Tag Archives: street

NYC2 – The people that you meet…..

Yesterday, I began the story about my trip to NYC. If you want to catch up, you can do that here. And I am back today with more. 😉

When I was blogging about India, I wrote a post about some of the people I would see on the street. I also saw lots of fun/interesting people in NYC so I thought I would revisit that little diddy today.

First, let me say that if you are a complete whackadoo and want to find a place to fit in, NYC is the place for you. I am not going to post any pictures of the absolute nutcases I saw because I don’t want to make fun of anyone, but I’m just sayin’ there are some crazies in the big apple! Happy and comfortable, but craZy!

The numero uno whackadoo hubby I spent my weekend with was this guy. He does not like his picture being taken so this was the best I could do. And by the by, if you are thinking about going on a getaway with a special someone, consider driving. You can have wonderful conversations without interruptions and you only have to take your shoes off if you want to. No long security lines to wait in. No children crying. No crappy snacks that cost $15. No middle seat next to someone who doesn’t quite fit in his/her coveted aisle seat. Think about it.

The play Wicked was on Broadway, so I guess this guy thought he could capitalize on the show being in town. I don’t know if he is an actor in the actual production, but my guess would be probably absolutely not. 🙂 And, although the real tin man would talk, this guy was apparently a mime tin man. Taking the role to a whole new level, I reckon.

Okay, I lied. I am going to share one picture of a person that I thought was a little not so fabulous. But only to save young (and not so young) ladies from themselves. Ladies, this is what this skirt looks like from the back. It is too short. I know it looks great from the front. And this chickadee is adorable. But she is showing off too many of her assets. Tee hee. Get it? Ass-ets.

I do have to say I was very surprised at the footwear in NYC. Most of the women I saw were wearing practical, comfortable (albeit very cute) shoes. I would like to thank them all for that. It made me feel a little less country mouse-ish. Especially since the last thing my daughter said to me before we left was “nice shoes” and not in a OMG-those-are-the-most-amazing-shoes-ever-and-I-am totally-borrowing-those kind of way.

It would be so fun to be able to tell you that this is a picture of my new BFF. But, since I only “met” him through the glass window of the studio, I guess I can’t declare BFF status. He is just as cute in person as through the eyes of the camera. Introducing George Stephanopoulos… And, yes, I do think he looks like he is trying to figure out how to get out of the interview so he can come outside and meet us.

I got a tad closer to these beautimous people.They send their best wishes. 😉 I love me some Today Show with Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Savannah Guthrie. I am not sure where Ann Curry was.

These are some of the policeman who stand watch over the 9/11 Memorial. I cannot imagine doing this everyday.

This guy walks around with a cat on his head and his hand out. I asked him if I could take a picture and he answered, “if you could help me out with my endeavor to find food.” And then he said, “thank you for giving me the courtesy of asking first. That was nice of you.” Okay, then. You are most certainly welcome.

What this guy doesn’t know is that my daughter walks around like this…

Who knew the competition for walking around with your cat on your head would be so tough. That guy better watch out – he has given Angel something to aspire to.

These folks didn’t talk either. #Mime must be trending in NYC. So they could neither confirm nor deny their role in a Broadway production. I did find out later that they are part of an a capella group called Voca People.

My hubby shies away from bothering celebrities. Unless, of course, it is Mike Shanahan – the Washington Redskins head coach. This guy was absolutely delightful. Asked me my name, promised me a better season, and let us take pictures. Love him even more now.

And if you were a teenager in the 80’s, you know this guy as Bueller. Ferris Bueller. Love him too. We took this picture because after the first picture, he said, “I don’t think we got it. You might have turned your head too early.”

And he was right. If Matthew Broderick wasn’t such a sweety, this is the picture I would have been left with. Yikes. Thank you! And if you get the chance to see Nice Work If You Can Get It, it’s supposed to be fabulouso.

These guys made me promise not to tell anyone they let me pet their horses. I told them I had a blog and they said, “of course you do Oh, that’s fine.”

