Monday, September 03, 2007

US of A lessons – Part 2

I learnt:
- How to order a coffee. Seemingly quite the feat for a lowly South African who only knew she likes hers strong & unsweetened;
-There is no chance I am living up to this season’s IN outfit…short bubble dresses (with LESS bubble) & aviator sunglasses;
- That sightseeing with sporty people will cause you to end up, very sunburnt, atop a mountain in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, rather than in an infamous jail. And it will be worth it;

- Never ever leave the trip early, even if work is calling, as your friends will end up in Mexico;
- the Staten Island Ferry is Free, and it is one public area in that town where you are legally ok to pop open a beer;
- You can talk on your phone while driving your car in California, but do not dare NOT wear your seatbelt when sitting at the back of the car, even if you have to lie across the backseat so as not to throw up;
- Santa Rosa waiters are MexiCANs (and some are HOT ones at that), but the lady in the chocolate shop in Palo Alto (home of Apple software) was an MexiCAN’T-Give-You-Any-More-Free-Samples;
- To be philosophical by asking the question: Is it a gay bar if it is located in the gay capital suburb of the world’s capital gay city;
- Cooking your own food can actually be fun… when done so in a tiny in-demand Japanese restaurant in the East Village, with the pot of boiling water in the middle of your table. Strong sake (rice wine) does not hurt the experience;

- “Sake it to me, baaaaby” is hilarious after much sake;
- America is full of freebies: make up, make overs, food samples, cosmo cocktails, nutella pizza slices, ferry rides etc;
- Bagels with lox;
- if you are a black American gangster-wanna-be, you must talk into your cellphone like it is a dictaphone…. The other person’s side of the convo apparently not necessary. If you are a suit, you walk the Avenues of New York using a hands-free kit talking about your deals aloud;

- Small Town Americans are hilarious, sweet, dodgy, and happily just allow you into their lives and homes;
-…and then get stoned while feeding you a Greek gourmet meal at 2am, while laughing at your stories of how weird they are;
-Factor 30 is good protection when tanning topless at California lakes in summer;

-Job-seeking Puerto Rican strangers can give the most incredible insightful advice while the two of you enjoy iced lattes opposite the Empire State building;
- To take a trip to Alcatraz requires booking days in advance;
- You cannot drink red wine in parks or beers in cars on roadtrips…and probably strong vodka on beaches (or rather, it is illegal to do so);
- Native American beer is just plain gross. Too hoppy;
- Brooklyn is not to be underestimated as great entertainment;
- Armani released a new fragrance with Beyonce. It is called Diamonds. It is only available in Macy 5th Ave, New York. Or if you know where to look in my cupboard;
- Macys never ends;

- Never try to sit in the front of the yellow cab, even if you are an African and that is how you do it back home;

- The nasal accent of “The Nanny” is not exclusive to New York Jewish people but can be found in Sebastopol, California as well;
- Cousins in SA can be a godsend when one is still drunk, about to take a 5 hour flight across a continent, having lost one’s book of all info including the alarm codes into the cousin’s brother’s house in the city of arrival, let alone the actual house address;
- No American that was encountered voted for George Bush;
- Nick, the copywriter, who gets inspired at the bar counter of the half Irish Pub/ half Indian Restaurant somewhere in San Francisco, is going to be a famous writer one day;

- Moma (The Museum of Modern Art) is closed on Tuesdays. Plan wisely;
- Men with 17 year old daughters or who are uncles of the bride will happily try to bed young twenty-something international girls;
- House parties that start at 3am, which may have been hosted by a guy in a Cuban hat called Carlos but no one was too sure, and include only complete strangers from Mexico, China & Hawaii, are incredible fun. But be warned. They may end on a beach an hour away. Or in some American neighbourhood of flags, with you snoozing at the back of a mustang convertible;
-Never take remaining wedding cake with you past such parties, as strangers will be tucking into it at some stage;
- There is little to no crime in America, relative to SA, and I LOVED it;
- Americans are shocked at how we live, crime considering, in SA;
- “In n Out” is the new MacDonalds. Favoured because it uses real meat & potatoes;

- Rum and cherry coke is not recommended, although drinking it out of a martini glass does improve the effect slightly;
- The best way to get a nice ass is to move to SF & walk everywhere. [Who builds a city on mountain ridges!?!?!]
-Brian, the hottest Irish barman on the Upper East Side, enjoys using the line, “You have the most incredible eyes I have ever seen”. He also has just brought out a rap album that he does so well in convincing all his lady admiring drinkers to buy… for a listen, take a ride in my car;
- Northern California beaches are nothing like Hollywood’s portrayal of Southern Californian ones;

- The main actor of Entourage has been known to hang out in an (excellent) French restaurant in the Brooklyn area on weekends;
-Hitchcock shot the film “The Birds” in Bodega Bay…don’t miss the town of Bodega’s scary church which also featured, and the laugh-a-minute thrift shop of red cowboy hats, parasols, hemp clothing, and metre-long signs to Australia;
- The Castro is slight daunting – the women in the area more than the men;
-The Korean-American, whose regular is a North Beach blues bar, is probably still wondering if all of you are succeeding in your hunt for water today;
- Americans are ridiculously friendly;

- Such Americans include: Jeff the Trader, Cinderella the Nurse, Steve the Fireman, Nicole & Michael the couple who are upcoming reggae artists, Olivia the barlady, and onwards;
- I am an East Coast gal rather than a West Coast gal;
- Subway cars are beautifully air conditioned; subway platforms are not;
- Red Woods are as amazing as the rumours let on, and should be hugged (No, that's not me in the pic);

- If you do go to Brooklyn, best you visit 90 Jay Street in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) & tell Steve the owner I say HI! And thanks to him & his hot bar ladies for only free cosmos & beers after 9pm that Monday night…that landed me getting back to my host’s house at 7am on the day of departure from the States;
- One of life’s best things is finding a person you can travel perfectly with… even if she is from a country literally on the other side of the globe (Norway) and likes to eat whale meat when home;
….my darling Norwegian…. See you in Vienna for our next year’s annual international trip!!! And get your ass off the Mexican beaches already!


RB said...

I want to see the one of you outside the Empire State Gebou!

Or on top of The Rock or outside SAKS or on the ferry or on a plane or in a diner or in a cab or in a bar or dancing in a bar on top of a table or comatosed out peopdronk on the floor of a bar at which you were earlier drunkenly dancing on top of the tables or ordering tequila at a facy resaurant out of which you were thrown for drunkenly dancing on a table before the dessert arrived.

Will we be so lucky to see such a photo?

Champagne Heathen said...

There are none of me outside the Empire State Building though!

As for others... they are mainly on others' cameras. Where I am hoping they stay! And do not manage to dangerously venture much further!! You'll have to bribe a Norwegian or an American Swiss...

Anonymous said...

Wow sounds like quite the trip! You're very lucky.

Champagne Heathen said...

Indeed I am. Lucky and happy and loving it all.