Friday, January 20, 2006

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that bling

I never cease to be dismayed by the ability of spam to penetrate all the firewalls, junk filters and other security measures supposedly protecting the internet. If I'm not getting greetings from women (allegedly) of dubious virtue, it's invations to have either my breasts or my family jewels enlarged. Note to spam-senders: it's one or the other, guys, unless you're aiming at a very specialised market. Lately I've had a rash of emails about Rolex replicas, saying how much I really want to buy one. No, actually, I don't. But these emails - and the wintry shower of sleet, rain and snow I've just walked through on the way back from the paper shop - reminded me of an incident from my honeymoon.

The missus and I were wending our weary way back to Blighty at the start of 1994, having enjoyed three weeks in the sunshine and splendor of New Zealand. [If you ever get the chance, go - gorgeous countryside, friendly people, all the hobbits you can eat.] We paused for two nights in New York, stopping at a hotel just off Times Square. This is back when the area was still rather dubious, if not an utter sleazefest. Anyways, we arrived at our hotel round midnight, body cloocks set to lord knows what and unable to sleep. After two hours of fitful dozing and watching TV for insomniacs, we decided to go get something to eat.

January in New York is not the warmest place in the world. I don't think the temperature got above freezing the short time we were in the city, and the windchill was widely reported to be pushing temperatures down to minus 15. Despite that and the foot-deep covering most of the sidewalks, we ventured out into Time Square at two in the morning. Strangely enough, there wasn't a lot on offer. About the only place we could find to eat that looked safe was MacDonalds - cheap and cheerless. We struggled across the square, wading through the drifts and approached the front door. Outside was a man selling watches. While standing in two foot of snow. In Times Square. At two in the morning. "Genuine Rolexes," he said. "Fifteen bucks each - or two for twenty."

If memory serves, I had a Filet o'Fish. Tragic admission of ignorance: I never knew what tartare sauce was until I ate my first McDonalds. Then again, I come from a country where I can remember queuing round the block for their first taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Hmm - KFC potatoes and gravy. Talk about your guilty pleasures.

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