Where to next?

I’ve been home from my travels for about a month and thoughts tend to turn to what amazing place can we go to next? ¬†ūüėÄ ¬†Everyone has to have something to look forward to right? ¬†So I’ve been¬†looking for pictures of where you can go to see the auroras (north or south, I’m not fussy) and instead keep stumbling onto pics of some The Most Amazing Natural Phenomena in The World! ¬†This is a list of some of the cool stuff I have found so far…

Asperatus clouds – apparently so rare they have only been classified since about 2009, no one knows much about them, so it’s hard to predict where they may occur.

asperatus clouds Bioluminescent waters of the Maldives – can you imagine swimming in this gorgeous phosphorescent sea? ¬†Caused by phytoplankton in the sea, I have seen tiny examples of this in beaches in Australia, but this would be magical!¬†bioluninescent waters maldivesbioluminescent Calcifying lakes in Africa – beautiful and dangerous, with such ridiculously high salt content, that animals that get to close literally calcify from dehydration and look like they are turning to stone.calcifying lakesColumnal basalt rock formations – okay, this is definitely on my list thanks to the Great Puffin Incident of 1995… seen at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland as well as Fingal Caves in Scotland and created by lava plateaus that cooled and fractures into these unique landmarks.¬†columnar basalt Painted Danxia Landforms – beautifully surreal mountains created by sandstone and layers of minerals shaped by wind and rain into ravines, pillars and rock formations.danxie landforms china

Eternal lightning storm in Venezuela – at the mouth of the Catatumbo River, weather conditions and topography exists that creates an almost permanent storm that creates what is known as Catatumbo lightning on up to 160 days a year, for up to 10 hours a day and 280 strikes an hour. ¬†Would love to see that!Everlasting storm Venezula Fairy rings in Namibia – thousands of circles up to 30 feet across that are apparently made by termites killing off vegetation so that any moisture is available for the insects’ use and not plants. ¬†Looks interesting, but the bugs would out me off looking for this place.Fairy circles namibia fairy circles namibia2 Spider webs in Australia after flooding – thousands and thousands of spiders spinning webs above floodwater level just to freak us out. ¬†Yep, so not ever putting this on my ‘to go to’ list, but it is a cool photo.fields of spider webs 1 Fire rainbows¬†– created by light reflecting from ice crystals in very high clouds, often appearing parallel o the horizon. ¬†Looks beautiful, sounds really bloody cold.fire rainbows Great flowering desert in Chile – obviously you need to pick to go at the right time of year, because this doesn’t look too appealing. ¬†Second view in spring however, looks amazing.flowering desert chile 1 flowering desert chile 2 Frost flowers – so pretty. ¬†Mostly found in Arctic ares (why is all the pretty stuff in the freezing cold!), the flower ice formations form on thin sea ice when the atmosphere is colder than the ice. ¬†When the warmer air from the ice meets the colder air, funky ice crystals form making fields of frosty flowers.frost flowers arctic 2 frost flowers arctic

Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan – da.da.da! ¬†Sounds dramatic and probably looks awesome. ¬†It’s been burning since 1971 when natural gas emitted from cracks in the land were set alight. ¬†Apparently there is another similar phenomena in Iraq that they claim has been 4,000 years… why does the cool stuff have to be so remote? ¬†ūüôāGateway to hell turkmenistan 1 Gateway to hell turkmenistanUnderground glacial caves – ice caves formed by water erodes into the glacier. So beautiful from the blue glacial ice, which is formed by tightly packed ice. ¬†I went to the Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska (bottom photo), but oddly enough, there were no guided tours offered for your average tourist to go adventuring in enormous underground ice caverns.
Glacial Ice caves 1 glacial ice caves mendenhall Blue holes in Belize Рthese were apparently formed during the last Ice Age when the water level was much lower and the holes were basically formed by erosion.  The sea water rises and the holes filled up, creating a unique scuba diving opportunity and a rare underwater environment.  Very cool. Great Blue Hole BelizeHorsetail Falls Рtumbling down the side of El Capitain in Yosemite, these enormous waterfalls have a few days a year in February when the light hits them just so, causing them to light up like they are on fire.  Yosemite is definitely on my list.
jorsetail falls california Lenticular cloud formations – these clouds are created by layers of moist air flowing over a mountain and they pile up into a strange UFO/hat shape. ¬†I saw tiny lenticular cloud forms when I was in Canada an they were way cool – but probably hard to go hunting as a holiday destination.lenticular clouds 2 lenticular clouds Russian light pillars – these pillars of light are formed by natural light reflecting off flat and smooth light crystals but are only visible under extremely cold weather conditions … which I imagine for Russia, is bitterly cold. ¬†So maybe not.light pillars russia 1 light pillars russia Maelstroms – this one is called Saltstraumen, located off Norway. ¬†These powerful whirlpools are created by conflicted tidal flows meeting and can easily suck down swimmers and small boats. ¬† I’d love to see one, but have a feeling going near anything like this is just bloody stupid.maelstomsMonarch butterfly migration – from North America¬†to Mexico, the butterfly migrate 2,500 miles to seek out warmer weather for winter. ¬†Millions of them swarm together filling the sky with black and orange… ooh. ¬†aah. ¬†pretty.
monarch butterfly migration us 1 monarch butterfly migration us 2 Nacreous clouds in the Arctic Рthese gorgeous formations actually appear very rarely in the stratosphere due to a complete lack of moisture closer to the earth for cloud formation.  Apparently they have been seen in extreme polar winters when there is just enough moisture to form, and occur about 12 miles above the earth.  I would love to see that.  So cold though.nacreous clouds arcticSailing Stones, Death Valley, California.  These are so cool.  Always wanted to go hunting for rocks that creep along the ground by themselves.  For ages, no one knew how they moved, but it turns out that in the winter, tiny ice crystals formed around the rocks and then slide across the moisture in the mud, leaving crazy trails behind them.  Some of them are like, 300kgs!
sailing stones death valley california 2 sailing stones death valley california Now this would be cool – the Sardine Run off South Africa. ¬†Apparently the sardines move by the billions from cool waters at Cape Point to the East Coast of South Africa. ¬†When the sardines are on the move, there are so many of them, they can be seen from satellites in space and sharks in feeding frenzies take full advantage of their sheer numbers. ¬†Scuba diving anyone?sardine run south africa 2 sardine run south africa Sky punch clouds – a sky punch appears in clouds when ice crystals in the middle of a cloud formation begin to evaporate. ¬†No idea how you predict where they would be – but cool natural phenomena. ¬†sky punch 1 skypunch 2 skypunch3Fumarole snow chimneys – normal fumaroles are vents which allow steam to vent from areas of volcanic activity. ¬†If these vents are in Arctic areas, the moisture venting from the fumarole freezes as soon as it meets the air creating funky looking snow chimneys. ¬†Again… why is so much of all the groovy stuff in the areas of the earth where you’re likely to freeze your fricken butt off?snow chimney arctic Fly Geyser, Nevada – this unusual place was discovered accidentally sometime in the 60s when well drilling for geothermal energy sources was being performed on the Fly Ranch in Nevada. ¬†So while not 100% a natural phenomena, the resulting geyser has brought to the surface numerous minerals that have been flowing into 30-40 pools across a 34 hectacre area, enabling thermophilic algae to thrive, which creates the beautiful striped colours on the geyser. ¬†It’s on private property though, so bugger on that front.¬†fly geyser nevada fly-geyser3 flygeyser2Moeraki Boulders, South Island, New Zealand – these rock formations¬†are naturally formed spherical boulders at Keokehe Beach. ¬†The giant balls were formed up to 60 million years ago under the seafloor by compressed sediment hardening into stone. ¬†I have been to these boulders three times – taken pics of my kids clambering on them! – and think they are one of the coolest natural phenomena ever.Spherical Boulders moerakimoeraki-new-zealand-

Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada Рas the water evaporates from this lake near Osoyoos, various minerals pool together together to form what look like large lily pads.  Each pool of minerals has a different shape and colour due to the wide variety found in the lake.  spotted lake canada

spotted lake candada 2 Steam towers in Iceland – the region of Hverir is naturally high in geothermal activity which sees large towers of steam emanate from the boiling water and mud in the area. ¬†When combined with the ethereal beauty of the northern lights, the steam towers create an otherworldly landscape. ¬†¬†Steam Towers Iceland Hverir striated icebergs antarctica Striated glacial icebergs – the gorgeous stripes form in icebergs in various ways. ¬†Sometimes when crevices fill with water and freezes so quickly that no bubbles form creating bright blue stripes. ¬†Green stripes appear when algae attaches to icebergs as they tumble into the seas, and the brown, black and yellowish lines are caused by sediment, exactly the same way stripes are formed in glaciers. ¬†Very cool… whether at a glacier face or floating along in the ocean as an iceberg.

striated icebergs antartica 1 Supercells – I know a lot of people chase tornadoes and they can be dangerous and exciting and crazy to watch. ¬†I don’t think I am one of those people. ¬†Supercell storms are formed the same way as any other storm, but they have a vertical rotation which allows the storm to sustain itself much longer.supercells Underwater crop circles? ¬†These strange 7¬†foot¬†diameter ‘crop circles’ were first seen on the ocean floor off Japan and for a long time puzzled divers as to how they were created. ¬†Turns out they are made by tiny male puffer fish, no bigger than 5″ long, and the crazy little guys make them in the hope of attracting a mate.

underwater crop circles japan 1 underwater crop circles japan 2 Volcanic lightning – volcanic eruptions create an extraordinary amount of static and electrical charge, which on rare occasions can cause a violent lightning storm to spark in the volcanic plume. ¬†I think this would be amazing to see! ¬†Slight downside, it probably involves risking life and limb to get anywhere near it…volcanic lightningAnd this must be my favourite weird arse natural phenomena…
Frozen Methane Bubbles! ¬†Methane bubbles form, when dead organic matter falls to the bottom of a body of water and is decomposed by various bacteria. ¬†The methane gas becomes frozen in the water, creating beautiful patterns of frozen bubbles. ¬†It’s really quite stunning, but I don’t think anyone would let me anywhere near them… I’d be sitting there with a lighter waiting for them the bubbles to melt out! ¬† ūüėõ

frozen methane bubbles 1 frozen methane bubbles 2Next week: ¬†a look at The Most Abhorrent Phenomena in the Known World. ¬† ūüėõ


The Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World

I can’t remember where I found this (apologies to OP), but I stumbled on it sitting on my desktop this morning and found myself lost in the images.

Places, once places thriving with industry and activity, abandoned to be slowly taken over again by the earth. ¬†These places have not rotted away or decayed due to neglect, they have revealed a beauty that lays hidden when the tide of daily humanity is regularly maintaining over them. ¬†The world is a truly wondrous place…

America – Fuck Yes and Fuck Noes!

