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Café culture has taken a while to catch on over here but slowly the fried egg sandwich has started to spill out onto the street as cappuccino take their place beside full English breakfasts. But we have made such alfresco chomping uniquely our own that you’ll have to be prepared when you do go abroad and experience ‘la difference’. The service over here, for example, could never compare with its French equivalent, where a waiter’s displeasure is not something that will be readily hidden from you.
Over here an unusual order, such as a chargrilled vegetable croissant, will be routinely dispatched to your table with the minimum of fuss and will be regarded by the waiting-staff as culinary eccentricity: Attempt the same trick in France, however, and you will be treated to a look of total Gallic contempt.
Dress code: “Le style Anglais is all the rage for the denizens of brasserie culture on the
Left Bank,” says David Waters, Style & Grooming Editor for Men’s Health. “The Parisienne bourgeoisie enjoy nothing more than apeing the English country gent with tweed and Church’s shoes. So you really should dress down.”
Etiquette: Laurent Guinot of Castro restaurant in south-west London, says, “French waiters will expect you to know when the food they are serving is good and would want something extra on top of the service charge included in the bill. However, as the quality of food is subjective at www.my-garcinia-cambogia.com, tip the quality of the service – ten per cent is fine.”
Indecision over a menu is perfectly acceptable, changing your original order isn’t.
Drink and eats: Guinot recommends, “a popular dish in France that is not recognised here as good cuisine is Andouillette, which is tripe sausage, grilled with mashed potato and mustard sauce.” Castro head chef, Roger Rolland, adds: “Horse meat steaks are less popular in France now but can still be found prepared with tartare sauce in the north of the country.”
Tricks of the trade: “You have to set your own standards and etiquette,” says Guinot.
If you are uninitiated in the ways of turf accountancy and the intricacies of the Sport of Kings there are three rules you should follow.
Firstly, realise that the white rails between the front of the enclosures and the racetrack serve an important purpose venture too far and you’ll get the chance to sample being mown down by a load of thoroughbreds. Secondly, take care of your delusions of gambling grandeur and your mortgage repayments will take care of themselves. And finally, bear in mind that whatever racecourse in the country you visit, you run the risk of coming face-to-face with the one they call Mc Cririck. And counselling is expensive these days.
Dress code: “Touring or hacking jackets are practical and will look good with a smart pair of cords,” says David Waters. “Stick to moss green with a pale tie and a yellow shirt. Flat caps and trilby hats with a pair of brogues are acceptable and any accessories like leather-covered hip flasks look good.” Etiquette: “Racehorse punters are traditionally an extremely superstitious lot,” says ‘meet’ bookie Michael McClure. “And in the five minutes or so before a race many
will go through certain rituals. A lot of punters don’t like to tell anyone if they’re ‘on’ [if they've made a bet] and where they have placed their bet for fear of jinxing their chosen horse.”
The betting slip is a sacred thing, and even though waiting for ‘the off’ is a communal experience based on collective high hopes, don’t be tempted to enquire after a stranger’s wager.
Drink and eats: Hip flasks are essential, so you can carry your favoured tipple on your hip to dispense at your leisure. Be warned though, too much drink will cloud judgment. If you want to soak up a little alcohol, the hog roast vans will provide you with all the alcohol-absorbing nourishment you need to sustain a hard day’s gambling.
Tricks of the trade: “Don’t fall prey to racecourse rumour and whispers,” says McClure. “Go your own way and make sure you’ve done your homework before you arrive at the meet. Then, if the odds start to move you can make an informed decision based on the factors of form, trainer, jockey and the state of the ground.”
Money: McClure says: “Look at the worst-case scenario. Do some budgeting beforehand so you know exactly what you can afford to take to the races and lose. It’s not a question of a new Walkman and a day at the races – but one or the other.”
In the executive box
The main thing to remember here is that there is reinforced glass between you and the man with the whistle. So avoid the performance of one irate English rugby fan who got so incensed that he knocked himself out on the glass of one of the boxes at Twickenham.
