Friday, May 18, 2007

New York - Part The First

We did so much in New York that I'm going to have to break this down into a few posts I think. Chronological order is dull but will serve me well here. Let me back up a little and explain before I go into detail that I am probably the worst travelled person on the planet. I have been abroad five times prior to this trip and I've flown on two of those holidays, both within the EU. The idea of a) going to another continent and b) flying reasonably long-haul to do so was completely alien to me, and I was quite nervous if I'm honest.

Once we'd got to Heathrow and handed over our luggage we sought breakfast and found a Chez Gerard which served us a very good scrambled egg on toast. A top tip if you're stuck in Heathrow as most of the other places to eat aren't too enticing. After having our shoes X-rayed about 17 times and putting all my worldly goods into a plastic tray and then taking them out again another 127 times we were deemed not to pose a security threat to anyone and were allowed to board. We flew Virgin as their seats are a teeny bit bigger than BA (which helps if you're over 6 foot) and they have edible food and excellent entertainment. You have hundreds of movies, TV shows, music and radio to choose from. I managed to fit in several episodes of "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue", "Blackadder" as well as documentary on Led Zeppelin and as we finally made landfall into North America I was listening to "Voodoo Chile" by Jimi Hendrix which seemed pretty apt to me. This is what I was looking at whilst Jimi was chopping down the sides of mountains wth the edge of his hand:

The Coast of Canada

Once we'd landed and immigrated we got a taxi to our hotel. The thing which I don't think I'd fully appreciated is what the sensory overload (combined with jet-lag) would feel like. I've only ever travelled in Europe before where cars, houses and so on look roughly similar; there are differences of course but they don't leap out at you. The US looks totally different, from the vehices on the street, to the concrete of the roads and the buildings which line them and on and on and on. For the first two days it was a complete head-rush as the filters in my brain which say things like, "Oh yes, that's a Ford Focus" or "There's a 19th Century terrace" at a subconscious level obviously no longer worked so my eyes, ears and nose were feeding my brain completely new and unprecedented data all the time. I actually felt quite dazed and confused for a while until my brain began to "learn" what The US looked like.

We met up with my chum Lucretia Racquel Arabella and his girlfriend Zifogel on the Wednesday night for cocktails until we had to bail in order to get some jet-lag, bad-craziness sleep at about eleven.

The following morning I had my first experience of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup which I found surprisingly moreish. We don't, in general, mix sweet and savoury much in the UK so I was a little trepidatious about the whole thing but since I had the same thing on 3 further mornings I think we can count it a success. After breakfast we took a wander into Tribeca to find the fire station from "Ghostbusters", probably my favourite comedy film. It's now a working fire station again but I think you can tell by the inane grin on my face how much this bit of fanboydom meant to me:

Me and The <span class=

We then went on to walk from our hotel in Soho up to The Metropolitan Museum of Art which is halfway up Central Park - a pretty lengthy hike. It was worth it as the exhibits there were incredibly beautiful and it was lovely to see an art gallery and museum combined, something else we don't really do here much. Here's a selection of my favourite photos I took there:

Temple of <span class=

Temple of <span class=

Statuary in The Met

Statuary in The Met

Our second Ghostbusters homage took us past the New York Public Library where the film opens. I had my iPod loaded up with The Bus Boys' "Cleaning Up The Town" and, as I ran down the steps, Tinseltroos captured the moment for posterity. I'm sure posterity is very grateful.

Me Escaping The Ghosts

Wednesday was also our anniversary and so we spoke to the concierge about finding us a good restaurant for dinner. I casually mentioned it would have to be veggie friendly for Tinseltroos and she rather took me at my word. We were booked into Pure Food and Wine, a vegan, raw restaurant where they have no oven or hob and only use pickling and dehydrators to treat the food. Despite our slight misgivings we had an excellent dinner, my main course consisting of portobello mushrooms steeped in lapsang souchong, pickled beetroot, capers and a raw potato salad. I think the potatoes had been soaked in something for a long while as though they were crunchy there was no hint of the starchiness you'd normally expect from a raw spud. We washed our dinner down with a lovely Kiwi Pinot Noir (they're so hot right now) and from there took a cab home to bed. What a lovely day.

To be continued...

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Blogger Louisa said...

I am so pleased you had a good adventure.

Welcome home.

2:07 pm  
Blogger Churlita said...

What wonderful photos. I've never been to NY. I think I'd like to visit.

7:20 pm  
Blogger Mr Atrocity said...

Thanks, Louisa, I'm glad to be back, fun though it was.

Churlita, thank you. I found New York an amazing place to visit but I don't think I could live there. I'll try and write up another entry tomorrow.

9:38 pm  

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