A Travellerspoint blog

March 2008

New York

grande manzana etc.

semi-overcast 15 °C

Well aside from the usual NY type stuff, i.e. cab drivers I cannot understand, 42 types of gatorade, 300 options in starbucks and the requirement to have a degree in advanced sandwich making to be able to enter and exit a sandwich shop in under 25 minutes, I remain a huge fan of this town. NY has an energy about it that I have rarely found anywhere else. There is something about living on the rock that just, well, rocks. For a country which most people dislike (or at least mock) these days I always feel more than welcome to spend a few days within the first of the five boroughs which make up New York and its immediate surrounds.

statofliberty.jpg

People actually talk to you. People are actually nice. It is not everyone and not at all times but its more than available and for a big city it is just about enough. And its not just the crazy ones either. Normal people doing vaguely normal things in and around New York feel free enough, and occasionally easy enough, to have a chat as and when 2 parties are available and sufficiently geographically fortunate. Big, scary, dangerous cities the world over are often unrefreshingly similar but here things are at least a bit different. Better is a relative judgement and opinions are indeed like arseholes but I like it. Energy is a commodity most of us glean from food or the regular hugging of trees but here it comes from the ground and works its way up through your feet. Its a vibe thing. And I haven't even hit the west coast yet so you can only imagine...

Tommy G put me up for the week I was there. Fine reception as well.

Did some of the more tourist type activities as now that I am no longer rich enough to be snooty nor "I is being too busy cos I is working on very important stuff" I figured I may as well. Good stuff too. MoMA below.

momaatrium.jpg

As I stood there pondering a piece called blue dot on linoleum the question that came to my mind was whether or not it is really art.

oof.jpg

Only for a flash though as in all honesty, who gives a monkeys? Was going to work in some "load of old pollocks" type reference but it seemed a bit obvious when I tried it. And the world seemed to have enough of that already.

pollocks.jpg

Then to improve my understanding of life beyond the murky moat that is the Hudson river I took part in the 5 borough bar crawl. Time limit 3 hours. Pint in a bar in each of the boroughs. Public transport only. Some said it could not be done. I had no real idea as I would not have correctly named the 5 boroughs prior to said event but attempt it we did. Malcolm had a bet and as he said himself bets between friends are for pride first and financial inconvenience second. Started with Staten Island. Team below:

team5boroughs.jpg

On to Manhattan. Brooklyn, Queens then finished in the Bronx. Quite straightforward I hear you say. Try it I say. Lots of time on the subway and the moments in between we were drinking beers quite fast or taking a pee without always washing our hands. Sacrifices must be made from time to time. So how did we do? 2hrs 58 all in. Not quite the olympic sprint to the finish line it may sound but there were some tense moments. Not quite high drama but drama of an average height and sufficiently girthsome to boot. Hooray! I think that may be the first exclamation mark of the blog. Only added for effect though. Although I suppose they only ever are... !

Fantastic stuff! Better than all the tossers in the open top bus in close to freezing weather methinks. Talking of which Europe appears to be taking advantage of the recent currency fluctuations as most of them seem to be shopping over here. It may be cool to be disparaging politically but at parity with the swiss franc who can knock an anti-war, free tibet, che t-shirt wearing european twenty something getting an i-phone for the same cost as a barrel of oil? Not I clearly. Spending is good. Credit cards good. Re-mortgage your house, consolidate your debts, have a bud light and a breakfast wrap from BK for 99 cents. Erectile dysfunction? Take Levantex. Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, vomiting, hair loss, cancer, loss of personal wealth and also, potentially, erectile dysfunction. But the advert seemed to indicate we should all be on it. Fox news also worth 5 minutes of your time. Should you agree with anything they say during that 5 minutes I think you need to take a good look in the mirror tomorrow morning and work out where it all went wrong.

momabandw.jpg

Which sort of brings us back to the general frowning upon of all things American in recent times. Not sure about the rest of the States but for me, New York is a place to love, not to hate. It may be the home of the images most associated with the US but it seems a law unto itself.

To attempt to gain, and provide, some clarity on the rest of the US and its populace I am doing a bit of a tour. Bush kind of won an election in Florida and there I go next and using my awful Spanish attempt to pick some meat from the bones of the corpse of democracy. Then San Diego and reports have it that I may get to New Orleans to check out some more political moistness. Floods, Jazz, Construction work, Booze. No sacrifice is too great.

Hitting the road, well, the airport at least. Wing and a prayer etc.

offonawing.jpg

Ciao fair reader. Fear not. The world is not well but it might not be terminal. And if it is, its probably too late anyway.
Lid.

Posted by lidster 19:33 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Europa

is cold this time of year.

rain

So I had about 10,000 miles to cover in a month and a half and I decided that I could not really be bothered. Took a flight to Geneva and then London to see my friends and family. My brother is sure I came back to get my underwear washed and indeed I did although I would still quote my primary reasons for returning as because I fancied it and because I could..... Did I miss the beaches? Of course. Did I miss 6 weeks in a bus? Not at all. As such a new plan was required to replace the tattered ruins of the previous strategem which had one major flaw. Me.

Anyway. I did manage to get to the wedding of George and Jo. Still trying to get a photo of the actual wedding as my flight was delayed and I missed that. However I did make it for the evening do and saw a few of the boys.

Boys_at_wedding.jpg

Went to school with all of that lot. Some started before, but 1985 was our first year all together. I suppose some would marvel at all of us still being in touch and how your formative years build strong bonds between friends. The bare truth of it is probably closer to the fact that we are just a bunch of anti-social losers but never let facts spoil a misty eyed moment of nostalgia. Boo-hoo and blah-blah. Bunch of wankers for the record.

So what else? Well this.

DSC02013__Medium_.jpg

Mont Blanc just out of view to the right. I'm not going to give the impression it was all champagne and sun bathed extreme skiing as most of it was spent in the pub with mates. Which was also super and much warmer although less sunny as you can imagine. Its all swings and roundabouts this life we lead. Although from my short experience back in the uk it can only be a matter of time before such potentially hazardous places as parks and playgrounds are closed in the interest of health and safety. No-one seems to be that much healthier and when it comes to safe?? As long as you don't count MRSA, flood warnings, school closures, persistently bad weather and yob culture as unhealthy its all smiles. Talking of yobs, watched some football with my brother Easter Sunday which was briefly interrupted by some idiot having the shit punched out of him by some local lads decked out in Stone Island. The landlady's view was "if you are going to beat the shit out of someone don't do it in my pub". Spirit of human kindness there although my brother and I merely picked up our pints to make sure they didn't get knocked over. Seems a shame but I wasn't there, nor am I here, to preach. So, as has been so often the case this year, time to move on.

Many thanks to all for welcoming me back. Many complained about the blog being a constant reminder of sunnier climes during their own winter of discontent but they (you) don't have to read it and if the generally sunny, sandy, boozy mix of my adventures causes you some existential angst then wean yourself off and move on yourself. Try with second life or world of warcraft for 6 hours a day and if you feel happier then you have a long term issue, if not then you'll be cured within a week. What am I talking about? Buggered if I know.

Off to NYC, the Big Apple. So good they named it twice. From there South, South, South. Sun and Margarita's available around the fat part of the planet and thats my intended direction. Move over. Fat bloke coming through. Thats if they let me past immigration. Fingers crossed.

Be well.
Lid

Posted by lidster 12:10 Archived in Switzerland Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 1 of 1) Page [1]