Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do not go gently into that good morning.

It was the heat that initially struck me about Amherst. When I pictured Massachusetts I was expecting cool to frigid climes and heavy snow fall for a few months of the year. Getting off the bus almost left me flawed.  It was only a few metres to carry all my gear, but it might as well have been miles.

Michael and I checked into our orientation dorm and immediately noticed how bare the bedding was. It was simply a mattress. We headed downstairs and caught a bus out to to target, purchasing the kind of bedding and full-size toiletries that would make our mothers proud. I stopped by the neighbouring Best Buy and walked out with the kind of Blackberry that would have impressed people in 2006. With this, I had finally arrived at UMass, my (2nd) year abroad, and an attempt at domestic life in a foreign land.
Soviet style accom.

There were some basic orientation tasks. Campus tour, quick dinner, a few rules etc. All in all it made for an incredibly boring night. Everyone was in the same situation and it seemed that without alcohol, few people were willing to introduce themselves to others. Needless to say the night ended quickly and quietly. Though the sun had set, it had zapped the energy from most people. I grabbed some left overs from dinner with the intention of eating them for breakfast, but after a few hours realised that leaving chicken out overnight is a worse idea than leaving it out for a few hours. Around 11 I ate said warm/stale chicken wrap and hit the sack.
small-town America

This morning's breakfast was a better opportunity to meet people. Michael's lazy arse stayed in bed, while I treated myself to a coronary on a plate. There were mutterings around in German, Chinese, a little bit of Greek and a lot of English. It could have been any hostel in the world, except people were up before 10.

The American breakfast introduced me to more people who had screwed up their visa forms, as well as some interesting cats from around the world. It served as a prelude to our official welcome, which turned out to be an hour of back-patting for the UMass staff. Mind you, they had done a hell of a job getting so many people over there.

The next activity was a meet and greet for undergraduates. After half an hour of hearing people's stories blur into eachother it was only a few people away from my turn. All of a sudden last night's chicken woke up to remind me that leaving it out - even it was for a few hours and not overnight - was a bad idea. There was no warning, so I rushed to the nearest restroom, reliving Renton's famous scene from Trainspotting before readmitting myself to the auditorium, a lighter and wiser man.

After the meeting Michael and I headed into Amherst itself to complete some errands at the post office. I received my new visa form and mailed it to Washington D.C. immediately. If all goes well, I will be legally here until Aug 31 2010.
no crying

The walk itself was blistering. There was an immediate wrong turn that doubled our time in the harsh sun. We finally made it to Amherst in about 30 minutes, sunburnt and dehydrated enough to finish our drinks in a matter of seconds. Again we got lost on the way to the Post Office, but we got a great opportunity to see some of what the small town has to offer. When the weather calms down I'll spend more time downtown (all two streets).

We returned in time for a bbq/ice cream social held by two mobile phone carriers. Again I met some more cool people (including a guy from Gdansk when I was wearing my Danzig shirt). It's a shame that I feel so many of them will fade away from my memory, as right now it's a constant bombardment of people, places, schools and interests.

The next few days will be dominated by more information sessions, all of which seem rather boring. But hey, it's what I signed up for.

Dinosaur Jr - Over it
J. Mascis of Dinosuar Jr lives in Amherst and had way too much to do with me coming here. Also, Michael and I want to learn how to skate. I'm already working on expanding some skater (sk8r) lingo into my everyday rhetoric. Anyway, this clip is amazing. Enjoy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shipping up to Boston

The final night in New York began and ended in the downstairs room of the hostel with varied degrees of sensibility. Sensible that we didn’t end up going out to bars, irresponsible that we gathered a small group to drink with downstairs.

There was an English girl, with a typically British smile but an unbelievably smoking body. She bought a dress for $2.50 from an opshop that had only one sleeve and looked like something out of Star Trek. When she left for bed I jokingly mentioned that maybe next time she can afford the rest of her dress, but it came out as more of an insult than witty charm. Facepalm.

