Worth a look at this photoset on Anthony Hibbert’s site (wait and it will start the slideshow for you), it’s seems that something rather strange was happening in New York when he last visited.
I’ve just been getting back into the swing of things after the holiday, and yes, I admit it, have been too lazy to write up the rest of New York. I will try and do it at some stage, it was just that we were busy relaxing and having fun, and I just felt like disconnecting properly after the first few days, so I did. Still very relaxed from it all. But I shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to write, so I will start up again.
The world looks a whole lot better after a good sleep, several coffees, and a decent shower. I think I’ve about cleared back to human now. A good start today, we got up reasonably early, had breakfast, then headed for Central Park up 7th Avenue. The Manhattan streets are a bit of a surprise, hustle and bustle, sure, but not too hectic. Still seeing a Parisian side to it all.
Eighteen blocks up isn’t that much of a walk as it turns out, and certainly didn’t feel as far as the scale on the map suggested it might. We’ve been taking in the look, the feel, and certainly the smell of it all. Smell hits you everywhere, food, cars, and especially the sewers, which are astonishing when they hit your nosebuds full-tilt.
Once you get into Central Park, it only takes about a hundred yards to lose the city somewhat. It’s huge, beautiful and tranquil. Winding, shady, tree-lined paths lead out on many beautiful expanses of lawn. Lots of families playing, couples lounging, people enjoying leisurely strolls. Near the busier intersections of paths, you’ll get buskers, nothing too hectic, lots of gentle moody jazz. There is almost an enforced slow pace to it all. The one exception however is on the roads that wind through the park itself; whilst closed to traffic in the main, they are a constant flood of joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. As a side note here, I appear to be blending in well, I was asked three times to take photos for tourists. As another side note, I may clearly need to lose some weight.
Having drank the tranquility in, we then set off along 5th Avenue. This is shopping heaven, simply put. If you extracted every single clothing brandname that met the approval of Mrsfb from her mind, you would find that is was a shop directory for 5th Avenue. We’ve set aside Monday for shopping, so Mrsfb womanfully resisted the lure of Prada et al, and we pressed on to find somewhere for a snack.
We happened up St. Andrews Bar. This would appear to be your classic English pub in America, so it was a heady blend of bar and pub. We were served by an Irishman in a kilt (don’t ask, I don’t know either. Very friendly though) and settled down for a traditional English pint of Stella Artios, followed by a substantial brunch. Omlette with smoked salmon and soft cheese for Mrsfb, fried eggs with ‘Scottish bacon’ for myself. We were presented with ketchup, however I decided to take a bold English stance. “You haven’t got any Brown sauce”, I enquired. “Sure, we’re out of HP, but will Chefs do?”. In New York, on my bacon. I almost wiped away a tear of English pride. Good food, just what we needed after a few hours of walking.
For now we’ve retired back to the hotel, Mrsfb is having a little nap, and I’m writing this in the hotel bar whilst watching NASCAR on a large television. America is alright by me thus far.
Tonight was Times Square. In the daytime, it’s slightly under-impressive, it seems a bit smaller than you thought it would be. In the evening however, it utterly comes alive. The signs glow, the screens scroll through endless implorations to watch and consume, hawkers hawk, generally your eyes are drawn permanently upwards. Religion has something to learn here, there are a few ideas someone could really use and exploit. Maybe I’ll have a go at running a religion soon. Some form of a consumerist religion for the UK?
Wow, I only suggest new religions when I am really tired. I think I must be. I guess this is the proper jetlag then. Cool, I did come to America to experience new things.
Wow. In Manhattan, sat on a very nice enclosed balcony, figuring out quite what part of me is jetlagged, and what part is knackered. I think that was about 17 hours of travelling and queuing, all told. Not sure if this is the best time to do the math(s).
Good flight really, quite choppy for the second part of it, but we read and watched movies to distract us. Note to Richard Branson btw: Those screens on the backs of your seats become unwatchable as soon as someone reclines the seat in front of you. The movies I watched were mainly listened too, as all the actors essentially appeared to be shadowy puppets as soon as the chap in front of me got a little tired.
Shuttle bus into Manhattan itself was amazing, just working us into the city a little. Hustle, bustle, yadda *3. However more chilled than I expected. It looks really nice at night, odd pace to it all, almost looks Parisian. Big boulevards, people eating out on the streets (okay, sidewalks). And like the French, they drive with their horns here. Mirror, horn, signal, horn, maneuver, horn.
Tomorrow we do Central Park and Times Square. I get the camera out, and go to work. I may spend half the day in black and white. But I think it is now time to retire and pass out.
