Archive for August, 2013

Entrance to Brazil's claim-to-fame shop: flip flops

Entrance to Brazil’s claim-to-fame shop: flip flops


I’m ready for the next country!  I did one of those every six month recharger sleeps, where I went 13 hours without really awakening for much longer than a cute text or an email schedule.  That was day two of Sao Paulo.


Today I was ready to take on the world.  Went and found myself a sugar free red bull (an impossible accomplishment in Istanbul), jogged 3 1/2 miles before it got to 97 degrees and discovered the Madison Avenue of Sao Paulo. With a name like Rua Oscar Friere, how could I not know!?  All my favorites were there: Chanel, Dior, Max Mara, Roberto Cavalli, Hagaan Daas and then all the Portuguese/Brazilian designers!  It was def the high rent district which I was beginning to wonder even exists. I guess it does.


But here’s what I learned today about Brazil, it is wicked expensive.  I thought I sensed that on my first jet-lagged, out-the-night-before-I-left daze.  But then yesterday I couldn’t leave my hotel room given the workload and my slumber.  Everything in Brazil is double the price at home, MY home.  It is even more exxy than London.  Clothing, food, accommodation, cocktails, massage (all my usual business expenses) are crazy price.  Which is fine I guess, but then I feel this sort of city-wide arrogance.  Perhaps it is the fact that I didn’t teach myself a lick of Portuguese, but come on, have the Brazilians surpassed the French in snobbery?  Um… yes.


I learned today the Brazilian economy has more than doubled in less than four years.  Or so I was told.  By one of the arrogant but English speaking Brazilians.  No, it’s not that bad.  But there’s an edge.  A chip on the shoulder, just walking by someone.  So it’s not a language thing.  It’s a ‘I’m going to look at you like I’ll kick your ass’ thing.  But not in a drug cartel hostage way, GRAM!  🙂  Not like that at all.


Was a challenge (again) to find a solid dinner tonight.  It’s always that something is closed, or having a private party, or I’m not cool enough… who knows.  It seems to be always something.  And I’m less than impressed with the over-eagerness of my hotel staff, to the point of deadbolt and ‘do NOT disturb’.


So what is all this hype about Havaianas flips!!?  I got all sucked up in it… and am not even clear why!  But “everyone in da club gettin’ Havaianas!  Heyyyy, Ohhh….. must be da money!”.  Apologies to 50 Cent and Nelly who I think I just mixed together.


Off to Argentina tomorrow.  Couldn’t be soon enough.  Thankfully, I have an amazing friend who had me dialed into the finer intricacies of the city, from a local’s standpoint.  I’m quite grateful to experience my salad at Oui Oui in Palermo SoHo. 🙂


Cannot wait!  Am a bit over the Brazilians at this point!!!  City #1 of 4, sigh…


AJ, you’d be proud, I just opened the Pringles.  😀


Sao Paulo's unimpressive 'Madison Avenue'

Sao Paulo’s unimpressive ‘Madison Avenue’

I can only imagine the amount favelas out there

I can only imagine the amount favelas out there

Welcome to South America, Ms. Costello. Sao Paulo, Brazil to be exact.

The more international carriers I fly, the more I come to despise America. Oh wait, I mean US airlines, which is merely one of my American gripes. TAM Airlines exceeded all expectations from beginning to end, and I’d fly it in a heartbeat over United. My clients get so wimpy, usually wanting to stick with their comfort zone (because it sure as hell isn’t more comfortable in the literal sense) and US carriers. Guess that’s what I’m here for! Boarding, food, service, comfortability (one of old Raytheon days words) and communication. Totally legit.

Customs in Sao Paulo, granted its 7:00am on a Sunday, was a breeze. Taxi process, seamless and swift. Traffic não há problema. I couldn’t have planned this better myself! 😉 Although that reminds me I don’t think I timed the rest of my flights at such traffic-convenient times.

Not a lot of English happening so I’m not clear how long this taxi ride will be. Each direction I look, there are loads of tall buildings, but so far nothing NY-like, which is what I’ve been told to expect. I wonder if I’ll have the a-ha! moment, like when coming across the Triborough Bridge.

Phil Collins is on the radio.

