Monday, 6 September 2010

'There's a new whole foods store here, they sell bio-degradable food'

Things have moved on considerably since the jet-lag hotel situation. Granted, I'm feeling a little dozy right now but I think that's from consuming a peanut butter sandwich, which, despite my best efforts to find bread without sugar in, was definitely considerably sweeter than a UK one and a whole load of grapes which need a couple of bites to eat without choking. My stomach's got a lot of sugar to deal with so it's nicking all the energy from my brain.

Enough of the pseudo-science and back to reality. Although, I'm still finding it difficult to believe I'm actually here - three mornings on and with a pretty hefty amount of Williamsburg and part of Manhattan investigated. Stuff I've got goonishly excited about so far:
- people gambling in the street under the railroad of Flushing Ave. Station on Broadway.
- Being able to buy a hotdog for $2
- Seeing the Empire State and Chrysler buildings from the warehouses of Kent St, near Brooklyn's coast to the East River whilst on my way to this.
- Seeing tiny pedigree dogs walked and carried EVERYWHERE.
- The fact that there's a stuffed deer head in my apt.
- Waking up to blue skies, bright sunlight and fire escapes on the buildings outside windows.
- The literal metres of choice of bagels and peanut butter and two 'Vincent' products in the supermarket.

The supermarket has been my latest conquest (shortly following the subway and the shopping streets of Upper East Side Manhattan). Not least because you have to squeeze through metal bars to get in, which considering America's obesity statistics is somewhat cruel. For all that popular culture can teach you about America, I was still left standing, gawping, staring at the shelves. I was Mr. Burns, picking up identical bottles of stuff and trying to decipher between 'Catsup' and 'Ketchup'.

Whilst I picked up an insane amount of asparagus for $1.69, buying a bag of Spinach would set me back double. A whole cooked chicken will cost you as much as some boxes of cereal. Poptarts come in every flavour except the 'produced for the UK' Choco-mallow. I picked up a box of 12 's'more' flavour ones, but after the sugar OD of sandwich and grapes I'm going to have to take a 'raincheck' on them. Strawberries are cheap, win, prepared salad leaves are not, fail. Journeying around Key Food I found my brain's feeble mathematical capabilities going into overload - not only converting everything into sterling, but creating a weird kind of food ratio, e.g: huge lump of Parmesan : one bottle of 'magic soap'; 'jar of pesto : 24 poptarts'. Maybe that's why I'm sleepy too.

Meeting other lovely Americans has also brought to light the most unlikely aspects of British vernacular which remain unrecognised in the US. British accents are pretty much un-commented on here; only when I asked if they stock Rimmel in Sephora (FAIL) and spent a good while trying to pay for a bottle of Snapple's Pink Lemonade (the addiction that started in California aged 11 has come back to haunt me) with change have my home county tones become apparent. However, words like 'fortnight', 'stone' (as in weight) and 'pastiche' are apparently Brit-centric, if not in need of definition. Fortunately so far my new buddies are cultured enough to know what I want when I ask for the loo, as yet the dreaded 'restroom' has not been uttered from my lips.

Some things, however, seem not to change across the pond. Yesterday a septuagenarian commented on my shoes, which then struck up a long conversation about dance footwear and comfort over style - this has happened at least three times before in Blighty, and it makes me feel all the more at home here.

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