My hubby swore I was Livin’ La Vida Loca when I waited over half an hour to get this photo of Ricky Martin who was starring in Evita.

And for the grand finale……..dum ta da dum…..The Naked Cowboy. Thank God he is not actually naked. Brace yourself, this is not for the faint of heart.

It was tons ‘o fun just walking down the street!

Occupy Wall Street Alternatives……….

Yesterday I wrote this post about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. I wish I was here today with more clarity, but, alas, I am not.

However, I did remember my husband’s mantra – he simply cannot stand it when someone comes to him with problems and no solutions. So, today, dear blog readers, I will offer some suggestions for those who are occupying. This is perhaps targeted mostly to those who are losing steam with the great movement as the weather gets colder and are now more open to alternative approaches, but you just never know who might benefit from the ideas presented here.

1. If you are sitting outside of the offices where decisions are being made – decisions you don’t like – your impact on effecting change might be minimal. And if you are spending untold hours sitting outside those offices, you might have some spare time on your hands. Why not apply for an internship or an entry-level position in said offices so you can actually talk to the people inside those offices?

2. Set up a sandwich and a drink stand. Those people have to be hungry. You can be a part of the action and become an entrepreneur at the same time. Just think to yourself, “WWSJHD” – translation – what would Steve Jobs have done?

3. Pretty soon you will also be able to sell blankets, scarves, and mittens. Get those knitting needles out.

4. Sell toilet paper. 🙂

5. Sell really soft toilet paper and hand sanitizer. 😉

6. Sell toothbrushes and toothpaste. And perhaps some mouthwash and deodorant. See, the possibilities really are endless.

7. Team up with a recruiting company and canvas the crowds. Find out who really has what skills and help them find work. (If you make a kachillion dollars on this idea, please remember the writer who was occupying her blog and sending brilliant ideas your way – for free, mind you.)

8. Have a friend who can write well? Get them to grab a laptop and join you. You could crank out resumes for the recruiting company.

9. Split your demonstration time with some good old volunteer time.

10. If you still plan to mostly occupy, then make the most of your time there. Pursue a passion. Read books on something you are interested in learning more about. A new career might just be right around the page.

10. It is my understanding that the military is always looking for a few good recruits. Your newly acquired outdoor survival skills might just give you a boot in the door.

Occupy Walmart………….

I have to be completely honest here. I am not really clear on what the “occupy” movement is all about. Sure there are snippets about it on the news here and there and I have seen some pictures. But my understanding of it remains completely unclear and it continues to fail to capture my attention.

However, in an effort to not sound like a nim-com-poop, I decided to read a little bit about it. To figure it out.

And I found the “Occupy Together” website – it will tell you it is the “un”official website of the occupy movement and it will tell you this…

“People are occupying spaces in over 150 communities throughout the nation and many more worldwide. We have all become part of a network of people who are working together for something much bigger than any single person, idea, or group. The growth of this movement has been vast and rapid. As we are growing, it is important for us to be able to communicate with one another so we can support each other, share ideas, information and knowledge. This is how we will grow stronger. We have already seen a couple of locations start to form working groups taking on the large task of networking and opening up communication.

Huh? I am still not clear on what that means.

What I do know is that I met a woman who was working at Walmart today. She spends three days a week at Walmart and four days a week watching her grandchildren so that her own daughter can work.

She is thrilled to have a job. She is thrilled to work at Walmart. She even thinks her management team is fabulous. She appreciates all that the United States has given her – mostly freedom from fear.

As she piled all the crap that I could absolutely live 500 years without in to my bags, she talked of fleeing Iran and arriving in America. She didn’t resent that I was buying lollipops and fake vampire teeth. Instead, she actually thanked me for being there, “because we are nothing without our customers.”

This woman and her husband snuck out of Iran because they feared for her husband’s life. They left in a hurry and took nothing but their children with them. They left houses and cars and family. They left memories and histories.

As far as bank accounts go, they were far wealthier in Iran. As far as security goes, they are far richer here. She is content to occupy Walmart.

