics and dance lessons I took as a kid, so while I’m not exactly performing double axels and triple loop jumps, I can usually manage to stay upright for a couple of laps around an ice rink, however being the good friend I am, I took Nick by the arm to guide him around. Not necessarily the wisest move on my part. We’d only been out on the ice 2minutes before he started pin wheeling his arms, his feet started shuffling fast and down he went with a thud. A kindly man helped me pick him up off the ice and off we went again. If memory serves I think we made it another 20yards before he went down again, almost taking me with him this time. It was at that point a little voice in my head said “you know, if he falls on you, he might well kill you.”

In fear for my life - or at least for my bones remaining intact - I decided I’d been enough of a friend and let Nick have a go on his own after that, popping back to check on him every now and again to ensure he wasn't prostrate on the ice. I did appreciate the effort though and treated him to a large martini at Employees Only afterwards :-)

This year I’m having lunch with my Brit friend Nigel. We’ve got a late reservation at Odeon in Tribeca where they’re having their regular menu as well as a Thanksgiving themed prix fixe, but happily they’re not charging an arm and a leg for a bit o’ turkey. Seriously $100 per person is not uncommon in Manhattan restaurants on Thanksgiving. It’s extortionate. Before I knew better I took my parents out for Thanksgiving at the Cub Room in SoHo and paid nigh on $400 when I factored in wine, tax and tip. Eeeek!!!

Anyway I'm off to catch up on more work emails, but here’s a lovely photo of the ice skating in Bryant Park, posted on flickr by Pianoforte. Isn’t it pretty? Nigel is non too keen on accompanying me for a spin around the ice either, but I have a cunning plan to broach the subject again over Thanksgiving dinner once his defences are sufficiently dulled by wine. Hee hee!!


Amel said...

Welcome back, Fish, and you're one smart lady to pick vacation dates he he he...My friend who lives in USA is also happy about Thanksgiving.


Can't wait to see pics of Chile and read your story about it.

Tel Aviv is disappointed that there's a long holiday? Oh dear...tell him that it's NOT GOOD to work too much he he...

And that skating rink looks SO LOVELY!!!! Mmmm...I myself can't wait to go miniskiing again with my hubby. YIIIIIIIIIHHHHAAAAA!!! ;-D Or should I say, TRY miniskiing HA HA HA HA...

Enjoy your holidaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Thanks Amel :-) It was a complete accident that I timed my vacation to return Thanksgiving, but I'm really glad I did.

It's good to be back. I had a great time in Chile and will post about it soon.

Fish x

Ha Ha Sound said...

Welcome back to NYC. Glad you had a great time, and looking forward to seeing your photos. I've never been to South America before, and I'm really curious.

And enjoy your long weekend and dinner at the Odeon. I love Thanksgiving. It's my absolute favorite holiday.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Ha Ha, I LOVE South America, I can definitely recommend it, especially Argentina and Chile. They are both beautiful countries. Photos imminent :-) Have a great Thanksgiving. Fish

Anonymous said...

Welcome home Fishy.
Sounds like you had a fab time and I'm looking forward to seeing some pics and hearing your tales.

We have a crappy little Ice Rink put up every christmas ~ but you can bet your arse it's not free. £10 for an adult and I didn't even ask how long that was for. . . But it didn't stop Lil Dude from telling me that he'd "love" to learn how to skate.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Pawpads, thanks for stopping by. Most of the ice rinks in NY aren't free either, the one in Central Park can be pricey, but in the last few years Citibank have sponsored the ice rink in Bryant Park, so you only have to pay for skate hire.

Noah said...

That is the rink I went to when I was in the City last November! It was surreal to be surrounded by all of those buildings yet feel so calm (well, as calm as you can get) on the rink. Welcome back, anyway!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Noah, I love the ice rink at Bryant Park, in fact Bryant Park any time of year is probably one of my favourite places in New York. There is something about it that's very peaceful despite it being smack bang in the middle of Manhattan. Thanks for stopping by, Fish

Anonymous said...

If man was meant to skate on ice, we'd have been given built in knee pads, surely?!

Welcome back - and happy Thanksgiving (whatever that means)...! Hope you have a fantastic holiday!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Dylan, something tells me it will take more than one drink to coerce you onto the ice :-)

Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!

Outhouse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fishwithoutbicycle said...

Oooopsie, sorry Outhouse, didn't mean to 'out' you. Looking forward to some beverages in London and also to catching up with Mrs. Outhouse and her - by now - large bump. I shall be in town on the 15th :-) Fish x

Outhouse said...

Hey Fish

Welcome Back !

What happened to anonymity? Very cryptic ! If my cover is blown can I now expect to be held at customs next time I visit NY - no one told me ice skating qualifies as terrorism!

Seriously though had a fab chuckle at the blog and fond memories of Bryant Park even if my rump got punished! And i thought that you were so thoughtful and had skated behind me so you could catch me if I fell? Should have known that you're tooo clever! Perhaps I could be a stuntman in "Mr Bean in NY" if it gets made?

Looking forward to a medicinal beverage when you are next in London