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Tropical Storm in Malaysia

My friends have all told me: what a funny time to come to New York! Have you lost your mind? Have you come especially for the hurricane? And so on, and so forth.
So let me make something clear. So far, it is simply perfect. We did all the things tourists usually do: Horse ride in Central Park, 5th Avenue, Time Square and the look in my daughters’ eyes was worth more than all the reproaches we have had so far. The only drawback is the lack of an open Starbucks around our hotel. That said, it made us discover a really nice corner bakery. Every cloud has its silver lining, right?
Knowing that hurricane Irene was coming, I didn’t really want to go – my husband called me a wimp-, but our flight to New York wasn’t cancelled and yesterday was a truly magnificent summer day. The only thing we risk now is to have our flight back cancelled, which would mean that we could stay longer (actually, I could live with that!). We have been through tropical storms in Malaysia and monsoons in Jakarta. And frankly, as long as you stay indoors and at a higher level, you are reasonably safe (I would know, we were once caught on a tropical storm on a plane and believe me, I thought I was going to die –either from a crash or a heart attack).

New York tonight: no rain, no wind so far!

Despite the weather being actually quite nice (a few wet spells today, but nothing frightening, especially if you are used to living in London), hurricane Irene has hijacked the news. It is simply everywhere. Everybody is talking about mandatory evacuations and the metro has stopped, which means that not a lot of businesses are open. On the bright side, we have stocked up on crisps, water and biscuits and it feels very nice to have so much junk food in our hotel room. I haven’t heard anything about Libya for a couple of days (have they caught Gaddafi yet?) and the motto here is “prepare for the worst, hope for the best”. I am struggling to understand what is going on. This is a tropical storm, a type 1 hurricane (i.e., the weakest one) and even in upper Manhattan some stores have put anti-flood sand bags. Nothing else matters except Irene.
I had forgotten about New York and despite everything happening, it is good to be back. The portions in restaurants are simply huge (I had to go for a run twice today to try to burn the extra food). People are nice (guests in the hotel are talking to each other, in the lobby or on the lifts, which would not happen in London. Definitely not. Simply impossible. Even at work I wasn’t talking in the lifts). The service in restaurants can be a bit aggressive: this morning, I found what seemed to be an open place at 6am to get a much-needed coffee. So I politely asked whether the place was opened. The response I got was “What does it look like?”, a far cry from what I would have had in London (It would more have been around “Of course madam, what would you like?”).
Well, it is good to be back to New York.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London