I went to a dinner party in Beverly Hills Friday night, July 28, 2017.
Seven of us sat around a table in the kitchen, eating dinner and talking to each other.
Dinner was Buffet style – serve yourself.
The hostess wore the shiny shoes shown above.
While going from the driveway to the front door one passes under a painted alcove.
See photos above.
One of the husband-host’s and wife-hostess’ daughters and the daughter’s husband were guests.
Myself and two other people who are not members of the host and hostess’ family were also guests.
During a discussion about how the use smart phones to instantly exchange information has changed everybody’s life one of the guests, Kevin, who is an Internationally Famous South Korean florist, told of about a recent experience Kevin had.
While in Manhattan (which is on the East Coast of the United States), Kevin was invited by the head/chief chef at “Per Se” to come into the kitchen.
Kevin told us about his experience in the kitchen at Per Se.
- The kitchen at Per Se is immaculately clean, orderly, and organized.
- All the people working in the kitchen are also immaculately clean, orderly and organized.
- The work flow is totally organized.
- A screen on a wall in the Per Se kitchen in Manhattan in real time shows what is going on in the kitchen at the French Laundry.
- The French Laundry is located on the other side of the United States, on West Coast in Napa Valley.
- Both Per Se and The French Kitchen restaurants are owned/operated by 5 Michelin Star winner Chef Tom Keller.
- Kevin was told the kitchen in the French Laundry (located on the West Coast) has a screen which has a continuous feed showing what is going on in the Per Se kitchen in Manhattan.
The Palate and Its Pleasures
Various dishes (pictured above) were set out on a counter in the kitchen.
Each guest served themselves, buffet style.
It was a delicious meal.
The host and hostess come from a culture where it is not unusual for an entire day to be spent preparing one dish that will be served at dinner.
After everyone finished eating their dinner, dessert was served by placing different dishes on the kitchen table.
Each guest served themselves — buffet style — whatever they wanted to eat for dessert.
The best is achieved by attention to detail.
The dinner described above is a Persian style “home cooked meal.”
The meal I enjoyed for dinner Friday night was cooked with love, craftsmanship, skill and quality control by the hostess.
Her husband is a very lucky man.
It is am grateful to be his friend and her friend and to be their frequent dinner guest.
Mere luxury quickly becomes boring.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Adventurer, Poet, Writer, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
I Ate It
I went to a small dinner party last night.
The host and hostess had one of their daughters and their daughter’s husband and three other guests over for dinner.
Dinner began at 8:00 p.m.
Persian Dinner Party
It is not unusual for Persians to spend an entire day preparing dishes they will serve for dinner.
Last night was that kind of meal.
It was an absolutely fabulous “home cooked” meal.
The seven of us spent the entire evening seated around a table in the kitchen: talking, serving ourselves food and drink, and eating.
The cake served for dessert (pictured above) was beyond being a masterpiece.
The display of items set out on their kitchen table for dessert … is a picture to write home about.
See photographs below.
When I sent the above set of photos (via email) to a friend of mine in Sicily, she replied:
“Don’t forget the cake Caprese…with ciocolate and almonds” and sent a picture of the cake Caprese which she and her husband had served me and my daughter Leah when Leah and I were guests last month, in their 300 year old farmhouse (converted to a bnb), in Ragusa Sicily. inviato da iPhone
The First Kiss
With all of the above on my mind and day dreaming, while waiting to be seated for breakfast this morning at a local cafe, I asked the hostess if she remembered her first kiss. She replied, “Yes.”
“She was thirteen. He was seventeen.
“They were on a cruise in Mexico.
“She could hear the waves crashing…
“It was awesome.
“She has never forgotten that kiss, or the name of the boy who kissed her.
“Nor has she forgotten she was a little drunk after having drunk several beers.”
I also had a first kiss I will never forget. Hasn’t everyone?
I was living in Berkeley, California, attending the University of California at Berkeley.
We were on a camping trip on a beach on the Pacific Coast, 20 or 30 miles North of San Francisco, in the City of Inverness.
Her date, and my date, and everyone else on the camping trip except the two of us, had fallen asleep.
We were still awake, the campfire was still burning, stars were still blazing in the sky.
We stayed up all night talking to each other, as the campfire went out.
We went back to our dates, while they were still asleep, at the break of dawn.
I suspect, I didn’t kiss her.
But, I will never forget that night, that experience, or her name.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Adventurer, Poet, Writer, Social Commentator Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
Willing to Sell Husband for Chocolate
I posted the above photograph with commentary on Instagram @garyspassion yesterday (on July 22, 2017), then sent a copy via email to a happily married male friend of mine isn’t an Instagram participant/he doesn’t read Instagram posts on Instagram.
My friend replied:
“My wife is doing a triathlon this weekend – pedicure, manicure and a clothes shopping spree.”
Staying Ahead of the Curve
“Stay ahead of the curve.
“Be a regular reader of “Dude’s Guide to Women’s Shoes” http://www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com
“Be a regular reader of the “Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange” blog http://www.garysmolker.wordpress.com
“Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
“Read my article on “The Perfect Wife” at https://garysmolker.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/women-by-gary-smolker/
“Read my article on “Shopping” at https://garysmolker.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/shopping-by-gary-smolker/
ASIDE: At 11:43 this morning (July 23) there were 43 likes posted to my “Willing to Sell Husband” post (copy above).
The man who sent me the note that his wife is doing a triathlon this weekend, has told me he is a world famous humorist whose cartoons are being read by millions of people each time they are published.
I appreciate the one on one attention he gives me.
In good humor,
I remain very truly his friend,
Gary S. Smolker
Copyright © 2017 Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Social Commentator, Adventurer, Traveler, Book Reviewer, Movie Reviewer, Idea Exchanger, Music Lover Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
The above photographs were recently turned into posts on Instagram @garyspassion by me.
Below are photos of some of my recent posts on Instagram @garyspassion.
More Photos Turned Into Posts on Instagram @garyspassion
The four photos below with commentary have been posted by me Instagram @garyspassion.
I celebrate freedom of choice in what I wear (when I am not appearing in court as a trial attorney) and so does everyone else in America.
In Los Angeles people can wear whatever they are in the mood to wear and have the courage to wear.
Below are photos of men wearing t-shirts which exemplify the freedom of expression that is practiced all over America.
I turned those photographs into posts on Instagram @garyspassion. See photos below.
I saw the two guys in the t-shirts above waiting to get into a Deli (Nat’s Early Bite) and took the above photos of them as I was leaving.
A “Painkiller” is a drink served in the British Virgin Islands.
A “Harley-Davidson” is an iconic American motorcycle.
Unique Diverse Population Defines American Civilization
American culture is unique in the history of the civilizations of the world.
America is defined by having a multitude of differences in one place, a diversity of cultures and ideas created by a population of people in the United States who are all living in the same country at the same time.
Some people believe that the fact that America has a population consisting of people who belong to a diverse mixture of cultures and who have a diverse mixture of ideas and beliefs is the reason America is such a productive and creative place to live.
Motorcycles and Optimism Symbolize the American Way of Life
Optimism gushes in America.
“Every time I start thinkin the world is all bad, then I start seeing some people out having a good time on motorcycles – it makes me take another look.” Steve McQueen
Even years after his death, Steve McQueen remains an icon of cool.
In his movies, McQueen always had a great motorcycle or car.
A love of motorcycles pulsates in America.
See photos below recently posted by me on Instagram @garyspassion.
These photos/Instagram posts vividly portray American’s present day love for motorcycles.
Go to Instagram @garyspassion for a broader view of life in America.
I have photographed many badass people in L.A. and then posted the photographs I took of them with my commentary on Instagram @garyspassion.
I’ve also posted my photograph (shown below) of computer nerd Kyle with commentary on Instagram @garyspassion
Current Posts on Instagram @garyspassion
Currently, I have posted 873 posts on Instagram @garyspassion.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Social Commentator, Book Reviewer, Movie Reviewer Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
My friend Ray and His Wife Dianna decided to cut up their wedding cake in 300 plus slices, shrink wrap the slices, nicely wrap the slices and put each wrapped slice in a nice/pretty bag and to give each bag to the guests at their wedding celebration instead of serving “wedding cake” after dinner at their wedding celebration.
After dinner Dianna explained there would be no cake served because everyone was probably full.
Dianna also explained why they (she and Ray) were having a wedding celebration with 300 friends and family members instead of going to Las Vegas.
Ray explained how and when they met — Ray told us the exact time and date.
Everyone who was sitting at the table I was sitting at (except my “date) was a relative of Dianna.
Nobody sitting at the table I was sitting at knew Ray (except me) or how Dianna met Ray or knew that Dianna and Ray were getting married until they received an announcement telling them to save the date July 1, 2017 four or five months before.
Ray and Dianna
After dinner Ray and Dianna each gave a speech.
Ray explained that he met Dianna on a blind date on August 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Ray explained that a “Blind Date” is a date on which you often wished you were “blind.”
However, his blind date with Dianna was different. He and Dianna had chaperones on their “blind date.”
Three people who knew both of them (knew both Ray and Dianna), arranged their blind date and accompanied them (Ray and Dianna) on their first date, their “blind date.”
Romantic 300+ Guest Wedding Celebration instead of Going to Las Vegas
During her after dinner speech, Dianna told everyone present:
Dianna told Ray she wanted to have a wedding celebration.
Ray told Dianna: “People our age don’t need to have a wedding celebration. If you want to celebrate we can go to Las Vegas for the weekend.”
Dianna told Ray: “Its my/our wedding and I want a big party to celebrate our wedding, and to invite all our family and closest friends to our party/wedding celebration.”