So, at the end of the day, I am more impressed with the woman occupying Walmart with purpose and gratitude than I am with those who are occupying Wall Street.

Tastes like chicken…………

We don’t eat a lot of any street food in Delhi, so I was very surprised when my husband went all “game on” over the street food in Thailand. There seems to be more of it in Thailand, especially Bangkok, and he wanted to try some new things. I offered to take pictures – giving me the “oh, I would love to, but I don’t want to get anything on the camera” excuse. He did not eat all of the things you will see pictured, but he did eat chicken butt. I cannot find the picture of that. But here is one of hubby eating “canal” food. A lady on a boat will pull up to your boat and sell you some bbq chicken. And you will suspend your reality and believe it is chicken. Fascinating.

Number one hubby also ate crocodile – at the crocodile show.

Yes, you read that right – he ate crocodile at the crocodile show. Maybe it is just me, but I think there is something fundamentally wrong with eating crocodile at the crocodile show right in front of the c.r.o.c.o.d.i.l.e.s. Especially when one of your fellow humans is about to do this. No wonder they say revenge is sweet.

I personally have a v.e.r.y. hard time eating anything that is looking at me.

These were some of the biggest shrimp I have ever seen. In Asia, they are called prawns, which makes perfect sense because there is nothing “shrimpy” about them. And, you are right, they don’t look as appetizing before they are “prepared”.

I don’t know if these are chicken feet or octopus. I am thinking octopus but really, it could go either way. And, nope, did not try.

I am always happy to find something recognizable that is not staring at me. These strawberries looked delish.

These little gems are called Century Eggs. Yes, I completely agree – eggs are not supposed to look like that. No, we did not try them. Because of the way these eggs smell, there is a myth that they are soaked in horse urine. Yeah, that’s about all I need to know about them. This is what century eggs look like in a buffet at a hotel.

And this is what they look like on the street. I am off the school of thought that both of these are a big fat pass.

Not sure what some of these next things are … if you know, please enlighten us all….

(and yes, I am aware that there is a sign in this picture that probably tells me exactly what this is – but I have this little obstacle called “I can’t read Thai” – so I still have no idea what it is – they look like mini lunch bags though)

This is honestly a little more my speed – cucumbers.

We tried this coconut concoction when we were in Singapore. It was not all it was cracked  up to be.

I am so sorry – was that a little corny?

The Statues of Singapore……

Singapore has some tres cool statues – the most famous one is the MerLion – it is a fish mixed with a Lion. According to Wikipedia, “the Merlion is an imaginary creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It combines ‘mer’ meaning sea and lion. The fish body comes from Singapore’s ancient name back when it was a fishing village – temasek, meaning sea town. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name – singapura, meaning lion city.”

Did I get a picture of it? Well, ummm, yeah, I think my dog ate it. Somehow we managed to miss it but here are some of my favorites………..

I am not sure if that is a man squished beneath her or a blanket – but either way I love this one!

You have seen these two before – but they are among my favs – so you get to see them again ….. lucky you. 😉

And this just made me laugh.

The Rest of the Story (Singapore Style) …….

There were just a few other things we did in Singapore that we did that you might want to know about if you get a chance to go there.

Of course, there is the Hard Rock Cafe.

And there is a great beach at Sentosa Island. Bear even found a sand dollar. And the girls found some great shells.

One-fourth of all the world’s cargo goes through Singapore, so you can see a lot of big ships coming in and out of the port.

Singapore has a Chinatown that is very fun! And we thought expensive.

And Chinatown has a Hindu Temple.

And a Buddhist Temple.

This guy is watching you so behave yourself!

And Chinatown has lots of market shops with fun trinkets.

And this laughing budha who will give you well wishes if you rub his belly (and drop a coin in the slot).

The seahorses did not fare so well. Apparently they are used in soup.

This was bamboo something – it looked kind of like a bamboo jello jiggler. No, I did not try it. Next time.

