Thursday, June 25, 2009

Other Things We Did On Holiday


As both my loyal readers will already be aware, the Fella and I got married in New York, and I've been put under some pressure to release this news to the interwebs.

We decided some time ago on a City Hall wedding (so-called, despite the fact that the ceremony takes place at the Office of the City Clerk three blocks away, and not City Hall.  A fact pointed out to me with some irritation by a City Hall security guard).

The ceremony took place here:


As you can see, no expense has been spared on the recently renovated Marriage Bureau.  I would like to have seen it before its $12.3 million makeover.  I can't help feeling if they'd just spent $12,300,030 instead, they might have made a nicer impression at the entrance.

It was nice enough inside, though.  Waiting for our number to flash up on the screen it was a bit like a supermarket deli, but with less chooks and more brides with prams.

So on the day, after walking from our hotel (if you're going to spend $60* on a wedding, you might as well be tight about everything) we arrived at the bureau with rings, frock, marriage licence (obtained earlier) and no witness.  Fortunately the witness of the couple ahead of us kindly agreed to act for us.  Thankfully she had no objections to the union when asked by the chapel clerk, although she did look for a moment like she was trying to articulate a niggling doubt.

The ceremony took about 90 seconds, and was very nice.  Despite having to marry dozens of couples every day, the chapel clerk didn't yawn, and actually looked interested.  Perhaps she was.  We're pretty interesting.  

Here we are in front of a City Hall backdrop that's provided for couples who are confused about why a City Hall wedding does not take place at City Hall.  Oh, and I've changed our faces a little for anonymity.



After being pronounced Mr and Mrs "surname mispronounced in predictably Spanish manner", we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to have lunch at the River Cafe.  This was very nice for me, and I had a lovely selection of animals (octopus - the great big "attacking Dr Who while screeching and flailing enormous purple tentacles" kind, not those pathetic little baby ones, and salmon of the bog-standard delicious variety that are enjoyed by bears all around the world).  

The Fella did not fare so well.  

When asked about vegetarian options, the maitre d' (yes, not a waiter - it was that posh) said they could do a plate of vegetables.  Which they delivered.  It was a plate with carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes and beans.  All cut into very, very small pieces.  The assumption being that if you're vegetarian, you must be a little challenged and should not be trusted with a knife.

He was not overly impressed with this, but then we had ice-cream, so the world was much better again.  And with respective ice-cream headaches and octopus breath, we wandered off as a married couple to find a train back to Manhattan.

*plus many thousands on sundry expenses

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Most Splendid Adventure

We're back from New York, complete with non-Swine-Flu snuffles and lots of shopping bags from Macys.  Blogging was not possible while I was away for a range of reasons: it was stupidly expensive, hard to do when there's an ice-cream in both hands, and not as much fun as shopping.

Am itching to compare the city to a certain crunchy fruit, to exclaim that it is a somewhat excellent town, remark on how city business does not appear to cease throughout the night, and start disseminating communications, but am determined to avoid all cliches in this post.  

We had a super-excellent time, and learned a lot in the process.  As they say, you notice the little differences.  

For example, let's say you're crossing a road at home. You've got the little green man, and you're in a crush of pedestrians hurrying in both directions.  A Ford Fiesta screeches up to the crossing and starts honking, with the balding driver yelling out the window, and as you step in front of the car he nudges forward, causing you to scurry away in fear.  Would you:

A:  Get off the crossing as quickly as possible and thank your deity of choice that you weren't killed?
B:  Instinctively blame yourself, and feel bad that you were in the way?
C:  Stand your ground, give the driver the look of death and the finger, and scream "!@&* OFF!!!!"?

Now, let's say that instead of a Ford Fiesta it's a big white BMW, and instead of a balding man it's full of gangsta-types dripping with bling and gold teeth, and instead of Northbourne Ave you're at Times Square.

I can report that option C will make the Fella very anxious indeed, and point out the likelihood that there are firearms in the car as he drags you off the road by the ear.

Lesson One learned.

Another of the little differences noticed was food.  The enthusiasm for enormous portions, eaten at great speed is something that immediately made me feel at home.  But it necessitated the placement of this poster in all pizza joints:


The poster is a sensible idea.  This hotdog is not:



Lesson Two:  if you're asked if you want chili on your hotdog, they don't actually mean "chili". They mean another two varieties of ground up animal piled on top.


This was seen on Bleecker St.  

Yes.  I would be surprised.  Very surprised.



This is the Fella's favorite street.  Sometimes he is sooooooo immature.

This sculpture is in City Hall Park.  Let it be a warning to all to never let pigeons eat crayons.

Arty shot on top of Empire State Building.  Some would say "out-of-focus."  I prefer "arty."



This is a painting in MOMA.  I wish I paid tax in New York so I could complain about how my tax dollars were being spent.  But then secretly be delighted at the total coolness of this painting and giggle when other people weren't watching.

{Edit: Two art historians have pointed out to me that MOMA is not a taxpayer-funded institution, and therefore my joke makes no sense and also I am dumb and smell funny. Well, nobody else saw fit to comment on the financial administration of the museum, and everybody else appreciated the post for its puerile penis joke.  In your face, art historians.}

Brooklyn Bridge, from Brooklyn, in the rain.  Rain did not put us off having double choc-chip chunk ice-cream. 

We did other things too, but they'll need to wait for another post.  My fingers are too cold to go on.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Captain Lovestain

Greetings from the Qantas Club at Los Angeles.

Our day started extremely early. Even Stuart didn't bother getting up to see what I was doing at 4:00am, but thankfully his appetite appeared at about 4:15am.

Checking in at Canberra started with some promise. "You've been upgraded on the leg to Sydney," the lady at the counter said. My heart did a little leap. Tap tap tap tap tap...... "Hmmmm, no, sorry, Business Class is full." My heart sank a little. "And the flight from Sydney to LA is full." My heart sank a little further. She perked up - "The flight from LA to New York is usually pretty quiet." Head lifted from depths of sadness. Tap tap tap tap tap......"Noooooo, actually, that's going to be full too." Dull ache in my heart and tingling sensation down my left side.

Anyway, at least me and The Fella had a seat spare between us on the domestic leg. No such luck on the next leg. Row 67, with him on the aisle and me in the centre seat. We knew the window seat was going to be occupied, and both prayed that it wouldn't be Piers Akerman.

We didn't have to wait long before a Jack Black type bloke approached us. "I'm your worst nightmare," he said. Seriously. He really said that. You're not, I thought. My worst nightmare was the dream I had involving disturbing intimacies with Andrew Bolt (which remains the main reason I can't watch Insiders). Turns out Jack Black guy wasn't nightmarish at all. Took more than his share of arm room, but in fairness, he had to put up with my night terrors after I fell asleep watching Watchmen. Which answers that question about who watches the watchmen. Me.

We were welcomed to the flight by Captain Lovestain. I have nothing to add to that.

Flight was shorter than expected at 12.5 hours, so could have been worse. Got through customs without any dramas in LA, except for a beagle that took particular interest in my backpack. Anyone who knows me knows that there is NO WAY I was carrying fruit. I suspect the dog's interest was raised becuse a certain cat peed on the bag yesterday. It was well-washed, but a beagle's nose is mighty powerful.

Off to New York in an hour. Have to go now to eat as many pastries as I can in that time.

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