Archive for January, 2015

January 20th, 2015

New York Proper Travelogue

I’m writing this at an air plane going to Oslo, Norway. I was so busy at New York with holiday daily churn that I managed to write another chapter here. After the trip, we were properly jetlagged for several days, then we had a couple junior ice hockey tournaments and plenty of games, and finally work started.

So, here I am sitting at the plane on my way to a commercial open source partner meeting and trying to remember what happened in New York. I wrote already something on my short post at the end of December.

We visited both Guggenheim and MoMA, and found out that MoMA has become way better than Guggenheim. It used to be vice versa – at least in my personal opinion – but now Guggenheim didn’t have too many works from their permanent collection on display, and the exhibition was not that inspiring. On the other hand, MoMA had very good display of collections and several interesting exhibitions – and also a couple less exciting ones.

I and the boys went to skate on Wollman rink in the Central Park. The fees to get in were quite high and then we had to rent the skates, too. They accepted only cash and I didn’t have enough with me. Fortunately, there was a functional ATM – I first tried non-functional one and was properly frustrated – and I could get enough cash while the boys waited in the long queue. The skates were for figure skating, with spikes at the front and so forth. They were also pretty dull, and Aapo tripped a couple of times on the ice. He complained about not having proper skates, and I couldn’t agree more. The ice was also soft and very full of people that couldn’t skate, so the image of the experience was better than the experience itself. But now I’ve been there and I know that I don’t need to go again.

We also spent a fair amount of time in shops, but didn’t bought that much. There were an onslaught of people everywhere, so shopping was crammed. I made a few really good book finds and Sanna spent money at knitting shops – Santa brought her a gift card to Purl Soho.

One of our traditions in the USA is to visit a local diner and eat very unhealthy breakfast. This time we spent a lovely, albeit rainy, morning in a Brooklyn diner whose name I’ve forgotten. Very, very busy place with good food. We had the typical fare of eggs, toasts, orange juice, and – of course – pancakes with maple suryp. Yummy. But I would not eat that every day. Some of the patrons seemed to do just that, at least I deducted so from size of their hips and tummies.

As an extra perk, I and Aapo went to see New Jersey Devils play against Philadelphia Penguins in Prudential Center in Newark at the last night in the town. The train trip from Manhattan was less than half an hour and the ticket prices were just a fraction of the prices of Rangers game in Madison Square Gardens – so this was a good arrangement for my wallet.

Aapo is an avid junior hockey player and a fan, too. We registered him to Little Devils program and got a bunch of nifty stuff to show off friends back in Finland. The game was good, too, and we had prime seats on the second row near the penalty box.

The only thing that I was wondering was the audiences response to violence in the rink. One of the Penguins player had done a dirty trick to Jaromir Jagr earlier in the season and now one Devils player attacked the guy twice during the match. The audience cheered and rejoiced when the fights erupted. Next to me were two dads with their sons – probably around five to seven years old – and everyone was standing and cheering. I was about to ask the dad whether he felt that violence is acceptable and what kind of role model he serves to his kid, but decided not to try to earn a fat lip myself. You never know how passionate hockey fans are.

Aapo was really curious why the guys were fighting, because there was no specific situation on the ice to spark the fight. It was just revenge. And it happened twice. Both players got five minutes each each time. I was expecting them to be thrown out of the game after second fight, but hell no. Instead, the attacker was rewarded as one of the stars of the game. This went beyond my understanding completely.

The last day was spent exploring the neighbourhood. We found one really nice cafe and ate pizza slices in a local diner before hauling our stuff to the subway and the airport.

The trip back was surprisingly easy, at least compared to my last stopover from the States. It was almost five years ago when we returned from Los Angeles, and it was complete horror. I had almost sleepless night at the plane and then was mostly nonfunctional state at the Amsterdam airport. This time we were flying through Düsseldorf with almost five hours stopover.

The flight was two hours late due to late arrival of the plane to JFK. This was fortunate for us, as it directly extended our sleeping time in the plane. We took off around the time kids went to sleep during the trip, so they slept most of the flight with no issues. I and Sanna got also four to five hours of decent sleep during the flight and then spent three hours at the airport lounge before flying to Helsinki. Everyone napped also on that flight.

It was good to be at home, albeit it was a good trip. We had a few days off due to New Year, so it was quite gradual getting back to speed period. Unfortunately, everyone were jetlagged and when kids woke up during the night, they crammed to our bed. The bed is quite wide, but not designed for five people. This resulted I or Sanna being awake and enduring constant jabs of elbows and knees to our backs and stomachs, as the kids rolled around in light sleep.

I was already quite desperate after third day, but then miraculously wandering between beds was cut off, and we could have a couple of nights of really good sleeps.

Jetlag didn’t bother that much during daytime, fortunately.

Today is my first trip in 2015 and I’ve booked two more to London, as we are kicking off our business there.