Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Traveling’

Snow falling in Cappadocia, Turkey

January 09, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Places, Traveling 3 Comments →

Writing Shit About New Snow
by Kobayashi Issa

Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.

Translated by Robert Hass

Despite the name there is nothing sinister about the Byzantine church carved into the soft rock. The church is called that because it’s not exposed to direct light, sparing the frescoes from serious damage.

I was wearing four layers of clothes and an overcoat. This cat was taking a stroll in the snow. He accepted some cheese and cold cuts, and a hug.

Greetings from Istanbul, where stray cats and dogs are loved

January 05, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling 4 Comments →

This shop owner at the Spice Market lured us in by shouting, “Philippines! I’m a friend of Edu Manzano!” He sells this amazing winter tea with eucalyptus.

I’m in Istanbul for filming. Yeah, I won’t use the other verb. After the coup attempt and the terror attacks, the city feels melancholy and antsy. But it’s still gorgeous. There are fewer people about, but traffic is still heavy.


Again I’m impressed at the number of big, fluffy, friendly cats and dogs on the streets. Our guide explained that the strays are tagged, neutered and vaccinated, then returned to their neighborhoods where the residents feed and look after them.

Royd misses his beagle.

You can measure the humanity of a society by the way they treat their stray cats and dogs.

If people are hungry and desperate, I would understand if they killed dogs for food. But killing a dog for onscreen entertainment, even if it claims to be art with a message, is wrong.

Killing dogs is wrong. And killing people is wrong. It’s not an either/or. And it’s a reflection on our society that it has come to this.

Off to work. I leave you with this mountain of baklava.


Flea markets: Easy time travel to your childhood

December 02, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Childhood, Places, Traveling No Comments →

Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg is on weekends at the old Williamsburg Savings Bank Clocktower in Fort Greene. I want to live there.

It’s like entering a bank vault and emerging in your childhood. It was perfect flea market weather: one degree Celsius, and the wind could take your face off.

I resisted the mind-boggling array of vintage eyeglasses, concert T-shirts and other clothes, vinyl records, magazines and games.

But not the necklace with a plastic dragon pendant.

The vendors sell all the stuff you’ve thrown out over the years and now want to get back. It’s not really the stuff you want, you know, it’s the past. When you look back you realize those were the good times, but you were too busy waiting for the future to arrive.

You can buy back your childhood. An attractive proposition, since the future circa 2016 has been a whopping disappointment. Sure, there are new toys, but you want the things that were around when you were a kid.

Did anybody save their pins, T-shirts and stuff from the street parliament years, 1983-1986? Show us.

In praise of the three-martini lunch

November 26, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Drink, Places, Traveling 2 Comments →

Photos of the library, building and cafe from

Carmen invited me to a three-martini lunch at the Morgan Library. A year like this calls for regular doses of alcohol as a survival mechanism, so I said yes.

The Morgan Library houses the impressive collection of Pierpont Morgan. Listen, if you’re going to be a robber baron, the least you can do is leave a spectacular library.


The library is pretty much the way it was in Morgan’s time, but the building has been renovated by Renzo Piano.


It feels a little jarring to step out of the exhibit of Charlotte Bronte’s papers and into this. One is expecting Thornfield Hall, mud and howling wind.


Carmen, a tech consultant, started Whisky and Books, which pairs books with whisky and meets every month to discuss. This month’s pairing: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Bruichladdich X4+3. What a great idea, we should do this in Manila. Noel and I have long planned a Silence of the Lambs dinner with a good chianti (and fava beans).


I associate martini lunches with this scene from Mad Men. (Coincidentally, I have a ticket to The Front Page starring Nathan Lane and John Slattery.) We did not remake this, probably because I did not eat a bucket of oysters.


As long as we were pleasantly tipsy we visited an altar to literature and drink: The Algonquin Hotel, where Dorothy Parker et al held court at the Round Table.


The Algonquin is now ruled by the imperious Matilda, third of her name.

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

November 21, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Current Events, Music, Places, Traveling 1 Comment →

A New Yorker who stood up against bullies.

The people of New York standing up against bullies. The Post-It Project.

Overheard in the 14th St station: “You wanna stop and write your feelings? Hey !@#$%^ tell the world how you feel!”

On the platform a woman was singing “Hallelujah” in a way that honored Leonard Cohen while wiping the floor with his version. (In the immediate aftermath of the US presidential election Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and Sharon Jones have died.)

Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Lunch.

November 18, 2016 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places, Traveling No Comments →

We were too early for lunch so we had a coffee at Peter Pan Donuts first. Naturally I had a doughnut appetizer.

Peter Pan is a Brooklyn institution. Tina Fey has declared that so great is her passion for Peter Pan doughnuts, if she had a penis she would violate them.

Greenpoint Fish and Lobster sells excellent fish tacos and sandwiches.

Greenpoint is the sort of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone. Polish is widely spoken. The HBO show Girls is shot here.


Next door to the fish restaurant is another doughnut place, Mo’s. The owner used to work at Peter Pan. There was a big kerfuffle.

A coffee shop offers advice on how to deal with living in a Chinese curse.