Category Archives: travel

The ‘not-so-secret’ admirer. Intro:

Okay, so I met this journalist who loves saving kitties in NYC, who smells like newspaper, who was once very good looking but totally missed the boat. He is sickeningly unknown, he could have been a star, he could have secured a major book deal, and finally swanned off to buy that chateau in South France, with a little vineyard and a share in a little vegetable lot, and develop a beautiful light tan. But no, he chose to wallow, to get sucked in to life in the concrete jungle, to tend to his mother’s every need, to save malnourished kitties (cute…but…), to age not-so-gracefully, and to yearn for any kind of human contact.

This man, believe me , is amazing: truly part of the forgotten Queen’s intelligentsia. He visited the house I was staying at, which was uncomfortably small. I didn’t know who he was, let alone that anyone was coming over for dinner. I was just having a shower when I heard the front door close behind him, I stopped for a second, and once I heard the couple chattering with him I resumed by little shampoo ritual, oblivious to what was going to follow me for the next 4 years…. I came out of the shower, wrapped in a towel and my dark silk robe. The bathroom opened right into the kitchen (I told you it was small), and I found the couple and this strange man. I excused myself and hurried upstairs to get my hair dry and put on some clothes. I remember the cat at this house really didn’t welcome me, and was in the habit of leaving me ‘presents’ by my door. The hairdryer was broken, fucking brilliant I thought, now my hair is going to be frizzy and untamed….argh!

I slapped some moisturizer on my face, looked in the mirror indifferently, and decided I just wasn’t in the mood for socializing. The Xantac blue diet pills were giving me heart palpitations and terrible nervous anxiety. I thought, I better go downstairs at least for a little while. It was so hot, so clammily hot, the AC was bust, even if it did work it wouldn’t have made a difference, because you would remember how fucking hot it was outside. No point, might as well just endure it. In the kitchen I shimmied past the chairs in my way ( I said it was small), and sat down, taking a second to gather my thoughts I finally made eye contact with the visitor ‘ hi how are you my name is ‘x”….you know, the usual bullshit introductions. I can’t even remember to be honest.

I recall his odor, his big Jew nose, beautiful deep brown eyes, his towering height, his delicate fingers and his nasal tone. He was very intelligent, this impressed me. But his looks did not. I didn’t think there was anything weird between us, because I wasn’t attracted to him physically I thought I was off the hook.

Let’s cut to the chase: I left NYC to return to Dublin and he began sending me romantic and dodgy emails in my absence. His yearning for me leaves me unsettled, chuffed, freaked, turned-on and curious. Read on for more juicy details, if you dare…..

30/5/08 Tripping Up.

I went to the city today and met with one of Rick’s journo friends (Shane) at Rockefeller. We had Pina Coladas and danced to great salsa music. That night I met Martin Spence (W 86th somewhere). i stayed there that night after listening to a jam session at Cleopatras. I was happy sitting there by myself after Shane left. Of course we had a great philosophical conversation regarding creativity.

This morning I woke up to one of Martin’s dogs licking my hand..there was a ferocious pong of dog all over the house, and that distinct older ‘bachelor smell’. I think Martin is a very interesting, complex, talented , creative individual, but I’m guessing he has had a tragic existence, he has that restless, edgy energy about him. He’s utterly obsessed with Prokofiev and tribal cultures; he has many ornaments/masks on the walls. I was very impressed to see a picture of him with none other than Bela Lugosi (ca. Dracula) and Prokofiev’s sons. His dogs appeared in a wool print advertisement in the ’80s! His apartment is in a rich part of town, UWS. After I finished looking around his apartment, I left a note thanking him for letting me stay and wandered off down the street.

Got a coffee and bagel for 3 bucks at 2387 B’Way 87th st. I rambled around, went to Times Square and bought manuscript, went on another sub and landed in 51st st station where I got my hair cut for $16 (Romas). Then I went to Canal St, 99c store where I bought a few towels and essentials. Got 5pm LIRR back to Long Beach.

I forgot to mention my romantic encounter today! Shane wanted me to scan my passport so maybe he could help me doctor it (in the end , I did it myself!). Kinkos was shit, so around 38th and 8th Ave I found a place, inside there was a very good looking guy with a nice friendly personality. He offered to help me photocopy my passport (a pretty straighforward operation!), we exchanged one of ‘those’ looks. Intense, brief, and powerful. I complained about having bought a shitty slice of pizza, eventually he said ‘if you ever fancy rambling streets again, I’ll be around’. We exchanged numbers over the photocopier.His name is Sebastien. I walked out of the shop, thanking him for his help…I could feel his eyes looking me up and down as I tripped over my green floral heels, a smile stretching from ear to ear. I turned the corner and almsot yelled with excitement, god, I thought, it’s been a while since I experienced that ‘zing’ with a person. Even if I don’t see him again (hope I do!), at least that happened. What sort of world would we live in with no romance? I got back to Long Beach around 6pm, wanted to get bus to the club, but kept missing it. I ended up walking all the way back, consistently making wrong turns. It took forever, but I was so ecstatic about the encounter with Seb that I didn’t seem to give a shit, until I arrived back and stopped walking. My feet are covered in the city dirt and my eyes are closing. Another great day. X

foot fetish. Crackwhore. God. Gotham.

