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mike & jo euro’s Travel Diary

Monday, 29 May 2006

Location: New York, USA

MapWell, its been a while between posts.
Your resident blogger has been getting over a chest infection and an allergic reaction to the prescribed antibiotics.
Suffice to say that i looked like one of those low budget aliens in the original Star Trek. But that doesn't make for interesting reading, so I will move on.

Jo and I went to NYC for an extended long weekend at the end of April. Five days in total I think.
If you couldn't be bothered reading my normal dribble I will summarise if for you.

(start of summary)
I've been to quite a few places in the USA, and NYC stomps on the rest of them. Aside from a few quibble, which are mentioned below, it rightly deserves it's reputation as one of the worlds great megaopolises. Visits are highly recommended. Just make sure there is some room on the visa card.
(end of summary)

We were staying with Cathleen Waters, whom some of you might remember from her one year hiatus in Perth a couple of years ago. Cathleen's flat was just across the Hudson river in Jersey City, so it was a short 20 minute train ride into Manhattan.
Cheap accomodation is such a bonus is a place like NYC as prices are on par with things here in London. Thanks Cath.
I think I know part of the reason that many americans has such large posteriors. You would need a butt with some extra padding if you had to sit on the hard plastic seats on all NYC trains every day. Maybe it's supposed to be character building? Maybe that's why everyone getting on or off the subway always looks really pissed off. Ouch. I guess it's easy to wipe vomit and other bodily fluids (ick) from such a surface, but it is hardly conducive to a comfortable journey.
But as with London, it is far better to walk around rather than gopher around using the subway.
A lot of Manhattan was built/rebuilt in the early to mid 20th century, so it doesn't have that awful red/beige "if it's not victorian, it's crap" brickwork that plagues a lot of london.
The architecture of that era in NYC was always intended to inspire and motivate people with grand frescos on the front of equally grand buildings.
Waiters look after you in NY. My water glass was never below half empty/full, you could set your watch by the intervals between when you got you menu and they came back to take your order.
It was a nice change compared to the sulky eye-rolling bastions of apathy and bad manners trussed up like Neo-Nazi fashion turkeys that pass for service staff here in London.

Quibble 1:
Flags. You know the ones. Stripy with white stars. Bloody everywhere. If you are taking a photo of anything, it is virtually impossible to frame them out of the composition. Why does a great building like Grand Central station need a tennis court sized flag hanging from the ceiling? Then if you try of get a shot so that the big flag is on edge so it's not a visible. They put another, not quite so big one, perpendicular to it. AAARRRGGHHHH!!!!
Why do the figures on the front of the NY stock exchange have to be COMPLETELY obscured by an equally large tennis court sized flag. I tell you, somebody made a killing selling flags post 9/11.

Quibble/Bonus 2:
Food portions:
Huge. REALLY huge. Homer Simpson pork chop chokingly huge.
And then they ask you if you want dessert. If just eaten half a herd of livestock and you want to feed me dessert. Just a sec..(burp), well, i'll have a look at the menu...
Appallingly bad cab drivers from Newark airport. We had to give ours detailed instructions on how to get from the airport to Cathleen's place. She just happens to live on an a little not insignificant road in Jersey called JFK Boulevard. Nope, no clue this guy. When we gave him the address of where we wanted to go, his reply was "where you going?", to which we would reply 111 JFK Boulevard, Jersey City. Seemed pretty clear to us, I figured maybe he didn't speak Australian, so I thought I would give it a go. But he kept coming back with "where you going?". At which point Jo says to him, "You're going to have to ask me a different question, because I don't know how else to answer you." His reply, after a long pause, yep, you guessed it, "where you going?". Thankfully, Cathleen, having experienced this herself a number of times, had included street by street instructions on how to get to her place from the aiport. So here's this clown driving 65mph on the expressway, reading 10 arial type in a semi-lit taxi swerving occasionally to stay in his lane. We nearly t-boned a bollard at one point. All highly entertaining. After Cairo, nothing is frightening.

Oh yeah, and we went to some park, a couple of galleries, rode a couple of elevators up to the top of some building, snapped some pics, bought some fridge magnets and generally had an excellent time. (Apart from the chest infection)