USA Page 4

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What could this be? A coathanger's hairy end (ewwww)? No, it is, in fact, a cow.

There's a sign you don't see every day in a museum. Please touch signs are normally confined to houses of ill-repute. Here, we find one next to a small statue of Abraham Lincoln, I wonder what *he* would have to say about the "please touch" sign.

A view of Boston Common, not very different to what it looks like right now actually.

This was quite extraordinary. It is a wedge of glass with the bottom bit cut to look like mountains and rivers, then painted to look like... er... mountains and rivers. Anyway, the wedge-shape also gives it a remarkable kaleidescope effect.

There were, of course, some impressionist paintings. The inset image shows some of the finer surface detail.

Of particular interest to me, having studied some arabic, was a small collection of arabic caligraphy. This one says - "I seek God's protection from the cursed devil, in the name of God, all merciful, most compassionate. O God, O the most auspicious opener of doors, open for us a blessed door." Maybe it was at the entrance to an ancient bank vault or something.

This is the Hindu god Ganesh. Here he is depicted with his many wives. Many wives? You may ask... well, just look at that trunk, its so long and thick - what woman could resist?

Although the outside of the building looks quite old... the inside was very modern. This was an interesting sculpture at the entrance... the other entrance... yes, there were two entrances.

A Monet, as in Claude Monet... water Lillies.

This painting was commissioned for a diplomat of some sort. He wanted a souvenir of Rome but couldn't be arsed buying all the postcards, so... he got a buddy of his to paint a painting of him sitting in a room full of paintings of all the different sights in Rome, quite a clever idea really.

Speaking of impressive rooms full of paintings, the museum of fine art had them in ample supply.

Bartley's burgers, supposedly one of Boston's finest eateries... yes, that's a queue to get burgers... they must be pretty special.

Not wanting to wait in line on a cold night, I went and sat down at a local joint called "Charlies".

Where I chowed down on some lobster chowder with a double lobster roll... mmmmm (notice the chowder is almost finished... ) .

New York (25/3/2007 - 30/3/2007)

There's no place like home... except maybe New York. I was surprised at how much like Hong Kong New York was. There are differences, of course. New York is much bigger. It is also much colder for much longer. The pace of life is very similar though...

This is the impossibly cheap bus ticket which took me from Boston to New York. A five-hour bus journey for $15. Mexican transport was a shoe-in to win the bang-for-your-buck award, but this one just blows everything away. I'm still trying to figure out how they can afford to run it so cheaply.

The bus dropped me off smack in the middle of Chinatown. This scene looks so much like Hong Kong I really believed that I was there for a while...

That's more like it... I hate to think how much the advertising space costs on some of those billboards. For those of you who are wondering where I'm standing, I took this photo standing in the infamous Times Square, on the corner of Broadway and 42nd Street.

New York is famous for its fine dining, and I was not dissappointed. I ate at a lovely place on the north side of Columbus Circle called "Jean Georges". This is my dessert... mmmmm. The vanilla ice cream (immediately south-east to the small shot-glass of mango nectar) was the best vanilla ice cream I have ever had.

Surprisingly, this is actually the first restaurant I've been to which has three Michelin stars. I've been to a few which probably would get three stars when the writers of the red guide get around to rating them. I will dine in the formal section later (when I've arranged for some better clothing - there's a strict dress code) and find out what all this three-star fuss is really all about.

Apart from everything being open ridiculously late (many things never close here), New York is also known for... well... excess. Here is a rather long limo...

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