Saturday, March 15, 2008

Asian Affair

What a crazy day! After more than 2 hours my train arrived at Penn Station in New York City at around 6 pm, and I fought the crowds to get to the underground mezzanine and asked directions of the nice police officer to 8th Avenue. I followed them there and went to the taxi stand, looked high and low up and down the street jammed with traffic and people and did not see Cristiano. Where was he? So, I waited. Now it was 6:20. I grabbed my cell phone, and dialed his number. I got a message telling me that I had zero minutes and that I needed to call another number to access my minutes. Shit! I tried again and got the same message. I was ready to toss the cell phone; I was so frustrated with it. Then, it rang. It was Cristiano.

“Sue, I am here at the station, where are you?”

“I am on 8th Avenue at Penn Station, and I don’t see you!”

“Oh, Penn Station, I am at Grand Central. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”

So I waited. Twenty minutes later, my cell phone rings again. It is Cristiano.

“Where are you? I am at Penn Station and I can’t see you.”

“I am standing in front of the station on 8th Avenue in the middle under the Wamu sign under the big “W”. Can you see me?”

“No. I am near the yellow cab. Can you see me?”

“Cristiano, the street is full of yellow cabs!”

“I am wearing a gray suit and am in front of the Post Office can you see me?”

“Okay, see the Post Office and the crosswalk in front of it? I am at the base of the crosswalk wearing a blue rain coat.”

“Okay, I am entering the cross walk too. I see you!”

“Me too!”

He strode quickly across the walk to me. Finally, after all the blogging, we meet! We gave each other a big hug and the European kiss on either cheek. I was thrilled. He apologized for getting the station wrong, but I said it was okay and not a problem as we were together now. I said that we should get on with the beautiful evening he had planned for us because I couldn’t wait to start it. We walked to his town car and Frank, his driver, opened my door and we got in. We sped uptown to 583 Park Avenue to the International Asian Arts Fair.

It was very crowded with the glitterati. Elegant women were dressed in all forms of Asian attire and swept by in saris adorned with small mirrors, or beads and dyed in all colors of the rainbow, or in brightly patterned kimono with perfectly tied obi and pristine traditional hairstyle and makeup. We were not sure which was more alluring, the art or the women’s clothes.

We were treated to art by masters such as wood block prints by Ando Hiroshige, painted scrolls by Yokoyama Taikan. The gallery was loaded with treasures such as various Tang Dynasty terracotta figures, lovely Phoenician Ancient Art, Buddha heads and figures from China, Thailand, and other countries fashioned from bronze, stone and wood. Every nook and cranny was crammed with Asian beauty of the art or the clothing/jewelry kind both on attendees and in the exhibit! One did not know where to look; one’s jaw was constantly dropping! The show was mesmerizing.

Navaro Rapids - A woodblock print by Hiroshige

A Tang Dynasty terracotta horse - there were several of these at the festival

Cristiano knew everybody! He was constantly saying hello to people and introducing me to everyone. I got to meet his good friend HRH Princess Seema Meetha and we had our photograph taken with her. She was so exquisite in her turquoise sari with tiny mirrors sewn into it. Isn’t she lovely?

The dinner was at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Columbus Circle and was fabulous. The venue was terrific. The view from the window of the ballroom is of Columbus Circle and Central Park. The first course was salmon rondelles on thin sliced cucumber garnished with lima beans. The entrée was torenadoes of lamb in a garlic jus sauce and I had the vegetarian entrée, not because I am a vegetarian, but because it sounded too good to pass on, which was a tagine of dates, lentils, rice, baby carrots, Brussels sprouts, green beans, endives and baby leeks. Both entrees were superb. Dessert was cheesecake with raspberries and strawberries.

During dinner I met Vivienne Tam and Bebe Neuwirth. It seems that Cristiano knows Bebe very well because when she saw him she made a “call me” sign with her hand. Then he asked if we could take a photo with her and she said “Yes.” That was so exciting for me! I had my photo taken with Bebe!

Then it was time to rush back to Grand Central Station. So we hopped back into the town car and sped back downtown. Cristiano walked me back into the station and saw me onto my train. What a gentleman! I was so impressed with him. We finally got to meet! Wow! I had such a wonderful evening that I shall remember forever. I just cannot say thanks enough!


D said...

Sounded like a fun (and frustrating) trip! You're lookin' great, Sue!!!

We still need to meet up before I die in a weird clown accident.

Cristiano Mancini said...

My pleasure Sue , it was a great evening for me too ! I hope we'll meet soon again !

Sh@ney said...

Aweee Sue darling that is so great that you got to meet a fellow blogger and I must say quite a dashing gentleman too!!
And didn't you just look dazzling. What a great smile!
huggles honey

Peter said...

Sue, you look radiant!

thonnibg said...

I can imagine how excited you were,Sue!I would be too!
Great to hear you had a great evening.Even though I have to admit,I would be more excited cuz of my meeting with Cristiano rather than cuz of that Asian party:)
It was a shame not to meet.You still live ONLY two hours away from each other.What took you so long to do it??
Hope Sean is not too jealous of Cristiano?Cristiano is such a gentleman.And how could he not be?He is a European:)

Sue said...

Oh Toni, Sean was really jealous that he did not get to go (especially because he loves Hiroshige)! But when I told Cristano, he said we could invite him next time! I was so excited to meet Cristiano, we could have been going anywhere and it wouldn't have mattered. But going to see Asian Art, which we both love, just made it all the more special.

Yvespaul said...

Cristiano the man of mystery... lol. Glad you had a great time, Sue. Asian art, eh? Growing up I didn't know what the big deal was, they were all around the place. lol