Friday, August 26, 2011

In Search of Politically Incorrect Cigar Smoke - part 2

Needless to say on exiting the Lincoln Tunnel we ended up going towards Hoboken and Weehawken due to roadworks and a posted diversion via Aberrsywyth.  We are now well on our way to the BMW MOA  International Rally at Bloomsburg PA.

As Jack's voice was not available on the GPS I use Erika who promptly gets upset with me due to the enforced diversion - nice!
I forgot to wave at Jack's sister when passing Lyndhurst but here is a library picture.

I blinked and missed the Delaware Water Gap but here is the River Mosel instead taken from the rather well located service area.
We encounter one of those mighty GSs on migration - we are near the MOA rally at last.

First things first

 At this stage we have not located Jack R as nobody we ask can understand our accents?  We wade through the extreme heat and humidity of the Bloomsburg show ground looking out for Jack and taking in the exhibits on the way.

The awesome Puch Maxi moped - the sort of machine that people living in Horley would hanker after.

I try in vain to purchase this for my front garden.

A lemon of a combination.
A nice honker

Wunderlich go camping on  a grand scale

Nikos wonders why anyone would want to spend all night looking at the final drive of a GS in extreme discomfort (i.e. camping)
This is more like it if one really has to camp
If my memory serves me correctly, we found Jack R.

Sat on the right  - Jack R!
Jack is a member of Mac Pac (an affiliated BMW club) and here is their gazebo where we were warmly welcomed like any long lost colonials would have been.
Anyone for a BMW Test ride?
In the hope of winning the rafflle (prize = BMW motorcycle) we attended the grand Closing Ceremony packed into the grandstand and were warmly serenaded with kerosene flames from some sort of bizarre Northern American atmospehere warming ritual  - as if it wasn't already hot enough!

The Closing Ceremony was, how should one put it, long winded and we noticed that our friendly Mac Pac team had quietly vanished away!  

Combinations are big and red in the USA
Later that evening .....

The Holiday Inn Bloomsburg welcomes MOA participants
The sun sets over PA
Several cocktails later (made to Jack's exact specification) we launch into the appetisers

Friday, August 19, 2011

In Search of Politically Incorrect Cigar Smoke - part 1

Spoiler for the big one: 
Jack's instructions were quite succint but this did not stop me waking throughout the night worrying about finding the Lincoln tunnel.
If you are looking for the fastest way to get to Bloomsburg, Pa from New York City, try this:

a) Get to West 39th Street (at 9th Avenue) and take the Lincoln Tunnel (I-495 West) to New Jersey (No Toll)

b) Once through the tunnel, bear left and go up the helix (twisty ramp). Do not go to Hoboken nor Weehawken

c) At the absolute top of the ramp, try to get in the middle lane. You are looking for signs that say "ROUTE 3, Secaucus, Clifton

The exit will be to the right, but not the absolute right. (You will be in a kind of concrete conduit.)

d) Get on Route 3 WEST  (The absolute left will put you on I-95 The New Jersey Turnpike, which doesn't help.)

e) Take Route 3 West until the very end. (Do not be distracted by other signs for I-95, which is the other New Jersey Turnpike.) The very end is about 7 to 12 miles distant.  

• Feel free to marvel at Giants Stadium and the Meadowlands Race Track

• Wave to the left when passing through Lyndhurst, NJ, where my sister lives.

• Hold your breath going over the steel-grated trestle bridge (over the Passaic River). Rutt's Hutt, the best hot dogs in New Jersey, and maybe the world, is to the right on Route 21. 

f) Route 3 Merges onto US-46 West from the right. Take US-46 West.

• There will be a stone hill to the right, known as "Great Notch."

• There is a log cabin here known as the "Great Notch Inn." It is a cool Harley Biker Joint on the right.

g) US-46 runs into I-80 at town of Wayne, NJ

h) Follow signs to get onto I-80 WEST.

• This is a colossal balls up of roads and exits. The exit may say I-80/Route 23. Please pay attention. You do not want Route 23.

• Traffic is usually moving a the speed of light here.

i) Enjoy I-80. Your next turn is in Bloomsburg, Pa.

• Follow I-80 straight through New Jersey.

• Marvel at the non-majesty of the Delaware Water Gap.

