Category Archives: travelogues

Bring It To The Table.

 

He probably had no idea.

But, many women crushed on Anthony Bourdain, myself included.

Given what we have now been told about his life, his worth, and the scope of his experience, this fact may have come to bear no importance to him. Like everything he’d touched, women were likely a “been there/done that” episode in an otherwise keenly focused and ultimately vital social intention.

Because, Anthony Bourdain wasn’t just a fantastic chef. He was an explorer, a journalist, and a visionary. He may also have been, in spite of his rugged earthiness, rather an idealist – receiving, with private reflection and no small frustration, the socio-political realities he encountered.

And, he found them all.

From the rapid fire race of the planet’s cosmopolitae to the cramped corners of primal civilization, Bourdain covered the story – by boat, rickshaw, taxi, mule and the boots on his own feet. And, he reached the very heart of it all, at table.

There is something about the art of not just preparing good food, but in the eating of it. When this man sat down to share a meal, be it finger fried or stew pan steamed, he brought his open mind. And, as his interviews sat with him, they ceased being subjects and became friends. And, so many of them had, until he came along, never been seen or heard by anyone outside of their tiny place in the sun.

In many cases, neither had the culture they represented. And, this was Bourdain’s fascination. He didn’t just bring his appetite. Anthony Bourdain was hungry. He really, genuinely, wanted to know them all, and everything about their lives.

And, they told him.

They told him, both through their food and the act of sharing it. By coming to the table, the story itself unfolded – unprovoked, and unrestrained. It spoke candidly, about the political upheavals of the day and the ancient history in a single pot of oil. It openly expressed the views of its people – their ideas, their needs, their hopes for survival and preservation.

I don’t know what happened in that hotel room in Paris. We are long past the proving of any of it. And, maybe that is just what Anthony Bourdain wanted. Beyond marketing and media ratings, release to our eyes and ears his legacy. Let the story tell itself.

But, do pass the mushy peas.

Please.

.

.

.

.

©9/16/18  Ruth Ann Scanzillo    All right those of the author, who wonders just how many private islands there are. Really.   Thank you for respecting original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

A Year in Erie.

 

Tom Atkins is holding forth, on JET/FOX/ERIE, the latest weather forecast. Given tonight’s projections, our home town that time forgot might just jump into the national hot lights.

Seems we could break the all time record for 200 inches of the white stuff.

200 inches.

In one winter.

(Yes; around here, Punxsatawney Phil’s shadow notwithstanding, we will winter until the bitter end.)

Spring will arrive, according to the vernal equinox, sometime next week. But, Erie, PA is set to capture yet another snowfall, 8pm tonight through 8pm Wednesday night, 10 more inches that could blanket the already frosted landscape. Plus, another shot coming Thursday evening into Friday morning. It could happen.

But, take a moment.

Consider this.

Erie is known, already, for far more than snowfall in inches. And, the scope of its offerings could astonish you.

First of all, let’s look at the landscape.

Projecting out onto Lake Erie, one of the region’s most spacious state parks, the Presque Isle peninsula, boasts eleven public [public] beaches, complete with sunbathing, swimming, sailing, yachting, and skiing, as well as nature trail hiking, a family campground, bicycle path around the entire 13.4 miles, a nature center, lagoons for canoeing and paddleboating, the Oliver Hazard Perry Memorial, endless picnic groves and, nestled at its interior – a houseboat community!

Directly ahead of the entrance to the park, and careening overhead, the Ravine Flyer – a major rollercoaster – one of numerous amusement park rides, concessions, and arcade attractions at Waldameer Park.

And, the cherry on top? Sara’s, Erie’s 1950’s retro ice cream stop, featuring foot long Smith’s hotdogs with all the trimmings.

For evening, or other afternoon fare, try the Erie Seawolves, a pro baseball team at UPMC Park; a pro hockey team, the Erie Otters, and pro basketball, the Erie Bayhawks, at the Erie Insurance Arena; some 20! dance companies; more than one symphony; at least 5 (FIVE!) world class civic theatres; one of three of the original operational Warner Theatres; Jr’s Last Laugh, the comedy club; the fabulous Erie Art Museum (housing several thousand works in its collection); at least 10 art galleries; A Poet’s Hall; two Indy film societies; the Erie Zoo; LECOM – the largest Osteopathic medical school in the nation – and, 3 universities complete with their own collegiate offerings open to the public.