So winter arrived yesterday, it got cold. Real cold. And then it’s sort of heating up now. Don’t know what season we are in now. Sumautrinter, I believe. I think I’m going to wrap up warm and wear shorts, makes as much sense as anything else.
Mrsfb’s brother was up to visit this weekend, had a nice time catching up with him. Not the most hectic of weekends, rather good. Managed to mess up my sleep cycle something chronic though, not quite back to it yet.
Have to get my bum in gear about sorting out things for going to New York. We have money, tickets, hotel and passports, so that’s kind of the important things covered, but there are plenty of other things to do as well. I intend to get a few things done tonight.
Long couple of days just past, but with satisfactory results. Sunday was spent helping support at work move into the new building, in the main testing phones and PCs. A nice little bit of overtime that will come in handy for New York. Then today was starting in the new building. I thought that it was going to involve two bus trips, but it became apparent on my first trip to the new place that it went a much handier route than I thought. Basic result of that is going to be an extra half hour in bed more than I thought, so that is all good.
Other than that, nice meal out with S&T and their friends for a birthday, and thus a bit of a hangover for Sunday Got me in a good mood for the week
So this week is intended to be quiet. Our main aims are to decide on a hotel for our NYC trip (we’ve made a shortlist of five, and will be inviting all the hotels to compete in a Pop Idol style showdown for our affections. Well either that or going with the one we really like because we can get a room there). After that, well, I’ve never done a proper tour round a University since I came here, so we are going to have a walk into town, and stop off in the grounds of one of them for a good wander round, obviously taking the opportunity to wind Mrsfb up by stopping and taking photographs every 15 seconds. And then I’m cooking some sushi and an as-yet-unchosen fish dish, possibly involving scallops.
There may well be a bike ride on Sunday too if it stays at all reasonable (I am definitely a fair-weather cyclist). I do need to start getting out on some little treks on the bike to get back into it. Oh and finally I may brave the garden for a little tidy up (i.e. start the massive amound of tidying there is to do).
We have booked our tickets for New York last night. Very excited, now need to sort a hotel, and start figuring out what we get up to for a week. In fact we’ve got quite a few ideas already, but we need to decide on what we want to do most of all, and work around those. I’d kind of like to do an event or two, go to a gig or a show on Broadway, something like that. Living the dream!
Will gladly take any New York suggestions in the comments, all ideas greatfully received.
While I’m here, can I give a quick plug to my new site Wrestling with Consciousness. If you like wrestling, you’ll like it, if you don’t, then well, you won’t.
Well I am definitely on the mend now, in far less pain, although I have to be careful when coughing or yawning. Otherwise I get psychadelic levels of pain. In general though, I am utterly peachy compared to last week.
A nice relaxing weekend planned, meal out tonight at a nice fish-based restaurant, then a little walk tomorrow down by the river (and the first chance for me to use my new camera outdoors properly). Plus a spot of mild DIY, and some planning for our major holiday this year (NYC here we come). I’m being ultr-organised, tracking down our passports, and actually checking them now to see they are in date, rather than panicking in 6 months time. This is a hitherto unknown level of organisation for me.
Also hopefully watching The Devil Wears Prada on DVD, and some good long lie-ins too.
Well it has been a while since I’ve written about myself, what with being away in London learning Java for a week, and posting lots of news stories instead. I’m about caught up now, so I hopefully will try and settle into a pattern with a little more balance. BTW, be aware that the comments on the news stories for the moment link to the actual story, rather than to my comments section. Should hopefully get chance to fix that soon.
I’m a bit full tonight, having cooked Nigel Slater’s perfect coq au vin. It is a great recipe, and with a few shortcuts I made it relatively quickly. I also cooked the full version (justabout) over New Year, and it is marvellous.
Being the New Year now, I have to put some of my resolutions into action. So this weekend I’m giving up smoking, and I’m also going to try and watch my weight a bit, so that it doesn’t add any more, particularly as I’d like to lose a little too. So I may make mention of what (if any) I lose. I am going to keep track of it, so I get an idea of what I’m doing that is right or wrong.
We’ve also decided on our holiday for this year, we’re off to New York in October hopefully! I’m bricking it about the flight, but seeing as I managed a couple of hours each way to France last year, I think I can about cope with it as long as I keep me head stuck in a book all the way. Will be well worth it once we get there though, can’t wait.
This has also partly been the motivation to get a new camera, a proper digital SLR. I’m hoping to buy it in the next month, and start taking some high-quality pics to put on flickr and for my own general amusement. And to occupy me whilst I am giving up smoking. Hope I can pull that off.