There is a go-kart ride that goes down a pretty big hill. Lots of fun. Be careful doing this if your kids are at all competitive. It could end up costing a lot of money trying to let everyone win.

After the go-kart (luge) ride, you take a chair lift back up the hill. If you catch it at the right time, you will see this amazing view.

And what is a visit to an Asian city without a little monkey love?

And the dare devil adventure continues. Here is one of my Trapeze artists in the making.

Here is a little quiz for you – do you know what happens if you put a picture of one daughter on the flying trapeze for all the world (and her friends) to see and you do not put one of your other daughter? You pay for therapy for years. So, forget what the economists are recommending this is my own little version of savings. Angel taking a flip……

And this is the mega zip. You put on a harness, attach it to the cable, say a quick prayer, and zip down the mountain. This is a fabulous ride ladies – you actually have to weigh enough to do it. No skinny minnies here.

The whole way down I am thinking “I cannot believe I just strapped myself to a cable this high off the ground and trust that I am going to land safely. And I took my child with me.” When I landed, I thought, “that was really fun!”

You can also rent segues.

The trick is to lean forward enough – but not too far. Here is what I learned about riding segues – you really don’t want anyone taking your picture from the back. 😉

And there is a suspended obstacle course. Yeah sure, sign me up. You can choose to obstacle one, two, or three stories up. First floor for me and Angel. Hubby, Flower, and Bear – all the way to the top. The kids really enjoyed this. Hubby and I were very glad to have survived it.

Why does it look so high up you ask? Because it is.

And there is the night safari. Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. We could have skipped it and gone to the regular zoo instead. It’s at night and so it’s dark – I know, continue to be amazed by my deductive reasoning abilities. But it is hard to see the animals and many of them are still sleeping even though they are nocturnal. But seeing these guys dance around with fire was pretty full of awesomeness.

And the animal show was cute enough.

Especially when they wrapped this big-arse snake around my husband’s neck.

And forget a chicken in every pot. I am running for President and promising a 7-11 on every corner! Slurpees and all. Singapore 7-11’s even have a mashed potato fountain machine. They tasted a lot like KFC mashed potatoes which made Bear and Hubby very happy!

It only took me 9 months to try it……

Street food in Delhi is a very tricky thing. A lot of it looks fantastic – but if you have ever experienced Delhi Belly, you are what we would call l.e.e.r.y.

The general rules are:

Never buy water unless you are v.e.r.y. sure it is in a new and never been opened bottle
Stay away from anything raw – including veggies
Leafy foods like lettuce and hard-to-clean foods like broccoli – don’t even bother
Anything cooked in (very) hot oil might be okay, but be sure it is very recently cooked
Meat might be a risk – even cooked
Suspend your expectation of cleanliness
Flies might be a garnish – just consider them protein.

Even given all of that, it is hard not to be tempted. Even as a not very adventurous eater, I have been curious.

So, I finally did it – with the encouragement of some friends.

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This guy makes cookies. They are in a pan under this container of coal.

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I asked him to take the coal off so I could get a picture of the cookies baking. He looked at me like I was such a rookie. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say “don’t you know, you never open a hot oven while baking something in it?” But he did it – just so you could see. They were yummy. Just like a sugar cookie. Watch out Emeril Legasse and Martha Stewart.

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Greeting Children with Trust/Faith…….

Sit back. But don’t get too comfortable…

Now imagine. You are 7.

Your parents have both been lost and there is no one left to take care of you. You are probably scared and hungry. Probably very, very scared and very, very hungry. Your whole world has just become lopsided.

So, you sneak onto a crowded train with no ticket and you run away to a big city filled with 15 million people where you know no one. You are completely unaware of what adventures and dangers are ahead of you. You have probably never seen a train or been very far from your small village. But that does not stop you because you are left alone with no real choices. And there are no movie cameras rolling. It is not some writer’s made-up fantasy about just how bad life can get. This is real.

