A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: jefvincent

...and end of the blog

semi-overcast 24 °C

One week back in Nairobi, where the rainy season has started and the election campaign is in full swing.
Everything is unpacked, washed and dried. The jetlag has faded out. I converted the blog into 2 books (1900 pictures, 550 pages altogether, it was a big tour after all). Bills have been paid.
I resume work tomorrow as project manager for a renewable energy project for SubSaharan Africa, and a couple of other things - I'm suddenly more popular than I thought. Thanks for following me till the end, and let's stay in touch!

Jef

Posted by jefvincent 07:26 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Farewell to New York, end of the Tour

overcast 26 °C

The last hours in New York were uneventful. We walked a bit more in Brooklyn, did some shopping, had an intimate farewell party in the apartment with lots of IPA, cleaned the apartment, packed, mailed, skyped, organized pictures. The return flight, over London, was long and –fortunately- equally uneventful. I’m writing this last official blog entry from my desk in Nairobi, in the middle of the night because of the jetlag. Happy to be back, sad to be back, happy that I wrote this blog because a lot would already have been forgotten, starting to focus on my professional future.
Over the next weeks I will convert this blog into a thick book (maybe 2), where at last the pictures will be besides the corresponding text. It will be sold out very quickly, since I plan only 3 hard copies. If anybody is interested to acquire an additional copy let me know. Otherwise I can make the PDF version available at no cost.

Thanks for reading till the end, and let’s move on. The best has yet to come.

persiste et signe,
Jef

Posted by jefvincent 08:24 Archived in Kenya Comments (1)

Guggenheim

rain 9 °C

The last expedition to cold, rainy and windy Manhattan targeted the Guggenheim museum. Not difficult to find, in our previous attempt to visit it we had found out that the place closes on Thursday and I had been there before. The first time , long time ag o,the building was under renovation, the second time only a limited part was open and the temporary exhibition did not meet my taste. This time it was bingo.
The building itself is unique. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. From the outside it looks like an inverted cone with a rectangular block attached to it. Probably because of the rain and cold and wind I forgot to take a picture, but there is plenty on internet, you will do with that. On the inside it is pure perfection. The only other time that I was blown away by a modern building was in Los Angeles, at the Getty museum. In both cases one is surprised and taken away from each angle. The gallery is a long spiral from the reception area to the top, with openings to the side galleries in the block. As Shin pointed out, the design makes that the public itself, that we see as dark silhouettes against a white background, seems to be part of the design. It is hard to explain, but I think that the pictures will be self explanatory.

And then the collection itself was fabulous. Guggenheim specializes in modern mostly European art and this time most of the exhibition showed pieces from the first half of the 20th century, adding Picasso’s to Modigliani, Kandinsky and so many more. There was a separate section devoted to Brancusi and that was unbelievable. I can’t add much more but: very happy that we made it and didn’t take another boat cruise. We ended the day with an hour at the Natural History Museum on the other side of Central Park. That was a mistake.

As we took the train back to Brooklyn where we had Mexican dinner for the first time (also big mistake that we didn’t have it earlier), we tried to look back at our New York experience. On one hand the city itself seems relatively unchanged. Where once it was a sparkling symbol of modernity, today it looks quite dated and even antiquated. Just like Bruges froze in the late Middle Ages, New York seems doomed to remain as it is forever, replacing a tower from time to time but keeping the same 20th century feel, with the Central Park and the old towers surrounding it, the brownhouses downtown, the very old subway… Meanwhile the creative push (and the money) for modern cities comes from Asia and the Middle East. For culture however New York has no match.

Posted by jefvincent 08:20 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Blue Note

overcast 10 °C

For a small portion of humanity the Blue Note is an icon, a temple and a distant dream. Each time that I come to New York I try to attend a concert – and usually I succeed. I never regretted the time or effort or money. The Blue Note is a narrow building downtown Manhattan, remarkable from the outside because the awning has the form of a piano. Rather narrow, it is deep and it can host a surprisingly vast audience. This evening a big band paid a tribute to Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald and I dare to say that it was a wonderful performance. Which I cannot describe. Poor you.

Posted by jefvincent 02:05 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Liberty and Ellis Islands

overcast 10 °C

It’s somehow a must-do for every visitor: visit the Liberty statue and Ellis Island. The trip was part of our New York Pass and after 30 years of visits to the big apple I dragged my feet to the ferry. The statue is a statue and from nearby it looks exactly as what everybody has seen in books, on television and through any imaginable medium from all angles. So yes we have visited the statue and it’s tall. But you knew that. The most interesting was the view we got from the boat on Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn bridge and New Jersey.
Ellis island is the place where 12 million immigrants arrived in the States.The museum gave a reasonably lively idea of the immigration history and the onboarding process, and once I had visited all the rooms I realized that this was exactly the way I got processed when I went for my military service: registration, medical examination, psychological examination, interview, stamp, good to go.
It was cold and windy and we had to wait a long time for the ferry. The next day Shin stated that this was the most overrated event of our whole journey. I tend to agree.

Posted by jefvincent 02:04 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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