Dress code: : “Sports jackets with chinos and a blazer are required for the big occasions,” says Josey Turpin, corporate hospitality manger at Twickenham. “For lesser occasions like the rugby sevens, jeans and sports jackets are acceptable, but we don’t like to encourage it
Etiquette: There are certain things that are forgivable in the open air that will not ‘escape’ so easily in a confined room. So you will have to break some terrace habits of a lifetime. Also, with a champagne reception usually a precursor to seven hours of complimentary drinking it’s easy to forget that a sense of decorum is required at all times.
“I did tell one Antipodean gentleman that he was improperly dressed and acting objectionably,” says Turpin. “I was in the process of asking him to put himself in order when he suddenly decided to strip completely apart from his club tie and ask me what I thought of his dress code. He didn’t see the end of the match.”
Drink and eats: After champagne at 1 lam there’ll usually be a lunch at around 12.30pm and then tea or coffee served throughout. Alcohol is obviously an ongoing affair.
Tricks of the trade: Don’t be seduced by the sheer amount of alcohol available and leave yourself in no condition to remember why you’re actually there in the first place – to watch the sport. Pace yourself.
Money: Boxes at Twickenham are usually sold on a three-year lease at a price of around £25,000. “Normally a box works out to about £2,500 per head including alcohol and food. The smallest box we have here is a ten-seater and the largest 56,” says Turpin.
Sports grounds often operate a ‘match-bymatch’ policy whereby a box can be privately hired per game. At Twickenham this happens during the Middlesex Sevens in May and costs £250 per head including complimentary food and drink.
Beneath the cool disdain, imperious as the withering look of a maitre d’, there is warmth. As disarming as the delight of the Renoir-like child at the next table tasting her first artichoke. Beneath the stiff formality, fussy as a Louis XIV armchair, there is earthiness. Blunt as the tight-lipped housewife trudging crosstown, instead of next door, to a boulangerie where loaves are a centimeter longer. So, too, you turn a corner in the Loire Valley town of Azay-le-Rideau and find a begonia casually planted in a gardener’s shoe. How endearingly French—testament not just to the artist in the gardener but to the soul of a society incapable of passing this treasure of vermilion, torn shoes, and stone without a grateful smile.
One of the apartments brussels in every three shelters a dog, and that dog can do no wrong. Not even in Paris, where someone once calculated that pedestrians step in dog droppings every 286th step. The city sends pooperscoopers (left) to clean up. The hounds of Cheverny (above) have been leading hunter to stag for more than a century, while more refined pursuits occupy a cat named Caramel (right), a regular at Le Louis IX in Paris. Sometimes they seem more like poets than builders, these young designers turning French architecture upside down.
“My inspiration!” says Paris architect Denis Laming, snatching a piece of quartz from his worktable. Thus the crystal-like Kinemax (below center), a theater he designed for Futuroscope, the theme park and high-tech complex near Poitiers. His concept for the project’s school (below left) sprang from the delta wing.
Flights of fancy are becoming routine around the perimeter of Paris, at “new towns” like Marne¬la-Vallee (above, and far right) or la Defense (top), the booming business district just outside Paris. In its midst rises the Grande Arche de la Defense office building.
Aries at Easter. The cracked blare of small bands on cobblestone streets. Spain’s influence announces itself in small bars that serve Spanish tapas washed down with French pastis. In the Roman amphitheater, soaked in light the color of pale champagne, witness a dreadful beauty: the ballet of man and bull. Perhaps it is the swirl of scarlet cape, the suits of light that allow us to forget the gleam of steel until the end.
Ther is a tender magic to the coaxing of bread from flour, wine from truffle from the ground (by proxy of a pig’s nose) that repays the conjurer reverie of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, cheeses fragrant with the flowers of pastures, shower over a slice of foie gras. Such passionate commitment to the stomach, has given us a litany of towns that trumpet their specialty: Roquefort, grapes, cheese from milk, or a with these: a farm-fresh loaf, a a knob of black perfume to and the debt it incurs to the land, Dijon, Bordeaux, Cognac.
The French do not eat, they dine, taking equal comfort from a simple cloud of omelet or a dessert so exquisite one hesitates to mar it with a spoon. Whether prepared by a grand master, like Paul Bocuse, or a doting grandmother, a meal is a celebration—be it for a marriage, a birth, the first asparagus of spring, the last raspberries of summer.