This young man (the one on the left) is living this story – it is his life. He has been living on the streets of Delhi since he was 7 when he lost his parents. I do not know if that means that they died or that they abandoned him. I didn’t have the heart to ask for clarification. The Salaam Baalak Trust found him when he was 8. They have been helping him ever since. Now he has dreams of becoming an actor.

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The young man on the right grew up here with his family. Behind the railway station. He told tales of running the streets and drinking and mischief. Now he tells tales of a university education and making a difference.

The Salaam Baalak Trust takes kids from the street and gives them safety nets. John Thompson (not of Georgetown fame – but from England) thought of giving these kids some training in giving tours of their “homes” and lives on the streets. He knew it would be important to teach the children strong English skills. And now, some of the children are taught how to give tours and teach others about their lives on the streets of Delhi. To share all that their life involves – crime and poverty and loneliness at first – but then with the help of the Trust – community, education, and finally, hope.

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There is a non-government organization (called an NGO in India) that helps get street kids off street. In fact, there are several. The one I visited is called the Salaam Baalak Trust – it means “greeting children with trust/faith”. It is not a religious organization – by faith, I believe they mean that they have faith in every child – that every child can find a better life.

I went on the city walk tour that the Salaam Baalak Trust offers. It was, to say the very least, humbling, depressing, and exciting.

Humbling because most of us aren’t really doing as much as we can to help each other out as global citizens – as neighbors to everyone. As brothers and sisters of our own human race – we forget that we are all connected and that if one of us is suffering – it’s just too many. We take a lot in life for granted. We should be more generous. And, by we, yes, I mean ME too. I assure you that I am at the top of my own list.

You can hold hands and sing Kum-Ba-yah now. Please be sure to swing to and fro whilst you are singing. But really we can all do more. In my neighborhood in the U.S., I simply cannot imagine a scenario where a child would be left unattended. Really left alone. It is unfathomable. Not that it doesn’t happen in the U.S., I know children are unattended there – but it is just not so obvious. That doesn’t make it better – it’s just harder to ignore here.

It’s absolutely depressing because it is so impossible to ignore – to pretend it’s not happening – that these are children. And they are left unattended on the streets of a big city. Innocents who grow up way too fast. They eat out of trash cans and spend what little money they earn at the movie theater. They learn to be sneaky and how to swindle and how to run away all in the name of survival. They are clever, very clever, and it is criminal that their energy and talents are sucked dry just making it through the day. Finding ways to eat and avoid the repercussions of the trouble they can get into. And trying to avoid the evil that is out there. And it is out there, looking for these unattended children.

But it was also exciting. Really. The energy that these guides shared was wonderful. This Trust is swooping up kids and giving them real opportunities to succeed. And protection. And food. And hope. And a community. They are eating without stealing and learning to read and write. The Trust believes that education is the key to getting these kids off the street and everything they do is in furtherance of that. They are no longer completely unattended.

Here is a little bit of what we saw….

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This is a make shift classroom. Street children can come here and eat and learn for a few hours everyday. They can also get a bath. They catch the water that is used to clean the trains and bathe with that. Unfortunately, I am not kidding. But a bath is better than no bath.

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No matter how run down or shattered a village may be, there is still very much a sense of community and family. Thankfully, we don’t need much to care about one another. I am guessing this is a mother and a daughter.

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These train was rolling down the track very slowly in between the children and the clotheslines and the huts.

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These are some of the kids we saw that day…

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Get it? Kid? I couldn’t resist. These kids live there too.

So, now what. Now you might feel like you aren’t doing enough. What can you do? Of course, the website offers an opportunity to donate. It mentions wire transfers. Yeah, I know, that makes me nervous too. But you can donate to the Salaam Baalak Trust thru Give India. The link for the Trust is here. If you are in Delhi, you can encourage others to go on the walk – raise awareness. If you are not from Delhi, I am sure there are children in need near you. They might even be in your neighborhood. And we can all just be a little more open to others who need our help – whether it is a parent or a friend or a teacher or a child.

Change does not always have to come in big sweeping movements – sometimes a simple kind gesture changes a life forever.