Tuesday, 27 July 2010

I am back from the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave!

Once again, I headed for holidays filled with optimistic intentions of sending daily, far away and exotic blog updates, full of aromas, colours and romantic heroes.

And yet again, it was not to be. The minute I step on that plane, most of my cerebral functions seem to begin a rapid process of shrinking and disengaging. Since they introduced the individual screens with the plentiful array of short attention span sitcoms, I don’t even bother with a Best Beach read or glossy mag. It’s Friends, IT Crowd, Black Books and Disney films all across the Atlantic.

I did, however, keep half an ethical eye open in my 2 weeks in the US, which allowed me to make some brief, but hopefully interesting observations:

1. A nice visit to the Eco Chic Sustainable Swedish Fashion exhibition at the Scandinavian House on Park Avenue. As if I already didn’t feel completely uncool among the New York skinny trendy, I then go and walk into a building full of fashion designers and Scadinavian models. Good move, Renata! The show brings together Swedish designers determined to prove that you can wear sustainable clothes with style. I enjoyed the exhibition, the building and some of the designers, but others did unfortunately look rather like visiting a Uniqlo shop. My choices:

2. Unlike the rest of Americans I met so far, new Yorkers are keen on walking, and don’t panic at the prospect of carrying a few shopping bags for a block or two. Which is why I decided it was cool and completely acceptable to imitate the locals and go for the very cute and sturdy red shopping trolley. Repeat after me: I do not look like a bag lady in this photo, but rather like a stylish, independent-minded, happy shopper.
note: we were returning from a lovely street market on 5th Avenue, where I worked my way through the fried fods of around the world.
note2: the blood red dress was my attempt to support Spain, who were playing Germany that week. I was still rather fragile and licking my wounds after the Holland vs Brazil game.

3. An afternoon at the incredible Strand bookstore (“18 Miles of Books”. God, I love American shops' penchant for names such as The King Of, The Biggest, The First, The Oldest, The World Renowned!), where I found a few titles I am now dedicated to digest and comment on this blog:

It was a great holiday, but of course the big highlights were provided by my gorgeous nephews Dudu and Leo, and princess supreme Helena (Pedro, we all missed you!). A week with them always reminds me of how little you need in life. You may not speak the same language or have your own money. You may need permission to order a can of coke. But to watch 3-year old Leo, you learn that pure happiness can come from a hug. Surely that’s an excellent first step toward an ethical life?

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