I’m quite excited to be here, coming off a trip, a long stream of two sets of NY visitors, and then another quick trip, then a hilarious night with ‘my person’… I feel surprisingly great! I got to sleep in yesterday, pack at leisure, do the necessary salon primping, had just one grey goose (shocker it was NOT a double), then ate chicken salad with blue cheese (yum!) on the plane with a glass of red wine, popped a xanax, and night-night for Lizzie! Slept a full six hours.

This trip will introduce me to three countries and four major cities, all of which I suspect will be fabulous and unique – although I am currently going through some back roads through a bit nicer than a ‘City of God’ slum, oh and apparently a night club that’s still going! Hmm, I will NOT be jogging through this part of town later!

I’m bored with this update, more factual than quirky, funny Liz.

Obrigado Marydis, I couldn’t have got it all done with you, and thanks Boo, for making it way more fun. Love to all. (and yes gram, I will be safe, I promise!)

PS: I think I’m close to my hotel and am not v impressed!

View of Four Seasons from where the taco trucks are!

View of Four Seasons from where the taco trucks are!


On a long connecting flight after a long weekend of essentially NOTHING.  I won’t harp on my pitiful loneliness this weekend… too much.  😉  Love you AJ, really… love you.  Mean it.


I’ve been in Austin, Texas since Thursday.  I’m very ready to come home.  On the plane now, though no Little House on the Prairie to bitch about.


Austin is hot!  I managed to get some poolside action, ut just a little.  I am so over the Dallas-day-trippers and their stupid Louis Vuitton bags and pouty attitudes.  Do Texans think they just know everything, or do they think their accents are so overbearing that no one else will challenge it?  Hmmm, I wonder.


The food was good in Austin, and the prices were great!  I found a wine shop yesterday which sells my Domaine Ott Rose for $18, instead of my local $31 on the upper east side.  I ran a lot.  Exercised a lot.  Worked a lot.  Sounds like a fabulous weekend, eh?  Suppose it’s all good given my upcoming visitor and travel schedule.  I have tomorrow to myself, literally.  Between Tuesday and September 30th, I will have two pals in town, four loves (one staying with me), a trip to SF and a two week trip through South America.  Crazy.


I lost the little ear cushion thing to my left earplug… it’s scratchy and now there’s almost no music coming out of it!  Stupid.  😦


I was at the beautiful-ish (for Texas) Four Seasons for the weekend, picture attached.  It was okay.  Food was fabulous, spa treatments just ‘okay’.  I think part of me will forever be in search of an equivalent experience to the hammam (Turkish Bath). The Texans are SO prudish!  At least the ones at Four Seasons Austin!  Push the towel down a little, for f sake!!!  Seriously, she moved the towel down to MAYBE my collar bone.  That doesn’t quite do it for my 190 minutes of supposed ‘Texan Bliss’.  I’m becoming quite the opposite of modest.  A little curious about what Brazilian, Chilean and Argentinean spa treatments will be like!!!


Anyway, I’m actually starting to look forward to my crazy schedule.  A beloved client has begun aggressively using my meeting planning services, and paying me well (I think well, but really… it’s ‘at all or ‘fair’) for it.  I like the diversity in my day-to-day.  Plus, I’ve got really fun visitors coming my way!  Then SF, if nothing more but to spend a little time with my bestie (and perhaps an impromptu Kelly-visit)… then it’s off to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Rio I go!  Reading “Born In Blood and Fire – A Concise History of Latin America”, in preparation.  Do not want to be dumbfounded by ordinary questions like I have been in other countries recently.  SoCal education truly rocks!  😉  Plus I’m trying to do a lesson a day (or two, or three) of French in prep for Cannes!


I have the weirdest flying experiences.  Anyone I know well can attest.  I’ve met some of my best clients and friends right here at 36,000 feet.  I’m flying coach (boo!) and last time I did, had a bizarro time with this exuberant first class flight attendant making me incognito vodkas.  I’m in coach now, bulkhead aisle seat, and have just been given a free red wine.  I swear I do NOT even ask for this stuff!  I must have a face that screams ‘feed me booze’.  Haha.


