When visiting New York City, we have a few regular pit-stops. One is Ess-a Bagel, a long-time haunt of my family that serves hefty, chewy, delicious bagels and sandwiches. Conveniently enough, the India Visa office is located around the corner from Ess-a Bagel’s 3rd Ave location, so it was very easy to pass the hour wait for our appointment with bagel sandwiches. We also fought jet lag with a “regular” sized black coffee that I could swim in.
Usually we get to squeeze in one visit to Ess-a Bagel, or two if we’re lucky. This time we had a week-long stay, so we had three times to make our way through the list of bagels with a variety of family members. For the record, my favorite sandwich is a whole wheat everything bagel with either egg or tuna salad depending on the time of day. Their cream cheese is also delicious, especially on a pumpernickel or sesame bagel. Yum!
Tuna salad on a whole wheat everything, washed down with lots of coffee
Everything bagel from their extensive “egg” menu – requires big bites!
831 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Seen in Chinatown, New York City:
I don’t know about you, but I’m not planning on getting a haircut there anytime soon. I’ll stick to my $3 Chiang Mai stylist, who may not speak any English but hasn’t made a mess of things so far.
It’s been four and a half months since we last saw our nephew. In that time he’s gotten even more cute and expressive, and it looks like the blue eyes might be here to stay. He also drools a lot more. See for yourself:
Jadon was a little worn out by the time the wedding was about to begin, but he still looked dapper in his little tuxedo
Drooling all over Chinatown
This weekend my little sister pulled out all the stops for her wedding festivities on Long Island. For the main event, Lauren got to wear the dress we had made in Thailand, and courtesy of family courier services, my tuxedo and accouterments met me in New York. We had a great time, and I can’t believe it’s over already. As I write this, Ilene and Erik are en route to New Zealand for their honeymoon and Lauren and I get to babysit their apartment for the remaining few days of our stay in NY.
Congratulations Ilene and Erik!
Pre-wedding hair and makeup (and mimosas) in the bridal suite
Lauren in her Indian-Thai dress, me escorting Grandma Rosie down the aisle
The maid of honor, my sister Laura, is so beautiful that she needed two best men as an escort
The happy couple
This morning we took a leisurely walk from Tribeca to Cousin David’s office in SoHo. We took care of a few errands along the way, and I was already getting a little munchy, though it was barely 11AM. As luck would have it, the next block we stumbled upon a taco truck setting up for the lunch run. I’m always a sucker for mobile food preparation, and the menu looked good, so we queued up in the line that was already starting to form.
I found out later that we had stumbled upon one of the more famous street vendors in NYC. At the time though, all I knew was that Calexico Cart dispensed delicious carne asada and black bean tacos. The hearty portion of steak was well-marinated, tender and juicy. The black bean taco was also addictively flavorful, assisted by their chipotle “crack” sauce and avocado crema.
Since we were meeting Cousin David for lunch, we held back from trying the burritos, but it wasn’t easy (they looked amazing).
Hard at work in the little truck kitchen
I love taco trucks
Close-up of black bean and carne asada taco deliciousness
Mobile Location in SoHo
New York, NY
Courtesy of the New York Travisa office, we are now the proud holders of 10 year India visas. It was a remarkably easy process, and many thanks to the Travisa security guard, who when we asked “is it going to take longer or complicate our applications if we check the 10 year box instead of the 6 month box” told us that either way our application would be approved and ready by the next day. No more red tape between us and the Taj Mahal.
We have only 10 days left in Thailand. I know it will be extremely difficult to leave. On the one hand, I do feel a bit ready to move on from our small town. It is lovely, but after three months I certainly feel like I’ve seen what it has to offer. On the other hand, it will be very hard to leave my volunteer assignment. Not that I didn’t accomplish my goals – on the contrary, the staff and I have accomplished a lot more than we expected. I just know that I will miss them horribly and I want to continue helping them work for democracy in Burma. The separation will also be a poignant reminder that while I’ve been here helping them voluntarily, this cause is their life and they can’t just leave. In fact, they can’t really go anywhere.
Here is our plan for the next six weeks. As usual, it’s ridiculous and it involves a lot of flights:
- Thailand: We have one more week volunteering in Mae Hong Son, then we head to New York (via Chiang Mai, Taipei, and San Francisco).
- New York: We’ll be in New York for about a week for Kenny’s sister’s wedding. We have a bunch of errands to run — AJWS post-mortem at their office, get new India visas, get yellow fever shots for Uganda, etc. — but we’ll also get to spend time with family and friends while we’re there. My parents are also coming to the wedding. I’m excited to see my Dad again so soon, and I’ve promised to take my Mom on the Jewish tour of New York (Lower East Side, Brooklyn, etc.).
- Boston: We will have four days in Boston to visit our dear friends Julie and Damian, and their newest addition, Sophie. A few friends from Seattle will be joining us.
- London: On our way to India for Sean and Archana’s wedding, we arranged for a four-day "layover" in London. Kenny has never been to Stonehenge, so we will probably try to squeeze that in too. It will be a weird, very first-world tourist experience in the middle of this year of Global South adventures, but hopefully New York and Boston will help with the transition. I expect that we’ll spend more money during four days in London than we typically spend in four weeks here in Thailand.
- Delhi: Delhi always seems to be our gateway to India. Gio is meeting us, and we’ll spend a couple of days showing him the sights (and we need to take him for a celebratory meal at Indian Accent). Then we plan to make a day trip to Agra, since we promised ourselves we’d see the Taj Mahal this time. It’s going to be HOT, but I suppose it can’t be much worse than April in Northern Thailand…
- Bangalore: The main event for us in India is Sean and Archana’s wedding in Bangalore, which promises to be an all-out traditional Tam-Bram affair. After the wedding, we’re all heading to a Jungle Retreat in the Nilgiris for a few days.
- Kampala: On June 11, we’ll fly from Bangalore to Dubai to Addis Ababa to Entebbe, in order to start our next volunteer assignment, which is a technology for agriculture project, based in Kampala.