Me at my NYC Blogging Desk, with Central Park in the background.
Here in New York for ten days, will be having my birthday while I'm here and will meet up with a couple of friends, but essentially it's just me and my camera and a never-ending stream of photo opportunities. Have been in a state of Bliss since I stepped off the plane at JFK (after a good flight sitting next to possibly the only spare seat on the entire plane, so lots of room with none of the usual elbow jostling for space with the guy next to me), because it just feels so RIGHT to be here, and I feel so instantly at home, in a way that defies logic or explanation, I just do - god, I love America!
Was going to pay $45 for a cab to Manhattan, as I just thought it would be simpler all round, but luckily was persuaded to take the shuttle bus by one of their staff who nabbed me as I emerged through the doors. It took longer and stopped at every terminal to pick up more passengers, but it also only cost $15, and even better, when we ran into a jam on the expressway the driver took an inspired alternative route through the 'burbs of Queens, past all these quintessentially American houses with screen doors, sofas on porches, all manner of rearing beasts on the gateposts (lions and eagles were popular choices), Stars and Stripes, humungous cars and fire hydrants. Was more than happy to sit on the bus for as long as it took, observing everything around me, greedily lapping it all up with my eyes (yes, I know, but you get the gist).
Bus eventually dropped us at Grand Central Terminal, soon hailed a cab from there up to my apartment on Madison and 66th, where I was met by Cecilia on behalf of the woman I rented from. Apartment on the tenth (top) floor was what could be described in Estate Agent Speak as "compact and bijou", but absolutely perfect for me, with kitchen area, wi-fi, iPod dock, air-con, TV/DVD, comfy chair, big comfy bed, table and chair at the window (from where I am now writing this blog), plenty of storage space, bathroom with shower, and above all bright and airy. C wrote down a couple of supermarkets and told me where the nearest subway was, gave me her email address in case of any problems, handed over the keys and then left me to it - in my new home for the next ten days.
Unpacked as I always do, can't relax until that's done, discovered my incredibly expensive foundation had leaked into my make-up bag and made horrendous mess (why is it always the Incredibly Expensive Foundations of this world that do this, and never the Cheap and Cheerful shampoos or Bog Standard Basic Unguents?) , so by the time I had cleaned that up and faffed around a bit more it was about 4.30 and time to shop. Supermarket a couple of blocks away, took a leisurely stroll, lovely late afternoon sun casting long shadows down the faces of buildings, sidewalks busy with New Yorkers, so many sights and smells to take in. Stopped at pharmacy for painkillers, headache brewing, overwhelming array of choices (think Neo and Trinity in the weapons store in "The Matrix") and different kinds of meds, all seemingly doing slightly different things or targeting different parts of the body. Finally grabbed a bottle of something (anything!), paid my dollar and left, crossing road to supermarket where I picked up a basket to ensure that I did not buy more food than I could comfortably carry back. Hadn't made a shopping list so was doing this from memory, and after traipsing up and down a couple of aisles realised that I was actually really *quite tired*, my body thinking it was 10pm and not 5pm, and being once more faced with a vast selection of foodstuffs began to wilt somewhat. As my American best friend always says, everything over here is "bigger and better" (he does say this with a sense of irony - yes, contrary to popular opinion, the Americans CAN do irony), but sometimes you don't want Bigger and Better, you just want Simple so that you can buy it quickly and get out of the supermarket.
It was a bit heavy to schlep back with, and I couldn't buy any drink as I simply couldn't carry it, but had chilled water in the fridge and by some miracle remembered to purchase teabags, so once I had unpacked everything I set up the camera to take a picture of myself pretending to type this, then made a luvverly cup of Earl Grey and finally settled down to actually type this. I fear that photos on this blog may be somewhat thin on the ground, as the memory/bottom-end-grunt on this laptop leave much to be desired, and any kind of image processing is akin to watching a snail trying to proceed through concrete. Will have another crack at it tomorrow, maybe with no other programmes open on the computer at the same time, to see if this makes an improvement, but for now must stop as it is now 2am as far as my body clock is concerned and I need to think about getting into bed to see if I can fall asleep. At this precise moment I somehow doubt it, but should give it a go I guess ....