Tuesday, 5 April 2011

New York Conversation


Here's a quick post I thought I'd stick up after chatting with someone at work today.

The first time I went to America I landed at JFK airport and caught a bus into New York city to the Port Authority Bus Station.

After walking out of the station and standing open-mouthed, gazing at the enormous buildings like a rubber necking simpleton I went to the Interclub Hostel on the top floors of the Carter Hotel on 43rd Street.

For $15 I could get a bunk in a dorm for the night and I was planning to travel the country, so I had to keep an eye on my spending.

After chucking my bag onto the bunk bed in the dorm I was sharing with two Germans and a Japanese guy, I went outside looking for food and cigarettes.

So there I was, walking along a New York City street just off Times Square at 22:30 at night, people everywhere and car horns beeping incessantly, I kept expecting Spiderman to swing past or Woody Allen to go by.

I walked into the first likely looking shop and went up to the counter. There was a fat guy in an apron standing there who said "What can I get ya"?

"Coffee, two of them donuts and twenty Winstons, please", I asked feeling like Popeye Doyle.
This was fucking great, it was like being in a film.

"You want twenty packs? You wanna die young or sumpin'" said the bloke.

I then found myself explaining to the New York shop guy that in England we buy cigarettes in packs or ten or twenty so when I ask for twenty Winstons I just want the one pack of twenty fags.

I then found out that fag means something different in America.

The point of this is that the colleague I was talking to at work had gone to New York but had only eaten in McDonalds or drunk coffee at Starbucks because they knew exactly what to expect.

I suppose I could have done the same and that is the appeal of these chains, wherever you go in the world the quality and taste remains the same.

But what's the point in travelling somewhere to get something I can get at home?

Instead I went into a New York deli just off Times Square and it was brilliant.

47 comments:

Oilfield Trash said...

Imagine how hard it was for me in Scotland to ask for a fag. lol

vickilikesfrogs said...

I like it that you wanted something you couldn't get every other place in the world. I agree!

Belle said...

Interesting post. I love hearing about new impressions people have of places. Great idea to try something new instead of what you are used to!

Haven said...

Ahaha, I love the cigarette story. That made me chuckle a lot.

When it comes to food I'm the same way when I travel to other places. You're in a new place, try new things! I love it.

justine love said...

so you were trying to buy 20 fags of Winstons... *chuckles*

bobo said...

Yeah, I like to try new stuff too when traveling. Although there is some appeal to getting something familiar, especially in longer trips.

It's also fun to see the slight differences in McDonald's for example...

mark fellows said...

Cool story! Good for you for not going the beaten path, and gaining experience, and an interesting story!

Amy said...

Yes, one does need to be careful when offering money for fags in a big city, you might get what you are asking for, even if it's not what you meant! Very amusing blog!

GodsSin.blogspot.com said...

packs of 10? that's weird.

Tony Van Helsing said...

OT: Ask for a pint of Heavy when in pubs in Scotland.

Vicki: American donuts are nothing like British ones
Belle: When in Rome...

Haven: I draw the line at eating eyeballs or squishy bugs.


Justine: Glad I didn't meet Winston.

Bobo: What are the McDonalds differences?

Mark: To be honest I was in an English speaking country so it wasn't as though I was trying to buy sea urchins in Rangoon.

Amy: thanks, it could all have gone terribly wrong.

GodsSin: Ten packs is nothing. I used to be able to buy single cigarettes for 10 pence. We called them seppies.

myjoyproject said...

Good call on the deli... had to be done
I can relate with the star struck rubber-necking... I love NYC :)

sigh

Mynx said...

My first day in Bali I went for a walk and ended up on public transport to get back to my hotel. Loved that experience despite the slight fear that I was going to end up somewhere in whoop whoop as there was a bit of a language issue.
I loved trying the local food but it was one place you had to be careful with where you ate. Still came home with Bali Belly

Jessica Thompson said...

Sounds like you had fun! Yeah the language/culture barriers are sometimes troublesome, but you get used to it quick. And I agree, no point in going somewhere to eat what you can get all the time at home. Supporting and following. alphabetalife.blogspot.com

Margaret said...

Very disappointed that you friend didn't try anything different. New York can have great food!

Al Penwasser said...

Yeah, if you're caught smoking a fag in New York City, you might get into a little trouble.
Except with the fag, I suppose.

Tweeks Coffee said...

great post. following!

altadenahiker said...

I believed the whole thing until I came to "sumpin." We say "summthin."

Nuker Zero said...

Part of the allure of traveling to me at least is enjoying the food. Eat some new york pizza, have some southern barbecue pork sandwiches etc etc. Trust me, you'll remember the food long afterward. I still remember this crab sushi i had in reno...mmm god.

Moob said...

this is a pretty humorous exchange

Jewels said...

There really is nothing more entertaining to me than language barriers. haha. Greatness.

bobo said...

Oh usually the differences are in regional meals. For example in the Phillipines, you can get a side of rice I believe.

Here in qubec, they have a dish called poutine that's on their menu. Small things like that.

Of course even their regional differences still isn't the same as going to an actual local restaurant and trying it out there.

Krissy said...

I always try to eat somewhere that I can't eat at home. You have to be willing to try things when you go new places, even in the same country. NYC can definitely be overwhelming though.

Patti D. said...

those confusions are supper funny.

Ann Nichols said...

Really fun! I love hearing about your impressions of NYC!! Right on the mark!
Ann
Did you ever see spiderman???:)

Voit said...

Now I understand why the US gay community doesn't like british people :)

Lynette said...

love it when I went to New York before. Alive all the time. I miss the cities so much. Have been in the country for almost 10 yrs now.....oh for the bight lights!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Myjoy: Couldn't help rubber necking, it was vast.

Mynx: I New York I could have got Deli belly.

Jessica: Cheers, my US road trip was some of the best months of my life.

Margaret: New York has AMAZING food.

Al: I've now given up fags.

Tweeks: Thanks mate.

Alta: Sorry, racial stereotyping on my part. I could have had him wearing a vest and smoking a cigar.

Nuker: I've seen some of those Southern pork sandwiches with the meat all shredded on Man vs Food. Makes my mouth water.

Moob: Thanks mate

Jewels: I know, we both spoke English and there was still a language barrier.

Bobo: What is poutine?

Krissy: you're telling me, NY made my head spin.

Patti: Glad you enjoyed.

Ann: I did see a bloke dressed as Batman, wrong city.

Voit: No-one likes British people, not even other British people.

Lynette: I know, I lived in London for 3 years, it was hectic.

Miss FFF said...

When I first came to America at 12, I learned the hard way that rubbers means something entirely different.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Miss FFF: Erasers, please.

The Barreness said...

Well done, Tony.

I seriously loathe people who only eat at well known, homogenised, bog standard chain restaurants.

Err...except Starbucks in the morning, obviously.

And uh...the TGI Fridays I found myself when last in Madrid. (Okay, but this was NOT my idea.)

Anyway New York is known for its delis and the characters which inhabit them. You almost can't see the city without visiting one of them.

- B x

bobo said...

Poutine is only the best dish known to man!

Fries and cheese curds covered in gravy! Heart attack on a plate, but oh so worth it!

Colin B said...

You've probably seen more of the US than me, and i live in texas :x

Bushman said...

Nice little story. Coffee, cigarettes and donuts ahhh the breakfast of champions.

JapRoulette said...

I want to go to US! HEHE :P

Tony Van Helsing said...

Barreness: You aren't on your own. The first two days I was in Barcelona I ate at Hard Rock Cafe.

Bobo: Any food that contains the word 'curd' sounds nasty.

Coiln B: You live in an extraordinary country, enjoy it.

Bushman: A meal for any time of day.

JapRoulette: What's stopping you?

bruce said...

great post and nice story... i totally agree, i want to go to the real world of the places i visit...

when i was doing the busking thing i always found some locals to lead me where they went...

local flavor trumps corporate flavor every time!

Katsidhe said...

It's learning about a country's slang such jolly fun? And when I say "jolly fun", I mean "fucking embarrassing". ;-)

Very enjoyable entry, sir.~

Tony Van Helsing said...

Bruce: Glad you liked it, what did you play when you busked?

Katsidhe: Thank you, once you get over the fear of embarrassment it becomes jolly fun.

Ryan said...

Siq Post BRO!!!

ed said...

haha fags - btw nycer here

J.B. said...

Wish I could visit ny once. "twenty fags" haha

Fugazi said...

Nice read, I like how different countries refer to stuff different. Even in the USA people from different states refer to stuff differently. Following.

C Mo Gunz said...

The states can be a crazy place! I remember I went to Florida and got lost!!
Cool read, Followed.

LauraTheSoberLeprechaun said...

I've been to NYC. Don't get lost in NY alone, on new years eve. It's hilariously scary. I wandered around and had a winter hat that had to dangly balls on strings on the sides and two random buddys who were running around selling presidential condoms and they saw I had a hat that had blue balls on it and damn' near exploded with glee. Some tourist has a picture of me holding a condom and my hat now.

JayPower said...

Lmao! sounds exciting ;D

Vivian said...

Oh, sweet sweet NYC.

Christine said...

You just made my day! Thank you for the laugh :)