For five weeks, a festival of Irish theater has been taking place all over town, from the Irish Repertory to the 59E59 Theater to the Players Loft Theater where last night I enjoyed Sean Gormly in Conor McPherson’s The Good Thief. It doesn’t get any better than Conor McPherson, who wowed New Yorkers with The Seafarer and The Weir, two of his most compelling plays. But this poetic and riveting one-man show about comic hard luck and lurid violence once more paints the Irish as a bit stupid (or should I say clueless), very drunk, and prone to senseless violence. This does not go over well in Ireland, as we all know, but it sure makes for good theater. And this tale had us on the edge of our seats as we listened to the story of a sociopath who seemed to have no idea of right or wrong or how to reclaim a life gone totally off the tracks. Made me feel boringly normal. 

If you want a great pre-theater bowl of borscht, go up a flight of stairs to the Olive Tree Cafe at 117 McDougal Street around the corner from the Minetta Lane Theater and next door to the Player’s Loft. You can get it hot or cold, accompanied by a tub of sour cream and the best dark bread in town.

Several people have urged me to continue with my travel suggestions. As you know, I had to cancel my hoped-for climb in Nepal this Fall, so this will at least give the flavor of travel to my blog. I give such advice because I have made all the classic mistakes and even if you follow my lead, you will make other ones. Do share them with us. Some day we will all be perfect! 

As I said in the last entry, take only half of what you first thought was absolutely necessary, and do not carry a load that makes you feel and look like a bedraggled donkey ready for retirement. Rule #2: Label all your bags with YOUR name, home address, and destination. You laugh. What dope wouldn’t do THAT? Well, my daughter (sorry Martha) didn’t on our trip to Tanzania last year, and she almost lost a very important duffel with climbing paraphernalia. It had to be delivered to the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro! It was labeled all right, but with her son’s name. The airline totally overlooked it in its search. Also, keep a small book (I’m big on small looseleaf notebooks) with necessary addresses and statistics such as the size of bags and what they look like. When you lose something and are jet-lagging at your destination, it’s hard to remember what your name is, to say nothing of the color or configuration of your bags. Watch for the next 8 rules. And send me yours. There’s no limit.