Thursday, September 20, 2007

Big Apple, Big Pizza

What I love about docking in New York, is that we really do dock IN New York, it's a straight walk down 73rd st. to Times Square. Here I am with (from left to right) Eric (and his tongue) Duncan and Tyler (or Commissioner Jonas Shiloh Taylor to give him his full title) doing just that.

Here's one of those 'only in New York' things we saw on the sidewalk, three brown shoes, makes me kind of sad...

In New York, people really do sing as they walk along the street, rap with their friends on street corners, beep their horns uncontrollably and yell at each other for no apparent reason.

Here's Times Square. We were pretty excited even though we've been here before. The place exudes energy. It also busts out all over with stuff you need! One of my favourite places to browse is Colony, on Broadway, for sheet music. I bought the dots for Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album, plus a bunch of Rod Stewart tacks and Walking in Memphis, because I've always wanted to sing it, and you never know when the next jam session's going to happen at sea...a girl's got to stay ready and keep her material fresh!

So, I guess this is what a New York Brownstone looks like. I want one.

Hey everyone, let's do the Times Square Shuffle!

This store made Eric extremely happy. The guy let him try out a $3,000 floor-pod (only in NY, baby!) plus a seriously pricey bass. He eventualy bought a Tonebone 'Bassbone', much smaller and less pricey, which he's not entirely happy with, but in true high-consumerism style, the guy in the store said he could return it as long as it was in resaleable condition any time in the next month.

I bought some new dance trainers and jazz pants (my first since, um, 2001!) from this huge Capezio store near the ship. Dance stores just don't come this big in the U.K.!

But the thing we've been waiting all for all year, the thing New York (and in particular THIS store) does better than anywhere else, is pizza. And the name of the best pizza slice in town? Fat Sal's. Eric and I shared two mammoth pieces of this vegetarian, Duncan took the classic mozzarella and tomato and the Commissioner had a white pizza, so-named due to the lack of tomato sauce but with added ricotta balls. Looks weird, tastes amazing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

All Day Breakfast in the Comfy Corner Cafe, Halifax

Halifax, ah Halifax. Eric was back on Canadian soil once again, and what lovely, er, soil it was. This graffitti "Happy City" was written on the side of a street. You just wouldn't get that it London....These are my favourite spots in Halifax: This bookstore for cheap 2nd hand books and strong coffee, this coffee store (a Canadian institution so I hear) Second Cup, because as well as great coffee they have all the free local papers and fliers you could possibly want to get you clued up on what's popping tonight, and this cafe. It's called the Comfy Corner Cafe, and does breakfast, all day, and that's it. It's all about the omellettes and big mugs of joe. Hung on the walls are various tea-towels from far-flung corners of the globe, all donations from regulars.

On our walk back through town, we were lucky enough to see a game of street hockey, my first ever. Eric wanted to play, but uttered sadly "I don't have my stick" and we carried on.

This place has a soul, I mean where else could you see a busker this well dressed?

Or signs outside a clothing store like this?

Or my boyfriend wearing this 'No Name' carrier bag when shopping in a Grocery Store, without fear of being arrested (I love how it says Spend Less right by his head, like a thought bubble!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Take a little look at Nuuk

Nuuk is the capital of Greenland, and on our visit was also a fairly rocky tender-boat ride away, owing to the fact that the dock was damaged in a recent storm.

On arriving in Nuuk, you are met with hundreds of shipping hangars, used worldwide. You feel like an ant amongst lego blocks. I couldn't help thinking that as the surrounding architecture uses many of the same materials, corrugated iron cubes are de rigeur as dwellings go, it almost feels as if the town has grown out of the hangars, like the hangars decided to morph into buildings to accommodate the people wishing to live and work in them. Check out this bus shelter and roadside cafe, see what I mean?

This is the town proper. In the pub in the second picture, the yellow one (yes, that's a pub), it became apparent that the smoking ban hasn't hit Greenland yet. At 2pm, we walked into a smoky-haze, with people well into their second, third or fourth rounds, and although I don't smoke I had a vague pang of longing for the smoke-filled English pubs of my youth.

This is the cemetary, quite beautiful and unlike any I've seen before.

This is the Thai restaurant next to it, where Eric and I ate really good coconut shrimp, surrounded by more smokers, drinkers, and gamblers on these slot machines that seem to be present in every eatery we go to. All the vices are here, folks!

Apparently, Santa Claus lives at 3900 Nuuk. He even has his own post box just behind his house, next to the Tourism office...and all these years I've been addressing my letters to the North Pole...I was too upset to even look for it. We did like this bench, however. It was a very peaceful, contemplative bench.

Danish is the language spoken here (although some say 'Ancient Norse') and this is what it looks like. They double up on the consonants quite frequently, and vowels too now I look at it.

So, the way to keep your boat fresh is to wrap it in cling film and leave it on dry land. And, I think that's all for now, reader!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Prins Christian Sund

En route to Nuuk, Greenland, this gorgeous passage was our setting for around 4 hours, from around 9am 'til 1pm.
It's peaceful, it's calm (a welcome change, we've cancelled three shows in as many days due to rough weather) and the icebergs are any colour from beige to bright blue.

The thing I never really thought about, regarding icebergs, is the age of them. Many are around 400 years old, once part of something much larger, and now they just drift.

The mist was really low, and my hands were freezing.

Here's a tiny eskimo (or is it Inuit?) village. I counted 8 houses in total.
I was just discussing how hard it must be to live there, how cut off etc. with some of the crew when as if to answer in a defiant gesture of mobility, a yellow boat came speeding up towards us, from the village, and sped right past.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Reykjavik: geothermal spa, please!

In the capital of Iceland, the biggest tourist attraction is this man-made but naturally supplied mineral rich, geothermal sea-water pool known as the Blue Lagoon.

It's been updated in the entrance and changing areas since I was here last year, and is now rather chic. This is the gift shop where you can buy various tubs and tubes of mineral-rich or mud-based products. They're all at least $60 each for a decent sized tube. This is expensive mud.
Having decided not to purchase, I took full advantage of the freebie trial packets of Mineral Moisture Lotion on the front desk, and headed for the baths. They’re pretty big, and you are supposed to shower beforehand en masse ( contrary to popular belief, nakedness during the actual showering is not mandatory. I kept my ‘kini on) before going down the steps with your towel to soak yourself.
Now, I seem to remember the temperature being hotter last time I was here, and the water was, dare I say it, slightly bluer rather than greyish (all those human bodies sharing one, er, body of water?) but because it is a natural source I suppose there’s little they can do about the heat or constitution of the water. The heat does come in waves, so although peaceful, your time in the lagoon will be peppered with triumphant calls of “Ooh! Over here’s hot! Ooh!” from fellow bathers.
There’s a quiet treatment section, where you can get a massage for an extra price, and for free, you can go to one of these stations dotted around the main pool that have buckets full of white silica mud paste underneath some decking for your enjoyment. You ladle yourself out some mud, rub it into your face/back/arms and leave for 10 minutes to impart natural healing properties. Mmm…
All too soon it was time to take our rejuvinated bodies out, and on to the 40 minute coach journey back to our port. If you’ve ever bathed in hot springs, you may notice the strange smell it leaves on your skin, an egg-like aroma, no matter how much you shower afterward. Although on reflection I’m slightly turned off (I mean, I don’t share my bath water with 200 people, right?) to the health benefits of such an activity, for a pure laugh-out loud at your mates in their swmming gear wearing a face mask in public, this is good value.