I never thought I’d be spending three and a half months of the last ten, in the United States of America (‘Merica, fuck yeah!)… and I certainly never thought I’d be covering all four corners of the country; going as far north-west as you can get (Alaska) to as far south-east as you can go (Florida), to as far south-west (San Diego, California) as you can get to, and as far north east as you can (Maine), not to mention a whole bunch of places in between.
I went to Alaska, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, DC, Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania again, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts and I’ve probably forgotten some! (Illinois too, but airports don’t count!) ¬†There are lots of things I really enjoy about the US, but as per usual, there are plenty of things I don’t like too.
US – The things I like…
  • Food portion sizes are huge – you can often get away with sharing a meal.
  • They let you turn right on the red, when there’s no traffic.
  • Fun trying to pick accents – from the lady beside me at the MET Opera with her thick New York accent to the lazy drawn out Southern drawls.
  • Mardi Gras is absolutely unique and there’s nothing like it – best party ever.
  • American BBQ is awesome. ¬†They say ‘life is too short to eat bad BBQ’ and our favourite was at Famous Dave’s BBQ… maybe we should open a franchise in Oz!
  • New England is beautiful, the scenery, the architecture, the history, the lobsters (could never live there though – too bloody cold).
  • Parades are fun – Mardi Gras Parades, St Patricks Day Parades etc, are a lot of fun, everyone is in a party mood. ¬†Few too many marching bands, but small price to pay.
  • The Grand Canyon is truly incredible, I’ve been there twice now and each time it just took my breath away.
  • Love the political satire television shows. ¬†For a country that is largely apathetic about their politics (less than 40% of the population turns out to vote), they sure get plenty of good mileage out of beating up politicians.
  • The US has some of the most incredible museums and art galleries with extensive and impressive world class collections. ¬†I wish I could access them more often (Australia really feels like a cultural wasteland in comparison).
US – the things I don’t like..
  • Food portions sizes are huge – if we wanted to eat different things, we always ended up with way too much food.
  • Taxes are added after sale. ¬†The sticker price is never the price – taxes are added in at the checkout. ¬†Just add the damn taxes in and detail on the receipt how much tax was paid so people aren’t constantly forced to work out the taxes (the rate for which is different in every state!)
  • I hate all the beggars. ¬†I know they are often disenfranchised and/or¬†marginalised¬†individuals, dealing with homelessness and other major social issues. But America’s inability to look after their most vulnerable is a bigger problem than my handling a $1 to a beggar can fix.
  • Pennies can get fucked, they aren’t worth what it costs to make them, they take up too space in your purse and a penny buys nothing.
  • Dollar notes can get fucked too. You think you have plenty of money left in your wallet and then discover they’re all $1 notes… but so long as you have this tipping culture, NO ONE will ever want to get rid of them because handing over $1 coins would feel cheap.
  • America needs to join the Modern era and use the goddamn metric system already!
  • You can not get a decent cup of tea ANYWHERE. ¬†American’s love their coffee, but have no idea how to make decent tea.
  • Public bathrooms… I’ve had this rant before, but it still pisses me off. ¬†Locks with ‘Vacant/Engaged’ are so simple and sensible. Why aren’t they more prevalent?
  • An American person may be lovely, but American people are just plain rude… there is a reason why they carry on like Canadians are obtrusively polite, it’s because Americans are generally quite self involved and often, very rude.
  • Ditto for situational obliviousness, Americans will just stop and have their conversation taking up an entire sidewalk, or get off an escalator and come to a dead stop, not even noticing the people coming up behind them.
  • Roads are a disgrace, especially in the north – most highways are pitted so badly it’s like 4WDing down the freeways with potholes as big as a pitbull. ¬† Also, the four way stops are shit, no one knows who has right of way – put in some roundabouts and be done with it.
  • Tipping – it’s so fucked. ¬†If staff were paid a decent living wage BY THEIR EMPLOYERS, then service staff wouldn’t need to rely on the social expectation that forces the public to pay just so they have enough to live on.
Next trip… maybe Russia/Scandinavia!

I Heart Las Vegas… or not.

