Everything feels so foreign. It’s surprising, because it feels more foreign than it technically should. I’ve only been out of America for two years, but Brooklyn may as well be a different planet. This place is crazy freaky-deaky town. Everyone seems to be Jewish and no one seems to know each other. Half the signs are in Hebrew. The Walgreens has signs in Hebrew. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. Not just the concept, but the apparent necessity. Is it merely a show of support to the Jewish community, or is it actually a necessity in that there are people living here, in New-York-frickin-City who can’t read English? Walgreens sells Paskez candy. The 7-11 last night had a hechsher and everyone who came in was Jewish. I haven’t had a slurpee in two years so I grab my old usual, the blue cup, second to smallest. My friend asks why I don’t pay the few cents and get the bigger size. How could anyone drink that much sugared syrup? I forgot America was like this. I tell my friend the story of how when they first brought the Mini to America, they had to revise the interior right after launch. Turns out they didn’t take American size cups into account. Had to redesign the interior for a country that demands the ability to have a cup with two gallons of coke in it.
Everything seems to be kosher. With so much choice how does anyone manage to make decisions? I pass by a corner falafel shop. The sign proudly announces their selection of Israeli style food, including chicken. I look through the window and see feathers on the floor. I’m not sure whether to be surprised or not. They sell chicken, doesn’t it make sense the feathers end up somewhere? I keep moving and decide to get breakfast from a bagel shop. I stand there for a minute observing and deciding. There’s no such thing as a line or any sort of civilized order, everyone seems to come in knowing what they want, shout it behind the counter, pay and leave. It’s an inelegant system but it seems to get the job done. I order the number two, an omelet on a bagel with a side of what they call home fries and what I would call hash browns. I specify no coffee because I don’t drink coffee. Turns out I still have to pay for the coffee, because it’s all part of the special. Ten minutes later I can’t eat another bite and I’ve still got half the omelet bagel and all the fries. How do you put away that much food for breakfast? I’m starting to understand the American obesity epidemic.
I find a payphone and call my friend, who won’t be flying in until tomorrow. I ask him where I can find an internet café. He suggests a bit of espionage. “You’re right near Landers. Go in and tell the security guard you need to go to registration go up then go down to C1 and you can use the computer labs there.” Don’t I need a login? Apparently not. Touro, your security sucks. On the plus side I get to write this post while my first New York morning is still fresh.
The Dutch are efficient. I would call them the nice Germans. My flight took off exactly as scheduled and we landed at 8.20pm to the minute. ELAL could learn a thing or two. On the downside they gave my kosher meal to someone else. The stewardess was so apologetic I ended up feeling sorry for her. No worries, I always pack sandwiches just in case. Did you know Amsterdam Airport has a casino in it? I’ve had a stopover in Las Vegas, so I was expecting the slot machines they had, but Amsterdam outdoes them will a fully featured casino. I didn’t even know the Dutch like to gamble. Despite the world thinking of Amsterdam as just Europe’s weed dealer, the airport is very gentrified. With the exception of some t-shirts you can buy you wouldn’t even know where you were. It’s all clogs, tulips and Rembrandt. Also they have a model of the airport made out of Lego. I badly wanted to start playing with it, move the planes around and make airport noises. I remind myself that I’m 23 and move on. I need to get gifts for my various hosts. The Department of Homeland Security has limited the amount of alcohol you can buy at duty free to one liter per person. Nowhere sells quarter-liter bottles, so I end up buy packs of Davidoff coffee as gifts. I didn’t even know Davidoff made coffee. I give it to my friend when he picks me up. Turns out he doesn’t even drink coffee.
(This post sponsored by the good people at Landers whose computers shut off twice before I’d saved it forcing me to start again from the beginning. Twice.)