The night was punctuated throughout with trips to the deli across the street for $2 beers. I tried a different one every time, opting for two different pumpkin ales at various points. They were odd choices, but somewhat delicious, one tasting like cinnamon, the other like...pumpkin.

The next morning required an early wake up, pack up and feed. We had to grab all of our bags, walk to the subway, get through the gates, change trains and finally get to the bus stop. The A train didn’t arrive, so we were left in a momentary limbo until we jumped on another to Penn Station. From there we were able to grab our Megabus and head through New York on our way to Boston.
Boston, like Brooklyn, but clean.

The bus went through the Upper West Side, leaving a poor feeling in my wallet. Next up was Harlem, where the feeling greatly subsided. Finally, we saw where Manhattan ends and where The Bronx begins, detouring past the new Yankee Stadium.
Brilliant idea.

The freeways continued as we went past Hartford, Connecticut before getting into Boston four hours after the original departure. Once into the hostel, Michael and I went for a walk through Boston Common's outser streets so that Michael could sort out his new iPhone. The iPhone is an amazing piece of technology and has the ability to make people ignore one another and the outside world. Michael is able to hold up a two-way conversation on his own, so the combination of the two should form some happy balance.
80's Bob

We continued past one of the city’s trendier areas and I stopped to grab a pair of shoes. It had been a year since I bought some new ones and the current pair had become holier than a nun. They had served me well, but the blisters and holes became too much.
To old friends, may your soles live forever in Dog's kingdom.

Boston itself seems to be a great place. I only stayed for one night as I figured I would be able to spend weekends there given its proximity to my university. The streets are pretty, there are a lot of young and intelligent people and the place is mad for sports. Choosing to spend the best part of a year living close to it was instantly gratified on arrival.

Today is the first day of school. Michael and I are on the bus to Amherst, via Springfield, to begin the orientation process. First and foremost I have to sort out my visa, as it would be devastating to leave at this stage. Secondly, I can’t wait to head back to class. Being a mature age student whose marks were too poor to initially get into university has left me with a different perspective. I love what I study and the work is rarely boring or cumbersome. More than anything I’m grateful that it has afforded me the opportunity to travel which is an education in its own right.

I’m not entirely convinced I’m ready to settle into one spot for an extended period of time right now. It’s only been 3 weeks since I arrived and spending my days on buses/trains and shitty bunk beds has yet to wear thin. That said, I am beginning to cultivate a pot belly. The more weight I put on, the more my wallet loses. Regardless, it will be nice to unpack and remember that even if I’m not moving about, I’m still thousands of miles from home, and that in itself is the next best thing.

NB: I wrote this on the bus a few hours ago before the net died.

***Song: The Dropkick Murphys - Walk Away
One of Boston's finest bands take on marriage. Yeehaa

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ain't nobody who can sing like Woody Guthrie

Learn to read
I must have seen Paul Dempsey/Something For Kate play live somewhere between 10-15 times by now. What’s one more right? Leah (an actress), Peter (a weirdo) and I all hopped on a J line train after stumbling through some of Brooklyn’s darker streets. After a quick falafel stop we went to the ‘Living Room’ to catch a Paul Dempsey solo set. By the time we got into the room there was one table left...right in front.

It was odd seeing Paul in a place outside of Australia. As he played a ‘free’ show a bucket went through the audience for his tips. He was also selling his latest album (it’s amazing) out of his backpack, like every other struggling musician. I may have seen him plenty of times before, but only on this night did I utilise some testicular fortitude and meet him. We chatted about the time he played ‘Taillights Fade’ by Buffalo Tom, ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’ by Brian Greene, Sonic Youth living near my American university and how much he loves The University of Wollongong. He was such a gent and his wife/bass player is smoking-hot in real life.