Love ‘ya’ll’.  So happy to be out of Texas!  Does anyone listen to Flight of Concords or Lonely Island?  “bitch acted like she never seen a $10 before… it’s all about the Hamiltons, baby.”  Love that.  It’s no diapered lemon, but close.  🙂


Hope Hurricane Isaac is not harmful to anyone.  Eh, and if it puts a wrench in the republican convention then so be it!  Sometimes being thrown a wrench, and managing through, is a good thing in the long run.  xoxo


I hope my nieces and nephews know how much I love them and how often think of them.


The infamous vodka fresh off the boat from Russia!

The infamous vodka fresh off the boat from Russia!


Though, I am no Nicholas Cage.  I have to say, I’m quite happy to be on my way HOME to my beloved.  My beloved being NYC, of course.  Not so happy to realize I’m only there for a few days before heading to Austin, Texas… but I’m not complaining.  !!&@$-/;(  Really.


Currently, I am 30k feet above middle America, watching Little House on the Prairie.  Seriously, I have not watched this show (or TV for that matter, aside from Chelsea Handler and 30 Rock) in forever.  When was the last time any of you watched Little House on the Prairie?  That Olsen family is a freaking piece of work!  What assholes!  Pompous.  I think I grew up watching this show, though, but like much else of my young childhood, I don’t really remember.  I have to say I’m a bit impressed with little miss Laura Engle.  Nellie and her mom are douche bags, with their ‘feather hats flown in from France’.  Mary, she is such a peace keeper, so even keeled, though she does need a backbone.  Willie is a little jerk-off.


Attached is a picture of Russian vodka.  It’s the only picture I took in my week’s fill of Las Vegas.  I was attending a conference, first time, for a luxury travel brand, of which I am an affiliate.  I’ll get to those details in a bit.


So I arrived Hell Vegas on Sunday afternoon, completely ignorant of what lay ahead of me.  Unrelated to this Vegas mayhem, I was managing four board meetings, for clients, in Chicago and New York.  Wrapped up a four-day meeting in San Fran last week, and negotiating for one next week is Paris.  Plus day-to-day LMC work.  Thursday was a French bank holiday.  My threatening French phone calls did me no good (unlike my successful “nous avons deux gris goose martinis avec olives, s’il vous plait, merci” with my AJ at Le Meurice last November).  [side note to AJ- ‘our’ bartender at 228 was promoted to sales and said to say hi!  Oy!]  The Virtuoso conference’s structure is that us travel agents (~5k) sit at a small table within the Bellagio’s massive conference facility, and we have 82 four-minute ‘appointments’ each day.  Speed dating for travel.  It was intense.  For me, part of the tension was having to associate myself with travel agents and their pathetic stigma, which I do not consider myself within the same caste.


Wait, wait… I’m off topic from the vodka!  Perhaps it’s due to my third in-flight vodka now!  Despite my intense workload and lack of spare time, I went to a restaurant on Sunday afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner at Todd English’s Olives.  I heard some people to my right talking about Pittsburgh, which I LOVE.  So I inserted myself into this couple’s conversation and made friends.  This guy apparently flies choppers for one of my favorite client’s assets, and CBS Pittsburgh… amongst other things.  Long story short (ha), it was my Louboutin’s that roped him in and we met on my night two with his ‘friend’ and he was like short-man-syndrome-guy with two hot babes in their red-bottomed heels.  Kept insisting on the $25 1/2 shots of vodka fresh off the boat from Russia.  This was after an intensely long day of those 4-minute appointments, so I was tired and needed to manage my business, those board meetings, marketing and schmooze time with the CEO of my host agency, whom I have known since I was 19 years old, so I was ‘relatively’ well-behaved.  To bed super early and up really early for Paris and NYC.


Anyway, Vegas is classless, travel agents can be tacky and four days of that crap was trying.  Again, consider the other elements of LMC Direct Executive Travel & Events that must coexist.  I was invited to a night-time event and whilst it was great to meet with my pals from the Maybourne hotels in London, my biggest take-away from that night was an Israeli stalker, who tried to lean in to kiss me (gack) and sort of spit when he talked.  I freaked out and bailed.  He stalked me the next three days.  Incessant phone calls, emails, messages on my hotel room voice mail!!!  Yeah, I was in Israel last year and his 60+ year old aggressive advances reminded me of what I disliked about the country.