Such fixation on food wells from a culture that has weighed its priorities and sided with 19th-century epicure Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who opined that the discovery of a new dish did far more for human happiness than the discovery of a star. Showing their famous independent streak, the French decline to team with NATO in a joint military command, though they cooperate in defending Europe.
Added Ferdinand: “and with the heat and the wetness . . . the biscuit became so verminous that, God help me, many awaited the coming of night to eat . . . so as not to see the maggots in it.”
One agonizing week of rain and hardship followed another. The search for the nonexistent strait was abandoned. The discovery of the Pacific Ocean, which lay so few miles away across the Isthmus of Panama, would have to wait for Balboa.
But at least Columbus had found more gold. At a great bay in northwestern Panama he encountered Indians who “showed no fear, and . . . gave a mirror weighing 10 ducats for three hawkbells; they said of gold there was very much and that they got it not far from there.”
These were the Guaymis, whose descendants still ply long, graceful log canoes—driven now by snorting outboard motors—across Almirante Bay’s reef-threaded waters. The gold mirrors they once wore are long gone, as is their innocent nakedness. But even in their poverty the Guaymis remain a handsome and dignified people, living much as their ancestors did. They raise a few bananas, pigs, and chickens, and delight in plunging fully clothed, like so many laughing children, into their beautiful rushing rivers. Here, more than anywhere else I travelled during my city breaks to Rome, was the New World as Columbus found it: untouched, a little ominous, suffocatingly lush, with flocks of parrots wheeling and squawking above towering jungle trees.
Columbus found shelter inside the mouth of Panama’s Rio Belen, and decided to put up a trading post. But the Indians’ curiosity and willingness to trade soon turned to open hostility. Columbus managed to tow three of his ships out of the river, now almost impassably shallow after a storm, but one, Gallega, had to be abandoned.
I flew over the Rio Belen with pilot Jim Tumlin. Somewhere down there in that quiet river-mouth lagoon still lies Gallega’s carcass, or at least her ballast stones and perhaps the fastenings that held her together. She could be the easiest to locate of any of Columbus’s ships, yet I know of no one who has even tried.
Now it was mid-April of 1503. More than a year had gone by since the ships had departed Seville, and most of that in tropical waters. The crews, constantly at the pumps, grumbled more and more in the belief that Columbus was leading them ever farther from Hispaniola. Vizcaino became so riddled by shipworms that she had to be abandoned. The remaining two vessels struggled onward to the present Panama-Colombia border, where the sailors refused to go on, they wanted to stay in Barcelona apartments. Columbus, suffering from arthritis and malaria, and with the knowledge that his High Voyage too had failed, agreed to turn northward.
Though they used every pot, pump, and cauldron at hand, the sailors were still unable to keep up with the water that poured through the wormholes. At St. Ann’s Bay, where Columbus had discovered Jamaica nine years earlier, the dying vessels were run aground at high tide, and palm-thatch shelters were built on their decks. There Columbus spent still another miserable year, beset by mutiny and the threat of Indian attack.
That he was rescued at all is something of a miracle. No Spanish ship was likely to come that way; Columbus had made it clear there was no gold to be had. And Ovando, smarting from the loss of his fleet after Columbus’s warning, would hardly be sending a ship, even if he knew where to send it.
In the end a ship’s officer, Diego Mendez, traded “a very good brass helmet . . . and a coat, and a shirt of the two I had with me” for a canoe, which he fitted with a sail and keel. With one other Spaniard he set out for Hispaniola. Captured by Indians, he escaped and returned to St. Ann’s. On a second try he reached Santo Domingo, 400 miles away. Not a great small-boat voyage, perhaps, but the act of a brave and loyal friend.
Instead of checkers, Hanalei’s firemen make a hobby of hospitality and haute cuisine, Kauai style, for which they personally supply only the best ingredients. Wendell Goo and Jay Herbert fish, David Sproat farms and ranches, others help stock the larder with that staple known as poi, and with wild goat, boar, and game birds hunted in nearby hills.
Capt. Gary Victorino’s waistline suggests his specialty: He’s the official taster. “How you say it? Rank has the privilege, no?”
