Thursday, February 12, 2009


1130 days ago

When I got to the Philly Central Station, Cristina was not there. I wanted to call - surprise!, local calls were 50 cents. She told me she'll show up in 10 minutes. We were both very excited, after such a long correspondance and mutual understanding, but out of sight for maybe more than 10 years. She kept on inviting me, even her husband wrote me a couple of times.

And there she was, didn't change a bit, maybe assuming herself more, knowing who she is, more feminine and cheerful than when we were 18. I guess the same can be said about me. We care less about what people think or say.

We dropped the luggage home - that looks quite nice, with a big terrace overlooking the city center sky scrapers. I met her in-laws, that drove backt to New York and the bull-terrier Idefix (the dog in the Asterix cartoons) and then we went for a walk. Many nice old buildings, two rivers (Delaware and another one with an impossible name), the residence of Benjamin Franklin, the place where the declaration of independence was signed. The City hall was really impressive. I liked the Old City and the dynamic South Street, the mosaics and mural art. It looked like a fine city to me. We went grocery shopping and I had a fine tuna steak, her and David finished the roastbeef which I was sure of to be delicious, but my eating habits changed dramatically about 10 years ago, excluding meat (with few exceptions, like being courteous, when I don't want to embarass people).

We were looking for something to do Tuesday evening, like jazz, I was very disappointed about my quiet evenings in New York, but the first days of the week are not the best. On Monday night we watched "Melinda&Melinda" by Woody Allen. Not too bad but not as good as his masterpieces I would say.

On Tuesday we went to the Art Museum, a gorgeous imitation of a Greek temple, dominating the city on top of a large stairway.

There was a gorgeous sunny day and the museum was fantastic. My crave for Dutch landscapes was fulfilled by the Ruisdael exhibition, even the sea sights were there. Again Middle Age and Impressionists, but this time I got to visit the Asian art section: India, China, Japan, some items from Persia too. There were two special exhibitions too: Northern Indian drawings illustrating Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita (part of Mahabharata) and monsters and devils from Nepal and Tibet. So many beautiful, gracious, delicate objects. I would drown into the beauty, history, creativity of that continent. Again, there was a whole ambiance, a room from one Indian temple, a Chinese palace, a Japanese Buddhist altar and tea houses.

In the evening we went for Malaysian food, one type I never had before, in Chinatown. Chinese, Thai and Indian influences. The result was as full of flavours and spices as I like food to be. We spent the evening home checking things on Internet, looking through Cristina's books and ended up with "Millions" - a very good Christmas bittersweet English comedy.

Wednesday was picture time day, a few murals, some parts of the city I haven't seen, Cris got me a Bulgari "Blù Notte" for Xmas and I found the "Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino for her (one of my big favourites). Accidentally we discovered also the English version of "Nostalgia" by contemporary Romanian author Mircea Cartarescu. He's very fashionable right now. Postmodernist. I like him a lot, but not all his work. Very pleasant lunch in a small Italian café - Hausbrandt, kept by two Milanesi: Max and Nicoletta. Had a panino with prosciutto di Parma and mozzarella and capuccino - delicious!

Then, alas, it was time to take the flight (courtesy of David) back to Montreal. The airport clerk was Romanian Andrei Smilovici. After a few days at about 10C, I landed in the snow again. I spent one night home, 24 hours after I was on my way for one week at Ste Agathe des Monts with a Romanian gang.

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