Leah and I hung around at the bar until close, stopping for a deli sandwich on the way. Once she left to go to bed the door opened and in popped my friend Michael. He is from my university in Australia and is doing the same exchange program as me. It was about 2 or 3AM by this stage so we grabbed another beer and caught up with some crazy eyed Canadian before getting some eventual/overdue rest.
Michael is impressed by the city's bright lights.

Our plans the next day were thrown about when Michael slept in...until 2PM. A quick shuffle about and we ended up with bagels for breakfast/afternoon and our arses on subway seats. We headed to Manhattan, hanging out around midtown checking out the extraordinarily busy streets before I caught up with my Auntie and Uncle and Michael went to the empire state building. The day was blistering, so before my rendezvous had to stop at a pharmacy to try out/wear some deodorant.

My Auntie and Uncle took me out for pizza, hitting up the same place I went to the day and years before. A quick cup of tea followed before I met up with Michael again and we headed back to Williamsburg. A quick change of clothes was followed with a journey through some of Williamsburg’s more interesting streets. Homeboys were sitting on stoops, Puerto Rican flags were hung over the streets and on the corner a crackhead was giggling as some guy kept telling her to go home.

We made it safely to Barcade, possibly the best idea for a bar in the world. As well as its extensive selection of draught beers, Barcade is filled with 1980s vintage video games that run for a quarter. For every beer we would spend a few dollars playing Tetris, Mrs Pac-man, Paperboy, Marble Madness or Crystal Castles. The typical hipster Williamsburg crowd was out, with Buddy Holly frames and plain lenses being a fashion staple. There was even one guy posing for photos for about half an hour.

After a few hours Michael’s need for a burrito had to be satiated so we stopped by Bedford Ave to grab his dinner. After a cheesy, beefy and beany delight we went to a bar that was full of dogs. Literally. There was a bunch of dogs hanging out the bar while the owners drank. A pair began to fight and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to throw one dollar bills on the ground and place bets or if I should let the owners know.  Like all good dogs they became friends and I even met one of them (Ace of Spades Frehley Kiss). The night had skipped forward to about 3 or 4AM by now and there were vague recollections of jukebox tunes, shuffleboard and various other confusing memories. Another deli sandwich, a tall can of Budweiser and it was time to call it a night...sort of. There was a bit of vomit between the sandwich and bed, but I was thankful the next day.

Another sleep in followed the previous day the girl at the bagel shop seemed rightly perplexed when I greeted her with good morning...at 2PM. An hour on the subway was spent sitting next to a man who was possessed. When he slept his eyes would roll back into his head, yet his eyes would not fully close. Instead they flickered, offering one of the most frightening sights of my whole life. After a long ride through Brooklyn the train stopped at Coney Island, a perfect place for a hot hungover day.

Woody Guthrie's street.

We headed to the beach to see what the fuss is about and I was immediately stuck by the number of people out there. Given the water’s reputation for being cold and dirty there were a lot of punters out there giving the tiny waves a chance. Swimming would have been a great elixir for a hangover, but given neither brought our gear we opted for some rides instead. After having our fortunes read to us by a machine like the one in ‘Big’ (I have to stop being judgemental/need to cultivate with a redhead (exact words)) we lined up for Wonder Wheel. It’s a ferris-wheel with sliding cabins. It may have been idyllic for a hangover, but the sunshine and relatively fresh air was pretty spectacular.

The carnies harassed us for games as we walked along the boardwalk and streets on our way to Cyclone. It’s an old roller coaster that looks pissy from the ground level. Maybe it was the fact that it was old and by the sea, but the inherent safety issues and hidden levels of speed made for a pretty great ride. Finally we stopped for a hotdog at Nathan’s, home of the hotdog eating contest, before catching a train to Dumbo.
cheer up

Coney Island was brilliantly tacky. It’s rundown, bright, loud, obnoxious, dirty, yet it’s an amazing fun and great place. It’s a metaphor for America, or at least some of the parts I’ve seen.
Lucky I ordered the medium, not the ginormous.