Las Vegas – the (+)ves

  • It’s home to all the cool Cirque du Soleil shows. ¬†This is sufficient reason to visit IMHO! ¬†I’ve seen Mystere, Ka, and Zarkana; and now ‘O’ and Zumanity twice!
  • Hotels and Casinos are fabulous, they are all hyper-real and over the top, and tend to have their own interesting themes in an attempt to stand out from the pack.
  • There is lots of stuff going – on all the time. ¬†24/7
  • Shows, restaurants and shopping choices are wide and varied and to suit every taste and budget – awesome sauce all round.
  • Easy gateway to the Grand Canyon, you gotta do the champagne helicopter tour thing, if you ever get the chance.
  • You can find more ugly carpet in Vegas than anywhere else in the entire world! ¬†It’s really quite spectacular. ¬†ūüôā
  • There’s a oddity on every corner, from showgirls posing for photographs to cookie monsters handing out cards for hookers.
  • The local constabulary don’t seem to have a problem with open containers in the street, so people are walking around with yard glasses full of margaritas!
  • There are weddings everywhere you look… 60 yr olds in formal bridal wear on a Sunday afternoon… 20 year olds in cheap costumes wedding gear on Friday nights.
  • There is plenty of parking – all the casinos provide free self parking for guests, so getting around is really easy.
  • The Thunder from Down Under billboards make me smile every time I see them, apparently they are really quite popular with all the hens nights (sorry, bachelorette parties) that hit Vegas every weekend.
  • The Breakfast Red Bull Margarita is practically the State Drink.

vegas sign Las Vegas Рthe (-)ves

  • CIGARETTE SMOKE indoors everywhere. It makes you feel sick. ¬†Literally.
  • Drunk chicks all over the place. ¬†There is little that is less becoming than well dressed, but excessively drunk woman falling down at barely 2pm in the afternoon.
  • Beggars are in your face where ever you look… it already feels like the entire town is trying to put their hands in your pocket, but that goes double for the beggars, hawkers and solicitors.
  • Weird arse dress standards – girls on the town are all in low cut, tight dresses and stupidly high heels, while the guys they are hanging out with are in daggy cargo pants and sneakers?! ¬†What’s with that?
  • There are signs in most bathroom warning people, not about the dangers of gambling addiction (like we have here), but instead warnings about alcohol and pregnancy… is this a bigger problem than gambling away your house here?
  • One step back off the strip is totally Skeezy Town, ramshackle strip clubs and tired looking streetwalkers.
  • Freemont Street, once a focus point is now a shit hole that attracts people willing to half strip in ridiculous outfits, to pose for photos with tourists for a $1 (think large black woman in a nuns habit with massive boobs hanging out and pasties covering her nipples… or guys dressed up with KISS make up, fake instruments, studded belts etc, and g-strings and no other items of clothing!). ¬†It’s nothing more than creative begging.

freemont street costumes

The Ups and Downs of New York City.

New York, the cool shit and not so cool shit. Well, we have finished up the New York portion of our trip and have had a huge time hanging out in NYC. There is so much cool shit here…

Upsides of New York.

