BootsnAll Travel Network

USA: Words are overrated

Words. They’re overrated. Well, I reckon, anyway. How do you describe the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the self-aware buzz of New York, the far-out-are-we-still-on-planet-earth bizarreness of Bryce Canyon in Utah? You can’t. Well, by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’. I can’t.

When I started this blog back in, holy shit, it was June 2005. Really? That can’t be right can it? Wow. Er, where was I, yeah, back in June 2005 (I still can’t believe it’s been that long), I was debating the merits of writing a blog to keep a record of where we’d been and what we were doing or simply sticking with the flickr account I’d set up to send photos back to friends and family. I figured at the time that photography is a mightily expensive, somewhat obsessive I’ll-sell-my-first-born-to-get-that-canon-5D hobby, whereas writing, well, all you need is a Moleskine, a pencil and your thoughts.

Three-and-a-half years later and it turns out I’m better at photography than writing.

But shit, I’m not gonna let that stop me.

New York

A month in the USA. That is what Bec and I have just returned from. A month spent eating lots of pizza (I was almost going to say too much pizza, and then realised that, well, that’s just stupid. You can’t have too much pizza), bagels, sushi, burgers, good burgers too. Drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Brooklyn Brewery wheat beer, whiskey, wine, sake (too much sake. Yes, you can have too much sake), sangria, soda, and Coronas.

Unfortunately only one of these was consumed whilst sitting in a giant outdoor jacuzzi surrounded by snow and mountains in southern Utah, but that’s just a small gripe really. Like winning the lottery and then complaining because you’re being paid in US dollars and all the different denominations are the same colour and how am I supposed to tell them all apart when I’m buying a slice of pizza and the people behind me are starting to sigh just a little too loudly and my fingers start shaking because I’m nervous and I can’t tell the money apart and then I hand over a 20 to pay for a 2 dollar slice and the dude behind the counter shakes his head and I sheepishly dump a handful of money on the counter and he sorts through it and takes what he needs which may well have been the original 20 for all I know because all the bloody notes look the same but I don’t really care because damn man that’s a fine piece of pizza.

You know what I mean?

Most of our days were spent in New York, marvelling at the architecture (oh Flatiron, how I love you so), wrapping ourselves in coats and scarves to ward off the cold; a cold that I particularly enjoyed mind you. There’s something about being in a big city in the winter that feels somehow more authentic, as though you’re seeing the city more in its natural environment. Which is of course complete bollocks, because it doesn’t matter what the weather is like, if you’re in New York you’re in New York. And as nice as the cold was, and as still and haunting and simultaneously inviting yet aloof as Central Park was in the snow; it’s icy lakes and church-quiet trails seeming an entire world away from the hustle of 5th Avenue, fuck it was cold walking through there.

We saw some amazing gallery exhibitions, a particular favourite was the collection of Cornell Capa images at the International Centre of Photography, we took in the over-the-top spectacle of a Broadway show, where even I delighted in the back-story to the Wizard of Oz (who knew witches were funny?!). We trekked over the Brooklyn Bridge, which reminded me why I (sometimes) love being a structural engineer. Sometimes. Its beautiful symmetry, and abrupt, stout towers offset by sweeping cables, reminding us that functionality doesn’t have to come at the cost of style and elegance.

We took in a music performance at an art gallery Chelsea, ate hot dogs and drank giant beers at Madison Square Garden watching the New York Rangers build a 4-0 lead over the Washington Capitals only to throw it away and lose 4-5 in overtime.

We hit the Mercury Lounge, and shook our tail-feathers to Staten Island’s finest 9-piece funk/soul outfit, The Budos Band. We picked up some old blues records in the East Village, to help kickstart my record collection (I was lucky enough to be given a turntable for Christmas from my lovely wife).

We dodged crowds in Times Square, including the guys selling cheap comedy show tickets;

Ticket seller dude, as Bec and I attempt to sidle past unnoticed; “Hey, you guys like stand-up comedy?”

Bec and I in unison; “Nope.”

“Yeah, neither do I.”

We laughed and shivered and cried and danced and drank, and watched college basketball on ESPN, and ate the most amazing meal courtesy of our friends, Conor and Liz who treated us to dinner at the restaurant where they had their wedding reception recently (and who are now expecting their first child! Woo Hoo!).

We stood on top of the world at the Empire State Building, having survived it’s endless red-roped queues and theme-ride feel down below, we saw Elmo at the Rockerfeller Centre Christmas tree, we rode the subway and chatted to friendly New Yorkers, we watched Monday Night Football at an NYU bar, where about 30 people watched the game on no less than 11 tv screens.

We felt like little kids at the Natural History Museum, looking with wonder at the giant condors and moose and deer and bears and sealions and elephants. And the dinosaur. Whoa, the dinosaur.

We spent Christmas in New Jersey with Conor’s Mum and family and friends, and drank eggnog whilst we listened to a Polish couple sound like angels as they sang Christmas Carols in their native tongue.

We simply enjoyed spending time in one of the greatest cities on Earth.

And after a few weeks in New York we headed out West, to check out Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and a couple of National Parks in Southern Utah.

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One Response to “USA: Words are overrated”

  1. Bec Says:

    We’d better talk about the whole selling of the first born. If you want a 5D, let’s just save up 🙂 xxx

  2. Posted from Australia Australia

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