This month I have Steve joining me again, fellow artist, fitness buddy and mutual sentence finisher.
A: So this is the wine today.
S: <gasp> Pink!
A: A rosé!
S: Rosé all day!
A: I don't know how to pronounce it, Pica Pau
S: Let me see, yeah.
Amber shows bottle to Steve and twists the cap.
A: With a screw top!
S: You're never screwed with a screw top.
The wine splashes in the glasses
S: Cin cin.
We clink glasses and take the first sip.
S: It's a lot more fresh
A: Yeah, but wait. I'm remembering last time I drank this, it behaved like a red wine. Where it opened into, like, a glass of sweetness.
S: Hmm. Yeah, there's definitely, it's a subtle sweet. But there's no bite to it, it's very smooth.
A: Yeah, and also like the red wine from last time it just changed, had a different flavor towards the end. And last time I drank this it did the same thing. The next day it was almost a different wine.
A: It aged. A day. Like even now adding the extra warmth from my hand - maybe it's just too cold? Maybe I'll keep it out.
I take the bottle out of its chiller and place on the table.
S: Mmhmm. Yeah, I get the sweetness not right from the first sip. It comes when I leave it in my mouth before I swallow.
A: Yeah, and maybe for future reference maybe I shouldn't... wish I had a wine fridge. So I could...
S: (being snooty) We do.
A: ... put the specific temperature per shelf. Like, that's a fancy wine fridge.
S: That is a FANCY wine fridge!
S: Blue is coming out for me for this.
S: Yeah. Like I'm drawn to the blues.
A: I feel shade.
A: Yeah. Like the flavor reminds me of being on a...
(Simultaneously) A: ... patio S: porch
A: I was gonna say porch, but not a residential porch...
A: ... like not my own home. But like a restaurant type patio/porch.
S: Yes. A southern porch. Like the back... OOOO... like in Key West where they have, like, basically little enclaves within - inside of a block.
S: Yeah. So you have houses surrounding the block and inside there are houses in a little circle. So you have to, like, go through a little alley and then... it's like a secret little southern patio.
A: Like a courtyard sort of thing.
A: I want a house like that.
S: There's Spanish moss everywhere.
S: Yeess. I love that we're describing the wine in this way.
S: Because we're going on a journey instead. We're like, "oh what is this wine actually doing to my mouth?"
A: Cuz it's feeling!
A: It's emotion connected to desire, memory, whatever.
S: Cuz we just created this place where we can sip this wine and then look at this painting, so in our mind palace version of our little urban enclave, and then you walk in and it's like, encounter.
A: Yeah. And it's easy breezy. Like an easy breeze across the face. Not a nip, not hot.
S: What would we be smelling? What season are we in?
We take a sip.
S: We said warmer months
S: Yeah. Like dead summer or fresh summer?
A: I don't know. So, I feel shade, not hanging out in the sun, but I'm not on a lawn chair by a pool. I'm underneath something, like, fresh. I don't smell lawn, I don't get green grass.
A: What do you smell?
S: It's that...
S: It's the tropical sea breeze without the sea!
A: Yes! But I don't know what salt smells like but I know what it smells like when I'm there
S: You also... you know that smell of summer soil?
A: Yeah. After the dog poop that's been frozen all winter...
A: ... has thawed and that stink of spring is gone.
S: Stink of spring! Also something nostalgic about it.
A: Yeah. It just smells like dirt at that point.
S: Well I'm trying to think of a flower or something, but nothing's coming to mind. Citrus actually came to mind, but...
A: But the citrus disappeared from me real quick. So, like, the first... taste, I was like, is it grapefruit? Nope, it's not.
A: It's almost got strawberry but without being sweet strawberry. Like a tart strawberry.
A: So the water.
S: (big exhale) Even though there is no water, Town Bicycle is giving me some good vibes, too.
A: Ravenna is a coastal city. Even though you don't see it.
S: Yeah, if we were talking about the porch...
S: I'm actually going... I'm personally drawn more to Tahiti.
A: Let's go to Tahiti.
S: I would love to!
We laugh and pull the comfy chairs in front of "Anchored Boat on Tahiti Shore"
A: Fill up the glasses!