  • The MET. Quite simply one of THE best museums I have ever been to… loved the Impressionist galleries, the Medieval armoury and the decorative arts galleries. The building itself is gorgeously impressive and the bookshop? Well, it’s hard to get out of there with your credit card intact! Love it!
  • The Cloisters. Very cool little Medieval museum that feels a lot like it has been modelled on the Cluny Museum (the Musee de Moyen Age, in Paris which is built in a Medieval convent). The Cloisters holds some of the most beautiful artefacts ever. I finally got to see the Minnastracken casket that I had based my embroidered aummoniere purse on, and had no idea it was so small! It’s a hike uptown to get there, but the Cloisters was worth it.
  • Top of the Rock. The views from the top of 30 Rock were incredible. We went up in the afternoon and waited around for night views and got the best of both worlds… New York by day and by night. Awesome views.
  • The MET Opera. Saw an amazing production, La Boheme, at the Lincoln Centre which itself is an incredible venue. Such a beautiful building and even though we were in the third balcony, we had a fantastic view of the stage. Loved it.
  • Statue of Liberty. Very cool landmark. I always thought it was a bit twee, but after getting to go up in the statue and see out through the crown to the views of Manhattan, I was quite impressed. Add it to your list.
  • All the Art Deco buildings. So much of New York is built post depression/post war and the facades of all the buildings are very well kept. If you ignore the signage and vehicles at street level, you can imagine things haven’t changed that much.
  • Times Square. It’s all happening here, so much going on, so many shops, so many restaurants, so many street performers, so much hype and action. Hard to know where to look.
  • Theatres and other museums. New York seems to have a lot of actual culture available for consumption. I swear you could go to a new museum or a new production or a new exhibition every day for a year.
  • Everything is open late. All the shops and restaurants seem to be open until all hours. Everyone is out every night and walking around the Midtown area in the middle of the night feels open and safe.
  • Starbucks. The coffee is apparently ‘drinkable’ as American coffee goes, you can’t knock free wifi, they have cheap yummy bagels which make a quick easy breakfast, you can find one on every second corner and they have totally replaced McDonalds for this travellers preferred place to find clean toilets.
  • Buses. I like the bus system here (can’t believe I am saying that!). They go pretty much in straight lines – up this Avenue, down that Avenue. Most of the popular routes we wanted to use ran every 10-12 minutes or so, they’re clean and you can see the town a bit while you go.
  • Street vendor food. Mr K loved the quick and easy hot dogs, pretzels and other yummies available on nearly every corner. You can always tell which ones are the best, they will have line ups for ages, like the Halal Guys up near Carnegie Hall.
  • Cheap pashmina. Along with food vending carts, there were happily people around selling items of warmth nearly everywhere… beanies, hats, gloves, scarves, pashmina and all good things.
  • The Waldorf=Astoria. We felt it was a wonderful place to stay and it really added to our New York experience. As it turns out, our friends staying over in Times Square were paying roughly the same (okay, they were actually paying a little bit more) that we were, because I found some great winter discount rates. Hunt hard and you can get a good deal.
  • The Colbert Report taping. In spite of having to line up for two hours in the cold, and in spite of the whole thing being over and done before you know it… it was a lot of fun.
  • ‘Buzz’ of the street. Mr K really likes the pace of New York, the hustle and bustle, the noise and excitement in the air. But personally, I think that comes at a cost (see below).

But nowhere is Perfect (TM), so there are always plenty of noticeable things that kinda make you go ‘wha?’…

Downsides of New York:

