Tuesday, October 19, 2004

New York

Went to New York with Oska for a day on a Chinese bus. Chinese buses are buses that run between Boston's and New York's Chinatowns (though lately they have left from South Station in Boston) and charge only $15 for a one-way ticket.

The bus was as good as any. There was a friendly KGB (or whatever they call it now) guy in the seat in front of us who was asking a lot touristy questions. There were trees with red leaves outside the window, and some nice lakes. More importantly there was a bathroom stop.

South Station does not allow taking photos inside anymore, apparently in order to prevent evildoers from doing evil in the form of exposing its miserable food selection to the world.

When we got there Oska buggered off to some business meetings and I went to shop in Chinatown. Went to a couple of stores, bought lots of DVDs (way cheaper than in Boston), wanted to go to a third store but then figured that neither my budget nor my backpack would survive that and went to a teahouse instead. Had some tea and a piece cake of the variety that is usually soft but in this case was hard enough to be used as hammer. I decided not to eat the venerable pastry, which later turned out to be a mistake.

Finding Chinese-language-learning materials in Chinatown is just as impossible as finding Russian-language-learning materials on Brighton Beach, and I started making my way towards Central Park, where I was supposed to meet Oska at 2:30 or so. It was really beautiful outside. Walked a bit around Greenwich Village, found a used book store the size of Akateeminen, saw a place called Cosi where I'd had some drinks with Silja and Roman 3 or 4 years ago, and those drinks were somehow memorable but I don't remember whether it was in a good or in a bad way. Went a bit north, took some pictures of skyscrapers. Bought a fairly good smoothie somewhere.

Did not go to the top of Empire State Building this time. Probably should've - never know if it will still be there the next time. I used to like the WTC towers, one of them even had a bar with semidecent beer. Now I regret all the times I did not go there, but who knew?

Times Square is always Times Square. You can take pictures but you can't make them really look like the real thing. Bryant Park is also always Bryant Park. Probably would be sitting there quite often if I lived in NY.

Oska contacted me every once in a while and said he was gonna be late, later, and yet a bit later. Finally I went to sit in Central park, where a tall, dark and exceptionally ugly man tried to convince me to move to New York.

They have some dark brown squirrels now. Wonder if the squirrels came there themselves, or if somebody brought them there on purpose. When I was a teenager there were only gray ones; I'd seen the dark brown ones only around Niagara Falls.

I figured that Oska would come and then we'd get some food. But then Oska came at 5 and immediately starting dragging me back to Chinatown, saying that we are in a great hurry. I tried to explain that it does not take 2 hours to get from the corner of Broadway and 59th to Chinatown, but later it turned out that with Oska it kind of does. He dragged me all the way to Lexington avenue to get a bus, although I told him that the subway is both closer and faster. His argument was that he does not know how the subway works in NYC. It works the same way as the subways in the other 10 or so cities where he'd used them: you go there, pay money, get into the train and eventually out if it. But no, we had to run for the bus without a lunch.

The bus actually did leave 15 minutes early. They checked that all the people who bought the tickets were there, and did not bother to wait for people buying tickets at the last moment.

No comments: