Goodbye Summer – Hello Spring
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, April 10, 2014
There are only a few things in Palm Beach (y-a-w-n) that can turn me on…
One: is going to Miami where life is vibrant, the Cuban girls exquisite, friends are dynamic, the food exotic, and I have the best showroom in town with my furniture at Ralph Pucci’s gallery.
my limited edition Fibreglas Chair in the Pucci Miami showroom
The Farmer's Market
me - buzzing about in the farmer's Market on my Scooter
In West Palm Beach there is a weekly event I seldom miss: The Farmer’s Market! Five minutes from my apartment in Palm Beach, this is where the hoy-poloy blend seamlessly with the tourists, oldies, odd-ies, students, and dozens of well behaved dogs winding their way between their owner’s and stroller legs. What is really “cool” are the vendors: some graduates of the “snake-oil school of salesmanship”… characters in their own right…. There are hucksters, gardeners, fast-food magicians, botanists, apiarists, Jamaican short order cooks… talk about the smell of Pizza’s wafting in the air… wait till you smell marinated spareribs sizzling on charcoal embers!!!
My first “port of call” is always Jamal, my friend from Anguilla, who, with a few well placed strokes of his machete, cuts open a juicy young coconut, which we eagerly sip through a tiny hole at the top. Finally, when empty, we eat the gelatinous fresh “meat” with a “spoon” deftly crafted by Jamal.
Next, there is Sigi, my German cheese vendor… I love schmoozing it up with him in German while he seduces me with morsels of “must buy” cheese! My fridge is full of them, which I intend to transport North regardless of the residual smell in my suitcase!
Don't be fooled by the sausage - that's Sigi my Cheese vendor with his droll wife smiling in the background
I love the lady who sells orchids. Hers is a little paradise of tropical splendor… I can never resist buying an orchid; after four months, my plants are still in full bloom sprouting new flowers daily…
On occasion there are gymnasts showing off their flexibility in aerial Yoga, a specially advanced form of the ancient Indian meditation exercise… they turn out to be “shills” for the yoga studio down the street.
The honey guy is fabulous; knowledgeable about the seriously endangered bee population and the fascinating sources of his various honeys… (Next to the cheese in my suitcase, will be jars of honey extracted from the endangered plant species pollinated by his bees).
I manage to thread my way through the teaming crowds on my little electric tricycle - which also serves as transport for all our purchases as it is quickly inundated with shopping bags nestled between my legs and dangling on the handlebars.
One of my great loves in Florida are Banyan Trees… there is a beauty at the entrance to the little park which temporarily host’s the market… I stand and worship it every visit.
The Middle East and France in Palm Beach
Two blocks down a side street is my favorite Middle East Bakery & Grocery operated by a Lebanese father and son team. I am a regular and love, love their food: flat bread, humus, babaganush, taramasalata, baklavas, dolmathakia, halva… is your mouth watering?
A little treasure, that I almost hate to reveal is Patrick Leze’s Patisserie hidden in the Landmark Palm Beach Hotel just a half block from my home… I scooter there regularly for a fresh croissant and coffee.
Where the West Meets East
… And finally, my latest discovery, (the one that may still redeem Palm Beach’s ho-hum reputation): Line Dancing at Renegades in West Palm Beach! This is done to Country Western Music, which, according to a recent article in the New York Times, is the hottest pop music going… We entered a bar that looked like a roller skating rink with tables around the perimeter for patrons…“Step – kick – turn” was blasting out of a sound system over the beat of the music. There were perhaps twenty to thirty bodies of all ages, sex, color, costumes - some exquisite, others chubby, lanky, some dressed as urban cowboys but most just in jeans, and the uniform for the girls: cut-off short-shorts with the mandatory cowboy boots. The caller was a middle-aged bespectacled lady that knew her stuff. She took the participants through their drill before setting them loose to the music. Everyone moved in unison… first right then left; at a signal, all spun around and faced us… everyone in serious concentration… there were calls for stomping, hopping, twisting … with endless variations… all in unison. By now the dance floor filled with more people all in step with each other. Their performance could have been on the stage of Radio City Music Hall… As the evening progressed, the caller disappeared and the floor became filled with better and better dancers... young old, extremely good looking others became beautiful with their movements. There was a separate contingent that did couple dancing… they were oblivious to the Line dancers as the males were seriously engrossed with their lady partner’s pirouetting, in and out and under their arms and deftly twirling them behind their backs… all the while moving forward around the perimeter of the dance floor… Like serious Tango dancers, the oldsters could easily out-dance some of the younger couples…. all this movement to the throbbing rhythmic music. The chorus-line performers in the center were oblivious to the couples and vice-versa.
While the men in my small entourage were watching this performance from our ringside tables, munching comfort food, (my favorite variation of junk-food) nachos, Buffalo wings, ribs and bottles of beer, our two ladies became enthusiastic participants on the dance floor, though their steps were quite original…
The evening was an amazing experience, which had been enthusiastically encouraged by my teen-aged granddaughters… Why did I wait till the end of the season to discover this gregarious entertainment???
Palm Beach may still be a fun destination next winter when the snow begins to fall…
video link to line dancing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdKBXn-GOJw