"If you've got any questions, ask now, because
later when I'm doing sixty mph on the highway I won't
be able to answer anything. So, are there any more questions?
Don't stick a city guide under my nose later on. I need
to give all my attention to the traffic. Everybody has
to get out at Grand Central Station." This was
the female lady bus driver, with the voice and appearance
of Whoopee Goldberg. Welcome to New York City. Everything
straight from the shoulder. Just the same, one girl
dared to ask if she had to change for New York North
because the ticket clerk had said that she could remain
on the bus.
"Wrong. Everybody out at Grand Central Station,
that's the procedure. Any more questions?"
The pecking order was clear. Rough diamond. Because
when the suitcases were unloaded she stood at the front
to help with those over twenty-five kilos in weight.
No time to waste is the motto here. Even the driver
of the minibus who took us to our hotel warned us fifty
metres before our destination, "Be ready for Hotel
In a rush we grabbed the cases. "Here's the tip!"
Of course I gave him two dollars for a journey of ten
minutes, criss-cross through Midtown Manhattan. In less
than an hour we had gone from J.F.K. Airport to Hotel
The hotel is fifty metres from Times Square, so after
checking-in we went for a walk because we had travelled
for twenty hours without having had a chance to stretch
our legs at all.
It was fully two o'clock in the morning before we finally
returned to the hotel. Times Square is one of those
places where you can go on endlessly watching the passers-by.
For this was N.Y.C. time. We bought a pizza at a Moroccan's
who asked the standard question, "Where are you
"Amsterdam in Holland," I replied, bending
the truth a little.
"Oh, I've been there twice."
So I asked, "Where exactly?"
"Utrecht and Harlem and I've got family in Belgium.
In Antwerp, Oostend and Gent."
I was convinced of his honesty, but the pizza was cold
and cost six dollars. He'll get on just dandy in New
York, I thought.