January 17, 2009
When we saw the first state trooper on the side of the railroad tracks, we thought it was a little strange. Shortly after that, we saw a second one and started to think about it. By the time we saw the third state trooper, the pieces fell in place.
“Maybe it’s for Obama’s train.” I said.
Right on cue, a short Amtrak train ambled past, patriotic valances draped over the end of the caboose. Allen and I whooped.
Moments later, we passed the Wilmington train station, where a small crowd was filing over a pedestrian bridge, leaving Obama’s whistle stop where he’d picked up Biden. We had only been a few minutes behind seeing both families.
We were on the road to Philadelphia, not to follow Lincoln’s journey to Washington like Obama, but to pick up Steven and Brandi from the airport there, so that they too could join the inaugural festivities in DC. Passing Obama’s train was a fitting start to the long weekend.
A few hours after our celebrity train sighting, we huddled outside in the freezing Philadelphia air theorizing about the weekend – the crowds, crush conditions in the Metro, how we’d dress ourselves to be better prepared for the weather – and waiting in line to tour Independence Hall. After only about half an hour in line, we all had plans about exactly how many layers of clothing we were going to need to put on for the concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.
The tour of Independence Hall was interesting, with 85% of the original structure still intact and the opportunity to go upstairs, which apparently isn’t always available. After the tour we crossed the street to the Liberty Bell. At each security checkpoint, we had to open our coats, and Steven fumbled with his buttons. (“Move to the side, sir!”)
I hadn’t been to Philadelphia since I was about 7 and my dad was stationed there. So while I know I’d been to the Liberty Bell as a child, it was still all new to me. I was fascinated to learn that the name Liberty Bell actually came from abolitionists, who held it up as a symbol for their cause. I took a picture of Allen “knocking” on the bell.
After the Liberty Bell, we bid adieu to Philadelphia and started our drive home. Once we were on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, we decided to do an informal survey of inaugural visitors by spotting license plates from all over the country. We saw at least 25 different states represented in that last hour of our drive!
For dinner, we went to Mei’s Asian Bistro, which was nearly empty, and enjoyed the calm before the storm of Inauguration.
June 8, 2008
A few weeks ago, my mom asked if we were counting the days. But we were still on weeks. But now that June is here, we are counting the days, and there are 22 more days to our stay in France. How did that happen?
We have 22 days, and I have 11 classes left on my yoga studio “subscription.” In the next 22 days, we’ll play parents for a weekend, Allen will visit England, we will visit Allen’s French family in the north, and I’m really hoping to buy a new pair of jeans or two. We have 22 days and 13 unfinished City Walks, 1 scheduled haircut (mine), and 4 suitcases to pack. In 22 days, we expect to have 0 visitors! (Elizabeth has just left – our first and last and most frequent visitor for the year.)
In the next 22 days, I expect some panic. But for now, I’m going to bed.
April 24, 2008
Five years and some months ago, I applied for a job with an educational research firm in the District of Columbia, hoping to put my linguistics minor to use. One of the questions from my interview was: Where do you see yourself in five years?
This might be a question I need to revisit, just for fun. Or for direction. But right now I’d just like to say that I never thought that the answer to that question would be: In Paris, with three of my coworkers from that job. Regina, Cate, and Sarah arrived on Monday, and that very night we went out to the Italian place (where else?). I remember a lot of chatter, topped off with tiramisu and panna cotta.
Tuesday (April 15) started well too, with some City Walking around the Marais. I left Regina and Cate to it while I went to tutoring (and Sarah was meeting with a French girl who took her to the Grande Epicerie at the Bon Marche). Then we all met at the funicular at Sacre Coeur at 8 pm. Allen and I walked up to their small group, passing tourist after tourist trapped by Africans with friendship bracelets. Yet our friends remained unmolested. Sarah explained: one of the Africans had come up to her, and she told him, “I already did it.” That is the most awesome thing I’d ever heard. (It reminds me of Monty Python’s search for the Holy Grail: “We’ve already got one!”) The guy challenged her, asking what it was. She responded nonchalantly, “You make a bracelet.” Snap!
We wandered down towards the Moulin Rouge, glad we were passing the seedier side of town while it was still light. (Hallelujah for it still being light at eight pm!) Then we went to dinner at Chez Toinette, where I had a lovely rack of lamb and our equally lovely guests treated us to our meal. (Sarah, Regina, Cate, you are as lovely as a rack of lamb.)
And that is just about when my week came to a screeching halt. I felt a little tickle in my throat and figured it was the wine. Then I tossed and turned all night with a fever. The next morning I rose early and went to babysit Noah. I told the parents how sorry I was that I had a fever and that I could leave if they wanted, but that I’d only developed it overnight and couldn’t let them know in advance. That was okay; Noah had a fever too. (Note: I do not believe it is a coincidence that Noah and I both got a fever the same night. I’d babysat him the Thursday and Friday previous.) Noah and I spent the morning on the couch starting blandly at Blue’s Clues. He was burning, and I was freezing. Then we both took a nap. My throat was killing me, but I had no white spots to betray strep. Finally, I went home, cancelled my babysitting/tutoring with Rafaela for later that day, and passed out with my fever.
That night, Regina and Cate came over and watched some TV with us. I stayed on the bed in a heap. (Sarah had gone to Luxembourg and Germany for the weekend.) The fever persisted, and I had another sleepless night. In the morning, the white spots had developed. The strep had announced itself.
April 13, 2008
On the last day of my brother’s visit – Sunday, March 23 – he and his friends had hit all the major attractions, so we turned to City Walks for entertainment. They narrowed the choices to two, and we decided we could do both. Then, in my usual overachieving spirit, I shuffled through the box and found another walk that was “on the way” (though really it was about a twenty-block round-trip detour). I took a quick poll: how far did we want to walk that day? Dave and Alan immediately voted for “around ten miles.” We were off.
But before we really took off, we needed fuel. Alan, Dave, and Megan hadn’t yet tried Berthillon ice cream. We swung by and came away with a quarter of the flavors Berthillon offers. Though I was disappointed (frankly, dismayed) that they did not have my beloved pear sorbet on the menu (or a new crush, turron ice cream), I was nonetheless pleased with my choices of praline aux pignons (pecan ice cream with pine nuts) and caramel gingembre (caramel ginger). Megan tasted an interesting raspberry sorbet made with rose water. Allen played it safe with classics coffee and raspberry. Dave and Alan were the bravest. Alan opted for caramel au beurre sale along with marrons glaces au rhum (candied chesnuts and rum). Dave chose agenaise, a mix of prunes and armagnac liquor, both specialities of the Agenaise region. When the French put alcohol in something you can taste it, as Alan and Dave learned.
With ice cream for lunch, we were fueled and ready to go. We set off on foot towards Palais Royal, my little detour. First we threaded our way through Galerie Vivienne, but since it was a Sunday the shops were all closed. Still, it was quiet and picturesque.
From Gallerie Vivienne, we found some back entrance to Palais Royal, which I never would have suspected without explicit City Walk directions. We paused for a quick photoshoot, in which Alan, Megan, and Dave took pictures of each other jumping. I think this is an ultimate thing. The trick, according to Dave, is to kick your legs up into the air so that it looks like you got maximum air. Allen and I declined to try it.
Exiting Palais Royal, we followed Rue de Rivoli down to Place de la Concorde and took a right on Rue Royale towards La Madeleine. It was time for macarons. (Of course we were going to Laduree!) We ordered a box of 15, each with three flavors to munch on, and then an amazing thing happened – we did not eat them immediately that very minute. Then I exercised severe restraint to not bring them up because Dave was on to me not being a very patient person when it comes to eating anything within reach immediately this very minute. (Oh look! A gaufre au miel! Nom nom nom nom…) But we soon reached the square Louis XVI, where some other wise person suggested eating our macarons. Hallelujah! Afterwards, Megan stomped on the box. It seemed like the right thing to do, she said. As long as there were no macarons in it, I was happy to let the box go to whatever fate awaited it, even stomping. Then, because we hadn’t done enough walking yet, we headed back to the metro and Bois de Boulogne.
From the metro La Muette, reaching Bois de Boulogne took at least twenty minutes. It involved a stop at one of the free toilet contraptions. Allen and I did not use it, but our touristing friends were more brave. Then onward! When we finally reached Bois de Boulogne, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. I was thinking there would be more bois, like in Bois de Vincennes. But I suspect we were only at the periphery, so it didn’t exactly look like a nature walk. We did a circuit of the two lakes – the smaller Lac Superieur and the larger Lac Inferieur. (Who names these things?) The Lac Inferieur had a charming island with a little gazebo on one end. You can take a rowboat or ferry from the shore to the island and eat at a little restaurant there. But it was cold, and we’d been walking a long time, so we sat at a little snack bar instead with all the dogs, and we munched on warm French fries.
On the way back around the lake, we resisted Alan and Dave’s pleas to stop and throw a disk. Fortunately Megan was on our side, or Allen and I would have been revealed (like it’s a secret) for the lazy people that we are. We returned to the metro and went to dinner at our favorite Italian place, L’Epicerie Fuxia. (And to think that Alan and guests almost didn’t make it to the restaurant where we take all our guests, just so we can have an excuse to go there more often!) Once we’d filled our rumbling tummies with hot fresh Italian food (and some tiramisu and caramel panna cotta to boot), we returned to Ile Saint Louis, where we sent a contingent back to Berthillon. (Actually, we’d been debating our Berthillon purchase for hours, finally choosing a half liter of cherry sorbet and a half liter of caramel au beurre sale. And because I was panicked from not having seen pear on the a la carte scoop menu, I had to ask for and buy a half liter of pear sorbet as well. Then we sat in the apartment watching Flight of the Conchords and eating Berthillon to the point of sickness. Let no one say we don’t know how to treat our guests, particularly on their last night in Paris.
April 12, 2008
Allen always has a laugh when I go shopping with friends, particularly Catherine S., because when we come back from our shopping excursion I’ve got several bags in hand, and my shopping partner has a smaller bag from Bath & Body Works or something.
Shopping with Alan, Megan, and Dave on Saturday, March 22 was no exception. I force-marched them down Boulevard Saint-Germain to Mabillon, where we ducked into the Marche Saint-Germain. I found a long t-shirt at Mexx for 50% off and snapped it up. I decided I’d return there when I had some euros to burn (which seems now that it won’t be soon as my job situation is changing a little). Nobody else had much luck at the Marche Saint-Germain though, so we weren’t there long before we trudged on towards Rue de Rennes.
At Texto on Rue de Rennes, Megan didn’t find shoes as she hoped, but she did pick up some leggings. I, on the other hand, had more luck (again). I found a pair of dorky might-be-cute or might-be-ugly pair that I decided were quite stylish. They were 40 euros, so I debated if I wanted to spend $60 on them because I was using my American credit card this day. I gave in, thinking I’d slow my shopping the rest of the day if I got them. But when I got up to the front of the store, he rang them up as 20 euros and then gave me 20% off. So the shoes were just 16 euros, or $24. Totally worth it!
Alan saw a couple of pairs of shoes he liked in Etam, but they didn’t have his size in brown for either of them. Everyone’s strength was waning as it was past lunch time, but Megan and I stopped in Promod for a minute (where I found a graphic-print dress) before we all headed to Place du 18 Juin to find a bench and eat lunch. I bought a crepe as big as my head, with half a jar of Nutella and an entire banana in it. The crepe unfortunately got the better of me as I neared the end, and I ended up blowing snot out of my nose because I was laughing and trying to swallow a huge mouthful at the same time. Huge disaster. (Thank you for sharing, as we’d say at school.) Fortunately, my brother was holding a napkin, and there was more shopping to distract us from my nasal overload.
The guys hadn’t had as much opportunity to shop, so we went to Celio next. I think Dave came out empty-handed, but after trying on a lot of argyle sweaters, Alan ended up with a striped sweater and a red t-shirt (both deemed cool enough to wear under his suit jacket, since he’d forgotten to bring a regular coat). Megan later found a pair of flats at our last stop before she and the guys headed back to the apartment for a nap and preparation to go to the Moulin Rouge that night. I, on the other hand, had to babysit in a couple of hours, so I stayed at Montparnasse to shop a little more, but I didn’t end up making any other purchases.
April 11, 2008
All week I have been neglecting my brother. Well, not really neglecting him, since he does have an entourage. But kind of neglecting him. Alan, Megan, and Dave bought four-day museum passes. Having just run riot through Paris museums, and because there were three of them on this adventure, I didn’t make an effort to jump in as tour guide. (I did give them a Paris scavenger hunt to keep them sharp though!) Through some bad timing (mostly my own) on Tuesday, March 18, I only had a quick rendez-vous with them in the gardens of the Musee Rodin (unfortunately missing their journey through the sewers of Paris, as I ate lunch with Mimi instead). Then Wednesday, I couldn’t accompany them to Versailles because of work in the morning and afternoon. And Thursday, I tried to go to Saint Chapelle with them, but it and the Conciergerie were both closed because of either a strike or Easter preparations or a strike about Easter preparations. So I had breakfast with them and then stood in line at Notre Dame with them for about an hour in the freezing wind. (Did I mention that my brother forgot his jacket? He wore his suit jacket all week.)
So now it’s Friday, March 21, and I’m continuing to neglect him. But today it’s okay because he presented Megan with the big surprise: a proper follow-the-clues scavenger hunt throughout Paris. A series of about ten clues brought them around town with designated restaurants for lunch and dinner. (Lunch at Le Polidor turned out fabulously, while dinner at Cafe la Poste was a little stickier. The owners were having a private party but let Alan and Megan eat anyway – in a standing room only reception situation, where they were the only two sitting and being served dinner.) But they followed all the clues with minimal cheating, exploring the Latin Quarter and Montmartre.
Meanwhile, Allen and I sat around tapping our feet for a bit before we had the brilliant idea of going out to dinner ourselves. And since it was Good Friday, we needed the meatiest place possible for two lost carnivorous souls – L’Ecurie. L’Ecurie has a 17 euro dinner menu – in case you misunderstand me, that’s a 17 euro three course dinner menu. Unheard of. But as if that weren’t enough, the server also brings free sangria with the menus and free cognac with the bill. We each had a tomato salad (whole sliced tomato, typical French salad dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and mustard), a bavette (flank steak) with frites, and creme caramel. We added a demi-pichet of sangria, thinking it would provide us about one more cup each, but it was two to three more cups each, and we were pleased. Everything was simple and satisfying, and Allen managed not to bump his head on the way out.
Then on the way home, we walked past some foreigners (perhaps German), speaking in accented English.
“You don’t say, “Do you have a lighter, OR?” The first one said, angrily, inhaling on his cigarette. His two minions laughed and repeated the phrase in mockery.
The first guy, pushed on by their laughter, suggested an alternative, ”Do you have a lighter or WHAT?” One of his friends said vehemently, ”Or DON’Tchu?”
“Yeah! Do you have a lighter or DON’Tchu?” The guys agreed that this was the best way to ask for a light. I couldn’t stop laughing almost all the way home. I almost wish that I smoked so I could have a reason to voice this moronic phrase.
But I’ll just say it anyway, in completely inappropriate contexts, and laugh and laugh. Do you have a problem with that or DON’Tchu?
April 10, 2008
On our day off between visitors, Allen and I fit in some babysitting at Mimi and Jack’s, so we were ready to sleep in on Sunday, March 16. But we had more visitors coming! My brother Alan, his girlfriend Megan, and some guy named Dave would be in Paris from March 16 to 24. (A note: Dave, if you are reading this, we no longer refer to you as “some guy named Dave” but at first we were kind of like, “Um, who’s Dave?”) Right on time – that is, at the crack of dawn or near enough – they arrived at our apartment loaded with backpacks and suitcases. Alan had forgotten his jacket. They were all tired.
But tired? Tired is a surrender. So they all said, “Screw, tired!” They were going hashing. Now, someone will correct me, but my understanding of hashing is this. One person is the rabbit, and they run, run, run, creating false trails on the way to confuse the pack. The rest of the people (a large group) runs after the rabbit, trying to follow the trail and determine which is the real trail and ultimately catch the rabbit or get to the finish. And before, after, and in between, there is much drinking.
So shortly after our visitors’ arrival, they went off to get the keys to Dave’s apartment, cat nap, and then go find a bunny. (And also drink.) We crawled back into bed.
That afternoon, we met Antoine and Typhaine at the Musee Carnavalet. It took us quite a while to find the exhibit we’d come to see – paintings of Paris by Pelletier – but in the meantime, we took in the amazing collection of ensignes, or signs, that used to hang out over various shops of Paris. There was one from the Tour d’Argent and another with a black cat on a crescent moon. We finally found Pelletier and took in his paintings. Then we managed to squeeze into the Art Nouveau jewelry shop (covered in green peacocks and little fish and lilypads) before we got kicked out so the museum could close.
We stopped at a nearby tapas bar, but it was chilly, so we opted for coffees and hot chocolates (rather than sangria, which I daresay might have warmed us just as well). We had a short chat – trying, for instance, to explain hash to them, to which Antoine said, “We have games like that too. But they just involve drinking.” Then we told them we’d better head back to the apartment to see if Alan and company had returned from hashing yet.
Because my parents’ hotel reservation went through Monday morning (due to Marriott time share requirements), we left Alan and Megan in the apartment Sunday night, and we stayed in the Marriott Champs-Elysees. It was fancy enough, but we were mostly pleased to be sleeping in a really comfortable bed again. Our bed in Paris is a six-inch thick pallet mattress, such as you’d find at Ikea, perhaps. The loft below it creaks loudly when you turn over (which is a treat for guests sleeping below on an air mattress). Sometimes it bumps into the wall when you barely think you’ve moved. And don’t even think about drinking any water before bedtime, or you’ll have to climb down in the middle of the night. So yes, we appreciated the Marriott Champs-Elysees. I particularly liked the fresh rose in a bud vase over the sink. Posh!
April 8, 2008
March 14 may have been my parents’ last day in Paris, but did that mean they were tired? No way! What would they be tired from, anyway? Hundreds and hundreds of stairs? Sheesh!
Still, we weren’t going to climb the Arc de Triomphe, but we did go take a look at it, macarons from Laduree in hand. Very nice, everything as it should be. Let’s avoid the climb though.
So we went to Montmartre. When we arrived at the Lamarck Calaincourt metro station, we scoffed at the line for the elevator and headed straight for the stairs. One level further up, there was another elevator stop (for no reason, it appeared). Still, we kept going. Not until we’d started climbing steps and cleared another level was there a sign announcing the hundred more steps we’d have to climb. How did this happen?
Still, we told ourselves, panting, we had at least decided to take the City Walk that supposedly started at the top. Why then, when we got out of the metro, did we keep climbing up steep inclines? I guess Montmartre will have that effect on you.
We wound around towards the top of the hill, passing the Montmartre vineyard and giving Dad a first taste of touristy (yet so full of potential) Place du Tertre.
When we entered Sacre Coeur, I heard beautiful singing voices, which I assumed were from a professional CD being played over loudspeaker. Then I saw the nuns. They were phenomenal, and if you can coincide your visit with the noon service, I highly recommend the experience.
Coming out, the view and Pachabel’s Canon in D greeted us. Pachabel’s Canon was a bit of a fixture around our house during my high school years. Alan played it on the piano (as did I, though not as well), and this day we were delighted to hear it on the harp. I’ve never seen a street musician with a harp before, but this seemed the perfect setting for him.
From Montmartre, we took the metro to Sevres-Babylone, where we had a delicious lunch at Nemrod (though my book was a little suggestive that it wouldn’t be as expensive as, say, a dinner). Still, it was well worth 14 euros to me to have cold thick slabs of perfectly cooked (rare) roast beef with gooey aligot. Heaven! And the elderly woman dining alone in the table next to us was a hoot.
As usual, I left my parents for some work, and they finally saw the Eiffel Tower up close and then took a ride on a bateau mouche. And that concludes my parents’ visit to Paris! A bientot!
February 28, 2008
Sunday was Elizabeth’s last day in Paris, and we had the better part of the afternoon (and of course, all of the morning, though I’m not one to take advantage of the morning hours) in which to see more of the city. It seems like there’s always something new to see. We are truly resident tourists here.
We all wanted to see the movie Paris, that just came out last week. It is Cedric Klapisch’s latest film – you might know L’Auberge Espanole or its quasi-sequel Les Poupees Russes. It stars (among several others) Juliette Binoche and Romain Duris (the leading actor in the two other movies I just mentioned). So we planned ahead and arrived at Odeon for a 11 am showing. I really enjoyed the movie and understood most of it. It followed the lives of several interconnected people in Paris.
After the movie, we grabbed paninis next door and ate them on a bench. Then we headed over to Laduree for macarons. We munched our macarons and did a City Walk that led us down Rue de Buci and then down Rue Saint Andre des Arts to Saint Michel. It was a short one, but in a very picturesque part of the city.
