Last night as the airport shuttle bus pootled endlessly through Manhattan, the couple o’ Brits sitting behind us has had already formed their verdict of the city. “Can’t say my first impressions are good,” sniffed Missus, “Nothing special is it?”
“No,” said Mister, “And they make it look good on the telly too.”
“Why is this bus taking so long!” Missus shrieked suddenly, “I want to go home! I want to go home!”
Well, I want you to go home too! I longed to say, But how about I chuck you under a taxi instead?
Yes, the shuttle took ages but that was all part of the charm. I was having a great old time just peering out the window at all the people and pizzas and cops and stupidly famous buildings and crazy car parks where they rack up the vehicles on top of each other like wine. I saw some great signs too, with excellent fonts. Oh yes… few things thrill me more than quality typography.
So Gareth and I had juuuust checked into the hotel and were idly debating Who Was The Most Stinky after eight hours in the air when the phone rang.
“There’s somebody here to see you,” said the receptionist, “His name is W something?”
It was Witold! Only one of the most wonderful humans in the universe. After so many years of blog stalking and friendship I’d always planned to be… you know, WASHED… should we ever meet, but now he’d spontaneously dropped by after work to whisk us away into his lovely rainy city. So what could you do but follow, in your grotty unkempt way?
He was like our Mary Poppins, amazingly kind and generous and mega thoughtful.
Except he was a bloke.
And wasn’t prone to bursting into song.
And he dished out MetroCards instead of spoonfuls of sugar.
And there was a subway instead of a chalk drawing.
And it was New York, not London.
BUT HE DID HAVE AN UMBRELLA.
So we trailed after him adoringly and hey presto, five minutes later we were in the middle of Times Square, gawking at neon and getting sprayed by taxi puddles.
Then he took us to a Japanese restaurant, the first place he went to when he landed here over a decade ago, so all the restaurant guys lit up when he walked in. The sushi was deeeelicious. The three of us polished off a bottle of sake. It tasted clean and clear like the essence of a noble Japanese mountain or something.
So it was a great start to our trip and when I drifted off to sleep with a pounding head, I scrawled blog entries in the scratchpad of the brain, trying to describe that giddy feeling when you’ve imagined something in your head for years and the reality is a thousand times more brilliant; better than the telly, better than the internets.
NB: Am blogging this a day later while drunk again and it’s 5.36 AM back in Scotchland. Scuse t=ypos!