Dianna explained that she wanted all their closest friends and family to get together at something other than a funeral.
Dianna called out her friends from the second grade, her high school college counselor and people who had worked with her at each of her jobs who were present at this wedding celebration and she called out people who had worked for her in her company who were present and asked each one of them to stand and raise their hand.
Ray and Me
After four hours of partying, I loosened my tie and Ray changed his jacket.
The minimum requirements for friendship are:
- You must be able to trust your friend.
- Your friend must be an absolutely honest person.
- Your friend must be loyal to you.
- Your friend must look out for your best interests.
Ray has always been my friend and I have always been Ray’s friend.
Ray and I have known each other since we were classmates in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in the 1960s.
The Perfect Wife
Femininity is essential.
The perfect wife is a woman who is already happy and is confident in her ability to remain happy.
The perfect wife is a woman who is affectionate and friendly, towards me especially.
The perfect wife is a woman who I laugh with all the time.
The perfect wife is a woman who is always making me think and teaching me something new.
The perfect wife is a woman who is inspirational.
The perfect wife is a woman who becomes my companion.
The perfect wife is a woman I want to share my life with.
It takes intelligence to look good.
Most people don’t know what it takes to look good.
The perfect wife knows what it takes to look good, knows how to look good and looks good to me all the time.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary S. Smolker, Publisher, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Follow me on Instagram@garyspassion
This post is about Sicily.
I recently spent fourteen glorious days (March 20 through June 4, 2017) with my daughter Leah Graham Smolker seeing great art and eating classic Sicilian food with wild abandon in Sicily.
During those fourteen days, my daughter Leah and I had one tense adventure and one eye opening experience after another.
My trip to Sicily resulted in me gaining a better understanding of how the “world” works, a better sense of what is going on in the world today, and improved my perception of reality.
This trip gave me a new perspective on the differences between how we live in the United States in comparison to how people live in other parts of the world.
This trip made it very clear to me, that the United States doesn’t have a history; that is to say that compared to other countries the United States is a very young country.
This has practical consequences.
For example, where I live in Los Angeles very few buildings are more than 50 years old.
In Sicily many buildings are more than a thousand years old.
The buildings that I saw everywhere I went had a big impact on my perception of the place of the United States on the world stage.
Seeing those buildings and how the businesses conducted in those buildings are conducted completely changed my mind about how prepared the typical person in America is to make good decisions about the top echelon of people who are the leaders in America, the people who “lead” and make and determine what happens in America and in the rest of the world.
During my trip to Sicily I stayed in a farm house which had been converted to a bed and breakfast (bnb), the Tenuta Cammarana.
The Tenuta Cammarana bed and breakfast hotel is owned and operated by a married couple, Silvia and Giuseppe Pulvirenti.
Silvia and Giuseppe’s farmhouse and their farm surrounding their farmhouse – which has been converted to a bnb by Silvia and Giuseppe – has been owned by members of the Pulvirenti family for over 300 years.
Silvia and Giuseppe Pulvirenti’s pride of ownership of their farm/their bnb and and feeling of responsibility they have for everything in and related to their bnb is obvious.
They maintain and operate their bnb farm at the highest standards all the way down to the table cloths they place on the tables on which meals are served to the silverware they set out for their guests to use to eat the dishes served during the courses served at meals served at the bnb.
Below photos of food lovingly placed on breakfast buffet table for the enjoyment of their guests by Silvia and Giuseppe.
Look at the design of that tablecloth.
Look at those tomatoes.
Look at that meat.
Look at the cheese.
Look at the cherries.
Look at the strawberries.
Below are photos of the breakfast I self-served myself during breakfast on two separate mornings while I was staying at the Tenuta Cammarana Bread and Breakfast in Ragusa Sicily.
In the photos below you are looking at real china plates, real china coffee cups and real china containers of milk/cream, sugar and coffee.
You are also looking at real silver, real silver silverware and a real silver plate under pitcher of coffee.
Leah and I ate dinner several times at Tenuta Cammarana.
Each of the courses served during each dinner each dinner Leah and I had at Tenuta Cammarana could only have been created and could only have been prepared by a passionate chef having the highest level of skill.
Sicilians have a cultural inheritance built up over millennia.
Arguably, Americans do not have a cultural inheritance.
If Americans have a cultural inheritance, the American cultural inheritance has been built up for a little more than 200 years.
Comparatively speaking, Americans don’t have a cultural inheritance.
That is to say: There is not one single American culture in the continental United States:
- the “culture” in the “South” of the United States is markedly different than the culture in the “North”;
- the culture on the East Coast of the United States is different than the culture in Middle America;
- the culture on the East Coast is different from the culture on the West Coast;
- the “culture” in the City of Los Angeles is markedly different from the culture in the City of San Francisco, and so and so forth, etc. etc. etc.
