Thursday, May 11, 2006

 

Palms, Plants and Painted Ladies

We started off the day with a special treat—Anastasia’s architect/artist/horticulturist friend Todd Worley toured us and our hostess Alicia around San Francisco’s famed Conservatory of Flowers near the eastern end of the Golden Gate Park. Having Todd lead the way through North America’s oldest existing public conservatory was a particular treat; as a volunteer there and an extraordinary green-thumb, his input made the exhibits even more intriguing. Together we spotted the Luna Moth perched on a flower in the butterfly exhibit and marveled at the variety of the conservatory’s flora.

After lunch at Park Chow they took Jennifer to at Alamo Square park for a view of the city’s reknown “Painted Ladies”, a row of historic Victorian homes typical of the style found throughout the area.

We stopped in at Get Lost Books on Market Street to sign their copies of EH and met GLB staffer Lee Azuz, whose family has roots in Turkey reaching back 400 years as Sephardic Jews who relocated to Çanakkale and whose family still speaks Ladino, the historic Jewish-Spanish dialect.

The refurbished historical Ferry Building was hopping that evening with its semi-weekly farmers’ market, some of whom joined us and Catherine Salter Bayar for our event at Book Passage. Among the 31 audience members were Catherine’s friend Kim Smith, parents Gayle and Phil Salter and family, Alicia’s friends Jerry and Dilara Guay (Dilara’s sister Dilraba in Istanbul is currently staging a one woman show she wrote and produced called “Mustafa Kemal’i Sevdim” about the important women in life of Turkey’s founder); Cindy Casey of Broadway Travel, who is investigating how to get EH on cruise ships; Margaretta von Recklinghausen, a Reiki master, who was particularly interested the shamanic roots of Turkish culture; five BMC alums including Katharine Patterson and Susan Brock; Dany Vallerand, a San Francisco antiques dealer whose best friend Shellie Corman has a cafe in Cihangir; and Brandy Donahoe and husband Terry, who lived in Turkey a few years ago when Terry was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. We met Brandy in Istanbul at an American Women of Istanbul meeting, so it was nice to have our paths cross again in a new context!

Alicia, Dilara and Jerry took us to a Thai restaurant next to Book Passage called The Slanted Door, where we met her friend Tuğçe, who coincidentally was in Jennifer’s Bilgi University belly dancing classes 4 years ago! We spent the evening reliving our teacher Nesrin Topkapı's unusual methods.

Jennifer again has a Thai soup recommendation: crab and asparagus...



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