Thursday, September 29, 2005

New York, New York. But that's not what we were singing as we sped up the turnpike towards the Big Apple. I plugged my iPod into the stereo system of the Mercedes and we played Beatle songs, singing along at the tops of our voices, Beau Frère et moi, while La Patronne slept in the back.

I was hoarse by the time the skyscrapers of Manhatten appeared on the skyline, the Empire State Building returned to its place of dominance after 9/11. Springfield lay somewhere behind us. A "Simpsons" sky of fluffy white clouds, scudding across a clear, sharp blue, filled the windscreen.

As we corskcrewed down to the Lincoln Tunnel, we glimpsed New York in all its glory, rising sheer from the waters of the Hudson to underpin the sky. Then we were plunged into the gloom of this long, tiled tunnel beneath the waters of the great river overhead, before rising again to emerge into the sunshine of the city itself, buildings soaring around us, like sentinels.

A cacophony of sound. Traffic, builders, angry hands jabbing honking horns, and we headed north along the west shore before turning east to find the apartment of American friends from France, Gary and Ellen, on the upper west side. Gary is still in France, where a CT scan finally managed to find his brain - a shrivelled organ around the size of a walnut - to happily confirm that the rushing sound in his ear was not being caused by a tumour. Good news, amigo.

Ellen has generously offered to move into her brother's apartment to let us sleep in her apartment for the three nights of our New York stay.

And so, here we are in New York. The weather is good. Not too hot, not too cold. A gentle, cooling breeze blows up Broadway as we make our way to an Indian restaurant for much needed sustenance. Ellen joins us, and is in good form, and it feels good to make contact again with friends from France. A breath of home, after a long absence. This is Day Thirty of my blog, and my eyes are stinging and sore.

We drink and laugh, and then retire to the apartment to sleep. Tomorrow, I have a drop-in signing at the Mysterious Bookshop on West 56th Street, and we will meet up again with Susie who has flown out from California to stay with friends for a few days and visit her daughter, Shannon, an aspiring actress here in the city.

On Friday I meet with my agent, and my publisher. I will want to know if St. Martin's will buy the rest of my China Thrillers - if my tour has been sufficiently successful. I will quiz my agent on the prospects for my new French series. So close to the end now, reality bites back. Time to face the future, to ask questions and be prepared for the answers.

Arriving in New York


Ellen and Beau Frère Share a Joke

Outside the Indian Restaurant

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