All I knew about Sicily and Sicilians, before I went on this trip, was what I saw portrayed in movies such as “The Godfather.”
The movie the “Godfather” does not accurately portray life in Sicily, the Sicilian people, the “land” of Sicily.
The movie the “Godfather” does not portray what I saw in Sicily or what I experienced in Sicily.
The food (vegetables, fruits, cheeses, etc.) I ate in Sicily tasted different than the food I have eaten my entire life.
I have spent my entire life living in the United States.
As a result of how food in Sicily tasted I now believe we Americans don’t have/eat “real food” in the United States.
The Sicilian/Italian life style I observed/ experienced in Sicily is on one end of a spectrum of possible ways to live which the extreme other end of the lifestyle spectrum compared to the way I live in the United States.
I don’t know anyone in the United States who lives the way people I saw people in Sicily are living.
Sicilians “live slow.”
Sicilians talk to each other while having a meal together.
Sicilians don’t look at their cell phones while eating a meal with someone else.
Americans “always” look at their cell phones.
The typical American looks at his or her cell phone while having a meal with someone else.
Sicilians don’t rush their meals.
Lunch in Sicily takes more than an hour.
Lunch in Sicily involves eating several courses.
While eating a meal almost 100% of the time someone else is eating a meal with you.
A Sicilian would feel lonely eating a meal by himself or by herself.
Eating a meal with someone else includes having an animated conversation with at the other person or persons a Sicilian is eating with.
Sicilians eat great food.
Sicilians savor their food.
Sicilian food is great; it is fresh and delicious.
Some Americans think the food they eat every day is great.
But it is nothing compared to the food Sicilians eat every day.
At all times Sicilians are surrounded by beautiful countryside and great art.
Sicilians are surrounded by art that is so amazingly beautiful that it is overwhelming to look at.
Sicilians are family oriented.
It is every Sicilian’s obligation – an obligation for everyone in a family from father and mother, to grandfather and grandmother, to children to grandchildren) – to eat together at an extended family meal 0n Sunday.
That way cousins get to know one another and get to know their aunts and uncles and their grandparents.
Everyone stays in constant regular touch with everyone else.
In my opinion, Sicilians are a people who have made pleasure, art, spirituality, family, family life, beauty and luxury complimentary experiences.
In contrast, people in the United States rush through life; extended family members in the United States don’t get together to enjoy an inter-generational family meal together every Sunday, cousins don’t see each other for years, sometimes they don’t see each other for decades, cousins don’t stay in touch with one another.
In America the only time friends and family get together is to
- celebrate a major positive occasion in a family member’s life, like a marriage, or a birth, or
- at a funeral.
In America it is not unusual for an adult to not know what is going on in his or his aunt or uncle’s lives, or in his or her cousins lives.
Americans are always in a rush, too busy to stay in touch with other family members.
Americans intensely pursue individuality.
As a consequence of their intense pursuit of individuality, Americans miss out on some of the best experiences of being human.
Sicilians, as a result of their joyous pursuit of family, enjoy some of the best experiences of being human that happen naturally (and accidentally) while being in constant contact with other family members.
I felt the presence of human history every where I went while I was in Sicily.
I felt the history of a multitude of civilizations literally oozing out of stones everywhere while I was in Sicily.
Sicily is a place where the presence of early history is everywhere.
Archeological traces found in and around the present day City of Siracusa (in Sicily) confirm human presence in Siracusa Sicily in the XIV Century BC.
In the 5th Century, Siracusa was the bastion of Greek Civilization in the West.
Evidence of the Greek presence is everywhere.
There are archeological parks in Sicily that contain Greek ruins.
There are Greek ruins in Sicily that are better preserved than the Greek ruins which still exist in Greece.
Below are photographs of a few of the Greek ruins I visited in Sicily.
After seeing these well preserved Greek ruins, I kept asking myself questions:
- Why are these ruins still standing?
- Why weren’t these ruins knocked over by an earthquake? There have been lots of earthquakes in Sicily.
- The largest active volcano in Europe is located in Sicily.
- Did the Greeks know something about geology, volcanoes, earthquakes we don’t know, (a) like how to locate structures where there will not be earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions, or (b) how to build structures that will withstand earthquakes?
- How in the world did they lift those columns/pillars/cross-beams upright?
Without a doubt the ancient Greeks were master builders and engineers.
The Cathedral of Siracusa
While in Sicily, I visited the Cathedral of Siracusa in the City of Siracusa Sicily.
- It is one of the first basilicas of the Christian era; it was built in the 5th Century AD in a Doric temple dedicated one thousand years earlier to the Goddess of the City, Athena.
- Its Christian reuse saved the pagan architecture from destruction and oblivion and gave new life to the sacredness of this ancient place.
- Entering the cathedral is like stepping into the past.
