Tuesday, May 21, 2013

budapest, in pictures

Saint Stephen's hand, housed in St. Stephen's Basilica

The view of Pest, from Buda

Saturday, May 18, 2013

more brussels, plus bruges and ghent

When my family reached a cafe for breakfast yesterday, all the booths except two were filled by people. One other place was occupied by a sleeping cat. When another man came in behind us, he attempted to work around the cat, perching his espresso on the table corner, since it showed no intention of moving.

After that entertainment, we spent the rest of the day with my oldest friend. She lived here for a year, and came to see me and show my family around some. She took us to see the Manneken Pis, a famous statue of a peeing boy that's reproduced into any bit of tourist-trap merchandise you can imagine. The real thing is more disappointing than the Mona Lisa. Not only is the Manneken Pis tiny, it's also high up and obscured by an outfit from its extensive wardrobe. So, here is a photo of a more entertaining reproduction, because what isn't better holding a waffle?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

welcome to brussels

Waffles waffles waffles waffles

I am over-tired right now—my family took an overnight flight on Wednesday and then jumped straight into doing things. Upon arrival, we were delayed because a strike at the Brussels airport meant we all had to fetch our bags from the runway and then take shuttles to immigration. Then, my parents had arranged a private tour guide for us. For reasons unclear, the four of us ended up on our private trip on a full-sized bus. I slept through a lot of it. (I also fell asleep on the floors of JFK and Brussels International.) But Brussels seems quaint and cobblestone-y, and any place where every block has French fries, a chocolaterie, beer, and decadent waffles earns my endorsement (at least, that seemed the case in the tourist-friendly areas where we stumbled around, jetlagged out of our brains).

Thursday, May 09, 2013

when ancient met modern

A group of yoga devotees came together yesterday afternoon to listen to Eddie Stern, Beryl Bender Birch and Elena Brower discuss how yoga fits into 21st-century life. We left with swag bags—essential oil samples, vegan energy powders, incense variety packs. When I left the studio, there was an ostentatious VitaCoco truck parked out front. This shouldn't have surprised me—people devoted enough to yoga to attend a lecture on a Wednesday afternoon are the target audience for all this stuff, and shalas can't run on fumes—but it did. Maybe it's because I'm naive, or maybe it's because I don't identify three respected teachers with material goods.

Eddie is my current teacher; I've taken a workshop with Beryl, and I just adore her. Elena is a celebriyogi, no doubt, mostly known in ashtanga circles for being one of John Friend's most prominent acolytes—until she became one of the most prominent teachers to resign her certification after Friend, the founder of anusara, was implicated in a sex and money mismanagement scandal. (I touched on some of this in a piece I wrote at the time for GOOD.)

So while I was more interested in a personal path sort of way to hear what Eddie and Beryl had to say (I know, I know, spoken like a true ashtangi), I was super curious to hear whether Elena would mention anything about her break with John Friend.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

'being a journalist is harder than most people think'

Yesterday I attended "Information on Trial," a daylong conference at NYU's journalism school with Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists, an event to mark World Press Freedom Day.

Here is a bad iPhone pic of Columbia J-school prof Ann Cooper and
New Yorker writer George Packer, during their keynote conversation

George Packer said a few interesting things about the state of journalism during his keynote talk, things that went beyond hysterical "the media is dying" hand-wringing that I hear and read about all the time as a CJR editor.