Well, as promised, here’s a report on the more interesting points of my trip to America.
Firstly, the photos. The photos are now all uploaded to Flickr: you can either access them by city (Boston, Chicago, Philly, New York and Washington) or just view the whole lot. Secondly, internet access. Until I arrived in Philadelphia and checked my e-mail from the Inquirer offices, I had little to no access to my beloved internet beyond brief e-mail checks in my Chicago youth hostel. This is because the internet café, far from having the ubiquity that it has in other countries, is very difficult to find in the States, principally due to the blossoming phenomenon of wireless internet access. After all, why use some horrible, clunky, impersonal computer when you can sit back in your beloved Starbucks with your beloved latté and your beloved PowerBook? Of course, this doesn’t do the laptopless masses too much good: much as I’d love to cart my 20-inch iMac around America, that would be somewhere between impractical and ludicrous.
Moving on to specifics, the highlights from each city were:
- Boston: Quincy Market. Row upon row of shops selling just about every kind of food you can think of (yes, including two clam chowder shops). Just walking from one end to the other is an olfactory experience in itself.
- Chicago: the whole city just knocked me sideways. I had no clue of what to expect from the Windy City, having only added it to my itinerary at the last minute, so most of my first day there was spent in shocked wonderment. The best part of it would have to be the Second City comedy club.
- Philadelphia: eating cheesesteaks (possibly the least healthy food ever invented): two men, each with half a cheesesteak from Pat’s and half a cheesesteak from Geno’s. Add fries covered in Cheez Whiz and you’ve got a brilliant meal. Add 24 hours and you’ve got indigestion.
- New York: walking out of Penn Station and seeing Macy’s (the largest department store in America, possibly the world) right in front of me was probably the most striking moment. I think my words were “Wow, that’s big”. The most pleasant was probably Central Park for the sheer size and beauty of it.
- Washington: the party allegedly in my honour but actually an excuse for a load of journalists to meet up, talk about the state of the world and drink Bloody Marys. Add in marvellous food and one has a recipe for much winnage.
For now, that is all. Expect the second half of this post in a couple of days where I plan to talk about these crazy Americans and their crazy culture, about why I love staying in America and how I learned to stop worrying and love the Queen.