I’ve no idea when I wrote this, I found it scrawled on the back of a beer mat. Probably around July sometime:

“” I just came from my premier foot fetish party….just to see what the big deal is. There are, it seems quite a significant number of people get get off at this sort of thing. I travelled from 67 Av Queens to Midtown (the armpit of NYC) at 11pm. Midtown can be rough at this time of night.

I walked down past the well lit area of 34th St, around Macy’s / Penn Station….to get to the address::: W 38th St, between 8th and 9th avenues. There are horrible smells here, freaks, hobos, whores. I saw a lady shouting at the sky ” I’ll pay you back God, I fuckin swear I will, just get me some more man…” not a soul to be seen around her. She was probably coked out of her mind, speaking to her own demons in her head. I wondered what sort of person she is like without the drugs and pimps, where did she come from? What sort of an upbringing did she have? Sometimes it doesn’t matter, it seems some individuals are destined to end up in a situation. People like her are their own worst enemies.

I saw a guy whose ear melted on to his cheek, it looked weird, I couldn’t help but look. He held a small battery operated radio and sang out of tune with whatever was on. This is the real seedy Gotham city man. Steam rose from the underground, those fluorescent flags and barriers at street corners. The filthy dirty heat from the subway grates on the street. The smell of dried piss on these streets is almost unbearable. You feel warm but imagine the fucking filth!!!I deliberately tried not to wear flip flops or sandals because the dirt would disgust me at the end of the day.

Walking down these dimly lit streets I felt weird; not scared. I was looking around, smelling, and experiencing these elements as if I was watching a film. It didn’t even occur to me I could be shot, beaten, kidnapped, tortured, knived, pimped, raped….I was a single white female wandering these streets alone. Was I fucking insane? No -, and yes….

I’m in Union Square station now waiting for the R train to Brooklyn. It’s nearly 2am. I had a weird interesting time at that party…I did nothing but drink straight vodka and martinis. I saw things in that fetish party I’d love to repeat but you’d rather not read. I let a stranger suck my toes, he gave me a foot massage. I certainly was not dressed sexy, seductive or whatever. To be honest I was merely curious and wanted the free booze and weed. He whispered something really freaky in my ear “I love your arches baby…” in his painfully German accent, and leaned over. I turned and said, in my smokey voice, like a lady, “fuck you.”. I poured the remainder of my tasty martini over his tacky beige khakis (oh yes he did!) and strutted out of there at a moderately fast pace.

What a weird, freaky, dimly lit, obsessive, drug laden, erotic scene. Definitely the most bizarre experience in NYC I had. I try not to let fear dictate how I live my life. I try to be sensible and headstrong when needs be. I try to experience as many different facets of life as humanly possible, I try to enjoy every day. What happens in a day happens. Tomorrow is always another day, a new start, a clean slate. Changing things has to be your decision, the small things make a difference.

I certainly do not ‘get’ that foot fetish thing. It was nice getting a good foot massage, but I realized that German was looking for something a bit more, eh, explicit. I can’t even imagine my poor feet being subjected to whatever he had in mind. The other girls at the party are predominantly foot models, who pose for weird foot porn websites and are like foot porn celebrities, and therefore in great demand at these parties. They earn an average of $400-$500 a party plus tips. I wasn’t there for the money, I didn’t even know there was any money exchange involved, I just thought it was a house party…? When I saw a guy had a girl a thick fold of $20s, I was taken aback; “fuck! what is this a fucking brothel or something?”.Not my scene. Not my scene at all.

It’s 4am now, just on the 7 train back to Queensboro Plaza. I have to call Social Security again to see if they have sent my card to my employers in Long Beach. Mr P is holding my Social Sec card at a ransom of $100..?fuck that, he can kiss my fat Irish ass.

29/5/08 – DrinkyDrinky, Into the Sea,Rubbish Sex.

