New York, New York...

Tack one day onto either end of last week's Bank Holiday, and what do you have? A trip to New York, that's what -- and, let's face it, nothing less could get me up at 5 am in the morning (thank heavens I didn't go for the "early" flight...), and carting luggage, largely consisting of copies of the new TC, across to the hell which is Heathrow on the Friday before a long weekend. Bizarrely, the plane was less crowded than the departure lounge, and more sleep was obtained, thanks largely to American Airlines remarkably soporific choice of in-flight entertainment.

Met up with Chris in New York, and headed to the apartment -- this was the first time I'd stayed elsewhere than a hotel, and it does make you feel more like a resident. This is particularly true when you have to deal with the perennial New York pest: the cockroach. Not that the place was exactly infested with them -- we only saw one, but what it lacked in numbers, it made up for in sheer size. It was, and this is no exaggeration, a good three inches long to the tip of its antennae; never mind them taking over the world after a nuclear war, this one was ready to make a start right now.

Poor Chris was in the shower at the time, and she set a new record for the bathroom to living room sprint. So what do you do with something that is both way too big to flush down the plughole -- chuck it a lolly stick and teach it to surf? Because our attempts to drown the little bastard were met with a threatening unfolding of wings, and the last thing we wanted was it flying round our heads. At least when it was in the bath, we knew where it was. Finally, a solution was decided upon. I'll spare you the icky details, but it involved the vacuum cleaner, with a wad of paper stuffed into the end of the hose, just in case. Though I confess to feeling a bit guilty about this, with regard to the next inhabitant -- I just hope this wasn't a pregnant female we were trapping in the dust bag...

The other experience worthy of comment here was watching two games of baseball at Yankee stadium, which exists in the middle of a neighbourhood where you *really* wouldn't want otherwise to be. The first was impressive for the 50,000+ attendance, the second for the way a single hit changed the crowd from muttering malcontents to cheering fans, as the Yankees turned a 0-4 deficit into a 7-4 win. And you have to appreciate the way, unlike football here, that you can get a beer at these events, from your seat, simply by shouting "Beer!" -- someone will come and sell you one. And if you're stuck in the middle of a row, don't worry, just pass your money along to the end, and the beer will come back. Can't see that working at White Hart Lane somehow: "Money? What money, mate?".

Also headed out of the city, for a day spent driving round Long Island, right the way down to the tip at Montauk. Watched some of the whale watching boats come in, though the passengers didn't exactly look stirred by encountering the kings of the ocean. Particularly the Japanese ones with their knives and forks. The Hamptons, as the area is known, is richly rural in a way unlike any area in Britain: even small towns like Sag Harbour are packed with designer dress-shops and arthouse cinemas. And, for this weekend, Presidents of the United States, since Bill C. was out there raising money for the upcoming election. You can imagine what THAT did to the traffic on the way back to town, Sunday night...

Plus of course there was the usual shopping, though I am sad to announce the (not unexpected) death of laserdisc: none in Virgin, and Tower were having a clearance sale: only in Kim's Video, down on 8th St, was there a decent supply. Buy now, while stocks last... So I return, refreshed, recharged and ready for action. Or, more likely, wishing I was still across in America, eating lasagne and watching baseball...cockroaches notwithstanding!


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