Wednesday, May 28, 2008


One of the reasons this vacation is different is that the kids stay up pretty late and get up pretty late. Di usually hits the sack between 10 and 11, and I stay up a little later watching TV with Ryan, or playing his new PS3 baseball game, which has wonderful graphics. Anyway, that means that we don’t get going as a group until lunch. The wind was even stronger this morning than yesterday and it was in the low 60s and raining, so our options for activities were somewhat limited. Today, even lunch was too early for the kids, so Di and I went out alone to hit the Target nearby and get some lunch.

We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Señor Fox, which was staffed entirely by Mexicans (as most are) we were seated in a booth near a young family with three little ones (over my left shoulder) and two local white guys (over Diane’s right shoulder). The staff was very attentive and very competent, and our food was delivered unbelievably quickly. It was good, on top of all that.

Along the way, one or more of the young ones let out an ear-piercing scream or two, which is always unpleasant, and at one point one of them was running around the place. They had been there long enough that they left when we were about half way through our meal. We heard one of the local guys talking to one of the staff: “Not all Americans are like that,” he said. The staff person cleaning up the table appeared not to hear him, so he repeated his comment. That caused us to look over at the table. You would not believe how much food, crumbs and other stuff was on the floor around this table.

After hearing our groans about the disgusting mess, the guy said that his mom and dad would have cleaned up a mess on the table, and on the floor, if there was any. I agreed. I commented that the younger generation has been brought up without common levels of manners and consideration for others. He agreed.

Now, I don’t believe that the whole generation is thus poorly reared; I know my four got a heavy dose of “you’d better not do that” along the way. But I think a fair portion of that generation is self-consumed and undisciplined. It’s another example of how our culture is moving slowly (or not so slowly) into the dumper.

I subscribed to a year or so ago to see who of my former schoolmates I could find. I have found quite a few, some of them used to good buddies. One of them lives in Virginia Beach, so I was trying hard to connect up. We have been emailing for the last couple of days and our families are going to get together for dinner tomorrow. This should be interesting, as Betty and I haven’t seen each other since 1966.

Tonight we headed out to dinner with no particular idea in mind, other than Katherine’s objection to going to any restaurant that we have at home, like Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse. We found a place that we hadn’t seen before, a Cuban restaurant called “Havana.” It was the best meal of the week, so far. I had a Paella de Mariscos, which has shrimp, scallops, littleneck clams mussels and fish all sautéed with chorizo and a trio of bell peppers tossed in sofrito rice. I don’t care for mussels or clams, so they left them out and added more scallops and shrimp. It was very good, and the chorizo was highly spicy. Diane had the Filet de la Casa, which is beef tenderloin served over a dark rum and peppercorn sauce served with garlic mashed potatoes and house vegetables. Ryan had Ropa Vieja, which is roasted shredded pork, Manchego cheese, black beans rolled in a flour tortilla and served on sofrito rice and finished with jalapeno queso and green enchilada sauce. Katherine had the Caribbean Mojo Marinated Flank Steak, which is grilled medium rare, thinly sliced and served with a chipotle beurre blanc, garlic mashed potatoes and house vegetables. And Christen had Coconut and Plantain Encrusted Atlantic Salmon, served atop sofrito rice with house vegetables and finished with a guava beurre blanc. There were a couple of appetizers and also desserts. All in all, a great meal.

Summing up: weather – not good; food – great.

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