I find more and more excuses not to go into Santa Monica in the Summer – this year seems to be worse than ever, with throngs of people to rival Venice, Italy, traffic that snarls at snail’s pace and fellow drivers ready to knife any rivals for a parking spot. As far as I am concerned, I can wait to go to Santa Monica until next October.
Category: Style & Travel
The benefit of living in a location chosen by many for their vacations is that, when I am at home, it feels a bit exotic, a bit like being on holiday. My friends and family from all over the world agree. Which means that my house, in Summer, and sometimes at Christmas, doubles up as a bed and breakfast, albeit at no charge.
To my seven-year old eyes, Bologna, the city where I grew up, seemed a vast metropolis. A city of half a million people, with a famous and vibrant university, it was safe enough that, from the age of seven or eight, I would walk to school unaccompanied. I lived in the center of town and everything that lay outside the medieval walls was unknown to me, and it’s what conjured vastness.
I recently read an article that made the point that eating in a big city, anywhere in the globe, will reward the diner with same flavor profiles, if not exactly the same dishes. Chefs talk to each other, they read about each other, imitate each other, to the point that you can have similar meals in Barcelona or Sydney. I would venture to concur. Even the architecture and decor of restaurants everywhere is becoming homogenous. The same words are on the lips of diners in Los Angeles or Paris: locavore, seasonal, organic…avocado on toast. During the two weeks I spent in South Africa, steered by sofagirl, I ate at quite a few spots that served honest, in-season and delicious food that was both familiar but also reminded me I was very many miles away from home.
To call sofagirl my friend, at this point in life, is a misnomer. After nearly thirty years in each other’s lives, Sue is my family. Her people are my people, and vice versa. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for her or her people in times of need and I know she feels the same about my tribe. I also know she would do what was needed with enthusiasm and efficiency, no questions asked.
In just over four weeks I will be taking a (extraordinarily long) flight to Cape Town to meet sofagirl. While plotting what to do over the two weeks I will be spending there – besides “elephant stalking” – she asked me whether I would be interested in visiting one of the townships on the outskirts of the city.
I have this long-standing habit of leafing through fashion magazines or catalogues and asking myself, on every page, “Out of the selection on these two pages, what would I buy?”. It’s a tad compulsive habit at this point, probably because I have been doing it for so long, but it’s a cheap and engaging way of spending twenty minutes.