Dumbo stands for down under Manhattan Bridge overpass. We found a grassy knoll under Manhattan Bridge and tried to shake off the rest of the hangover. Michael’s non-stop talking continued despite the extraordinarily loud trains travelling over Manhattan Bridge every 90 seconds. The sun began to set before we made it back to Williamsburg for Pizza.

We planned a quiet after the previous one’s expensive and painful results. We caught the subway under the river and went to a Union Square cinema in Manhattan. Our entertainment was provided by the best busker I have ever seen. This young guy was playing an acoustic guitar through a portable amp and had the lid of a tin of tuna paper clipped to the sound-hole. His pinkie would tap out the beat whilst his other three fingers would play the guitar. He shredded some Michael Jackson tunes whilst singing along pitch perfectly. Better yet, he was not homeless, simply needing the money to cover his University Books. At the cinema Michael reluctantly joined me in seeing Piranha 3d but was glad he did by the end. Everything about the film was hilarious, even the sexy bits. If there was an award for ‘most bitchingly awesome film with giant boobs’ this would have it wrapped up. We joined crazy-eyed Canadian for a sandwich and nightcap (dark chocolate stout) before our quiet night ended at around 3AM.

An early morning was planned as we had been terrible tourists over the last few days and I was going to see my Auntie and Uncle again. We met at the Staten Island ferry for a quick ride across the river and immediately returned. From what I’ve learned Staten Island is not the place to be.
the giant green lady will crush us all

The four of us went for a jaunt through Wall Street before saying good-bye to each other. It had been a lovely surprise to be able to catch up with my Auntie and Uncle so many times and they were generous with their well wishes.

Michael and I then headed to Union Square so I can finally replace my shoes. It had been over a year since my last new pair, but Vans in my size seem to be incognito in this city.

We later headed to the apple store so that Michael could join the masses of people who ignore one another and purchased an iPhone. We went next door to F.A.O. Schwartz and tried to play the massive piano by the line was too big. A quick rest at Central Park ended the day in Manhattan before heading back to Williamsburg.
Williamsburg has been a pretty great place to spend a few days. It's not far from Manhattan, but has enough going for it in its own right. There's people selling books on the street everyday(I got some Kerouac and Kafka for $4!!!), lots of great restaurants and bars and everyone here seems to be young. Ignore Times Square, it's a bunch of flashing lights and tourists, head to Williamsburg instead and you'll have a great time.
Tomorrow we head off to Boston before landing in Amherst for the start of school. It’s a shame this improvised road trip is coming to a bit of a hiatus, but I promise, there will be more, afterall it's only week 3 out of 50 on this magnificent rock.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are from NYC. I have to admit I was unsure for them for ages until I heard one of their songs at the uni bar in Wollongong. Eventually I found my way to this gem of a track which I had somehow missed 7 years ago. It's amazing and I feel bad for those 7 years I went without it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let's Be Young, Let's Be Crass Enough To Care

A disco-nap pre-empted heading out in New York. For the last two and a bit weeks I’ve managed to push on through minimal sleep, but by 3PM yesterday, Seattle’s bbq and the red eye flight had forced me into a mini slumber.

I awoke at 5pm and almost immediately headed out for dinner. Grant, another guy from the hostel came along for a slice or two of pizza before we both went our separate ways. We had met earlier that morning and had grabbed bagels for breakfast with a girl from Sydney. She is from Bondi and loved to share intimate details about her cocaine habit with anyone who will listen.
Trespass much?

After the pizza I headed to a pier in Williamsburg and was surprised to see people fishing off it. The water is green, yet despite this there are warnings that the fish from it should not be consumed. It had started to rain slightly so I made my way to the Williamsburg Music Hall.

Mogwai’s film ‘Burning’ was filmed there over 3 nights in April 2009. The music hall had a rudimentary projector and screen set up and was premièring the film. Like most Mogwai concerts it was loud, but contrasted with the black and white images made for a pretty engrossing experience. It was so good I had to remind myself not to clap at the end of each song. Like the two times I have seen them live, I even managed to jump during ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ when it gets loud again. Amazing.

