USA Page 8

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This is an egg sandwich. Oh... did I mention that the black stuff on top of it is Sturgeon Caviar? Its all the rage these days...

Asparagus, with mushrooms. A delightfully simple dish with a complex taste. Most of it comes from the mushrooms, which are wild (causing them to be expensive as they cannot be farmed, but rather, have to be found).

Snapper, a personal favourite. Here we find it topped with sesame seeds, an unusual combination, but one which adds a layer of flavour not usually found in fish dishes.

The cheese trolley. Many wonderful cheeses, but surprisingly no Dutch cheeses. Your selection of cheeses is cut and prepared right there and then.

Formal dining means... Jackets must be worn by gentlemen. Despite not considering myself a very gentle man by any measure (he he he) I was compelled to fit this dress code because if I was to invite Jean Georges (yes, he is a person... no, there is no Mr. Per Se) over to one of my parties, I too would expect him to conform to whatever dress code I decide on. The shirt was bought at a clearence sale at a Brooks Brothers directly opposite ground zero (where the World Trade Centre towers used to be) and the Jacket was acquired at 50% off from Macy's almost-tax-time sale. Incidentally, tourists with a valid foreign passport receive an additional 11% discount. Does anyone else think that it is strange that a country which imposes a trade embargo on Cuba, has a chain of department stores having a red star as their logo? Speaking of red... the dots on the side of my lip are a result of my face inexplicably deciding to imitate a volcano for no apparent reason.

On the advice of a friend, I sampled some food which is supposed to be the staple of many a New Yorker.

Riding home on the tube. It is very crowded at this busy time... (it was 10pm on a Wednesday night)

The next day, I queued up for a sum total of three hours to get to go into the Statue of Liberty. Here is the 'original' torch. Surprisingly enough, the current torch is actually closer to what the artist intended than the torch that ended up being on the statue.

There are free tours given by park rangers (the monument is managed by the parks service). Here, our guide is showing us a replica of the statue's face.

The statue was orignially assembled in Paris then it was dismantled and transported piece by piece, then reconstructed on Liberty Island. The base was funded and built by the Americans. The statue itself has an ingenious structure which has the thin copper skin supported by an internal superstructure which is linked via a a series of bars which behave in a fashion similar to leaf-springs, acting as shock absorbers between the shell and the internal structure. It was designed by Eiffel, of tower fame.

Before September 11th 2001, people were allowed to walk all the way up to the torch. Nowadays, this is as far as one can go, the observation deck at the top of the pedestal. Here we can see up Liberty's robes... how revealing.

Yet another photograph of New York's majestic skyline.

One advantage of queuing up at opening time is that you get to take pictures like these... made possible by the sun's position in the morning.

And, of course, the standard postcard shot of Liberty Enlightening the World. The weather couldn't have been better for taking photos... however... due to the fact that it had been a similarly clear night, it was very very cold and very very windy.

Later that day, I returned to the United Nations to go on a guided tour...

The inside of the security council chamber, a very impressive room... donated by Norway apparently. During the meetings, the non-permament members play musical chairs while discussing matters of great importance.

This needs no introduction. The UN peacekeeping forces, known affectionately by some as the 'blue helmets' have come to symbolize peace and stability... or maybe it is impotence and inaction... depending on one's point of view.

This is our guide, her name is Celia, she is French... mmm... French accents... Anyway, here she is explaining the process of decolonization after 1945

Does anyone know what these are? Strangely, I was the only one in the group who did (I was also the only one in the group who knew that there were 192 member states). They are landmines, which the 1999 Ottawa treaty sought to eradicate.

This is the general assembly hall, the home of a very chaotic game of musical chairs which starts every September when a name is drawn out of a hat and gets to sit at the front for a week. Everyone else spends the rest of the week trying to figure out where to sit then, at the start of the next week (or maybe it happens monthly...), the process begins again.


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