Below are photographs I took of the exterior of a church on June 3, 2017.
On June 3, 2017, I had lunch (main course fish soup) while sitting at an outdoor table bordering the plaza in front of that church.
While I was sitting at my table, I listened to an accordion played by a musician who was sitting on the steps leading up to the front door of that church.
Below are two photographs of the fish soup I ate at lunch that day as a main course, as I was listening to the live musical performance, and also two photographs of my dessert.
At One Time Sicily was The Middle of the World
In the Fifth Century, the Mediterranean Sea was the middle of the civilized world.
At the height of Greece’s splendor, in the Fifth Century, the Greek Colony at Siracusa was as splendid and magnificent as Athens, in no way inferior to the capital of the Greek homeland.
The City of Siracusa Today
I explored the City of Siracusa on June 3, 2017.
The idea/concept of architectural beauty has a whole different meaning in Sicily than in does in the United States.
In the opinion of many scholars,
- In ancient Sicily, leaders built beautiful buildings because they believed in beauty for its own sake.
- In ancient Sicily leaders built beautiful buildings because they wanted beauty to be the essence of their buildings.
- A multitude of beautiful ancient buildings in Sicily have been recognized by UNESCO as being worth preserving as a historical site, in perpetuity, for the benefit of humanity.
- The City of Siracusa Sicily has everything it needs to become one of the cultural capitals of the Mediterranean.
- For historical, geopolitical and strategic reasons Siracusa has the qualities necessary to become the motor for the rebirth of an idea for the rebirth of Europe.
- The City of Siracusa is qualified to play a role in the future as the fulcrum (heart) of Mediterranean-European culture, the beating heart of the Mediterranean.
- The logos of Western Thought was born in Siracusa.
- Historically Sicily has been the meeting place of all the arts.
- In a cosmic sense emotional solidarity exists between Sicily and every human inhabitant on Planet Earth.
I saw “soulful art” everywhere I went in Siracusa.
I saw recently painted/created/designed/artwork painted on furniture, painted on canvases hanging as paintings on walls, designed into and part of highly functional furniture.
All of this art tugged on my emotions, made my heart beat faster, increased my feeling of alertness.
The art I saw made me feel more human more alive with every step I took as I walked around Siracusa.
Photos below taken by me in MOON, a vegetarian cafe in Siracusa.
MOON stands for Move Ortigia Out of Normality.
Note that the “bar” table top is the top of a piece of furniture containing a multitude of drawers.
Ortigia is one of the oldest sections of Siracusa.
By the way, the women in the above photographs are absolutely stunning, amiable, graceful and fun to talk to.
One of them to told me, “She is twenty-three years old and has the soul of an eighty year old.”
She asked me to come back Thursday night to hear her sing and play the guitar.
The Street Scene in Siracusa Today
Below are photographs I took while walking along the streets of Siracusa on June 3, 2017.
Modern Day Magnificence – The Liberty Hotel in Catania Sicily
Leah and I spent our first two nights in Sicily at the magnificent Liberty Hotel in Catania, a bnb (bread and breakfast), located at Via S. Vito, 40, Catania, Sicily.
The above photos were taken by me in the Liberty Hotel.
Italian/Sicilian Elegance In Attention to Details
The first photo is a photograph of the green carpet and gold carpet I saw directly ahead of me as I passed through the front door entry to the Liberty Hotel from the street.
One must go through the gold curtains at the end of a marble entry way when entering Liberty Hotel from the street in order to proceed to the lobby of the Liberty Hotel.
The lobby of the Liberty Hotel is located on the other side of the gold curtains.
There Was A Slight Delay in Our Arrival at the Liberty Hotel
Leah and I flew together to Rome from Los Angeles.
We were supposed to both catch the same connecting flight in Rome to Catania, Sicily.
Things didn’t work out that way.
Leah missed the connecting flight we were supposed to fly on together from Rome International Airport in Italy to Catania Sicily.
The Airline we flew on didn’t take all passengers to airline terminal from the plane in an orderly fashion.
Once deplaning passengers got to the terminal in Rome, via bus, there was no-one to greet the passengers arriving from Los Angeles or to give guidance on how to find the gate for the the connecting flight to Catania.
It was mass confusion — I luckily took the appropriate escalator to the appropriate floor in the terminal to go to.
Once on that floor, I couldn’t determine [after looking at a list of constantly updated departing flights, flight numbers, airlines, destinations and gates] out of which gate my flight to Catania would board.
I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to proceed to in order to catch my flight from Rome to Catania.
Luckily, another passenger in the terminal (a native Sicilian) who was a complete stranger took my hand and led me to the gate at which I was supposed to board my plane to fly to Catania.
When I boarded I asked if Leah had boarded. I was told she had not.
I caught the connecting flight, thinking it would not depart until Leah arrived; Leah didn’t arrive. The plane took off without Leah.
