Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back in New York

People on holiday tend to make unfavourable comparisons with their homeland. Quite naturally perhaps, I have over several years as a tour guide learned more about what is wrong with the USA than what is praiseworthy. My trip here is thus a wonderful, eye-opening, surprise.

I was last in New York nearly thirty years ago and remember it as busy, violent, dirty and a bit seedy. I had read, of course, that it had changed, but had no idea by how much. In the stifling heat, it still seems a vibrant place, but also clean, safe, quite at ease with itself. I am also struck by the number of flowers.

I am here to meet Travel Agents, to speed the growth of Scottish Clans and Castles Ltd. One occupies the the entire 34th floor of a building made almost chilly by the airconditioning; another is tucked away at the back of a hardware store with an office full of catalogues featuring holidays all over the world (but the walls are covered with pipers and Scottish castles!). Everyone is polite and helpful. No one (except ironically the Bank of Scotland) is too busy to see me.

I understand New York better now, and look forward to coming back.

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