Glasses are refilled
A: So we're in Tahiti.
S: Woohoo! Look at the foliage just ripe with... lemons?
A: Nope. They're just flowers.
A: I don't remember what that tree is. I think it's a magnolia? Or a gardenia? It's something specific to tropical climates.
FACT CHECK: I looked this up after the conversation and the tree is a Hibiscus Tiliaceus tree, otherwise known as a beach hibiscus. And we're back...
A: And they were everywhere.
S: Lovely little boat. Just hanging out.
S: We were talking about that sea salt air earlier. I smell it when I look at this painting. And the, we'll call it a magnolia tree for now?
A: Yeah... or gardenia... flowering...
S: Flowering tree, actually brings me to that kind of enclave feeling we were talking about earlier too.
A: Almost kind of feel like I'm hiding in the tree.
S: I feel like I am, I was about to say, "I feel like I'm shaded right now."
A: Have you ever heard coconuts drop from a tree?
S: Is that a song?
We both laugh
S: (singing) 'coconuts drop from a tree..."
A: (singing) La la la
We both laugh
S: That was a legit question.
A: No, actual coconuts, dropping from a tree.
S: Oh! No. Have not witnessed, or heard.
A: They sound like gunshots.
S: I'm sure because I was told not to sleep under a coconut tree.
A: Don't do that!
S: Because you will definitely die.
A: I was in a hammock once, not in Tahiti, but in Nicaragua and I didn't pay attention, I was just tired. I went on to the beach and I was like, ahhh, a hammock, that looks great, and I laid down and I fell asleep and when I opened my eyes I was like, "(gasp) I'm underneath a coconut tree." That's a terrible idea.
A: Completely. And Tahiti, that's when I first heard them.
A: At the place that I stayed at, on Mo'orea, the (laughs) I heard these, what I thought was gunfire and I was like, "I thought I came to the safest place on the planet!" Where there's zero crime, the most dodgy thing that anybody does is a peeping tom. I mean there's no doors, not because they can't afford them but because they choose not to have them. They don't need them, it's just... anyway, then you hear something that sounds like gunshots, whew!
A: Yep, they're just coconuts because in the morning there's a bunch of coconuts all over the ground.
S: Khuh khuh khuh (making coconuts falling sound)
S: Yeah, teal... I think the coastal colors really pair well with this wine.
A: Mmhmm. And the water's calm.
S: Feels like a south side of the island kind of a thing. I have never been to Tahiti but from my experience on islands, in the Caribbean, the south side is like the calm feel.
A: Well, if I remember correctly it was on the east... I mean the island is only about this big (holds up hand showing a dime size circle) It's small. There's one road, there's no stoplights, no stop signs, nothing. And you just keep going around in a circle. There's a ferry landing and I hitchhiked when I got there. Because there's... well what am I gonna do, get a cab?
A: I didn't know which direction to go, I didn't know which direction I was facing when I got on to the island.
A: I mean all the way around the island is only, maybe 7 miles?
FACT CHECK: Mo'orea is 37 miles in circumference. Good thing I went the right direction! And we're back...
A: It's not that big.
A: But I hitchhiked and that's how I met my friend Valeria. She was fun, she was a Polynesian dancer, retired. At the age of 28.
S: I'm sure her career started in her teens?
A: Most likely.
A: I speak about as much French as she did English, and we had a brilliant time. But yeah, so I learned that she was a Polynesian dancer and she also was in, like, she was the face of Polynesia, like in marketing stuff. So she was a dancer slash model. So that's probably why she retired at the age of 28.
S: Ha, dang! Cool.
A: Yeah! So she dropped me off where I was staying, and then I had my evening there of getting nestled in, and whatever. I had like 3 beds in my room, I had a kitchen, my shower was outside.
S: That makes sense.
A: It was fantastic. But yeah, the next morning the owner knocked on my door and he was like, "um, your friend is here?" And I was like, "I have a friend?!"
A: Yeah. And so Valeria had come the next morning to see if I was around and to hang out.
A: It was so much fun. We had so much fun. I jumped in the car, she was going to show me the island. We went swimming in the Lagoonarium. I swam with Blacktip sharks, and eels, which freaked me out. The eels really freaked me out.