Once I arrived at the airport in Catania, I contacted Leah by cell phone.
Leah advised me that she had been misdirected by Alitalia Airline personnel several times to the wrong gate and that is why she had missed our flight from Rome to Catania, but that she had been re- ticketed and would be catching the next flight from Rome to Catania.
Leah directed me to wait in the baggage claim area in Catania Airport for Leah to arrive on the next flight and that Leah would arrive in Catania in two hours.
I waited in the baggage claim area of the airport in Catania for Leah to arrive on a later flight.
Our Arrival at the Liberty Hotel Catania
Leah and I arrived at the Liberty Hotel in Catania in the early evening on May 21 instead of arriving there in the late afternoon.
The second photo above, of a red/pink carpet, is a photograph of the red (or pink if you see pink instead of red) carpet we walked on when we walked from the lobby (located on the second floor of Liberty Hotel) each morning down one floor to Liberty Hotel’s intimate cozy brilliantly decorated dinning room.
The third photograph is a photograph of one of many couches in the small intimate lobby of the Liberty Hotel.
All the furniture and furnishings in Hotel Liberty are artist.
Whoever decorated the Liberty Hotel has great sensitivity and created an environment in every room which provokes sensory delight.
Walking through the common areas of Liberty Hotel is more of exercise in art appreciation than walking through most museums and most churches containing great works of art.
The fourth of the photographs above is a photograph of an outdoor patio located adjacent to the Liberty Hotel’s lobby.
One entire perimeter wall of the outdoor patio in the photograph above is covered with blooming jasmine plants, jasmine flowers galore and the patio is filled with the rich smell of Jasmine.
The remainder of the above photographs were taken by me while at breakfast in the small (but elegant) dinning room at the Hotel Liberty.
The Almond Milk served at the breakfast at the Liberty Hotel is/was divine.
By comparison, Almond Milk I’ve tasted/consumed in Los Angeles is watery diluted something which pretends to be Almond Milk.
More Attention to Details
You should see what the bedroom (with Tiffany Lamp above my bed) and bathroom (exquisite tile work) looked like in my suite of rooms at Liberty Hotel.
Attention to Women
You should see how the dinning room in the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast in Palermo, located at Via Scopari – Palermo, is decorated.
Below are photographs I took of three paintings hanging of the walls in the intimate dinning room at the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast in Palermo.
I was told:
- The first painting is a current painting of the owner’s 18 year old daughter. Painted by the owner’s wife.
- The second painting is of the owner’s wife. Painted by the owner.
- The third painting is a painting of the owner’s mother when she was a young woman.
The owner is an architect, Arch. Sergio Sanfilippo.
You should also see what the bathroom in my suite at the Khalisah Bed and Breakfast looked like.
The shower was/is illuminated with/by a blue light source in the shower.
The shower curtain was/is green.
The sink was/is a bright orange.
Each bedroom suite in this bnb had/has a different decor.
More Attention to Detail
You should see what the grounds, the dining room and my bedroom suite at Casa Talia Bed and Breakfast look/looked like and hear me describe and/or read how I describe the City of Modica, Sicily.
Modica is known as “The Chocolate City” of Sicily.
Each and every part of Casa Talia is a work of art.
My stay at the Casa Talia was a hypnotic experience.
While in Modica, I saw the cutest most charming bookstore I have ever seen.
Below are two photographs I took of one of the murals in that bookstore, which I took while I was in that bookstore.
First Tense Moment
Leah and I had several tense moments during our trip.
The first tense moment occurred when I summoned Uber to pick me up at my home and then then pick up Leah at Leah’s home and then take us to LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, to catch our flight to Rome.
After I pushed all the buttons on the screen of my cell phone, I was informed (by Uber) that my order could not be processed because I did not have the latest version of the Uber app.
Second Tense Moment
The second tense moment occurred when I discovered Leah was not on the flight from Rome to Catania that with me that Leah was supposed to be on.
Third Tense Moment
The third tense moment occurred when we arrived in the bus station in Palermo to purchase bus tickets for a 10:00 a.m. bus ride from Palermo to Erice.
When we arrived the bus station we were informed that the bus drivers were on strike, and there would be no bus [scheduled or not scheduled] leaving Palermo at 10:00 a.m. bound for Erice.
However, we were also informed the bus strike would end at 10 a.m. and therefore we could purchase bus tickets for a 1:30 p.m. bus trip from Palermo to Erice.
We purchased bus tickets for the 1:30 p.m..
We then waited in the bus terminal for the 1:30 p.m. bus to arrive and load passengers.
Fourth Tense Moment
The bus leaving at 1:30 p.m. finally arrived.
We loaded our suitcases in the cargo bins under the bus; then we stood in line to board the bus.
When the line got to the front of the bus we looked up through the entry door to the bus at the bus driver standing at the top of the stairs collecting bus tickets at the top of stairs leading into the bus.