I am frigging wrecked after last night. Finished work around 7pm after terrace and dining room service for 300 firemen (it was Memorial Day). A few of us went to Reilly’s Bar where we proceeded to get very very drunk.. we bought more drinks in the store and went to drink on the beach. One thing lead to another and we ended up running into the ocean with our bra and knickers on..among other activities. I kind of fucked a chef in the shower rooms, but we were too drunk to get anything successfully ‘up’ or ‘in’ or actually make it happen. I don’t know why, it was random, he isn’t event attractive, he’s an angry, talented, passionate, troubled, chef with more baggage than he can handle! Riona successfully nailed Miguel, also in the shower rooms. It’s such a coming-of-age teenage movie scene, it’s not funny! I went to sleep around 7am, and woke at 12. I could have slept longer, but I was determined not to waste a single day, or opportunity to do something interesting. My muscles hurt all over, I’ve got random brusies that are going to show and a splitting headache/red eyes. I must have water/coffee/breakfast stat! Will write tomorrow deleriously happy now.X

27/5/08 – Settling in to life in ‘The Monkey House’

I started at 10am today, went for a shower first which was located outside. I looked like shit, but the sun was shining, it was a hot day with a clear blue sky and gulls squawking, sand between my toes. I went straight to the main kitchen and got some coffee. Chef was surprised to see me up early, I went for a walk and a paddle on the shore. It is so beautiful there in the morning, the notable absence of snotty nosed kids and poser gold-digger trophy wives.  The sand is so pale and peppery, with nice shells. I saw the boss on his tractor raking the trash off the beach, he stopped and said hi. I was worried he was going to ask me to start early, but he didn’t.  I worked in the cafeteria with Jeanette and Virginia; two legendary characters. There is always great banter between them, very professional in their work. I prepared fruit salads and Cobb salads (ick! Blue Cheese,bacon bits, chicken, tomatoes..what the fuck?!). I chopped onions and made coleslaw. The repetition of work and nice fresh fruit was a nice way to start the day and time passed quickly.  We ate breakfast around 11:30am. Eggs, salad, coffee, waffles with maple syrup! There was left over dessert from last nights BBQ, but I didn’t fancy anything so sweet that early.

Right now I’m just settling in to work, enjoying the characters/accents/sounds/smells/customs. Going to read Graham Joyce ‘ Smoking Poppy’. Miss music. X

26/5/08 – First day working@Private beach club in Long Beach, NY

I worked with so many people today, whose names I can’t remember…really nice people. Had a warm shower today, getting used to  the ‘rustic chic’ of the hostel style accommodation. Didn’t fuck up on my first day, things seem to be done very efficiently and with good attitude bar the head chef Ricardo, who is a bit of a loose canon at times, but a really nice guy. Last night he came over and invited me to his trailer (!) for a drink/smoke/pizza/chat. Sounds dodgy! Nope! It was lovely to meet him and Tony..both chefs.

At first I thought the hours were crazy, with little or no breaks in between, but then I looked around and realized everyone’s on the same boat. Of course that doesn’t mean it’s okay, but softened the blow and reduced the chances of me just feeling sorry for myself. I realized I would be meeting the exact same people everyday for the next 3/4 months. At the time I thought it was sort of comforting and thought it would make work more bearable, because of the apparent sense of community. The residents themselves are okay, they are stinking rich and have more bucks than sense (haha more bucks than cents!). Their children are cheeky and condescending. I’m not too far away from Long Beach city, a bus ride away. But you don’t have time to spare when you’re working. I have to start saying goodbye to hour long lunch breaks like we have at home in Ireland. We’ve got it pretty sweet at home. I worked my fucking ass off today, got bitten by various bugs and tolerated little shits of kids. It better be worth it. The maitre d working the restaurant is hot stuff, reminds me of an ex boyfriend. My ex had rang me adys before I departed for NYC, he wished me the best. I will have the best tiems on my days off. I’m dying to go to Manhattan to see gigs/shop/art take it in.

I’m getting my passport doctored (it’s a widely accepted form of ID, especially from students on international Visas). I’ll do it myself! I’m afraid I’m gonna put on loads of weight while I’m over here: I ate pizza last night, pasta today and other wheat-y stuff. My stomach isn’t complaining so far, so why deprive myself?

I worked mainly on orders from 11am-6ish. We had a Memorial Day buffet for the members from 7pm-11pm, I bussed tables. Unfortunately we can’t drink at the bar here, it’s a ‘dry campus’. I need to get to work on doctoring my passport, I’d give my big toe for a gin and tonic!

The accommodation is dubbed ‘The Monkey House’, and rightly so, with over 20 Irish students taking up residence there every Summer. One time I came back and the guys bathroom had flooded into the living room. Another morning a homeless guy was asleep on the couch, with a distinct smell of piss in the room for weeks after. There was a handyman who lived in another part of the building who regularly came in and fixed us drinks of vodka and orange, which was nice! The PC is fucked, no stamps, envelopes or time off , so contact with the outside world is off limits for now.

Going to smoke a fag (or sorry, cigarette over here!)and apply ointment to my various bites…Slán go fóil. X