Hungry?  For every ethnic group ever populating this port city turned industrial turned vacation destination, there is a top notch dining experience. Latino’s, for authentic Mexico City fare; Cloud 9 Wine Bar; Mi Scuzi, Calao’s, and Serafini’s, only three of a multitude of Italian full course sit downs; Like My Thai, for the real Asian taste; Tandoori Hut, for Indian; and, Pineapple Eddie’s, for Caribbean. These are just a handful of remarkably high quality eateries literally too numerous to mention in one travelogue.

Thirsty? For wet: The Ale House. Jekyll & Hyde’s. The Plymouth. Two Public Houses. And, Brewerie, where a plethora of handcrafted beer holds court. Et al. For dry: The Juice Jar, or our Whole Foods Co-op. Et al, et al. ‘Nuff said?

But, here’s something else. The design layout of Erie is Philadelphia grid style. This means a geometry of symmetry. Anywhere you want to go, from the Polish/Russian/German/Irish/African American/Middle Eastern East side to the Italian/Puerto Rican/Mexican/Greek west, you can clock any trip within 10 minutes. And, easy access means increased options –  for a weekend packed with more events and encounters with friends and family than most metropolitans can manage in ten days.

In fact, actor Tom Hanks liked us so much, he made a movie here, “That Thing You Do”.

So, suppose you get displaced. Or, you just need to make that jump.

Do this thing. Spend one year in Erie. Erie, Pennsylvania. If, after 365 days, you don’t feel like settling into the plushest comfort of All [waterfront] American cities, you can go.

But, you’ll never know unless you come to town and find out.

We’ll be here, like we’ve been for over 200 years, still reinventing what’s always been the best thing about living. We’d love to have you.

And, a year means you’d still be around for the first snow.

.

.

.

.

copyright 3/13/18  Ruth Ann Scanzillo.  Share liberally. Thanks!!

littlebarefeetblog.com

 

 

 

Everyone’s Gone.

 

CHAPTER 35.

The latest winter weather advisory’s radar put the wall of white about twenty minutes behind her, due northeast, she having just joined the early morning commuters ahead of sun up.

Thirty odd minutes between his and her place dictating how many miles would drain the tank and how much more frequently anymore, the indicator had held just above empty for at least seven miles, it’s warning light only now sending forth the accompanying chime. Bypassing the convenience store, she could make it home on fumes if she coasted the hills. Timing was everything.

Two monster lights, enlarging toward her, passed by heading south. Where to, at this hour? And, that lone white SUV, always parked at the Blue Spruce motel?

Flipping from 60s to 70s and 80s and then back, on the car radio, her ear settled on the familiar strains of the sixth decade of life in the century of her birth. Those songs always brought the scent of varnished wood floors, and noisy feet traveling them, into school and out again past the stacks of galoshes and racks of patrol raincoats in the east foyer; of delicious, pre-pubescent fantasy now only fleeting as she recalled one realization now over four years history. How could he still be alive, diagnosed with COPD so many years earlier? Had she been taken in, yet again, by the wiles of the mind of homo sapien, male?

Steven Greer held some credibility, he with his own history as lead physician to the E.R. Surely one could put stock in his claims of alien life already embedded within society as they had all come to know it. Perhaps her fifth grade crush wasn’t a native of the planet; maybe he possessed some bionic, self healing powers, and the mind to match, gaming the system just like regular earthly citizens. She turned the corner, taking the outer lane’s wide arc, and followed the grade up past the zoo to the next intersection.

More white headlights moved beside her and behind, maneuvered by headless horsemen of the Apocalypse. No voices spoke on the radio anymore, just the songs presetting the stage on their tape loop assigned to the hour. The Kwik Fill was dark. She passed the only high school left in the city, still too early for police vehicles to be parked anywhere on its premises.

The radio moved to MoTown. Dennis Edwards really was Aisha’s father, then. A wife, alleged to have abused him, in the months before his death. She could still recall Aisha’s proud face, hear her magnificent voice. No memory of a mother. Only one car, at the corner gas pump, exhausting angrily at a closed store. Getting home was just a goal; fumes couldn’t hold out much longer. She rolled on, toward the grocer.

Turning into the wide open lot, she wound the car toward and around. Empty gas pumps and their vacant attendant station basked in the hum of dusk to dawn fluorescence. The chime was relentless, now. Out, and right at the signal, to the Country Fair.

Gliding up to the first pump she stopped, and turned off the ignition. 5:27 am, on the dashboard clock. Snow was nowhere. Digital hotdogs and colas polkaed the marquee. The radio sang, alone:

“Everyone’s gone…….to the Moon…….”

.

.

.

.

.

© 2/7/18    Ruth Ann Scanzillo.   All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Happy Birthday, James and Sierra.

littlebarefeetblog.com