When it was our turn to give the bus driver our tickets, the bus driver said, “No! Only one you can get on the bus. There is not enough room for both of you on the bus.”
I told Leah to take that bus to Erice, I would take the next bus to Erice and to take her suitcase and my suitcases off the bus when when she arrived at the second bus stop in Erice.
We had arranged in advance to meet a personal driver at the second bus stop in Erice.
Fifth Tense Moment
The fifth tense moment occurred when Leah realized she had to go to the bathroom, and there was no bathroom on the bus.
More Tense Moments
A description of additional tense moments will be added later.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved
Gary S. Smolker, Traveler, Blogger, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer, Publisher Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion
The Shopping Experience
All Women and some Men like to shop.
Many men who like to shop do not want to or like to shop with a woman.
Each of the photographs above were taken by me in June, 2017, while I was in different shopping venues.
The purses shown above were photographed by me while I was in the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, USA.
The eatable chocolate shoes shown above were photographed by me while I was in an Alitalia terminal in the Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, Italy.
The bottom set of pictures are photographs I took near the Merry-Go-Round in the South Coast Plaza.
The set of photographs are of a “carrel” full of “animal shaped balloons.”
Parents purchase those animal shaped balloons for their children to “walk” and/or play with while their parents are shopping.
Useful Practical Knowledge
If you need to buy something, a very important question is: “Where is the best place to buy it, where is the best place to shop for it.”
Of course, the answer to that question depends upon what you are shopping for.
Where Is The Best Place in the World to Shop?
MEN, TAKE NOTE: WOMEN LIKE TO SHOP!
Women have a larger variety – a multitude – of good reasons to shop and to go shopping then men do.
In the modern world we live in, sometimes shopping is not solely/exclusively about trading money for goods.
My goal in writing this article is to spread understanding of the multitude of factors that women and men consider before they decide where to “go shopping” when their sole goal is not to buy a “generic” something for the best price.
- It is a good idea to get along with women.
- If you understand why women go shopping you will have a better chance of getting along with them.
- Women do things for a reason.
- Do not ignore something staring you right in the face.
- That women like shopping is staring you right in the face.
- If you make a noticeable effort to understand why women in your life like to go shopping those women will more strongly believe it is a pleasure to know you.
MY ADVICE TO MEN: Think of shopping with a woman at a gorgeous venue that has eye opening mind stimulating merchandise for sale as being equivalent to going with a date to a top rate museum full or magnificent works of art and stunning artifacts.
Best of all: You get to enter this museum and experience one or more hours of enjoyable mind expanding learning and mental stimulation without paying an admission charge.
THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO SHOP
The issue discussed in this article is, “Where is the best place in the world to shop?
My criteria/parameters for choosing the best place in the world to shop are:
- I ask myself: (1) Where will you see the most interesting things in a span of one or two hours?
- I assume you will not be spending more than one or two hours in the shopping venue that is the best place in the world to shop.
- I also ask myself: (2) Which shopping venue has the highest percentage of the highest quality top-tier shops/stores/departments to go into or window shop?
In my opinion the best place in the world to shop, under those criteria, is in the terminals at the Aeroporto Leonardo Da Vicini Fiumicino… the best place to shop is in the airline terminals located in Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome.
I flew on Alitalia Airlines from Los Angeles International (LAX) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) on May 20, 2017; during a stopover – before flying on to Sicily – I stayed in the Alitalia terminal which I found myself in after my plane landed for an approximately one hour thirty minute during a stopover before catching my connecting Alitalia flight to Catania Fontanarossa (CTA).
There are no direct flights from Los Angeles to Sicily. To get to Sicily by commercial plane, one must first fly to Rome then catch another flight to Sicily. Catania is a city in Sicily which has the airport I landed in when I first got to Sicily.
I was dazzled by the stores I saw as I walked through the Alitalia terminal(s) from the gate I deplaned at when I arrived in Rome from Los Angeles to the gate in the terminal from which my connecting flight to Catania Sicily boarded.
On my way back home, I flew from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Los Angeles International (LAX) on June 4, 2017 after a two hour forty minute stopover stay in the Alitalia terminal after my flight from Catania landed before boarding my direct Alitalia flight from Rome to Los Angeles.
During my two hour four minute stopover on June 4, 2017 I visited several of the stores/shops located in the Alitalia terminal.
Based on comparing my recent first hand (window) shopping experiences in the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport on May 20 and June 4, 2017 with my shopping experiences in other major airports throughout the world, with my shopping experiences in major shopping centers/malls, and in world famous shopping venues throughout the world, it is my conclusion that if you have one or two hours to spend shopping the Alitalia terminals in the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome are the place to be.
Rolling Through My Head
Rolling through my head are memories of recent outstandingly pleasant shopping experiences, including many I had during the two weeks I was in Sicily from May 20 through June 4, 2017, and many I had while visiting the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California a few days ago.
