Send Kisses They Cannot Say No To ? You Decide. Please vote now and share with friends. Key decision
Ok. Can they or can they not say no to these kisses?
Having been abandoned in the centre of Indianapolis for a few hours, like a wandering Bill Bryson, walking around just looking. So what did I find today? Well I maybe found the most ridiculous advert of all time outside the window of a cafe. Certainly stopped me in my tracks, if that was the purpose, but also for the same reason stopped me going in. If this was a pharmaceutical advertisement it would not be allowed under the “fair and balanced” tag.
The second unusual thing was a sign. What are these unspecified loud noises? What about the nice kind birds and not the pest birds? How can they differentiate from them? I can think of many loud noises that would deter lots of birds,people and maybe other inaminate objects. For example some the football “singing”, that would certainly work. Maybe some Justin Bieber music?
Then there is the steam that emanates from all drains in Indianapolis. What were my findings today? Well firstly the steam does not smell. Secondly it looked like a re-make of that film “The Fog” in places. Thirdly, outside the equivalent I think of the County Council offices there was a sign eulogising ” no smoke”. Sadly also they forgot to ban steam.
Lastly the steam issue. Clearly steam is a business here like New York. Citizens thermal kind of says just that. A little like Reykjavik in Iceland where the warm water is pumped to provide heating to thousands of houses, and the geothermal water although provided free by nature, is certainly not free to the humble paying customer.
Then finally. A usual issue, large USA portion size. You order an omellette and along comes another two meals. All nice and good. But a 3-egg omelette is maybe big enough, but combined with half a loaf of sourdough bread , cleverly disguised as 4 slices of toast heavily buttered. And a decent size portion of fruit too. Then unlimited coffee, which happened to be Blueberry Crumble flavoured, curious choice but a good choice. Finally the offer to also have a takeaway coffee, maybe to put me over the DSM-5 limit for caffeineism. But excellent quality and all served by a Selena Gomez lookalike………so did she get a tip yes. But most unlike UK she actually entered into a meaningful discussion with me, enetrtained me and seemed/was genuinely interested in what I had to say. Which made simple was do not go near UK and go to Amsterdam instead………
So Indianapolis. Average, no. Curious, yes. So many facets to USA. The most troubling one for me is the almost “fake” attitude of servers and hotel staff. The ” have a nice day” and ” I can make that happen Sir”………this is nonsense of the ultimate kind. No-one falls for this. The other troubling habit is to have to wear huge name badges all the time, in the meeting, in the lift, in the bar, in the restaurant, and I suspect, in bed too. And I mean huge badges. Almost as though they have forgotten their names so the foot size badge gives them a clue. The other thing is the class divide. The customers do not treat the bar staff with as much respect as maybe in UK. I guess a money thing.
Indianapolis is actually an interesting and under rated city, the obvious capital of Indiana. Full of bars and restaurants but maybe lacking a little of that extra excitement that comes with some other large USA cities. Nevertheless a good place to visit. Having today a little time to stroll around and see things in temperatures that at best were freezing and at worst well below with serious wind chill factor to add in.
Some curious things to report. Firstly in this weather the denizens of Indianapolis are being exhorted to sit outside to eat and drink their food and beer, not only that but on the corner of two busy streets.
Then as always there is portion size to consider. Something I clearly did not do well today. A cinnamon roll that could feed a family seemed to fall into a bag and then into my mouth for a mere 2 dollars. Every food item here really is twice the size that the same things are in UK, and often twice as nice too.
Drains. Not the normal topic of my blog nor frankly my interests but having seen what looked like a large smoke bomb in the street I took a look. Steaming drains. Seems like a quick review of this topic reveals no clear answer here but in New York they channel steam underground . Manhattan has 100 miles of mains and pipes making up the service system there. Public acceptance of steam as a form of energy goes as far back as 1888 when a severe blizzard caused havoc that other forms of heat were quite literally powerless to be used. The first steam plant was also in operation there in 1882 a full 6 years before the first electrical service. As far as Indianapolis goes there seems no clear answer but one presumes steam and not pollution is the reason.
Indiana is not typically regarded as a holiday destination. But maybe this is unfair. A few days here and it seems that as long as you try not to eat three times a day, a crazy activity, things are actually rather nice. The people are friendly, except the axe-wielding receptionist in one hotel, a look of fury on her face as she sat nailed to the chair trying to avoid her only job, giving out the key and smiling, whilst muttering something that may or may not have come from ” The Shining” from Jack Nicolson. A big difference though between her and Jack, he had the better looks, she had the better axe. She was rapidly named “The Innkeeper”. The rest are friendly. The weather is good, warm and great to sit outside, except in ” authentic mexican restaurants” where the inside temperature approaches that at the arctic circle and it is obligatory to sit outside, even if it were snowing. Nashville is a cute place, maybe a couple too many of those ” antique type” shops, but an OK place to stroll around. The autumn colours are beautiful . The roads quiet mostly, except parking is a curious activity in Nashville. Indianapolis itself is a city sure, but full of actually quite tasteful looking buildings. The architecture is more interesting than one might think. The only irritation is in the hotel where the level of service approaches obsequiosness . Every person asking you to have ” a nice day”. I feel like saying, no thanks, I already have a nice Day. But all their exhortations are so false. If in UK anyone did say that, outside of a hotel, it would be genuine, here it seems like a tick on their PM document. Do not like it at all. When checking in I was seriously asked if I wanted to be walked to the lift by the receptionist. The lift was maybe 10 yards away and was easily identifiable by the sign saying…..elevator.
