Location: Mount Kisco, New York USA
(Well, it lasted about three tracks before it started making annoying beepy noises.)
Flying in over the great lakes region (I think), looked down through the patches of cloud and thought I saw enormous tracts of sand. Soon realised that it was snow in the dawn light and felt rather chilly, and rightly so — the north east of the US is in the grip of a cold snap, as I would soon discover.
Arrived at JFK with a slightly shaky landing, stumbled off the plane and through immigration, getting the famous fingerprint and photo routine done on the way. Was directed by about 5 people in turn (after only asking one) onto a bus to Grand Central Station. Our bus was driven by a psycho woman who (we couldn’t help but learn) was named Betty.
Betty was quite keen on the horn, the accelerator, and when required, which was often, the brake. She was also quite keen on chatting to all the uniformed people she picked up and dropped off along the route, and bitching about her schedule and her bus being changed on her.
Peering out through the dirty, snowy, windows (or trying to), it occurred to me that this was entirely different to Japan. There the buses were spotless, were driven smoothly and sedately by white-gloved Japanese men, and ran perfectly to time. Here there was traffic, graffiti all over the place, and we couldn’t see out the side windows. Here also cost $13, whereas there was free. Hmm.
After eventually arriving in one piece, I took a run-down yet clean and fast train to Mount Kisco, for $8.50. Got a cheap cab to the hotel and checked in. Was relieved to find earthed power points, but not so relieved to find another crazy whirlpool toilet. This one also makes pooping sounds while it flushes, at least that’s how it sounds to me.
Walked to the local car rental place, which was ten minutes away, and realised why everyone drives everywhere: it’s just too damn cold. Rented a butt-ugly Toyota Echo sedan for a week until I can buy something. Concentrated extremely hard on driving on the wrong side of the road. Turning right when the light is red scares me.
Did some minor shopping, saw a Subway, and went in search of something familiar to eat for dinner. It wasn’t quite as familiar as I would have liked… first there was no chicken fillet on the menu. Then, after going through the usual interview process up to the cheese and then sauce, they completely skipped the salads and gave me a roll with nothing but meat on it. Too tired to care about it then, so sometime soon I’ll have to work out what you do to actually get some veggies.
Ate dinner in my hotel room while using the provided network connection, and deleting large amounts of mail. Am just about to collapse into sleep as I write this at 8:20pm. Good night.