Sunday, June 17, 2007

25/04/07 New York - Kwarfee

The showers in Hotel 17 are tiny. Good water pressure, but if you were to throw your arms out during a rendition of the 3rd aria in Verdi's Stagliatelli, you'd find both broken at the shoulder. There are still no signs of the hotel's resident drag queen we were promised by a previous tenant.

We went into Stealbucks Coffee because it seemed to imply we could use the internet there. We could, but only if you pay T-mobile too much money, so we didn't. After that we strolled and took in a large Virgin. Finally we rested in a small, empty snack bar run by (Asian) Indians selling (Asian) Indian-style food disguised as American-friendly wraps.

We finally got our internet fix – Cath had work to do – in a public library where we got to observe daytime library users, who somehow don't differ from country to country.

Our next snack was at Amy's Bread where we popped in partly to avoid the rain. Here we had coffee and sticky buns and I was introduced to Devil's food cake which is rich, gooey and in parts probably made by Satan himself it's so tasty. Here we got to see some examples of pudding, plus what American's call scones, which are almost the same thing as we call them, but not quite.

There seems to be a lot of people walking around whilst reading here. It seems dangerous, but shows how comfortable people feel. For Catherine it feels safer on the streets in New York where traffic is more orderly and less diverse than in Amsterdam. I have seen people cross the street whilst reading a book, which seems madness, but probably makes you smarter. The other thing I saw that I couldn't do is people walking around carrying a plastic bag that said "Stop using plastic bags." Too much irony in one disposable item.

For dinner we sought out a Vietnamese restaurant, but were disappointed. We found the one we were after, but it seemed to cater more for students (cheap and you get lots) than for those who like food to do wonderful things to your taste buds. It was a bit bland. But filling.

For culture we went back to UCB and watched a show of try-outs of sketch and improv groups. The host couldn't describe anything without using half a dozen superlatives, which the audience seemed to not mind, but bothered myself and Lady Catherine. The shows was a pretty mixed bag. There were a few improv groups of varying degrees of experience. Highlights included a double-act featuring two builders on a lunch break which had great fast dialogue, part of which at least was improvised about random stories picked from the paper and about the bizarre things they had in their lunch box. The best were the team of four girls "from the admin department" who were putting on an improv show. It was sublime to watch these characters talk about every suggestion and comment to each other during their deliberately terrible scenes. Hilarious.

No comments: