19 June 2008

Visiting New York

Tracing the Tribe has been quiet for a few days as I was traveling from Tel Aviv to New York for my very busy summer of conferences and family.

My favorite European stopover is Zurich and I usually plan a few hours there so I can take the train into town, walk or tram down the Bahnhofstrasse - with its great shopping opportunities - to the lake and take a two-hour cruise to decompress. This is best done on a glorious sunny summer day.

Unfortunately, Zurich was wet and chilly - my raincoat and umbrella were in the checked baggage. On top of that, the flight to New York was delayed for three hours.

Travelers' hint: Zurich airport has dayrooms, which can be rented for segments of six hours or more. These single, double or triple rooms - with comfortable beds, duvets, showers, wake-up calls - are exceptionally clean, and the prices very affordable. I had a much needed rest as I'd been awake for nearly two days prior to flying out.

Eventually, however, I made it to JFK and our cousins picked me up. The plan was for one day in Great Neck and then into the city to see our daughter and my sister and her family. The Persian social whirl had different plans, which meant a bridal shower on Wednesday night.

Since I would be missing the wedding due to a conference, I was happy to attend this event. It was great fun to join in the festivities - including a Persian henna ceremony and other traditions - and see many relatives at a great party that went from about 4-11pm.

There are few family elders left, so it was good to see khaleh-jan (maternal aunt in Farsi) Mohtaram - the bride's grandmother - participating in the dancing at her advanced age!

Today, I'll head into the city for a few days and then to Washington, DC for my first conference, the American Jewish Press Association. From here on, my schedule sounds something like one of those rush tours throughout Europe (if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium ... or Los Angeles ... or Houston ... or Chicago - you get the picture).

I'm hoping to get several posts up today and tomorrow.

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