On a positive note, I was so fortunate to spend a huge amount of time with my agency’s CEO, who simply adores me.  Now.  🙂  He didn’t adore me so much back in my day.  But I was able to enjoy a fair amount of time with he and his fabulous wife all week.  I learned (as I was also informed while visiting with them in Scottsdale in June), that they wanted to nominate me for an award, as a ‘rising star’, representing their agency, for Virtuoso.  But, I’m not so compliant with the online bullshit Virtuoso requires, or even compliant in general and therefore they did not pursue it.  Plus this was my first show.  Instead, they had me invited to a very elite luxury travel meeting in Cannes this December.  Anyone who knows me knows that I believe things work out for a reason.  Last night I fell in love with the CEO’s wife, learned that he has the same freakish attention to astrology signs (not horoscopes) as I do.  Besides, had I been nominated, I would have had to endure a process, much like the Oscars or Golden Globes, where they reveal a winner of five nominated, at the gala, ON TV!!!  Um.  I would have freaked out.  I do NOT do well when put in the spotlight and suffer from severe stage fright… until I don’t (i.e., lots of grey goose).


Last night, after the gala awards dinner, and after the agency CEO and LMC love-fest, plus the group Vueve toast… we went to the after-party.  Fantastic.  Great schmooze time and great conversations from potential mentors… but it was getting late and it was my last night.  I wanted to play craps!!!  I have a limited tolerance for gambling, but my incredible friend (who I will forever consider my BFF) taught me the intuition and the right way to play craps, many years ago.  Besides, I’m a chick, I can hold my old… in a miniskirt and 4 inch heels… I know how to make the table fun.  All I know (after a LONG crazy week) is that I started with $280 cash.  I played for probably 1 1/2 hour, only threw down $100… but this morning, I awoke to discover 5 Benny’s + !!!  I think I made like $300 off $100!  Or turned $100 into $400.  Something like that.  Super fun.  Knowing when to quit is a good, solid trait!


This Little House on the Prairie is irritating me.  What the F is wrong with Ginny’s mom, she is such a bitch!!!  Loosen up FFS!  Although Mrs. Olsen probably takes the cake.  Wow, been a long time, kudos to United for having free DirectTV in first class.


Anyway, love to you all.  Can’t WAIT to BE home.  A bit bummed I have to leave again Thursday.  Oh!  I provided my neighborhood Le Steak with a whole new ‘playlist’… courtesy of my auntie and Billy boy (happy anniversary!) introducing me to Pink Martini.  PS: you created a monster!


Next week, moi coeur arrives in NYC and I am so excited.  Follmers rock it like no other, and Siegel chicks are the BEST ever!

In my beloved Central Park

In my beloved Central Park


I think I said before, “I’m becoming a cliche”.  Typically I write from places other than my home.  But today I am loving New York City, my home.


Not sure if you can tell what the picture is of.  It’s the pathway inside Central Park, coming in on the backside of the famous fountain on 72nd.  I’m currently three blocks from home, and today, as it often does, it struck me how awesome it is.


In the gorgeous 81 degree weather, I worked all morning, answered as many email (still doing good on that front now even!) as I could, put on the lululemon (one mist fit in a little on the upper east) and walked past Lexington Ave, got a red bull, walked past a friend’s house, then Madison Avenue and all the fancy upper east side shoppers, got into the park, ran three miles… and just decided to chill… to actually BE one of those people on the benches.  I see them sitting every day I run by.  I think most of them are tourists.  They have maps of the park.  Whereas I no longer need one.  🙂  But I remember when I did!


I’m watching the caricature guy.  He’s bored.  I think I’m going to scoot over and say hi.  Ask him how business is today.  As I write, I look down at the fountain, a married couple are having their photo shoot.  Or who knows, maybe it’s for a magazine.  People are boating outside the Boathouse.  People are taking pictures.  People are pushing strollers.


So how many are tourists?  How many are artists?  How many are unemployed?  How many are wives of wealthy bankers?  How many run their own small business.  Like the caricature guy or the guys pulling the pedi-bikes.  Interesting to think which category I fall into.  🙂  Although I’m about ready to piss someone off, because a couple just came and sat next to me, speaking a foreign language, started totally macking and then lit up a cig!  You can’t smoke inside the park anymore!!!  Love that I finally got to that place with cigs!  🙂  It’s funny (not in the comical sense) to watch what people take pictures of, or want their picture taken with.  Like the ducks just across from me.