I went back to hostel and met a Belgian girl. We decided to head back to the pier to take some photographs, but due to some construction work it was closed. We managed to sneak through some fences to do a bit of trespassing and photographing before stopping by a bar on the way back. The Belgian girl whose name I forgot/was too hard to remember was a bit of a motormouth. It may have been my exhaustion, but I could barely get a sentence in.
Much prettier than amateur photograph in real life.

I was distracted on my way to bed by a gathering in the hostel’s lounge room and its massage chair. After meeting some more people and grabbing some late night beers I finally made it to bed at 2AM.

The rain outside was something equally pleasant and terrible to wake up to. For all of its lovely sounds, it is a pain in the arse to negotiate without an umbrella. After another bagel and tea stop I took the subway to the Museum of Modern Art. It seemed like the perfect way to spend a rainy day, but I was not the only one with this idea.
Seurat, sewer rat

A quick fight through the crowds took me to the 5th floor. Again, I won’t profess to know a great deal about art because I don’t. However, there were a few artists/paintings that I was able to recognise. Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ is remarkably tiny, and Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ is better than any postcard. I recognised some Seurat and Mondrian and even checked out some works by Rothko and Jackson Pollock that are nothing like the style they’re famous for. I was disappointed that half of one floor was shut down. It was the era that I had wanted to see, hoping to catch some Hopper and Litchenstein works.
Picasso, grapes, guitars

This gallery had a tremendous wank factor about it, but was nullified by the equally annoying hordes. There is something about someone who carries around a camera in their hand, it appears they lose the ability to look where they are going or walk in a straight line.
Mondrian, just like the cups I stole from my last job.

After a few hours in the museum I walked about 20 blocks in the rain to get to a pizza shop I visited a few times when I was here in 2007. I remember their mushroom and chicken & broccoli (sounds disgusting but is amazing) pizzas from last time and replicated the order. It might have caused a bit of foot ache, but was completely worth the effort.
Art wanker.

Another 20 block walk was in order to balance out a bit of the meal I had just punished. I stopped by the Chelsea hotel, where a whole bunch of people (Dylan, The Ramones etc) lived. I would absolutely love to stay there, and may even treat myself to it over winter should finances permit (credit card anyone?).
Strung out like some christmas lights.

I gathered myself back onto the subway before heading back to Brooklyn. I’m finally dry again and ready to go see Paul Dempsey play a free acoustic show in Greenwich Village. Life in the big city sure is tough.

Song: Mogwai - The Sun Smells Too Loud
This is my favourite song from Mogwai's most recent album 'The Hawk is Howling'. It's remarkably cheerful for them, but if it's not what you're in to then check out the ironically titled 'Happy Songs for Happy People'. PS, this fan made video is a reason youtube is great.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Flannel, coffee and microsoft.

The first hostel in Seattle was located in a pretty ugly part of town. It was right at the start of Chinatown, but mere metres from the main train station. I decided to walk from the hostel to the downtown area half an hour away to see a band. The streets were filled with homeless people, train station toughs and drunks sitting on the steps of skyscrapers.

After stopping for cash I heard a voice from behind ask me for directions to a homeless shelter. Great. This guy had a sob story about how he was stranded in Seattle on his way back to Alaska, where he was born and raised. He told me how his bag was stolen and that he couldn’t stay with his family. He elucidated on his financial status – one dollar, one penny – and that he had only eaten 1 pack of ramen noodles for 3 days. I told him I didn’t know where the shelter was and wished him the best of luck. His reply was “I’ll be fine, Jesus has a plan for me and this will work out”. Not quite buddy. The fact that you’re waiting for this situation to be fixed by some divine intervention is probably the reason you only have one dollar and one penny.

