the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Diplomatic Mission


Today, eight months after the passing of my father, my mother takes on the important diplomatic mission of improving American relations with the European Union by taking a two-week bus tour of Spain and Portugal with another woman from Queens.

I bet you didn’t expect that, Dad?

And Mom, it’s a Tapas Bar, not a Topless Bar.

A mi madre, have fun!   I’m off to the gym!  (bloggers, there’s still time to sign the contract below)

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  1. scott

    What a lovely scene. The buldings would be impressive, if not for the mountains behind them.

    Yes, I listen to John Denver music sometimes. Sorry.

    Hello, Neil.

  2. Scarlet

    Tapas used to confuse me, too. I thought my friends worked at the slutty bar.

  3. Paris Parfait

    Clever post! I’m sure your mom will have a wonderful time. And for the record, at some of those tapas bars, the lines are fuzzy.

  4. better safe than sorry

    another woman, i bet your dad would have loved that!
    have fun at the gym, feel the burn.

  5. AWE

    Tell Mom that she can get a little something at either.

  6. Dagny

    Why does everyone think you are saying “topless” when you say “tapas”? Hope your mom has a great trip.

  7. Tatyana

    I envy her that first day in Portugal; it’s such a thrill.
    Remember: Portuguese only smile on a cue word obrigado.
    Bon voyage!

  8. treespotter

    that is so cool. she gets spain and portugal and you get the gym? that’s not fair, really… we should at least get pictures of girls in spandex

  9. cruisin-mom

    good for ekramer…she better watch out for those Spanish men…they love to pinch butt.

  10. jackt

    Isn’t that the place where the crazy Steward guy took a flying leap after getting completely immolated in Lord of the Rings?

  11. Leesa

    Ooh, I’m jealous. Would love to make that trip.

  12. Alison

    “Topless bar.” Ah-ha ha ha! 🙂

  13. bettyonthebeach

    I waitressed in a TAPAS restaurant aftr college and whenever I told men I worked at a “TAPAS bar”, the all looked at my small chest in quizzical amazement.

  14. justrun

    That is seriously funny and only because my mom thought the same thing.

  15. Bre

    But how will they understand that heavy Queens accent? 🙂

  16. Neil

    Bre — You’re so naive. I have a Queens accent. My mother has a Bronx accent.

  17. mrsmogul

    Oh uh…two Queens girls in Spain and Portugal? They’re gonna want free glasses of water..and the Euros don’t do that

  18. Neil

    That’s so funny, Ms. Mogul. I had to explain all that to her, because I remember being all confused on my first trip there. And I told her the difference between “agua sin gas” and “agua con gas.” She’ll never remember, but what the hell. Part of the fun of travel is getting ripped off by the natives. I’ll never forget this cabdriver who took Sophia and I around the block ten times in Seville for a trip that was really a half a block away.

    And good-luck to her when she finds out what they throw in that “paella.”

  19. Melissa

    Well done Mrs. K!!!! Go flirt with a few hot men, eat fantastic food, see everything there is to see and enjoy yourself. Well done indeed.

  20. Pearl

    Elaine, have a muy bien tiempo! (have the same in Portuguese; I only know some Spanish!)
    Make sure to call Neil every day, make sure you packed clean underwear, don’t talk to strangers…and all those other wonderful things that mothers tell their children to do or not do on a trip abroad.

  21. Nelumbo

    Glad I’m not the only one thrown off by Tapas/Topless Bar. My husband said his sister really wanted to go to a Tapas bar a while back, and I asked “why would your sister want to go to a Topless bar?”

    That’s one thing I miss about living in a larger city..a variety of decent ethnic food…luckily we have hip urban siblings to visit.

  22. Jay

    It’s great that she’s getting out and experiencing new things. I hope she really enjoys herself.

  23. Fitèna

    lol! but, wait a minute… whats a Tapas anyway?:-)

    I hope Mrs. K., or Um Neil as my mum’s peaple say, she enjoys herself real good! 🙂

    You’re a good son.


  24. kimananda

    Muito boa viagem to your mom! Portugal is amazing, and I’m not just saying that because I lived there.

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