Project Konigsberg #6 Start spreading the news, i'm leaving today
You'd think with each successive day would come less stamina and more exhaustion, but the post-midnight finish on Saturday was a surprise. Perhaps the triumph over absurdity was such an emotional boost that we were all energised, or perhaps it was elation that we'd finally finished and might be able to relax a bit. Either way, it was the latest night yet but a lie-in was definitely on the cards.
So, I woke up at about 0630 or so, feeling like shit and with the light still on. I totally didn't enjoy staying at the Seafarers. The location was great and price unbeatable because New York is insanely expensive, but a single bed and no en-suite toilet or shower plus the limited choice of way too hot, or really loud breezy leg-level aircon unit... not much going for it.
Thankfully I had loads of fizz left so could rehydrate pretty quickly. I chatted with Helen while typing up the previous day's events and then thought, there is no way I am getting out of bed. My TV suddenly decided that instead of 1 channel it had 29, so I flicked through them until I found something which wasn't adverts or cartoons or God. This meant settling on a Fox News talking heads debate about immigration and Syrian refugees and oh my fucking hell please make it stop you evil uncaring intolerant selfish deluded misanthropic pieces of fucking shit.
Thankfully on another channel I managed to find a documentary about the horrors of the American penal system, and once that finished I hit paydirt: the History channel continues to defy its name and shows back to back lunatic conspiracy bullshit in the guise of MUFON Investigates. First, an episode about how Men In Black are a real phenomena and they're governmental or shadow-governmental or alien and they have inhuman powers of intimidation and etc etc CUCKOO. CUCKOO. Then another episode, about underwater UFOs. Perhaps I've misunderstood what the F stands for in UFO all this time.
Lester badgers me about getting up and going for breakfast and I brush him off. But 10am arrives and I really do need to think about showering, dressing, packing, blogging, and fucking off. So that's what I do. Murray adds to the badgering and I explain my predicament, and at the stroke of 1100 check-out time I reach the lobby. I get a tag and leave one bag in their office, then go to the mezzanine to steal wireless and post the blog entry and then we can leave. Mark is going to do his own thing, involving crossings we missed, while me and the Scotsman head to SoHo.
I don't really know what's in SoHo. Apparently it's a nice shopping district and the cab drops us at Spring St. Wandering along there are numerous high-end boutiques and then a shop called Evolution. Part shop part museum, this place is awesome. It sells bones and stuffed animals and freeze-dried animals and meteorites and crystal skulls and etc. There are racoon penis bones, a full gorilla skeleton - yours for just $15k, America - 405lb meteorites, porcupine quills, freeze-dried mice, giant hornets in resin, bear skulls, fossils, etc. I don't take any photos 'cos it seems like the sort of thing that would offend or annoy them.
Murray's mate Ian was also there, and in fact he and Andrei were seated almost next to each other at the but didn't know each other. Introductions were made and we all repaired to a table. I was instructed to order a Founders Oatmeal Stout and did so. Since I'd claimed earlier that I wouldn't touch booze until I'd eaten, this drink made me a liar. Whatever.
I did order food at the same time: a breakfast burger. It was painful to ask for salad instead of chips, this promise to my niece is a real pain in the arse. 2 months now. Anyway, the burger was fantastic and the stout wasn't bad either. NFL was on all the TVs, multiple games at once all at the same volume and the bar was getting crowded and loud despite being only 1pm.
There's a self-service area called The Pub with 2 taps. I grab a glass, put it under a tap, and basically nothing but froth comes out. I know how to pour beer but end up with a Copenhagen-esque 90% head. So I put it aside and try again, and the same happens. Well fuck this. So I get a bottle out of the fridge, except there's no bottle opener. Fucking hell.
I am in a rotten mood now. There's a pre-flight supper area but I don't want a sit down meal, I want a shit buffet of hot food and some easily obtainable alcohol. Eventually I find a fridge of other bottles and there is an opener, and there are sandwiches. That'll have to do. I get a seat and bitch like fuck about everything to Andrei. And before long boarding is announced anyway. I'm sick of JFK airport and want to get on board as quick as I can so I stride to gate 10 and get the fuck on.
Upstairs on a 747 is a happy place and I'm very happy with my seat. Unlimited legroom, aisle access, no-one clambering over me, and hello, yes, I'll have a champagne please. Once the cabin fills up there is a lot of musical chairs as various people who hadn't managed to get seats together rearrange the cabin, and the crew are so delighted with the outcome one says "more champagne for everyone!" and brings the bottle out. I am lucky enough to get a refill too.
Menus come out and they are cut down, this is a brutal red-eye service. In local time it's 7pm-7am on the timetable, but because of tailwinds and timezones this is only going to be a 5h45m flight so that's not a good amount of kip for most people, or even me. We taxi out into a queue of planes and way after the captain has told all cabin crew to take their seats for take off, someone from row 60 or 61 gets up and goes to the loo. A crew member shouts at the, the passenger says something back and this causes the crew to jump out of their seat and look out of the window. Has she claimed she saw something bad in the wing or something? Smoke?
Who knows. Passenger sits down then goes to the loo anyway and what the fuck. Thankfully for her we do taxi for a long time, behind a bunch of other planes and towards a runway that's being used for both take-off and landings. After about 45 minutes we take off and again, way before the seatbelt sign goes off or our climb completes, a bunch of people get up and start doing shit.