Jetlag woke me up at 3:30 AM this morning. It seems to be getting worse rather than better. I’m sure most of that is self-inflicted though, given my frequent napping. I killed time online and with terrible television before it seemed late enough (ie: 6 AM) to get up and have a shower.
I knew I wanted to try the cafe a block away that seemed to have a real espresso machine. That would be breakfast. Yesterday’s Culture Cafe was nice enough but it’s a bit of a hike and maybe a little too fussy about coffee for my tastes. Because despite being a Melbourne native, I don’t consider myself a coffee snob. I just want an espresso from beans that aren’t burnt with frothy milk. That was easily satisfied in Melbourne. Here in New York though (and Japan too, now that I think back to my last trip), filtered coffee is the norm and it seems completely undrinkable to me.
Freshly showered and dressed, I left the apartment and headed to the cafe. It was pretty successful. Good foam and not terrible espresso. I miss having chocolate on my cappuccinos but I know there are plenty that would consider that heresy anyway. Bought a croissant with the coffee and it was all for less than US$5. That would easily be $6-$7 back home. Food in the U.S. will definitely be cheaper than home. I just have to find the good stuff.
After breakfast, I headed to the ThoughtWorks NY office. Today was my first official day in TW NY but I knew I’d be on the beach until they find a project for me. Hopefully I’ll find out what project before the end of the week. On the plus side, being on the beach would give me some time to get admin stuff done and recover from jetlag without having to be too coherent. But I needed to arrive after 9:30 AM to make sure that the office manager was around to let me in. So I check the time…
8:15 AM. What.
Damn this jetlag. Why am I awake and ready to get to work so early? And I’ve just had breakfast, so what else should I do for an hour? If I had mobile internet, this would be a non-issue. Just have another coffee and browse online. But I’m still without an American phone service. I wanted to find somewhere with free wifi. That ended up being a chain restaurant called Applebee’s. I ordered a second breakfast of bacon and eggs.
While waiting, I read a thread on Reddit about which brands or stores people refused to buy from again. Funnily enough, Applebee’s featured a few times. That was…not very encouraging. When my bacon and eggs arrived, the bacon was cold and the eggs were tasteless. Well, add my name to the list of people who will avoid Applebee’s. I suppose I should be glad I didn’t have bits of broken porcelain in my food. I really should’ve known better than to eat at some “family restaurant” chain anyway. I can’t wait to have mobile internet and Urbanspoon or Foursquare always on call.
9:30 AM rolled around and I headed to Times Square. I’ve already been awake for 6 hours. This was going to be a tough day. Working at the office wasn’t a big deal. I did the admin things I expected and met lots of new people – all very friendly. About 2 PM I was really feeling the jetlag again and succumbed to buying a Starbucks coffee. All I can say is: despite what their machines look like, they don’t make real espresso.
I had plans for dinner with Aussie and ex-Aussie ThoughtWorkers who were currently in New York. The jetlag was making me feel so horrible but I really didn’t want to miss this dinner. So I left work a little early to have a quick nap before dinner. At least, that was the plan. I managed to sleep through my alarm and only work up for my 6:50 PM Photo reminder – all of ten minutes before I was due on the other side of Manhattan – eeep! My 6:50 PM photo was of the awesome taxi driver who somehow managed to find the fastest route to Nolita where the restaurant was. He got a big tip, even if he thought I was Irish.
The restaurant was a cool little Latino concept place called Oficina Latina. The concept was centered around the Pan American Highway – a network of roads I didn’t even know existed until today but already I want to drive end-to-end. The dishes in the restaurant were focused on the specialities of the regions that the Pan Pacific Highway travels through. Lots of Central and South American cuisine. An impressive cheeseboard! And two new foods tonight that I haven’t had before: octopus and crab cakes. The octopus was tasty but I felt guilty about eating it. Cephalopods are such awesome creatures! They kinda deserve better than deep-frying.
An after-dinner drink at what looked like an awesome wood-fired pizzeria, and then I rode the subway home – my first New York City subway trip in ten years. It’s a fairly good system – certainly compared to Melbourne (why can’t we have nice things?!) and even rates well against Tokyo. At least, it rates well on this one short, slightly inebriated trip I took on a Wednesday night. I’m sure I’ll have more subway stories before my year here is up.
Now I’m home and much wider awake than I was 7 hours ago. I think I’ll try the melatonin tonight. I’m not keen on waking up at 4 AM again. I can’t wait to shake off this jetlag.