So I said yes.
David's house is about a mile from the PATH station, Little India, and many other attractions. I was determined not to over-plan anything, except to nail down a lunch with the publisher and explore JC. I'm still planning to leave Austin as soon as it makes sense -- ie, not for a while yet -- and wanted to see what the place was about.
After a conversation with last-minute details (which I should have taken notes on) I went back to the Ramada (the only hotel except for that weird Indian one I stayed in a couple of years ago in that part of town) and crashed. The next morning, I checked out, carefully picked my way down JFK Boulevard, and arrived at the place I'd be occupying for the next ten days. No sooner had I arrived than Maud, the cat who I'd been assured would mostly sleep while I was there, emerged and started yowling, hissing, and spitting at me. No matter that, over the rest of my stay, I would feed and water her and clean her litter box, she didn't ever warm to me. Far from it.
|Maud, none too happy|
My first day, though, was spent finding a grocery store and familiarizing myself with the surrounding neighborhood. There would be a farmer's market the next day at the PATH terminal in Journal Square. Didn't expect much from that, but it'd be worth looking at. I took a quick look around Lincoln Park as the sun set and walked back to the house.
|Monument to the early settlers of JC who fled the Irish potato famine, Lincoln Park|
That farmer's market was also a surprise the next day: only one farmer was represented, along with a Puerto Rican food truck and a bakery, but the vegetables looked top-notch. With the idea of making a salade niçoise, I bought lettuce, a red potato, some green beans, and some black cherry tomatoes. Now all I needed was some good tuna and I was ready to rock. And I knew where to get that: David's printed guide to JC mentioned Carmine's Italian Deli, where he said cops and firefighters went to get sandwiches. It wasn't far.
Not, that is, if you read the address right. Instead, my brain told me it was on a nearby street, albeit a fair walk down that street. So, after walking the mile back to the house and resting up a bit, I started walking down that street. And walking. And walking. Finally, a sign I was looking for came into view, but not Carmine's. Cool Vines was the wine shop David had mentioned, so I went in and looked around. They seem to import everything in the shop themselves, so there was nothing I recognized, which was good and bad. The proprietor was a bit sniffy, but I bought a couple of interesting-sounding bottles and walked all the way back to the house. I sat around until I got hungry and realized there was no vegetable steamer in the house with which to make the salad. I consulted the list again, and started walking down that same street to downtown JC in search of Razza, an upscale pizza joint. For some reason, pizza was just what I wanted, and there was apparently no old-school pizza joint in JC any more. Razza more than fulfilled my expectations. Let's just say that I rarely eat all of the crust. I ate all of the crust. The heirloom tomatoes with a chive vinaitrette was also a perfect opener. And let's face it: after all that walking, I was ravenous. I took a cab back and collapsed into sleep.
|JC Astrology #1|
|Note to Founding Father: you can get there from here, but it's not a good idea.|
|And there it is: the cloister from St. Guilhem le Désert!|
|And here's the Master of Cabestany's piece, considerably larger than I thought. If he existed, this is by him.|
|Bride, groom, drone|