So sitting here at sunset. The views over Indianapolis are truly pleasant. The food was free. Things are really not too bad at all.
The volume of food continues to amaze me. For example a lunch order of what I understood to be strips of chicken with salad arrived, and it was actually very nice eaten with great company, but it was covered with about half a pound of crumbled blue cheese. So salad yes, healthy option, to impress my dining companion, became a calorific disaster zone from which I may need medications to elevate my HDL. But it does not stop there, oh no. Pots of strange sauces, the one that was earmarked for me looked like a sort of cocktail sauce. Around a litre……I exaggerate , but not by much. And just when I thought this meal size was looking vaguely normal otherwise…..4 bread rolls in a basket. So a salad turns into something you would go to Weightwatchers for a month to try and recuperate from. This lunch meal I did survive. Then around 4 hours later the executive lounge here ( sounds grand but equals free food and drink in UK and only free food here) serves what they term ” Hors D’oeuvres”. Now here I want to show you how the various dictionaries define ” Hors D’oeuvres”. This is your selection:
1. A small savory dish, typically one served as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal.
2.A small bit of appetizing food, as spicy meat, fish, cheese, or a preparation of chopped or creamed foods, often served on crackers or small pieces of toast, for eating at cocktail parties or other gatherings where drinks are served with no other food.
3.An appetizer, as a relish or more elaborate preparation, served before or as the first course of a meal.
So you get the drift. Something small and tasty. OK. Here in JW Marriott the take a different approach, a generous one. Firstly a hugely enthusiastic lady was exhorting me at 5.20 pm to prepare to eat. Not usual in New Malden. The selection was, and I was informed the expectation of the norm was to have everything. Here goes- sliders ( these are mini-burgers maybe 2 is a normal burger, a USA thing but creeping into UK), mini beef wellingtons, spicy humous, various crackers and chips, salads, cheeses, bread and a few litres of dips and sauces. So it is fair to say this concoction does not represent a ” small bit of appetising food”. For me this is good, no need to have an expensive dinner. For others, maybe most here, this really is a prelude to the feast called dinner. So I really do not think that folks here ever stop eating. I think maybe I need to come and live here but would be regarded as “odd” for not consuming 5000 calories a day. So another nice Day. I certainly have one.
There is clear recognition that obesity if rife in USA. There is also clear evidence that this has translated into worrying rates of Diabetes a not inconsiderable CVD risk factor. How has this all happened? I like to keep things simple, and mostly they are in life. The USA population eats too much. How does this arise? One easy observation after 3 days in USA, the first time I have visited for many years, is that everyone expects huge amounts of food, and either eats it, takes it away in a box to eat later or leaves it on their plate beaming with delight that ” they have had value for money”. The first place I saw this was in the sky.
At 35,000 ft I can see why USA has an obesity epidemic. Breakfast. American Airlines. The omelette was large enough but hidden inside was a huge amount of high fat cheese. Hiding underneath were about 4 rashers of bacon and the whole lot was swimming around in cubed potatoes. Enough ? No. A huge croissant. Enough now? No. A side order of packet of cheese biscuits and a kit kat and biscuits for cheese and a lump of cheese. There was a look of total horror on the face of the air stewardess when I gave this back. Surely you want to keep it for later? No I do not. One passenger was quite into all this as being asked if she wanted omelette or pancakes replied both….. And I hazard a guess this is not the first time she had eaten like this….
I have also witnessed a curious conversation between two of the air stewards. Discussing what was in the cherry pancakes. And yes they offered cherry pancakes. Quote ‘ what is in those pancakes?’
‘Something like mushrooms?’
‘I thought it was a little like cherries’
I now feel that I have descended into a strange parallel universe. To make matters worse I have spent the last hour thinking he has huge blue earrings. It is only on closer inspection I can see they are earphones which strangely seem to be connected to something and I will not speculate inside the zip of his jeans. I repeat. Parallel universe.
Finally the ending to the food story. Around an hour before we are due to land the next lot of food appears. True to restaurant fashion the meal was both pizza and pasta. Yes both. But if you wanted to pretend you had the healthy option it was pasta salad but oddly without visible salad. And I almost forgot a side order of coconut and orange biscuits.
The second place I saw this was in a Mexican restaurant (maybe one of the worst in the world I have ever visited, but thats a different story), where I ordered a burrito . And that is the operative word ” a”. What arrived was a fairly awful rendition of a burrito and not only that there were two of them. I ate one out of simple hunger, but could not touch the other. The plate was pushed away. My partners plate disappeared but mine stayed. Eventually with a look of disbelief I was asked if I had finished and if I wanted to take this appalling item of food away with me. The third place, was a much better restaurant in Nashville, and just to set the scene more positively you can see what a nice place Nashville is below. But again having ordered a meal that was actually good, chicken and asparagus ( served in a large bun, and one must ask why?. Chicken and cheese and asparagus is a decent meal alone without the need for pounds of bread accompanying it), I was informed in the same way you might be told you had won a prize, that I could have an extra side order. The size of the side order indicated it was either first prize, or was inadvertently given to me but was expected on a table of 8. Nice though it was, coleslaw, it looked like I had not in fact touched it. So cue apologies to Brittany the waitress to explain that it was good but just too much. It would be interesting to do a kitchen audit to see if anyone in a whole day managed to finish their coleslaw and if they did what was their BMI before and after eating this epic side order. So, this story will get continued as the next few days unfold. I plan to have a nice Day and do in fact have a nice Day.