Filled up my wine glass
S: It's swimming spaghetti. That would have freaked me out.
A: It's swimming spaghetti...?
S: It's a spaghetti noodle, flooombp loomb loomb, through the water. An eel.
S: So like hiding in little hole, and then pop out...
A: I was taking a picture of brain coral, cuz I was swimming over it, and I was like, 'that's super cool' and when I took the picture, poofth, there's an eel head that was just coming out.
A: And I'm like, 'sharks! I'm coming back to you! You guys feel a lot safer than the eel does.'
S: For some reason I agree with that statement.
A: And they're not that big. The blacktiped ones, they're not that big. They were just like, 'hey, what's up? I'm swimming alongside you.' And that was fine. You're not separated by a cage or anything. There's a fence, an underwater fence, so it's kind of anything that can get through the underwater fence. So anything that's larger than the Blacktip sharks can't get in.
S: Mmm, got it.
A: But the rays, oh my god they're so cool. Have you swum with those?
S: Uh, yes.
A: I love them. They're curious, and they would come up, especially when I was in shallower water. So I'm standing and they would come up almost like a dog. Like they sniff, but not really sniff, but it's like they get up super close with those triangle fins, then the one just curls so it doesn't actually touch you. It just, woolloop, curls all the way around. They're so cool.
S: I haven't been in the water with them since I was a child, but I have an affinity for rays. They're just so majestic and gorgeous and then you learn more about them and you're like, "what? You can blast up to how many miles per hour? What?!"
A: How many miles per hour?
S: They can get up to like dolphin speed.
S: Yes. A frickin manta ray, you're like a majestic...
A: You're just a kite! You're an underwater kite!
S: You're an underwater kite! How can you...? David Attenborough shows me everything.
A: The lagoonarium. And after that we stopped at a little, it kinda looks like you're walking into somebody's house, a corner store.
S: You probably are.
S: They probably live upstairs.
A: You knock on the door...
S: Or in the back.
A: ... and then somebody answers and you get to go in the store.
A: So we got, very irresponsible, but we got a pack of Heineken. It's only one road! So then we were drinking Heinekens driving around the island. We stopped not far from this (pointing at the painting), so maybe, like, on the other side of the palm trees, or the coconut trees...
A: ... is a surfing alcove. A bunch of surfboards airing out. We stopped there cuz there's also an actual beach, so a lot of this is not real beach. You hang out in the water, there's no beach there.
A: So that had a bit of a beach, so we were just going to hang out on the beach. And then we met 3 surfers that were going out on a boat.
S: To surf?
A: Yeah, it's different from surfing from the shore. So like, you swim out from the shore, and then you wait for the wave. And you kinda do the same thing from a boat, except your destination in not the shore. Your destination is to where the next wave is. So the wave ends and you're like, 'oh that's it.' swim swim swim swim swim. You're just out in the middle of the ocean. And then it's like 'well, I think the waves are done.' And then you get back on the boat. Well Valeria and I got in the boat with the 3 surfers and went out. And then I remember there was one guy who was already out there. So he couldn't get in the boat for the way back because there was already too many people. In a boat that size (pointing to the boat in the painting).
We both laugh
A: There were 5 of us in a boat that size. And a spare surfer. So he just held on, they threw out a rope and...
S: And, like, tugged behind? Shut up.
A: We got to shore.
S: That's amazing.
A: And then after that we all hung out, went to the other side of the island, and I remember the mosquitos, bugs were really intense over there. But nobody really cared. The CD player in the car was turned on, maybe a tape player, I have no idea. But then what struck me so darn funny is here I am in tropical paradise and Snoop Dogg is playing. So I hung out in Tahiti with Tahitians listening to Snoop Dogg. And then we went to someone's home and ate spaghetti.
S: Great! Yup. I love that pasta always makes its way into a story.
A: Yep. Tahiti is a magical place. If you leave Tahiti with a bad attitude you will never get rid of it. You will have that for the rest of your life. I mean, like, you'll have moods throughout the day, but like an overall attitude... if you go there with some form of stress or whatever it is you're carrying along with you, you know, just allow Tahiti to do its job. Cuz it's, in my personal opinion, it's the cure for all ails. Like in "Lost" did you ever watch "Lost"?
