I’ve lived in the New York metropolitan area for fifty years and finally, thanks to my opera buddy, Phyllis Bitow, was persuaded to take the grand tour backstage at the Met. Hey, folks, there’s a whole city back there. Yes, fourteen floors reaching as high as the eye can see, and another three going down to where costumes are made, and rehearsal and dressing rooms abound. I stuck close to the group, fearing that I would wander for eternity like the Flying Dutchman if I strayed too far. It’s a labyrinth that even Hansel and Gretel could not maneuver. There’s a control panel like the space center in Houston, and unseen elevators that come up out of the floor. Massive sets for the current production of Turandot hide in the wings, and pulleys lay waiting to raise and lower giant sets. 

Along with the sheer size of what lies behind the purview of the opera patrons, is the fascinating history of the building and the care with which the acoustic architects designed every curve and level, selecting numerous types of wood and finish to optimize the sound. Come and see! It’s one of the wonders of New York City. And, during the present Indian Summer, you can enjoy the new fountain in Lincoln Center Plaza. I felt like splashing in it, yesterday, but I forgot my towel. 

After a lunch in the excellent Renaissance Restaurant on 9th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street, I met Paul Sharar and enjoyed a most unusual play, Love Child, starring Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton. This was a delicious romp of their own making, full of eccentric characters, and complete with their own sound effects, nervous tics, and accents. The whole menagerie was played by these two men on a bare stage with a few chairs. It was a modern skewering of Euripides’ “Ion.” A crazy yarn like this does one thing for sure—it keeps the audience awake! 

I came across a wonderful new adventure blog written by Bob Babinski from Montreal, Canada. http://good4sports.wordpress.com/ He regularly highlights people undertaking unusual adventures like the upcoming 1800 mile walk to the South Pole by Alistair Humphreys. It’s the longest “human-powered” polar journey in history. Go to the blog and scroll down to the story and interview with Alistair. 

As promised, here is my Rule #3 to be followed when planning a journey to foreign lands, especially Asia and Africa. Don’t wait until the last minute to get the immunizations necessary for the area you’re visiting. But don’t panic, either. The U.S. government website gives reasonable, un-dramatic information on line to guide travelers, and most internal medicine doctors have access to the latest updates. Here is just one of many websites to guide you.   http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/vaccinations.aspx

Always be sure your tetanus and polio shots are up-to-date for starters. Then space your necessary shots so your arms don’t feel like inflamed pin cushions. It’s good to get these details over, judiciously so you are in peak condition for the trip. 

Check back to previous blogs for Rule #1 and 2.

I’m off to California Nov. 12th. Catch you with some photos when I return.