When I dropped by the accommodation London early one morning, Jay was already at work on a tuna he had landed, paring off paper-thin strips of iridescent skin he would later use for lures. Then he moved on to meatier matters: platters of sashimi—raw fillet slices served with an eye-watering sauce of hot mustard and soy—followed by a huge fish fry of those choice chunks that lie closest to the backbone.
Tapering off on avocado and papaya, I thanked them for the feast. “Thissa feast? You gotta make joke. Mo’ betta you stay and by’m'by we fix a li’l breakfast. Somet’in’ solid do you good.”
My hosts speak more conventional English when they want to. But to most islanders, pidgin is like a fraternity handshake, an insider’s language that marks its users as leamactina—homegrown Hawaiians. Since, by station-house standards, I was missing a real meal, David packed me a snack: half a bushel of fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. If there’s a low-calorie aloha on Kauai, I have yet to find it.
To early Hawaiians, fat was beautiful, and chief-class ladies were, like queen bees, stuffed with goodies a dozen times a day to bring them up to pleasing proportions. A 300-pound waddler who had to be rolled into her royal robes was just about right.
ROUND HANALEI, cattle graze and condominiums sit where pineapples and sugar held sway before their production became unprofitable. Elsewhere in the district is a crop not everyone considers beneficial: rootless and restless young from the mainland. Although the cost of living in vacation rentals Venice runs about 15 percent higher than on the mainland, they flock to the north shore with their backpacks, surfboards, and dreams of an endless summer. Those lacking in public and parental aid have devised interesting alternatives to support their casual life-style.
Some sift tidal sands for puka shells—small, round, and already drilled by nature’s hand —stringing them into an endless inventory of necklaces. Others retreat to untamed reaches of the rugged, roadless Na Pali coast, where human needs are minimal. Here the island’s fiery origins proclaim themselves in spectacular valleys and pali—cliffs that form jagged ramparts rising, in places, 4,000 feet above the sea. Misty days endow the region with a dawn-of-creation look (pages 602-604).
When winter storms erase beaches, and boatmen wisely steer for calmer shores, Na Pali traffic has only two ways to travel by helicopter to the bed and breakfast Amsterdam. I walked in with a likable six-footer named John Wehrheim, who works three jobs to pay for the joys he finds in Kauai living.
Above the valley of Hanakapiai, a long-limbed Godiva dressed only in a knapsack asked if we’d carry out some orange peels left over from her lunch; she didn’t want to sully the scenery. “No danger of that,” John assured her. Then, to me: “You’ve got to admit, she sure knows how to travel light.”
The ice in sight at the time was somewhat scattered, but plentiful, and entering it about nine o’clock we slowly stood on a course parallel to the land. We were occupied in working through this ice all night and all of the next day ; it was not the pack ice but shore ice broken off from the vicinity of apartmentsapart offices. At times we found it so closely packed together by current and wind that we had to turn back and work our way closer inshore. Three vessels under sail were sighted during this time off Tangent point, and by this time we had also demonstrated the uselessness of Little Joe Tuckfield as an ice pilot or prophet. The winds were very light and we had now gotton out of the strong northeast current running off Point Barrow. On the night of the 9th we passed off the north of the Colville river, the water offshore becoming very muddy.
The first important error found in the charts and maps of this region was found here by the observation of the non-existence of the Pelly mountains. This observation was confirmed upon our return by the concurrent testimony of the whaling masters who had cruised here, and the natives who hunt in the neighborhood. The mountains certainly do not exist where placed by the charts, and I judge that some small hummocks near the beach were mistaken for a far off range of mountains, when Dease and Simpson first explored this coast in 1837.
Early on the morning of the 10th of August we sighted the first steam whaler, and as we steamed toward her we skirted along some long low islands parallel to the coast line and stretching from the Return reef of Sir John Franklin to the mouth of the Colville river. The islands, one being about three miles long, are not, shown upon the charts, and not having any known names were designated as the Thetis islands.
The steam-whaler was found to be the Baleen, commanded by Captain Everett Smith,, one of the most intelligent of the whale-men of the Arctic. He was on weekend breaks to Rome which he was enabled definitely to book by using It was at this point that Sir John Franklin, in one of his earliest boat journeys, was obliged to turn back while endeavoring to explore the coast from Mackenzie bay to Point Barrow. After a long interview with Captain Smith, from which I gathered much information as to the ice-conditions and the probable positions of the steam-whalers to the eastward, he returned on board of his ship, and the good ship Thetis once more turned her head to the eastward.