S: Season one yes, because I owned it. That was what I won at my senior all night party.
A: (laughs) Oooh, I won a cooler.
S: First season of "Lost", nailed it.
A: Well, yeah.
A: So, "Lost", there's the character, um, the woman with cancer and her husband and they're separated, so it's maybe season 2 that they actually find each other, cuz they're in two separate parts of the plane.
S: (claps) Yes! She knew that he wasn't dead the entire time. Like the entire first season, right?
A: She was the one with the terminal illness, and then she didn't have any pain on the island. So I think you may see their little home that they've built in season 3 or 4. It's later on, when it goes really weird, and they've separated from everyone and they are just living their life. She says something like the island provides everything that we need, and if I leave the island then I will essentially have cancer and die.
A: That's Tahiti. It has... can cure anything.
S: If you let it.
A: Attitude, your stress.
A: I mean really this could be any tropical place.
S: Yeah, it doesn't necessarily have to be Pacific.
A: Nope. And it just is for me, cuz this is where I was, and that was the experience that I had.
A: Want to switch seats?
S: Sure! Bleep bloop bleep.
We switch seats and refill glasses
S: Okay so in this perspective I feel like I actually get a little more around the corner of the tree.
A: Well what's on the other side of the tree?
S: I don't know but before it...
A: Maybe somebody else, maybe the owner of the boat is hiding on the other side of the tree.
S: Mmm. Tropical seas. Just drawn to them. So I get it, I get it Moana.
A: I don't know why I live in Minnesota cuz I loooove being here (pointing at painting).
S: Don't go to sleep under a coconut tree!
A: Oh, yeah. cuz they're deadly. I wonder how many tourists have wound up in hospitals because they were brained by a coconut.
We both laugh
S: (in a wrestle mania type voice) "You got brained!" That's what the tree says.
We both laugh
A: A John Denver song just came into my mind.
A: I don't know what it is. I think it's on the Christmas album with the Muppets.
S: I think you'll have to provide more context for the, uh, for the class. Ha ha, what?
A: Ahh, what is it? I can't remember the lyrics. It's something like "where heaven meets the sea." And I don't remember the rest of the song. (singing) duh nuh duhn, meet's the sea...
S: What song would you pair with this?
A: Well apparently John Denver from a Christmas album.
S: And the Muppets!
S: Since you can't come up with that title do you have a different title?
A: I don't know. What's singing in your head? Cuz John Denver is stuck.
S: Uh, the "Bob's Burgers" version of "Beyond the Sea."
A: I don't know that version.
S: Just one of the characters singing it and it's just a, like a nasaly, (sing while plugging his nose) "Somewhere beyond the sea"
A: Maybe it's because this is the second time we're doing this, but this time there were more stories, maybe the wine, because it started before we looked at the painting. So maybe the wine just allows, this rosé allows for more emotional connection...
A: of memory or whatever to share.
S: I believe that.
A: So note to self. If you want to know the stories of emotional connection and attachment of your guests get a rosé.
S: Rosé! Rosé all day!
A: Spanish rosé to be specific. Portuguese? Is it Spanish or Portuguese? It's Spanish.
Steve looks at bottle
A: Portuguese! Oops.
A: Which kind of makes more sense!
A: Because they have a huge amount of coastline.
S: They do. Yes. Hmm. Bring me back to Tahiti.
A: (singing to the Cole Porter tune "Take Me Back To Manhattan") Take me back to Tahi... wait no, how does it go? It doesn't work.
A: Oh yes it will! It's just a lot of T's.
Both: "Take me back to Tahiti! Take me back to the... beach." Laugh
A: "I've been longing to see once more my..."
S: "Little hut without a door!"
We laugh. Bottle is empty.
What were we drinking?
I belong to an online wine club, Naked Wines, my wine selection comes from there, and I have not been disappointed with their service, nor their wine selection. This month we were drinking Pica Pau Portugal Rosé 2020 by Hermano Veloso.