Friday, July 31, 2009

Whole Foods & More!

Dear I,
Yesterday, Y and I started our day at mid-day, so we didn't get to cover much of NYC's attractions.
Plus, I'm trying to apply for a job here so I spent some time surfing for vacancies.
I'm getting used to the subway rides and crowds - both the underbelly of the boroughs as well as the well-heeled Madison and Park Avs people.
We walked along Madison, Fifth and Park Avs to the Trump Tower, the Apple Center and Columbus Circle in the evening. Trump Tower was strangely deserted, unlike the Apple Center where you can see people of every age group and skin colour congregate. The focal points at Columbus Circle are the fountain and Whole Foods - you know how crazy I am about advocating organic food and stuff! Finally, I got to taste the no-bacon clam chowder and the in-season cherries are really yummy and succulent. You will surely fall in love with the store too, I bet.
InsyaAllah, later today I'll take advantage of the free entrance at MOMA from 4-8PM and catch a free concert at Central Park.
Sorry about the pixs - will post latest this weekend, salam.
Update: Joined the Friday eve crowd at the Target-sponsored free entry into MOMA and scrutinised Ensor's work, then off to Times Sq with Y, S, M & A to have dinner at a Tex-Mex restaurant and watched Kathrine Heigel in The Ugly Truth.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Bite of Big Apple

Dear I,
Today I followed Y to her office in midtown Manhattan - E 56th St on Lex Av to be precise. The subway ride from Brooklyn to the city was worse than the LRT or komuter in the Klang Valley - most Malaysians would have complained about the dirt and stench long ago. In any case, I was able to appreciate and absorb the sights and sounds far better this time around than the last time when I had to either push you in your stroller or hug Y close to my heart in her carry-on.
In fact, I managed to get acquainted with most of the main buildings, shops and cafes from 56th to 59th St along Lex Ave within several hours, inspite of the intermittent summer showers and thunder storms. Citibank around the corner, Chrysler Building in the distance, Bloomingdale's like a siren luring compulsive shoppers via it window displays straight to its revolving doors; Gap, Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret, Oxford Cafe, Fusia - you'll find yourself drowned in a sea of consumer bliss.
In the evening, we went to Webster's Hall to watch V, or her glam stage name Zee Avi, perform the opening act with numbers from her new CD. I must admit that I felt very proud that this diminutive Sarawakian gal could wow the giant New Yorkers with her sensous guitar moves and lilting voice.
I hope to go to Bryant or Central Park tomorrow if it doesn't rain. There's something about being here NYC that made me blog again. Sure, I had planned on doing so many things - like learning indigo dying and other traditional crafts - when I arrived in Nizwa late January but only managed to get to know the locals in my neighborhood and the places that I visited such as Sohar and Sur.
Will post pixs soon, til then u take care!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Are you going to San Francisco? (Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)

M, Y
Assalamualaikum...I miss you guys so much. At the same time M, Y...I'm glad you're over there, far away from the craziness I go thru here. Y, had no idea Central Park was so big...
Anyways, I really hope to go there soonest, needless to say. It's been a pretty strange week here. All the good people are leaving...I'm quite distraught. Yasmin Ahmad passed away on Saturday night. I really really need to see you soon. I played an MTV concert thing and an hour later, she passed at Damansara Specialist. She passed because of stroke after she fainted on Thursday and was hospitalised. Allah Maha menyayangi and life moves so fast...
You don't know how happy I am to know that your days are long in NYC and you're with each other and God knows more people around you there who are different from the ones here. Believe me it's the one reason among very few others that give me hope, the fact that you guys are there together now and probably happy as can be...
The other day, I saw an auntie get robbed by rempits in broad daylight, right behind the traffic light right in front of our house! I reached for my steering lock, but I hesitated for three seconds and that was enough for them to get away. Poor lady...she was fine though. Everything seems to remind me of my family, and just how short life is. I find myself caring about good people much I can't take it...and hating bad people even more.
I immediately called R too, just to make sure she was ok and to check on her and tell her to be extra careful. And I talked to the dobi ladies...they've kena too. This is ridiculous...everyone here walks around in paranoia and hatred. It seems too much...and we can see it in MJ and Yasmin, good people are just being allowed to leave...
Don't worry though guys, my job isn't a problem at all. Everything material is secure. I'm just in awe of how screwed up the world can be.
The day after the car mugging, I saw a couple trying to commit suicide, holding hands on the roof of a five-story building near Jaya One. In their work clothes...crazy.... There was a crowd...I had a friend working there who was watching and called me. This was after work on my way back home as well. The bomba sprayed water and they fell backwards, and the police caught them from behind. They got sued for that. It was because work was too much or something. Laillahailallah we
I'm really sorry to bum you guys out but this is just what has been happening around here in this really doesn't even feel like mine anymore, and as each day goes by I'm being called somewhere else.
The cats are getting naughtier, but they keep me grounded. The band is really busy and it's the perfect distraction and weapon against all the madness so that is nice as well. Most everything is paid for and in check. The house is clean. My health is getting better, I'm losing my belly rolls =) and my eczema is under control with a few treatments at Assunta (kesian all those sick people) and um, I've had to pull my milk tooth out. Friends are life is a non-priority but that only makes sense cos of all the madness that goes on.
So I'm just so happy and thank God and my lucky stars that my family is far away, somewhere, anywhere, away from here on behalf of me. Like my dreams are being lived through you guys...really! M please make the best of your time there and please have the time of your life! I will eventually go...where I belong. Eventually... =>
Take care guys and update your Facebooks me back and write me often.
Love, salam
Dear I,
Wish u were here.
I'm still getting over from the jet lag and Y and I are recovering from the ravages of San Francisco. The weather there was COLD and MISTY after about 4pm. Different parts of the city have their own personality - Union Square, Buena Park, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf - and the valleys beyond the Golden Gate Bridge are all sunshine and vineyards. It's nice to be rich but awful to be poor, homeless and cracked-up here in the USA. The Union brims over with homeless and cracked-up characters - broke and broken by the system and society. Buena Park is an enclave of sanity and hope with a watery shrine for Martin Luther King Jr. Golden Gate Park is a cool and verdant sanctuary for arts and culture and scientific discoveries - the upper crust celebrates Ethiopian native healers and King Tut's exhibits at de Young museum and the environmentalists dedicate themselves to the projects at the Academy of Sciences. You can also find conservationists at the Acquarium by the Bay among the throngs of tourists gawking at the sea lions hanging out at Pier 39. Wanted to sample SF clam chowder but it was served with bacon. Had chilli instead but didn't taste half as good as at Wendy's in Jaya One and the nachos were thick, hard and soggy!
The first night we went on the cable car ride with Putri was a pleasant encounter with Salvador Dali's work at the galleries at Pier One. The next day, we went to MOMA and learned to distinguish between the Modernists, Expressionists and the Fauvists. Y, S and Putri risked Tut's wrath while I had an organic meal at De Young's cafe. Castro and Haight-Ashbury are overrated - we witnessed a middle-aged 'orang gumbira' at Castro desperate on hitting, figuratively and literally, on younger targets that he knocked into their car bumper and got taken away in a police van by not one or two but SIX police officers from the SFPD - kesian. Haight-Ashbury seems more like a graveyard for countercultural revolution with new age stores and psychedelic murals miserably trying to relive the hippier days of the 1960s. The presence of Morrocan eateries and Chinese salons didn't help at all.
Anyways, cheer up and hope I have lifted your spirits somewhat.
Take care n love u loads!
(NYC - 22.7.2009 to 20.8.2009)