Travelling around New York


This evening I got an UberPool to the restaurant where I was meeting my friends. I hadn’t encountered this before – with a normal Uber or UberX, where a car appears, driven by a random member of the public, and you’re then whisked to your destination. Instead, with UberPool, a car appears, driven by a random member of the public, and then you’re driven 13 blocks in the opposite direction to pick up another random member of the public, who doesn’t understand that to get into the car she has to be at street level and not up in her apartment. And then you sit for 30 mintues in rush hour traffic, growing nauseous and enraged until finally you clamber out on Broadway, somewhere north of Times Square, outside a Chinese restaurant.
I was so out of it that when I entered the restaurant, I didn’t recognise my friend at all, until he waved at me. Too much time with spreadsheets, I suppose. I sat down, braindumped at him for two and a half hours, went to the toilet twice (the urinal seemed to be full of ice cubes, which rather disturbed me, but perhaps that’s just a New York custom) and then at ten pm we went our separate ways. I had hoped to meet another friend as well, but she was trapped at a Chrismas party and unable to escape to eat braised tofu. Where were her priorities, you ask?

The hotel is 31 blocks south of 52nd Street, but my friend told me that would only be a mile and a half’s walk, so I set off, calculating I needed the exercise after doing nothing all day. Unfortunately, as I strode through the streets that never sleep, I realised I had done something today. I’d bought two one litre cans of olive oil from Trader Joe’s to take back to Singapore, and those were in my backpack, along with a computer made from finest lead, a jar of peanut butter and as many other heavy things as I could pack in there.

So I yomped back, through the electronically lit overload of Times Square and then south, on increasingly decrepit roads, until I got to Gramercy Park By then I was close to fainting, the unseasonably warm weather combined with the strenous exercise to leave me light headed and feverish. Or perhaps it was something I ate.

Well, I only ate too spicy tofu and brown rice. I guess it must have been the two litres of olive oil that have done for me.

Back at the hotel, I carried on working until midnight local time. It’s wonderful how productive you can be by doing UK hours, and New York hours, and Singapore hours all in the same day, but it rather leaves you with a ruined brain and a wish to get away from it all. Or to get outside and see the world by walking around with a knapsack full of groceries.

I imagine.

Less than twelve hours until I fly out of America again. It’s been quite a trip…


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