Anyway, it’s just amazing to live where I live, take care of myself as well as I do, and travel to fabulous places.  Then on an otherwise mundane Thursday, ditch my apartment and work for a ‘lunch break’ jog through Central Park.  New Yorker for life!  Even if I am a dual-meaning DS.  Ha.


Now something just f’ing bit me, on my wrist right next to my heart tattoo… while I got a work call I had to take, for a whole new project.  Shock: he wants to know today.  But I’m sending him to the Ritz Cancun, so I know I can’t go wrong!


And I just got a ‘hi’ text from my Turkish friend (not allowed to comment, Jacs!).  While sitting on Helen Faith Keane Reichert of 1901’s bench.  These benches aren’t really that comfortable when you sit here as long as it took me to write this.  My ass hurts.  Time to move.  And go back to work, break is over!


Oh, and of you’ve read this far… that one Bob Dylan song I was telling a couple girlfriends about  🙂  probably isn’t fitting.  But this is the only instance in which you will EVER hear me say that.  I can edit it though.  Do a Liz-remix of it?  Come on… isn’t that all Adele does anyway!?


Unbeatable beach, hotel, service, cuisine and pure luxury at the Ritz

Unbeatable beach, hotel, service, cuisine and pure luxury at the Ritz


Help me, i’m turning into a cliche… and quoting Ricky Martin.  Maybe it’s the tequila…


Seriously though (and currently sober, for now)… I have been under-rating and underestimating Cancun ALL these years!  I’ve always headed south to what is now referred to as Riviera Maya.  I was in ‘Riviera Maya’ a couple years ago and the beaches had browner, dirtier sand.


This beach, albeit a bit windy with some serious waves and undertow, is gorgeous!  White grainy sand that doesn’t burn your toes even though it’s 87 degrees.  Love that.  And the water is THE perfect temp as well.  The red flags are up but I’ve confirmed it’s only due to the rough seas and there are no scary creatures lying beneath its surface ready to pull me under with it’s tentacles.


On my immortal quest to keep up the tan, I was recently in Nevis.  I’ll be frank.  The food sucked.  And was expensive.  But who would have realized how much this New Yorker misses that Mexican food!  I guess you can’t take the SoCal out of the girl completely.  The food here at the Ritz is amazing!  Just had quesadilla con camerones and they rival, if not blow doors on that of my beloved Beachside in Goleta, ‘The Good Land’.


It’s kind of perfect here.  Only seldom does a beach vendor go by and it’s beautiful with the white sand and what are those guys in the background of this photo doing… wind surfing?  They’re good!  It’s been fun and funny how much I remember Spanish from my various Mexican excursions.  However I do find myself always ending things with s’il vous plait instead of por favor.  Or saying oui instead of si.  “Y habla espanol un paquito, en englais… s’il vous plait”.  Nice.  But also very Liz-like.  🙂


I just learned I had my best month, in terms of revenue, in May.  It’s so rewarding and fabulous to realize I’ve been doing this over three years.  Equally amazing and prevalent on my mind most recently, is how beneficial ALL my past trips have been.  Most of you know me well… and I think it’s safe to say, I have a tendency to act on impulse.  Every one of those trips has in one way or another revealed some, if not many, benefits for my business.  The requests I get keep rolling in, from further away and all hours of the night.  And mostly, I have some sort of experience enough to answer straight away.  Wherever or whatever it may be.  It’s a weird feeling to feel like you can speak to almost anywhere.  Very cool.


That’s why I suppose I feel entitled to move my office out of my apartment from time to time and enjoy this crazy, but good life I’ve built.  Even though I work all day into the night and spend ridiculous amounts on roaming charges…


This is MY version of ‘The Way’.


The Way is a movie with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez that was recently released on DVD (yes… Jacs… tears well up just TYPING that… so weird).  I loved it.  And my dear friend actually tweeted a Liz “pay-it-forward” moment with Emilio himself, with regard to the movie.  Highly recommend.  Be sure the Kleenex are nearby.  I have no doubt the movie will affect (god or is it effect!?) each of you in some way.