  • Fat apartment puppies. EVERY dog we saw being walked in the streets and parks was overweight, and some of them were grossly overweight. These poor dogs live in apartments and have no yards and don’t get enough exercise. Was kinda sad and I think a little bit cruel to keep a Siberian Husky in a New York apartment.
  • The Subway. Ok We had a disagreement over this one. Mr K thinks the Subway is ‘Quick. Fast. Direct, Stops every few blocks. Affordable by the weekly ticket. Goes everywhere. Has unlimited travel for $30/week’. (His tautologies, not mine!) I thought it was disgustingly smelly (can’t imagine how bad that gets in summer), it was noisy and uncomfortable. It was full of homeless people desperately trying to stay warm making a huge statement about the US’s inability or unwillingness to look after its disenfranchised and on top of all that there was unreliable disabled access to platforms. I have trouble with stairs and they were unavoidable, I have no idea how you get around if you are wheelchair bound – it’d be totally fucked. No where near as good as the London Tube for access and I am so glad I never have to go near it again.
  • The ‘security theatre’. Everywhere you go there is this pretence of security, but it is inconsistent. Bags, belts, electronics, jackets and shoes at airports; Bags, belts and electronics at Statue of Liberty; Bags and electronics only at 30 Rock. Bags, belts and jackets at the Empire State Building; Visual bag check and metal detectors only at museums and Colbert… the whole thing feels like a farce. If there was true problems and true concerns to protect these environments and the people in them, you’d think there would be a standard of security required and you’d see the same level of security measures everywhere. It all feels like the appearance of security is more important than actually securing these spaces. Meh.
  • “This is for you.” Got pretty fucking sick of this really quick, people pulling you up in the street and saying ‘here take this hat/card/blessing’ and then when you go to walk away, asking you to pay for said item. Worst one we saw – a little Buddhist dud gave Mr K a card with a blessing on it, and the stood there and demanded $20 for him accepting it. Some Buddhist!! Needless to say he got his blessing shoved back where the sun don’t shine… talk about fucking window licking special.
  • Emergency Service Vehicles. Two things about these 1) You can hear the sirens going 24/7. It is so much part of the landscape in the city, that it becomes background white noise after a while and you don’t even bother to turn around to try and see what is going on; and 2) NO ONE makes way for ambulances and fire trucks on the road. Taxis, private vehicles, buses, no one is moving out of the way for them – I’d hate to be the person dying of a heart attack at the other end, knowing full well that help just ain’t coming because they can’t get through the traffic. So fucked up.
  • Smokers. So many smokers here, and you really notice them thanks to the close proximity of the Humanity(TM). I also hate when you’re walking along a sidewalk and someone will bust their butt to move around you to walk in front of you and then you get stuck breathing in a truckload of their second hand smoke. You can keep that shit.
  • Food is expensive everywhere. Some of this impression might be based on the hanging around the ‘touristy’ areas, and the impression might also be attributable to the taxes not being included in prices on menus, and of course the fucking tipping which drives most Aussies nuts.
  • There’s just too much “America, fuck yeah”. New York overloads on the ‘How fucking awesome are we?’ There is so much flag waving, so much over the top patriotism, and a definitely feeling that saying anything critical of the US could get you stomped on. Enough already, you guys are not the greatest country in the world anymore – ask Aaron Sorkin.
  • This nonsense that passes for Spring weather. Outside temps of 2C and 3C but feels like -6C or -11C and threatening snow, again! So over it. There were many nights we wanted to just go wander the streets and take in the city, but instead found ourselves taking refuge indoors. If this is Spring, it can piss off.
  • But the one thing I really dislike in New York was this, Sense of Entitlement, displayed by many New Yorkers. Now this is a big one for me, and it is big enough for me personally, that I feel I could never, ever live here. I don’t know if it is a lack of respect or a failure to recognise what is, and is not appropriate, but there are so many people here who feel it is perfectly within their rights to disturb the people around them, and they have no hesitation in doing so. For example, it is quite common to find yourself walking along with a group of people who seem to be talking so loudly that EVERYONE around them is forced to hear their inane conversations. Then there are people who will walk four abreast on the subway stairs and make no effort to move over to allow people to pass.

There have been some even more special examples of this sort of inability to act privately in public spaces. We were on one train, and two young black guys got on the train, asked people to move out of the standing area near the doors, put on a loud soundtrack and started dancing and doing acrobatics causing a disturbance on the entire carriage and after imposing their impromptu performance on everyone, they walked around with a hat asking for money. Then there is the guy in Time Square, who no doubts thinks he is amusing, calling himself the Work Out Soldier, who walked up to strangers in the street and started yelling at them like a bootcamp instructor, usually kicking off by telling the person he was assailing that they were ‘fat, lazy, obese bastards who should skip a meal’! No shit, this guy was walking up to people saying this stuff. If he had come near me, I would have given him what for.

Another absolutely mind boggling example of a lack of consideration towards others, came in the form of some plonker deciding it would be funny to hit the ‘stop’ button on an escalator at Penn Station, just as hundreds of people were flowing off a crammed platform after the hockey game. Yep, he thought he’d get to the top of the escalator, and prank his friends by making them walk the rest of the way up… never mind the other people already on the escalator, never mind the hundreds of people still stuck down on the platform that were now going to have to take the stairs – fuck you, you inconsiderate little cunt – you’re not funny, you’re not amusing, you’re not witty, you’re just a self entitled little prick who has no regard for others.

These are some of the more extreme examples of what we ran into everyday, and all I can say is there seems to be a pervasive, and frequently displayed, lack of awareness of what private behaviour is appropriate in public spaces, and a complete disregard for the privacy, space and comfort of others.