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Off to New York, New York, America

Posted on 2008/11/09 17:07:41 (November 2008).

[Saturday 1st November]
Both Chie and I headed out from the flat this morning, both heading for different airports bound for different countries - I was going to New York for a week's business trip, and Chie had decided to go and spend a few nights in France with our friend Junchan.

I actually cut it a bit fine - my flight was at 2, but I didn't leave the flat until after 11. Luckily I can get from the door of my flat to the check-in desks at Heathrow in just under an hour, and there weren't particularly long queues when I got to the airport.

As someone who utterly hates flying, I am never willing to say it was a good flight, but I suppose relatively speaking it wasn't too bad either. It was a bit bumpy, and a bit tedious in places (the movie selection wasn't particularly riveting), but thankfully it was a bit shorter than the sort of flights I'm used to - around 8 hours rather than the usual around 11 hours for San Francisco or Japan. Cutting those few hours off did seem to make a difference.

I arrived in New York some time around 6 o' clock in the evening local time, by which time it was already pretty much dark. I wasn't overly keen on the idea of getting a taxi - even though I was on expenses it seemed an unnecessary extravagance. So instead I got on a bus. It waited around a long time before going anywhere, and then seemed to take an age to get into Manhattan (the traffic was pretty bad). I then had a fair old walk from the buss station (Port Authority?) to where my apartment for the week was going to be, so it was about 8 o' clock by the time I finally checked in.

I got in touch with a colleague who was staying at the same place, and fortunately he hadn't eaten dinner yet, so the two of us decided to go out for the evening.

We wandered down to Greenwich Village and started off the evening at a Mexican restaurant which wasn't all that great, but was at least filling.

Next up we decided to wander around and find a nice bar. By chance we happened upon a Japanese izakaya style place called Rockmeisha which instantly appealed to me. Therein we had some sake. Two types - the first (Yatsukushima?) was served in traditional masu after which we tried a second - Otokoyama. It was nice to have the opportunity to speak a bit of Japanese with the staff in there.

Finally we made what was in hindsight something of an error of judgement - my colleague said he really fancied a cocktail and I, rather ill advisedly, thought "what a great idea - that's absolutely the right thing to do - there's no way that could be considered a bad idea!=.". So we went to a bar called Cafeteria. I started with a Dry Martini, then had another cocktail which had something to do with pears (I don't really recall that well). The bar staff there were all exceptionally camp, and rather pleasingly our check at the end, in the absence of a table number or a booking name, was simply entitled "Brits".

It was a jolly fun night out, and I had to admit my first impression of New York was of quite a fun place... although it did turn out to have some rather unfortunate consequences for the next day.

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