In typical American fashion I went from extreme poor to riches in a few steps. I made it to The Triple Door, a venue that has a theatre/restaurant downstairs and a cocktail bar with strict dress code upstairs. The walkway that separated the two was filled with a giant aquarium, home to a black and white polka-dot sting ray. I went there to see Black Francis/Frank Black/The singer from The Pixies and for $25 I was sat at a table, three seats from the stage, while waiters scurried around taking orders and pouring drinks. The room wasn’t very large, and was decorated like most classic theatre. It was ornate and a beautiful place to see music.

The opening band was an acoustic group. Their songs were reasonably generic, though they did throw in a cover of ‘Streets of Baltimore’. For the show I was sat next to Ben, a 40 year old web designer from West Seattle. His girlfriend was out of town and he was on call for his job but decided to treat himself to the show. He spoke of his impending fatherhood and the time Peter Buck pissed in the urinal next to him.
Black Francis came on at 11PM, immediately apologising to the crowd. The concert was running late and he could no longer afford banter between songs. To get the set done he would have to play his songs fast, and with no gaps in-between.
Black Francis was joined on-stage by a bassist/organist and a drummer, whose kit was the definition of minimal. There was a snare, a floor tom activated by a kick pedal and a few cymbals. The set was informal, with Black Francis tuning his guitar during one songs outro. The band set cues to each other through nods, and the venue was so intimate that when the guitar amp was muted, you could still hear the strings of the electric guitar vibrating. There weren’t a  lot Pixies songs played, but he did throw in ‘Where is my mind?’, famous for its appearance in Fight Club.
After the show I had to walk down the same streets, but it was 1 am by this stage. I used to worry about walking down unfamiliar streets on my own at night, particularly when I know it’s not a great neighbourhood. However, in pretty much every city I’ve been to in the States it’s something I’ve successfully negotiated. It is not always without incident though. When I returned to the hostel a pimp had just tee’d up some business for his client. She was to be picked up from the corner of the hostel in 5 minutes.

After checking out of the hostel in the morning I made my way across town to check into the new one. I went to the Green Tortoise to check in and found I had no reservation there. The man behind the counter looked just like Jerry Cantrell – a Seattle native – and was helping me sort out the booking. After going online I realised I was in the wrong place and had to walk about 10 more blocks, with all my gear to get to the new place.
Once there I was able to drop off my bags and head out to the city. I walked by the water, checking out the giant cruises and views of Seattle’s industrial harbour on the other side of the bay. From there I went through the city’s markets. Naturally, they were packed with tourists, all led there by their guide books. The little market square featured the first Starbucks. I had done well to avoid the place in Seattle, and the giant line out the front ensured this would continue.
"Maybe you're just supposed to experience it. Because when you look at it, you're to feel something, right. It's like looking into something very deep. You could fall in" You all should watch Mad Men.

After escaping from the markets I went to the Seattle Art Museum. They had all sorts of great things including an exhibit on Japanese tea, a room full of tea pots, a Rothko and a Jackson Pollock ‘painting’. My experience with art is fairly rudimentary, but as far as I’m concerned every time Jackson Pollock sneezed paint onto canvas the world (and Australian Government) opened its wallet.

Upstairs in the gallery was a Kurt Cobain exhibit. It was an interesting take on his life and had as many brilliant pieces as it did shitty. The exhibit on him was a reminder to me of how far I’d come. A few years ago (well, high school) I would have done anything to be in Seattle. All I would do is listen to Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and the soundtrack to the film ‘Singles’. Now that I’m here I don’t listen to those bands as much - I even turned down the Layne Staley tribute show that was on the night before – and subsequently I’m not doing as much hero worshipping at certain musical landmarks.

From the art museum I decided to walk a few blocks to the Bank of America building to check out the observation deck. It was closed. Shit. Instead I headed back up town and walked to the other side of the city.

Hempfest 2010 was on by the water so I decided to check it out. On my walk to the park I noticed all sorts of crusty and unwashed types were making their way to the park. The crowd was an amorphous tie-dye blob and by the time I made it to the festivals gates, I felt like I was going into Woodstock.
Here for the Renaissance room at the art museum.
Everyone was happy this guy made it.