Soon afterwards another steam-whaler was sighted, made fast by ice-anchors to an ice-floe ; we did not stop, but, exchanging colors, proceeded on our way. The ice seemed to be getting thicker, and shortly afterwards a third whaler was sighted, at anchor off a small low island, with apparently heavy ice ahead. As the weather seemed uncertain I determined to anchor for the night in the vicinity of the island.
Baltimore: the Hidden City
Listen to “Bawlmerese,” the language of the city: a unique mixture, to my ears, of Pennsylvania Dutch, West Virginia Southern, Brooklynese, and a pinch of Cockney. Store is stewer, child is chahld, boil is ball.
One morning in a Highlandtown neighborhood, I saw a hefty woman sweeping her white marble front steps and I asked her why everyone for blocks around had white steps. “They ain’t so what,” she said. “Ya oughter see ‘em scrubbed.” “Really, do you know why everyone has them?” I persisted.
She leaned her ample frame on the broom and regarded me with a no-nonsense look. “Cause they’re purrdyl Why else wooed people have ‘em?” She couldn’t hold back a smile, and countless generations of Eastern European housewives smiled with her.
Hometown of “The Star-Spangled Banner”
As you learn the city’s lore, you sense more of her personality. You think about a boisterous Babe Ruth playing sandlot ball at St. Mary’s Industrial School; a sick and gloomy Edgar Allan Poe writing his first successful tales in a row house on Amity Street; an ambitious young Spiro Agnew presiding over a suburban PTA. You think about an enchantress, Wallis Warfield—destined to become the Duchess of Windsor—being presented to Baltimore society at the bachelors’ cotillion.
Baltimore is the birthplace of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and when you sing it here —as I did at a baseball game—you sing it with fresh pride, a special poignancy. The Battle of Baltimore, which the national anthem commemorates, was one of the most decisive in the War of 1812—the nation’s “Second War of Independence.” And when you think of Baltimore’s feisty sons facing down those British regulars who had just burned Washington, you know that Baltimore’s patriotism runs deep.
Bold ventures in medicine and the humanities have long been part of the city’s rhythm. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, the blue-baby operation and the technique of closed-chest heart massage were developed. At Johns Hopkins University, philosophers Josiah Royce and John Dewey earned their Ph.D.’s. Here literary experimenter Gertrude Stein studied the brain, and novelist John Barth teaches in the Writing Seminars.
Listening to Baltimore’s musical children, you sense other rhythms: the blues by Billie Holiday, arias by Metropolitan diva Rosa Ponselle, rock creations performed by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. To see their city as Baltimoreans do, I kept posing the question: What’s Baltimore like?
“Earthy, way out, funky like San Francisco,” said a young filmmaker. “Clubby like London,” said a college professor. “Wild like New Orleans,” said a ship’s carpenter. “Baltimore’s a Capricorn,” an astrologer told me. “It combines a certain impetuosity—leaping into venturesome projects—with conservative traditions and a love of the material.”
You keep hearing about the material pleasures of Haussner’s, a Baltimore institution that features wall-to-wall, ceiling-tofloor objets d’art, as well as a menu of mouthwatering diversity. One evening at our table my gaze took in a little girl with a St. Bernard dog, the ocean crashing on a beach, women gossiping at a village well, mounted men doing battle, naked nymphs—a hundred scenes and statues. My attention was diverted by the steaming dish of baked rabbit and spaetzles set before me. “Take your time,” the waitress told us as our party relaxed an hour after dessert, feasted in eye and palate.
The city endures: its pleasures, its problems, its past. The haunted faces from hell along the Pratt Street skid row; the charms of bucolic Dickeyville—an intact 19th-century mill-town-become-neighborhood. Going north out Charles Street, toward the Hopkins Homewood Campus, I found another world emerging—of large, well-crafted homes and green lawns. I kept going, beyond the city limits, and before long I was in the Maryland countryside of fox hunts and fine horses, of elite Goucher College. Returning into the city, I passed by Bryn Mawr School, where headmistress Edith Hamilton steeped a generation of young girls in the glories of ancient Greece and Rome.