In May, our niece Vanessa graduated from Morehead State in Kentucky. It was sort out of the way, even more out of the way than the usual visit to Kentucky. Not positive we were actually in Appalachia, but it certainly had that hillbilly je ne sais quoi about it. Vanessa and her friends were fun, and it was sweet to see the country families all excited about their kids graduating.
Many photos were taken. Many nerves were worked.
Before the shutter clicks
In April I met Hector in NYC (SW Air into LaGuardia. Foul!) after his sales meeting in New Rochelle. I got there one night early and fed Carlos Ramirez, our starving Columbia student, something other than pizza. We stayed at the Essex House on Central Park South (45k points per night!), a hotel I always wanted to visit, even from 40 years ago when I was first in NYC. It’s a classic brownstone high rise, elegant lobby, tiny elevators and minute rooms with suspicious smells and clangy noises all night. However, we did get a view of Central Park, albeit from an angle.
Looking toward upper west side
We also met Jorge, another Ramirez nephew, for dinner at Beauty and Essex, Lower East Side. Jorge knows all the hipster places. Since it was Easter, we stumbled into the Fifth Ave Easter Parade around the corner, with the hat freaks, as well as the regular ones, and did miles of walking in the park, since we were so close.
Carlos And Hector
Me with resting bitch face
We also went with Carlos to MOMA. I did my usual wander around the UW Side, where I once lived for two minutes in 1981. I hope these damn kids stay in New York, it’s a great excuse to visit. Back to La Guardia, sigh, and home.
In January I attached myself to one of Hector’s work trips to hang out in San Francisco a few days. We have come here many times over the years, especially when we lived in San Diego, and it never gets old. I’m such a square, I could visit Fisherman’s Wharf EVERY TIME! Unbelievable, because it’s nothing but tourist shit. I love walking through Chinatown and North Beach! Ever since I first read Tales of the City as an innocent twink, I’ve been hooked on San Francisco. Castro, meh.
As a show of sophistication, we also visited SF Museum of Modern Art, where we were treated to a fantastic exhibit of Diane Arbus photographs.
Diane Arbus photos
We used to always rent a car and drive up through Sausalito and Muir Woods, another treat, but this time we just stayed in the city, at the Courtyard on Post Street (70,000 points for 2 nights) from where we could just skid down the hill in the rain to Union Square.
We try to leave the country at Christmas as much as we can. Neither of us have family holiday expectations so it’s a pleasure to escape some of the American Christmas Race, with Thanksgiving as the starter pistol, and ending in a bloated heap at New Year’s.
There’s almost none of that in Vallarta, so we had the pleasure of staying at Casa Faro while Paco and Franck were home in Paris. This was first time we’d been during full-on high season and it’s a very different place than when we normally go. If you thought it was gay in June, well, in December it’s Palm Springs and Mykonos and Ibiza all rolled into one squirming, six-packed, oiled-up white party.
La Noche Bar
Our friends Kent and Bob joined us for a week and we proceeded to drag them to every seedy bar we could get into. Our local beach club, Mantamar, was reservation-only, but we snuck in with the help our regular waiters.
The weather was perfect, we snorkeled and beached and stayed out late but honestly, I prefer the off-season, when we can get into our restaurants and the cab drivers treat us like the VIPs we think we are…
Snorkeling at los Arcos
Since we never shut the hell up about Málaga, some of our friends have expressed interest in this place very few Americans have ever heard of. So we had to put up or shut up. We met John and Tom in Madrid, then trained down to Málaga, where we all stayed at the AC Palacio (90k Marriott points for 3 nights). We took them to all our hotspots- Glass Museum, the Alcazaba, Muelle Uno and they really had a good time.
Hector, Tom, John, me at the Glass Museum
After they left we went up to Carligto for a couple of nights, then had dinner with local friends Anna and Juan, then Mitch and Jerry, then AnnaCarin and Tomas Timgren. Jesus, I’m exhausted just remembering how popular we were.
After THAT, if you can believe it, Tere and Martin joined us for a week. We got a GREAT 2 bedroom apartment and ate and drank our way across the Costa del Sol. Back up to Carligto for a night, but also a lot of Málaga wine-drinking cafe-sitting tourist-watching. The usual.
me, Hector, Tere, Martin, our standard pose.
The four of us then left for Madrid for a night to meet the family Tere stayed with when she was a young exchange student. They were fun, stuffed us full of cheese and ham.
Hector and I flew home, hungover and exhausted. Tere and Martin stopped in New York to party that night for Halloween. What the fuck?
We’re baaaack! After a series of extremely fortunate events, we have bought the house we fantasized about in Santa Fe and are happily nesting.
The most valuable lesson I learned from this move is that I am too old to be moving entire houses full of junk across the country. So no more. I expect to be buried somewhere here in this picture.
So we put the Caminito Borde condo on the market May 1, and got a cash offer that night, full price. What a fucking relief, after the chaos and disappointment of two years ago when the sale fell through. We are eager to get back to Santa Fe and restart our plans there, but there is a slight twinge of melancholy at saying goodbye to our home of 18 years. Not so sad to leave San Diego itself, we were ready for that a long time ago.