Archive for August, 2008

Our Kinda Town, New York Is

August 29th, 2008 at 3:57 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We are nearing the end of our two weeks in New York City and it’s been a lot of fun. But we have been keeping ourselves too busy touring, eating, shopping, and museum hopping to spend much time at a keyboard blogging. As always, I have grand aspirations that I might be able to fill some of the backlog, starting now.

The weather has been excellent, with temperatures just a bit cooler than those back home on Bonaire, and nice clear sunny skies.

At present we are waiting in line to enter the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, south of Manhattan, and will thereafter visit Ellis Island in a thinly veiled effort to make being a tourist count towards the kids’ history credits in the home schooling program they are enrolled in.

While I was actually born in Queens (one of the boroughs of New York City) I have no recollection of ever visiting either the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island before. The latter probably makes sense as my parents arrived on these shores after defecting from Czechoslovakia almost a decade after Ellis Island closed, and Linda’s ancestors were a few centuries too early, back in the 1650s.

In any event, we are looking forward to our exploration today.

 

And Then There’s Costa Rica for Spanish Lessons

August 17th, 2008 at 9:58 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I also wanted to mention that we’re not sitting idle in September either – or at least Krystyana and I are not.

It has long been a goal of mine to learn to speak Spanish fluently, and Krystyana has also had an interest in learning to speak and read Spanish. While language CDs and software are all good and fine, they require a particular learning style and regular allocation of time in order to be effective. Both of those criteria don’t work well for me, but what does work is being dropped into things and immersing myself into new projects. So that’s what we’re doing next month.

We’re going to San Jose, Costa Rica to take part in a 2-week Spanish language immersion program. Krystyana and I each get our own teacher, and for either hours a day we work with our teachers to try and speak, understand, read, write, and think in Spanish. Everything is done in Spanish. It doesn’t work for everyone, but should work for us.

Part of the experience involves outings to markets, museums, and, of course, dining out. And on the weekends we are going to try to explore other activities in Costa Rica, such as white water rafting and the rain forests.

Wish us luck. If I post from Costa Rica, it will be in Spanish (or something that looks a lot like Spanish anyhow). You’ll be able to translate the posts at a place like www.google.com/translate if you don’t read (my version of written) Spanish.

 

The Richters in The Big Apple

August 17th, 2008 at 9:49 am (AST) by Jake Richter

There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that we could not last until October before traveling again, so today we find ourselves getting to The Big Apple – New York City.

We’re planning on about two weeks of vacation, Traveling Richters style. That means lots of eating out and exploring.

On the exploration agenda, we’re taking the kids to their first trade show – the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) in order to give them an idea how gift shop retailers find things to sell, as well as how wholesalers and distributors market their wares. We have a business reason in going too as we run our own on-line gift shop at www.BonaireStuff.com – we’re hoping to find some more interesting Bonaire and Caribbean oriented merchandise to carry in our on-line store.

We also have walking tours scheduled through Context Travel (www.ContextTravel.com) to learn about the Cloisters, the history of tea, ethnic cooking in New York City, and making chocolate. There’s also an off-Broadway show (Around the World in Eighty Days) booked. We’re also hoping to catch the Buckminster Fuller exhibition at the Whitney Museum, plus more regular forays to places like the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim.

And then there’s the dining! We have dinner reservations for almost every night we’re in town at restaurants including Tabla, Le Bernardin, Per Se, L’Atelier des Joel Robuchon, Asiate, WD-50 (molecular gastronomy), a table in the cheese cave at Artisanal Bistro, and a few more goodies. We’re also trying to coordinate a cooking class at another top restaurant, and perhaps a demonstration of cooking with liquid nitrogen (see the post on The Fat Duck in England from a couple of months ago about what this is all about) one evening if we get the timing to work out.

I will try and post pictures and reviews here as best I can.

 

Great Idea When Traveling With Kids – Hotel Business Cards

August 6th, 2008 at 9:54 am (AST) by Jake Richter

As is undoubtedly obvious, we travel a lot with our kids. While they are 11 and 13, we still worry about what would happen if we somehow got separated from them while out and about in a big city. To deal with that possibility, we try to make sure they always have a laminated card with contact information for us (cell phone numbers) as well as for their grandmother. And we make sure that they have cell phones – but those don’t always work in international locations.

Imagine our pleasant surprise when we checked into the Marriott Park Lane in London back in May, and the front desk staff made a point of handing each child a business card with the hotel’s contact information on it, telling them that if they get separated from us to just use the information on that card to get in touch with the hotel and they would help make sure the kids got back to the hotel safely.

Of the hundreds of hotels we’ve stayed at with the kids over the last decade or so, this is the first and only time the front desk (or anyone at a hotel) has ever suggested or offered this additional piece of mind.

So kudos to the Marriott Park Lane, and other properties, please take note of this simple but useful idea.

Card Given to our Kids at the Marriott Park Lane