Newport, Day 2

Quick item: I’ve created an Ann Petry Fan Page on Facebook. Check it out!

To return to Newport. We stopped at Espresso Yourself (cute, cute, no web site) for a small breakfast then I mooched around and cleaned out many, many Hotmail files. Should have done the same with Yahoo! but didn’t. Also listened to all of “Morning Edition” on line, caught up with back issues of NYTimes except for Style and the Book Review.

We lunched (the proper term in this case) at Christie’s, a chic place directly out the back door and across the alley from the hotel. It, too has a history, except the waitress didn’t know what it was and had to go find out the identities of the 1950s bathing beauties in the big blow-up photo on the wall next to our table. One had a rock on her third finger the size of the Hope diamond and another looked like she was missing a tooth, but all were fully coiffed and made up. We learned one of them was named Christie but that’s all. I had tuna sashimi on pita bread with some rather sloppy pesto such under it. The promised arugula turned out to be baby spinach, but the whole thing tasted OK. Larry had fish and chips with Asian slaw. The fish was OK, though he announced that he doesn’t like cod fried, and did not eat the slaw, which had a great deal of sesame oil and some other unidentified spice. The $10 for a glass of pinot grigio was ridiculous – no wines were listed on the menu and had I known I would have stuck to water.

After we ate we walked down Bannister’s Wharf to the Black Dog. The place is an extension of the original Cape Cod venue but without the food. I didn’t realize until I went on the website that the place has nineteen locations, all in some of the most expensive real estate in the country, which explains the prices. I thought about buying a hoodie with the logo until I was informed that it cost $68.

After our brief stroll, I caught up on more of the Times, including some magazine sections that date from when there was still snow on the ground.

When I ventured out for my afternoon tea, the espresso place in the hotel was closed. I walked up to the valet guys on Bannister’s Wharf and asked for the closest place. They pointed across the street, which was partially obscured by a stone retaining wall. Once I got there it turned out to be Starbucks, which serves the most ridiculously large teabags in the world.

Holding true to form, big news broke while I was on vacation (continuing the streak that began when I was in Canada when Elvis died, visiting Philadelphia when Saddam invaded Kuwait, ditto when Princess Diana died, and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t remember at the moment.) This a.m. came the announcement that Ah-nold the governator had a 10 or 11 year old child by a “member of the household staff.” The news has obviously changed and expanded since then, but my first thought was total sympathy for Maria who must have revisited all the mutterings about her uncles on top of her own pain. Given that the story appeared shortly after the arrest of the IMF chairman on a charge of rape, these power hungry pigs make thinking about this stuff altoghter too icky.

I couldn’t file the blog because the Internet connection wasn’t working. I tried with Explorer since Firefox didn’t want to cooperate. I called the number on the card the hotel issued with the password. The woman who answered walked me through the basic script. I swear I could hear pages rustling, even though I’m sure she was reading off a screen. She replied, “We support Explorer” when I told her I use Firefox. When that didn’t work, she said someone would call me. That was Tuesday. I heard not a word, and was told when I called hours later that “calls are taken in order.” The service reappeared late Wednesday. I was going to say avoid the company but I’m almost convinced that the site used a phony name.

Tuesday night we ate dinner in the basement of the hotel at the Rhino Bar and Grille. The best part was a really nice man who sent us drinks because he and his party would be occupying the bar area. They were wonderful. A “woman of a certain age” with six or seven men – we figured probably sons and brothers.

The rest was OK for $12.95 for three courses. The portions were blessedly small, though we still couldn’t finish everything. Larry had chili, beef tips, and lava cake to go. I had salad, cod (v.. good, though a bit overcooked), and lava cake also to go.

Back at the hotel, I read an excellent NYTimes mag section from April 13 on health, including “Is Sugar Toxic?” connecting the stuff to pretty much every illness known to modern man.

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