- On Monday, June 13, 2017, I spent four exceedingly pleasant hours window shopping, and also meeting with and talking to sales personnel in the South Coast Plaza (SCP) in Costa Mesa, California, and ultimately I purchased a gorgeous necklace for my daughter Judi.
- Just 11 days before that, on June 2, 2017, I was shopping in the Ortigia Sicilia shop in Noto Sicily. I spent about 15 very pleasant minutes in that shop and purchased a puzzle depicting Noto [which I had the store send/ship to my daughter Terra in Massachusetts] and during that 15 minutes I also purchased oil perfume that I had shipped from the Ortigia Sicilia store to my office in Encino California to give to several women I work with.
- Below is a picture I took of the Noto Puzzle I sent to my daughter Terra. Next to the picture of the Noto Puzzle I sent to my daughter are photographs of distinctive packaging used in that store – photographs of paper bags in which purchased merchandise is put in then carried out of the store. Next to the photographs of two paper bag packages are photographs of descriptive labels in the Ortigia Sicilia store which describe the perfumes displayed on shelves in that store. All the products purchased in that store can be directly taken out of the store by the purchaser or can be shipped worldwide.
- I love chocolate. Modica is known as the City of Chocolate in Sicily. I spent several days in Modica. I spent about 30 minutes in a Museum of Chocolate in Modica. Below are photographs I took of posters posted in the Museum of Chocolate. Almost every other store on the main street in Modica sells a variety of chocolates. The most famous Chocolate manufacturer in Sicily is the Dolceria Bonajuto which is located on the main street in Modica Sicily at street address Corso Umberto I, N. 159, Modica. I visited the Dolceria Bonajuto on May 29, 2017 and returned on May 30 and May 31. Below are photographs I took of people outside the Dolceria Bonajuto taking samples of chocolate being served on a platter by the Bonajuto store. While in the Dolceria Bonajuto I bought Chocolate Cardamom to give to women I work with in my office in Encino, California. I spent about 10 minutes or less each time I visited the Dolceria Bonajuto. On May 29, 2017, just down the street from the Dolceria Bonajuto, at Corso Umberto I, 133, I discovered the most charming book store, Libreria Mondadori. While in the Mondadori book store I purchased two books: “Le Ricette di ieri e di oggi” [“Recipes of yesterday and today”] and “Sweet Sicily.” I love books and I love bookstores. I spent about 30 or 45 minutes in the Libreria Mondadori book store the first time I was there and about 30 minutes each of the next two times I was in that book store. Below are photographs I took while I was inside the Libreria Mondadori. The Libreria Mondadori is a great place to hang, a great place for browsing books written about many topics. I find reading books “addictive” but don’t assume that people who read books are more tolerant or open minded than people who don’t. The bottom photographs are a series of photographs I took in Libreria Mondadori. The first photograph was taken by me after I had entered Libreria Mondadori while I was looking at a staircase leading up to the second floor. The second photograph was taken by me while looking up at one side of the second floor of Libreria Mondadori. The third fourth fifth and sixth photographs were taken by me while I was on the second floor of Libreria Mondadori while looking towards the front door to Libreria Mondadori from the second floor. On the second floor of Libreria Mondadori, in addition to books to browse or purchase, there are chairs and couches for one to sit on and tables for one to work on.
The Best in the World
I am a firm believer in the value of personally seeing the best in the world of anything and of everything.
The pictures at the beginning of this article are the best in the world in different categories.
The Two Purses
Those purses are beautiful, but wrapping a stunning scarf around the handle of a purse is the work of genius.
The ladies working in the Sam Edelman store in South Coast Plaza on their own initiative chose scarves and wrapped the scarves they chose around the handles of those purses.
Eatable Chocolate Shoes
The eternal triangle is “women, chocolate and shoes.”
Whomever thought of making eatable chocolate shoes is a genius.
Animal Shaped Balloons
Children become impatient while shopping with their parents.
Whoever thought of “making” animals out of balloons that could be given to children while their parents are shopping is a genius.
Why Are the Alitalia Airline Terminals in the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Rome the Best Place in the World to Shop?
Below is a photograph of a ceramic bowl and a series of photographs of a container of cookies I took while “window shopping” in an airline terminal waiting to catch a connecting flight from Rome to Los Angeles after having flown on Alitalia from Catania Sicily to Rome Italy.
Photos taken by me in the Alitalia Airline Terminal in the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport Rome on June 4, 2017.
I rest my case.
Gary S. Smolker, Fashion Blogger, Social Commentator, Movie Reviewer, Book Reviewer and Idea Exchanger Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog www.garysmolker.wordpress.com Gary Smolker, Fashion Blogger and Social Commentator Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com
Copyright © Gary Smolker, 2017 All Rights Reserved
Follow Me on Instagram @garyspassion