My patience for the line ran out and instead of hanging out with the crusty, unwashed types I headed towards the Space Needle. It was a beautiful day at the bottom of the hill, but after walking to the  tower and waiting for the elevator, Seattle’s famous rain clouds began to make their presence known.

The view from the top was great, and even if the idea of an observation deck has been done to death by most cities, Seattle’s contrasts of harbour, downtown and historic villages made for some impressive viewings. I stood outside for a few minutes just watching the container-ships come in, ignoring every other tourist and photo op.

I was finally able to check into the hostel after my visit to the Space Needle. After going to the room and meeting Axel – a German law student – I headed downstairs to the free bbq the hostel was putting on. I met the hostel’s owner who told me it was their third anniversary. I sat outside eating a burger and drinking free beer in the sun, mingling with people from all over the world.

After three or 4 pints I noticed the cumulative effect was beginning to hit me. The beer was from a local brewery and after sinking a few I was told it had about 9% alcohol content. The bbq seemed to go by in a blur from there on. I met some more lovely Germans, Geoff – an Australian who had spent two weeks at guitar camp, a number of the hostel’s staff and some other random punters.

The bbq seemed to have gone by really quickly. By 10pm, 6 hours after I arrived, everyone had cleared out. I ended up going inside and met two random people, a Colombian and a girl from Birmingham, who both recognised me from the earlier trip to the art museum. I found it a little odd that I would be so recognisable, given that everyone else in the city was dressed up for Hempfest.

The next morning I woke up sore. It must have been about 3 am before I went to bed, with hazy recollections about what had occurred before. I desperately tried to shake off my hangover, even opting out of my beloved tea for the strongest coffee I’ve had for a while.
Donatello, my least favourite.

After a quick breakfast with David and Kathi, the loveliest of the Germans, I headed for the Experience Music Project. It stands for something music project and is in a building designed by Frank Gehry (more like Frank Garish #dadjoke).

Part of the ticket included entry to the adjoining sci-fi museum. Considering most of the stuff is donated by Paul Allen, I thought it was a bit of a let-down. Sure they had a Captain Kirk tunic, but for the most part it was shitty props, books and posters.

The EMP was a bit like a scaled down version of Cleveland’s Rock and Roll hall of fame. It was fairly Seattle-centric, but not as good as its Cleveland counterpart.
Hendrix's national anthem guitar

I went back to the hostel before joining Kathi and David for some doughnuts and coffee. I spent the next few hours with them as they were leaving the next day and were just looking for something quiet to do. When 8pm came round I said my goodbyes and headed for the airport.

It was sad to leave the West Coast. The next flight, a red-eye from coast to coast, represents the end  of my travelling/tourist experience for a while. The East Coast is where I will study, and over the last few days I have began to forget that is the reason I’m over here. I’ve had such a great time travelling overland and I’m glad that I was able to draw a simple path on a map and follow it through.

The flight itself was a bit of a non event. Three and a bit hours to Chicago with 1 hour of sleep, followed with 2 hours to New York with no sleep. I did opt out of a McDonald’s breakfast in Chicago when I saw a mouse/rat scurry across the waiting area by the restaurant.

Now I’m in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and have already gone for a bagel and giant cup of tea. I’m glad that I’ve been to New York before, having checked off most of the tourist things. It means I can spend my time the parts I missed last time. Still, it was great seeing that Manhattan skyline from the taxi, it really is a beautiful thing.

Tonight I’m going to a film premiere in a cinema not far from the hostel. The band Mogwai filmed three concerts there and now they’re playing the whole thing in the same venue. Très excited I are.

Song: I walked past Seattle's Moore Theatre and remember I pirated vhs I bought of a concert there. It was the band Mad Season, pretty much Seattle's junky collective. They made some great tunes and here is one of them.