So it's finally here, the day I fly back down to Sydney. My visit home was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, and probably everything that civilized New Yorkers feared it would be. Some of the best things about the past week and a half:
THE WEATHER - It's like New York was trying to compete with Sydney for best weather ever. My entire trip here has been warm and sunny, with the exception of the last 24 hours. As Emla put it, it's simply New York crying because I'm leaving it all over again. Understandable.
THE FOOD - I wish I could explain how much NY pizza I've eaten in the past 11 days, but it would be mildly offensive. And it's not just the pizza. I'm pretty sure I will never visit a city in the world that has the sheer variety that New York offers. Just yesterday I was looking up a location for dinner, and the East Village alone had over 1000 places to eat, including several Tibetan, Afghan, and god knows what else venues. (In the end we went with an old favorite, Les Enfant Terribles -- French food with West African spices, spectacular.) Not to mention the $15 bruch special that includes great food and 3 brunch drinks, that a few of us will probably be doing again today. My mouth is watering already. For the booze, that is.
THE PEOPLE - Although being away from New York seems to have made me a little soft (I thought the people on the train were "a little too ghetto" my first couple of days back), you'd have to be a truly sheltered soul to not be able to appreciate the diversity in this city. It's because you can get on the A train and have a Wall Street millionaire sitting next to a guy who has been unemployed for 3 years that we have such ridiculous encounters every day, as chronicled in various places like Overheard In New York. To paraphrase that fake graduation speech from years ago, staying in New York might make you hard, but being somewhere that's a little too "nice" will definitely make you soft. And I'd much rather be kind of an asshole than a doormat, so expect me back sometime soon.
MY FRIENDS - All I can say is that I sincerely doubt there is a group of people I will ever meet that has as much fun as my friends here, to the point that part of me will have to keep wondering why I would choose to spend months away from them at a time. If only I could take you all with me, but then I'm not sure Australia would tolerate such massive amounts of assholery within their borders.
Anyway this is almost bordering on sentimental, so let me stop right there and simply pledge to get some kind of a photo album together for this trip, with maybe even one or two pictures where underwear isn't visible or someone's leg isn't around my neck. Could be tough.