We dropped by the house and picked up Elizabeth’s bag, then walked to the 12th to wait for her train, which involved stopping at an outdoor cafe. We tried Les Artisans on Avenue Daumesnil, which is near one of my babysitting gigs and has great colors. I got a kir, which was a bit too sweet, Allen got a noisette (expresso with milk), and Elizabeth got a Perrier with mint syrup. It was nice to just sit outdoors for a while and watch the world go by. Then we dropped Elizabeth off at the train station, saying goodbye for a few months at least.
February 27, 2008
Remember our goal to do all 50 City Walks before leaving Paris? No? That’s probably because we haven’t done one in so long. We revisited that goal during Elizabeth’s visit though, and we achieved two City Walks on Saturday and then finished out the day with an amazing meal.
Elizabeth and I had heard that Saturday would be a beautiful day, and we decided to do a photo walk. So we chose several City Walks (two we definitely wanted to achieve and two side walks if we had time), and around 12:30 pm, the three of us set off into the city. Unfortunately the weather was warm enough but with gray skies. Still, we were ready for adventure! We were returning to Canal Saint Martin because the City Walk card detailed a beautiful square in the middle of the Hopital Saint Louis. It supposedly rivals Place des Vosges for the title of most beautiful square in Paris and was designed by the same architect.
We walked towards the Bastille and then followed Boulevard Beaumarchais to Place de la Republique and then cut over to Canal Saint Martin.
Though we tried to see the fabled square in the Hopital Saint Louis, access to it was locked. What we could see through the gates was charming. It gave me a bit of heartache to not be able to get in. So much for going back to the canal for the purpose of completing the City Walk. The hospital itself was a beautiful structure, and we wondered aloud about what it would have been like in 1607, when it was built to house plague victims.
We then returned to the canal and sat and ate lunch next to one of the locks.
Allen and I realized that the creperie hadn’t charged us for our cokes, so when I went back to pay, the owner told me they were free because I’d been honest. It’s kind of funny – they’d have been free either way. But I was glad I went back. It’s one thing to rip off a chain store who accidentally didn’t charge you, but I hate for a small business to lose money. Especially small businesses with such friendly owners.
After lunch, we followed the canal up to the point that it went underground. We left its side to walk up to Parc des Buttes Chaumont, following a couple of guys that had been strolling along the canal with their “contemporary art.”
We dubbed them “Baby Legs.” It was really funny to follow them with Elizabeth and I trying to surreptitiously take pictures from that close behind them. Lots of people were giving them weird looks. And can you imagine? “Hey, Gustave, I was thinking I’d get my baby legs, and you’d get your baby legs, and we could all go for a walk to the park.” Genius! Once we got to the park, we ended up lounging on the same lawn, where we saw a photographer walk up to them.
We theorized that the photographer could have been following them and taking pictures of people’s reactions. Frankly, Elizabeth and I would have been their stars. Let us know if you ever see the photography collection that resulted in.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont was supposed to have a 98-foot waterfall, but it wasn’t running on Saturday. I was a little disappointed, but I couldn’t complain too much. The view from the top of the hill was really quite pleasing.
Oh, I meant this view. You can see Sacre Coeur off in the distance.
We ascended to a beautiful gazebo and took several pictures of it above and below.
The blue sky came out for us for just a little while, conveniently in time for gazebo pictures. Allen took this one, with the new plantings in the foreground.
Afterwards we headed to a Russian Orthodox church tucked in an alley. We’d never have found it without City Walks. It had beautiful painted wooden doors. I took pictures of the individual door panels. Here is my favorite of the moment.
In fact, I took about fifty pictures of the church from every angle, so here’s a link to the Picasa album that has the rest of them (and all of the pictures from Saturday’s exploring). After the visit to the church, we caught the metro at Danube to head home. We’d thought about walking, but it was already almost 5:30 pm, and we had a dinner reservation for 7:30 pm. (How American of us, by the way, having such an early dinner reservation, but we’d only made it earlier that day, and we’d hoped to have more luck getting a table by asking for an early time.) We were all tired on the metro, and when we got home Allen took a nap.
At this point in the blog post, I can’t believe we were still going on Saturday. So I’ll write about dinner at A.O.C. in a new post.