Today - man, today's weather sucked. It was soooo friggin hot and humid! We wisely chose an indoor activity today and took a tour of the UN, and only had to endure the trek to and from Grand Central. The UN is really interesting. It's situated on the East side of Manhattan, and although it's in New York, it's actually international territory, so we can say we left the United States today. We got to see places like the General Assembly Hall, the Security Council and the Social Economic Council. We also found out some startling facts about things like military expenditure - such as the fact that every 10 minutes, about US$9 million is spent on arms, and something like 70% of that is spent on the development of nuclear weapons. And in a year, that's more than $700 billion. In comparison, a range of programs to implement democracy, give everyone in the entire world clean drinking water and enough food, education etc, doesn't even come close to costing that much. And we also found out that 80% of landmine injuries happen to civilians AFTER cessation of conflict. Man, we are so not getting our bond back on this planet.
After UN, we went back to Grand Central, which I have to say is a pretty damn impressive building (although most things here are like that!). Oh, and I bought the Harry Potter book :) I know I was meant to wait until I got home to read it, and I seriously resolved to stick to that, but it was much easier to resist the call when I hadn't even seen it in shops yet. But I saw it at Grand Central today and that was it. I'm not meant to read it until the bus to Chicago, and G agreed to let me read the first chapter, so I think I will ask her to lock it in her suitcase until then to help me resist the temptation. Needless to say, this bus trip has suddenly become so much more exciting.
This afternoon we were totally buggered by the heat, so we headed home early for some lunch and some sleep. We ended up going to this fast food joint called Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits about a block from our flat. Here in America, what we call biscuits in Australia are called cookies, so we were interested to see what they called a biscuit. It turns out the texture and taste is like a scone, only these ones are flatter, saltier and more buttery. So that was interesting, if not necessarily worth the calories.
We spent a nice lazy afternoon at home, and I apparently 'passed out' on the couch for half an hour with a book halfway through The Golden Girls. Oh yeah, that's another interesting thing - television shows actually start on time here! when they say a show will start at 5 pm, it will start at 5 pm, and not a second later. In fact I was reading a TV guide magazine and I read a complaint letter - apparently one show started a whole 27 seconds late and screwed up the guy's recording! bizzare. They would die if they found out how late stuff goes in Australia. Channel Ten, you could learn a lot from this *coughbigbrothercough*.
This evening we were meant to be going to Kristeen Young's gig, but a) we're kinda underage and b) we couldn't really be bothered anyway, so after going there to pick up some stuff for our lovely hosts in Chicago, we headed over to the Staten Island Ferry. One thing I love about New York - if you're bored at night, you don't just have to go to a bar, and you're not restricted by public transport hours! We took the ferry at like 10:30 pm. It's about an hour's round trip and it's free. We really enjoyed the breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
Tomorrow is another early rise as we follow our host's mum to Chinatown to get a gist of where the bus to Philadelphia stops. Then it's off to The Empire State Building and Herald Square, where I will have to excercise every ounce of my self will to not waste more of my money. I have to keep reminding myself that I actually am on holiday for two more weeks and I still have to eat every day :)
Whoa, this entry is heavy on the words and very light on the pictures - not because there's any trouble with the blessed thing, just that I can't be bothered going downstairs to get the cable, then transferring ther pictures to the computer, then uploading them to the net...I'll do it soon. Promise.