• Cross the mighty Delaware River.

j) There could be a toll at the Pennsylvania State Line

k) Take I-80 to Exit 232 in Bloomsburg, Pa.

l) Go right onto Route 42

We were looking for the Lincoln Tunnel - it's entrance does not look like this.
This is something like it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Search of Infinity

I have muddled up clean clothes with dirty ones in my suitcase so it must be the second day of our holiday in New York already.

I elected to show Mrs Nikos how an American eats breakfast and appreciates fine art.

It's possible that Mrs N's digestive system will never fully recover after this.
We stroll through the grounds of the Natural History Museum
A line for free tickets to see Shakespeare in the Park - it's hot, very hot today as there is no wind either. I saw an open air  production of the Tempest in Regents Park during my O levels and it rained cats and dogs.
We made it to the Guggenheim before heat stroke set in.  Unfortunately Lee Ufan's work does not appeal and is largely repetitious pointless blobs.  No photography is permitted above the ground floor, but....
Nikos World exclusive - "Beyond the Pan", in tribute to Lee Ufan's infinity - filmed illegally somewhere in the Manhattan.
So now it's on the buses again on the "Northern" tour - delirium setting in due to the interminable heat...
Manhattan as seen from a tour bus or two.
In the Museum of New York (good air conditioning and rest rooms), I discover that all good American homes actually come from Kelloggs packets.

In the next grilling episode the Nikos family discover the Lincoln Tunnel and meet Jack Riepe!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Search of Giocondas's Smile

This rather obscure reference to Το Χαμόγελο της Τζοκόντας is to the classic album of 20th century music in Greece composed by "Never on Sunday" fame Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis.

In the notes to the Album (recorded in New York in 1965, directed by Quincy Jones), Manos states that the inspiration of the album came from

"...a little woman walking all alone with a desperate indifference to what was happening around her; nobody noticed her, she noticed nobody; she was desolately alone in the unknown crowd shoving her, passing her by, heedless and hostile, leaving her to drown in the deep flood of the Avenue (5th), inside that sea she was following, inside the wind beginning to blow."

And so it came to pass Mrs Nikos and me arrived in New York during a heatwave to search out Rizzoli's bookshop where Manos spotted an art book with a painting of the Mona Lisa on its cover.

Tomkins does not like being on his own so he is stopping me packing.
At Manchester waiting around 1 hour on the ground for engine start, Continental Airline institute a New York climatic familirisation programme as the APU/air conditioning has packed up and a ground air cart must be found to start the mighty Rolls-Royce RB211s
The pilot eventually finds track 4 from his checklist and we are on our way!

We arrived at Newark liberty Airport and caught a bargain shuttle bus to PTA - here we are near the Lincoln tunnel - our first of two encounters with this clogged artery during our trip.
We are deposited at 40something street and need to find our hotel on 77th street - no taxi says Mrs Nikos as she drags her luggage and me in the interminable heat and humidity past many Pizza shops. this one.
An original Fiat Cinquecento!  Smaller than a Manhattan bollard!
We pass the spot outside the Dakota Buildings where John Lennon was struck down - now commemorated by a M72 Bus stop
We find the hotel, check in, and the go looking for houmous.
The next morning, we decide to walk through central park in search of a Belgium sounding cafe chain selling healthy breakfast.

Here is Mrs Nikos waiting for a healthy breakfast somewhere in Central Park.
Cryptic food labelling - how can this be 100% pure orange juice when it contains ingredients not found in regular orange juice?
Mistaken for a rest room, I entered the club room of the Central Park model yachting club.
The heat and humidity has become too intense and a sky scarper is starting to wilt.
Before I had managed to negotiate the purchase of complete stock of these potential Christmas presents to relations, Mrs Nikos had secured  bargain tickets for multiple open top city bus tours - at least now we would have a cooling breeze.
Here we are on the down town tour.
Impossible to entirely photograph!
His and her fire escapes?
At Battery Park we  transfered  to the Brooklyn Tour.
We stop in Brooklyn Heights to hydrate as naturally as possible.
Fine views of Manhattan from Brooklyn.
We then took the tour that I booked - a return trip on the Staten Island ferry.
Believe in Zeus.
Believe in vegetables.
To be concluded - in Part 2 Nikos performs an artistic and unauthorised (and largely unnoticed) protest experiment in the Gugenheim and Mrs Nikos tries to eat a proper American breakfast.
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