Thursday, December 20, 2007
When I travel, I love listening to the radio to immerse myself in the sounds of the language, and to hear the range of musical tastes.
So when we were in our sweet little apartment in Antwerp, instead of tuning into Armed Forces radio or BBC, I often listened to Radio2 (jingle singers...'Raaaahhhh-dee-oh Tvaaaaayyy, All-tied / dicht / by yow" actually spelled Radio Twee: Altijd dicht bij jou).
And thanks to the wonder of the internet, when I'm missing my home away from home, it's there...www.radio2.be (rah-dee-oh-tvay-punt-bay-ay). And they play a combination of music that NO AMERICAN RADIO STATION WOULD TOUCH WITH A TEN-FOOT POLE! In the past hour I've heard:
The Specials: A Message To You Rudy
Abba: Lay All Your Love on Me
Gilbert O'Sullivan: Claire
Tina Turner: Private Dancer
Udo: Isn't It Time
Garth Brooks: White Christmas
random Dutch-speaking/singing artists interspersed...
awesome new Euro-pop interspersed...
AND NOW THEY'RE PLAYING MIKA'S "LOVE TODAY"!!!
He's singing, over and over, "Love Love Me" and the retro-disco beat is pumping.
sigh. Radio 2, Ik van je hou!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
We got off the subway at 72nd and Central Park West and at first just gravitated toward the crowd right there, like plaque in a carotid artery. Almost right away we realized it might be wise to go up a block or two. Indeed, it was a bit better. We were walking toward the parade route when JieJie blurted out "Potty!" Oh, no. I told John I would take her, and of course MeiMei wanted to go too, so instead of waiting for the parade, the three of us wound up walking in the opposite direction, trying to find a merciful shop owner who would let us use the bathroom.
You need to know something about Starbucks Coffee. They are pretty lax about letting non-customers use their bathrooms in most of New York City. I guess they figure the majority of people who are able to will buy at least a cup of coffee...so is it generous or mercenary of them to share their facilities? Anyway, even though there was a Starbucks right on that very corner, the line was so long we wouldn't have gotten JieJie in there in time. I headed for a Korean grocery across the street, figuring even if they didn't let us use the bathroom, we could get food, since the girls hadn't had breakfast yet either (such a great mom am I, let me tell ya). But they said "no bathroom." I'm going COME ON, where do YOU go when nature calls? But I thought ok, we'll keep looking. NOTHING was open (except the aforementioned Starbucks) so finally I went back to the little grocery and looked around for a small door of some kind. Indeed, there was a tiny, Alice-in-Wonderland door by the freezer case. A grandmotherly woman came around the corner who looked like she worked there, and I said "can she please use the bathroom? She really has to go." The grandmotherly woman showed JieJie the way in...sweet relief! So we took our bag of snacks and went back to the parade route.
The parade itself was really short, compared to the three-hour yakathon you're used to seeing on tv. The balloons don't look as big, the Broadway and tv and flavor-of-the-month stars either go by too fast to see or don't deign to ride in the parade, just waiting at the Herald Square site for their big moment. Still, I'm a people-watcher and I was not disappointed. One balloon came by, for some Disney show, and JieJie said really loudly "Look! It's the girl from that show we don't watch anymore!" and everyone around us laughed. Then a Pierrot doll balloon came by and some other guy said "Look! It's that balloon that people used to be able to identify, but now it's just kind of creepy!"But the best moment by far was when this random guy just started saying "Excuse me...pardon me...can I get through...Excuse me..." and everyone around me parted to allow this soft-spoken twentysomething man in coveralls to walk right past us. He got all the way to the front row! Those of us who instinctively moved aside looked at one another and immediately just went "WAIT A SECOND...Why didn't WE think of that?!" Incredulity. Oh well, sometimes the most devious plan is the most obvious.