IRINA DOES NEW YORK

No sooner had we returned to our home in Harrisburg, than we set out with Irina to New York City. We were very fortunate to have our son-in-laws’ parents allow us to stay in their condominium in Fort Lee. It is a wonderful place on the 16th floor with a great view of the city. Irina was entranced with the sight of the city spread out before her. She also was tickled that there was a piano in the house. She is an excellent pianist. It is a delight to hear her play.

Since we had 4:00 o’clock tickets to Radio City Music Hall, we had to take a bus into town. The trip is usually about 1 hour, but the Lincoln Tunnel was really jammed. So, we got into N.Y.C. at about 2:30 and wandered around Times Square, which Irina adored. She was so anxious to look in all of the little Tchotchke stores with great buys on almost everything. She bought enough trinkets to fill her back pack.

We stopped at a deli and Irina was surprised to find out that all of the guys behind the counter spoke Spanish. She had not contemplated that N.Y.C. is filled with people from other places. I actually think that the guys behind us gave us a deal because of her. We finished eating and began walking to Radio City. The streets were beyond jammed. If you didn’t watch yourself, you could have gotten swept away with the crowds.

We made in to R.C. in plenty of time, enough time for Irina to take a million pictures of the place, including the ladies room. It was quite a treat for her. The Rockettes were marvelous and she appreciated every part of the presentation. Irina really wanted to go to Chinatown. So, with our intimate knowledge of the subway system ( really), we made it to Canal Street.

This was the most entrancing part of the trip for Irina. She had heard about Chinatown, but had never seen such goings on. She stopped at every little store and bought another passel of trinkets. She comparison shopped and started up a conversation with an elderly Chinese woman. The woman kept on saying “Cheap, cheap, cheap!!!” Irina was having a ball.

Irina is kind of a vegetarian. She will eat chicken and sea food, but not meat. She was entranced by all of the Chinese eateries and focused her attention on a vegetarian place. The menu was extensive. I had never seen such dishes before. I have been eating Chinese food since I am four. We tried out some dishes and soup and things were pretty good. Irina was a whiz with chopsticks. We all sampled each other’s dishes.

Our waitress was rather surly and knew little English. Irina started calling her sweetie just to break the harsh tones. It actually worked and the woman smiled just a bit towards the end of the meal. When I took out my credit card, she yelled, “Cash, cash, cash.” Somehow she knew that word.

We returned to our digs in Fort Lee, tired, but happy. The next day was a frolicking trip to Macy’s and the Empire State Building. Irina was not too happy with Macy’s. She said that the prices at the outlets were so much better. She was, however, impressed with the Empire State Building. She wanted to walk up the entire building. Guess what, she did not. She must have taken 30 or 40 pictures (with herself in every one). She had a ball.

The next day we traveled back home and Carol helped Irina spend the rest of her clothes money at Boscov’s Mall. She had wanted to purchase an android phone without a phone plan. That was not to be. Some of the rest of the day was devoted to Irina talking to her boyfriend over Skype. I guess that they missed each other.

The next day was Christmas. We spent the day at our son and daughter-in-law’s house with her parents, the children and us. Irina fit right in. She spoke with everyone and was happy throughout. Our daughter was there without the rest of her family (who were in Florida with their other grandparents). At the end of the day, our daughter took Irina back home (she lives near Dulles Airport) and dropped Irina off at the airport the following day. My daughter reported that Irina was a delight to be with.

That was our Irina adventure. We hope that in the not too distant future, either she or Alexei will visit with us again. We will be seeing them both in Puerta Vallarta in March. I wish Hugo could see how well he raised his children. He was a special guy.

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