See, I am a cliche: “you don’t choose your life, you live it”.


Time for a quick dip in the ocean, a tequilla and I suppose I must read at least one of the seventeen email that came in as I typed this.  So cool: a guy just walked by selling cigars and I quickly (and honestly) said “no gracias, no fumar…” amazing what this mind retains!


Watching the paragliding sailors - or whatever they call themselves!

Watching the paragliding sailors – or whatever they call themselves!


The Breakers in West Palm Beach

The Breakers in West Palm Beach

After Israel, I was home for three days, just enough time to lay my new Israeli carpet (thank you interior decorator!), and was off again to a disappointing San Fran.  I KNOW most of you love it there, but it’s always just a big reminder why I don’t live there.  My highlight was Matt and Lily.  🙂

I returned home for two days and my largest client is attending a conference at the truly incredible Breakers in West Palm Beach, FL.  So I totally crashed the party!  😉  Which, as it seems things always tend to, turned into a huge marketing opportunity for me.

I have to say this hotel is insane.  Not ‘so’ full of old people (or octopus!).  But I have clients from NY that request this property often and in fact, have 4 rooms (@$910 a night each) booked here next week for clients.  See, so this is totally a work trip!  As I lie poolside wondering what to switch to from champagne (and apparently eating the same exact snack as my lovely but wounded firstborn niece).  And yes… you know me well… that would be a move on to the goose!  😉

Yesterday, after a super delayed flight from NY and then a fun little alcohol induced drive up from Miami the night before, I got up early, got sauced early and I got brave.  You all must know that I have a bit of a fear of the ocean.  But it is just too good to be true here.  Until someone this morning informed me of sharks in the past!  Anyway, I just swam and swam and swam, for like two hours!  It was so fun!!!  I went from one buoy to the next and around and around, luckily with someone nearby at all times, who was ready to save me should I panic because a piece of seaweed touch my leg.  I now understand one of, well two of, my besties’ (an aussie chick and an SB local) pure fascination and love for the ocean.

As often as I am on the road and as many 11:00pm nights I take work calls… I realized I have not relaxed by a beach or pool since I was in Cabo with my girlies.  Over two years ago!  Funny to think we were making up my business name on that trip… and clearly it’s as creative as tequila gets!  Haha.  I will be hitting you up soon enough for Punta de Mita, ladies!  My client wants me to stay in his 4-bedroom house ON the beach yet in town with chef and maid service, for free, because we are trying to market it for him!  Anyway, I digressed.

My friends are all golfing now, so I’m bored and I’m scared of the sharks (now) but really want to go in the ocean again!  I guess I could be doing my reports or researching for next month’s newsletter… but I filed my taxes today, so I am feeling productive enough!

I leave tomorrow, back to NYC where I hear there is nothing but rain on the weather menu!  Oh, and I watched The Fighter last night… it was good but the site of Marky Mark will forever instill the phrase “Nicole 4 eva” etched on his chest, in my brain and aside from Christian Bale, I don’t get that it’s Oscar-worthy.  Unlike my beloved Black Swan.  Which, I’ve only seen four times now and my dear uncle does the best impression of when she’s going to go psycho!  Hey, did you know that you can buy the soundtrack on iTunes for $9.99!  Perhaps it will get busted out at S.A.S.H.H.D… (hint hint).

Oh wait… what is this I hear?  “grey goose and soda with lemon, ma’am”.  Ciao!

Shalom! March 27th, 2011

Posted: August 6, 2013 in Past Trips

Headed toward Jaffa along Tel Aviv beach


So… I’m here in Tel Aviv, having lunch at what is said to be the city’s ‘finest’ restaurant.  So far, so good!  After lunch (and champagne) I’m headed up to Jaffa.  I thought I was headed there this morning, but you know me and directional challenges… (some of you better than others!) and I went the wrong way.  It was when I passed a power supply plant and local airport that I realized maybe it was not south I was headed.  Oh well.  Then I found the wine store.  So all’s well that ends well.


The flight was good!  I actually slept (thank you xanax) for like 4 or 5 hours, but I was tired so I stayed in with shabbat room service last night.  It was fabulous though, I slept hard and was up and bright-eyed at 7:00am!  So my little jaunt north this morning was early enough for me to be passing Rafael (notable Tel Aviv restaurant at the Dan Hotel) just in prime time for lunch!  Afterward I will self-site the Dan and then head up the beachfront to Jaffa.


It’s beautiful here, on the beach.  City is not so architecturally appealing, but the beaches are WOW.  Everyone speaks English and are super kind about it.  There is this fabulous little walkway all along the north port to Jaffa.  People are out and it’s quite pretty, really warm (although the new local friends tell me Israelis do not believe it is warm unless it is 30 degrees celsius!) and I could easily be out on the beach at the Mediterranean Sea in my cosi.  Instead I opt for fish and chips (huh?) at this fancy restaurant and will soon manage my way down to Jaffa.


The streets of Tel Aviv, described by several as their "Fifth Avenue"

The streets of Tel Aviv, described by several as their “Fifth Avenue”


I don’t see what the fuss is about, in terms of anyone being ‘nervous’ or talking a lot about terrorism or the multiple crisis going on nearby.  I feel ridiculously safe.  I did notice that they play a different CNN (different programming) than we do, and you don’t hear much (if anything) on the ‘Arab Spring Uprising’.  Also interesting is the Fox News.  Gack.  Seems English SkyNews and French News 24 are the only ones reporting on mideast chaos and US naval launch of tomahawks, repeatedly.  We’ll see how it is in Jerusalem tomorrow.  But if it’s any comfort, my new wine store friend, Oded, told me, “eh, you’ll be safe no problem with your blonde hair”, if I go to Bethlehem.


Anyway, love to all… just wanted to ‘check-in’.  And who’s better than me, the bartender just topped off my Sancerre and brought me a little chocolate…


The picture below is the view from my balcony… xoxo


View of Tel Aviv Harbour

View of Tel Aviv Harbour



My favorite brown pelican

My favorite brown pelican


I remember, vaguely, doing a book report of some sort, in grammar school, about the gregarious pelican.  I’m in Nevis now, a small island in the West Indies, nearby St. Kitts.  I’ve been stuffed inside working the last two days, so given today is Friday, and generally not as busy (touch wood!), I decided to get to the beach early and see how long I can make it last.


I’ve been mesmerized for hours, watching these pelicans, one in particular, perched on the rock bank straight ahead of me.  What a cool character.  Scanning the ocean around him, then swiftly gliding just above the surface of the ocean… then the hunt from high up above.  He covers quite the wide range and then the dramatic vertical plumage to go in for his kill.  It’s rather interesting to watch, and oddly, somewhat peaceful.


The wildlife on this island, or at least here at the Four Seasons is remarkable.  Yesterday as I wrote the newsletter from my terrace, an orangutan was cruising around the grass and jumping in the trees just ahead of me.  A Great White Egret was frolicking in the fauna.


The Caribbean is gorgeous.  Crystal clear and warm.  The sand here is a bit dark, so there is not quite the illumination of Cayman.  But swimming in it is crystal clear, especially with the current, buoyancy and views of the seabirds.  Will spend as much time in the ocean (yes, me!) over the next two days, as a close friend and client reminded me yesterday:


“Go swim.  You’re fortunate enough to be in the Caribbean.  Most people will never have that opportunity.  Your clients won’t miss you if you disappear for just 45 mins.  You can’t ignore these opportunities – they may not come back again.”


True that!  And thanks for the overlooked perspective.  I had a productive week already plus penned an exclusive with Four Seasons Nevis for LMC Direct clients.  So I will enjoy the cold minty towel and cucumber infused water that Orun keeps bringing around while he hums.  In between swims.  And now isolated regressions back to my villa to book the trips that are building up.


Sunset on Nevis

Sunset on Nevis


The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet

The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet


Three days later and it feels like I’ve lived two weeks.  Granted, I tend to pack a lot in, but wow.  Istanbul is just full of wow.


Friday, I went to the ‘old city’ and Sultanahmet.  It had its share of flimflam… which was kind of a disappointment.  BUT the Four Seasons boy met me over there and I did get to see it, so I shalt not complain.  But there were tsk tsks at me (which surprisingly happened no where else) and guys trying to get me to ‘tour’ or ‘take a picture of’, etc.  Oh, and I did find the Galatasaray Store.  They were so sweet and confused at this blonde’s enthusiasm for authentic gear.  😉  Needless to say, despite the blue beautiful mosque, I didn’t really need to spend much time in the old city.  Yet, I was kind of stranded there.  Istanbul traffic is definitely a bit of an issue.  Seriously.  The ONLY downfall I can pin on this otherwise fabulous city!


I have noticed that the Turkish, or at least the Istanbulese (?) are really into playing American pop, rock: old, new… you name it, but it’s all covers of songs you’ve heard before.  It’s everywhere.  In the $2000 a night Les Ottomans, at Otto in Pera, or at the cafe street side in the ‘Chanel’ shopping area.  Strange.


Equally interesting is the amount of stray cats I’ve seen.  Not many dogs (none stray), but a bunch of cats everywhere I look.  Kind of bizarre.  Makes me think of Cleopatrian times and Egypt or something.  As I was in traffic trying to get out of old city on a Friday night, it started pouring rain.  Where did those stray cats along the road go?


Yesterday I got my first ever hammam.  Wow.  I can’t imagine a man having one!  I was afraid MY nipples might be hard (they weren’t) but jeez, what an incredible experience.  If I ever get rich, I will have a daily hammam person.  She even offered to shampoo my hair, which I declined because it wasn’t Aveda.  And, it seemed a bit much.  She was already boob to boob with me (hers barely covered, me… well, um, naked) when she wrapped the towel around me!  But then came the body scrub… followed by massage.  These Turks are amazing.  In every way.  I was a little outside my comfort zone at first but realize it’s just their way and it was totally legit.  Leave your modesty at home!


Last night, I wandered out the opposite direction from my hotel than I usually go for taxi or to Istiklal Cd… and found a hidden cobblestoned vibrant and fabulous little area!  Very ‘left bank Paris’.  I’m amazed at this place, even more today than I was three days ago.  I WILL be back to Istanbul and highly recommend it.  After dinner, while the Four Seasons guy was texting me, “where are you Liz” and “can I see you before you go Liz”, I wanted to go finally get the rest of my Turkish treats to bring back.  I already knew my spot on Istiklal Cd in Beyoglu.  The place was a zoo.  Think Las Ramblas (but not quite that hellish) in Barcelona.  I turned around and went home to my cozy Pera Palace with the uncomfortable bed and €16,50 movies like Footloose, the one with Kevin Bacon.


I couldn’t sleep this morning, so I got up early in anticipation of the pack job ahead.  My sneakers did not make the cut, but I run daily now so it was time for new anyway.  On my jog, I decided I would go back, pick up the rest of the treats, pack and head across the Bosphorus to the Asian side (it’s a lovely day), to a Design Hotel, Sumahan, and have brunch in Asia before heading back to the airport, which is across the Golden Horn.  Traffic yesterday didn’t seem so terrible so I figured Sunday would be no problem.  My favorite concierge told me that idea was a no-go.  Bummer!  So I decided to head to Levent for lunch at Ian Schrager’s new Edition Hotel.  Figured it must be pretty happening here.  NOT!  It’s very weirdly placed on a busy street, and empty!  I can’t imagine staying here!  I assumed there would be some cool rooftop place to have my last meal in Turkey, but here I sit at freaking Cipriani, of all places!  Oh how I hate ‘chains’.  Great tuna salad… but really?  And of course, traffic getting here was rather… uh-hem, congested.


So now it is time to head back to pick up my luggage, then over to the airport to shop duty free for as much Turkish wine as they’ll allow me, and pray they let me through security with all nine of my hand picked boxes of Turkish Delight, Turkish Baklava and fresh ground Turkish coffee (yes Jacs, I dialed you in).  This is not even counting the boxes of pomegranate tea and halva I squeezed into my check-in luggage.  Wish me luck!


Istanbul, with it’s perennial American song covers in the background (currently, some Hawaiian sounding version of “somewhere over the rainbow”), is so inviting and exciting, and diverse!  There is so much here!  I’ve just discovered a whole other world that is so up to date, safe, and AS good, not necessarily saying is, better than Paris… now how am I going to solve their traffic problems and learn to speak Turkish?!


I am looking forward to my flight tonight!  Turkish was THAT good.

Poor mangy cat

Poor mangy cat