Saturday, September 17, 2005

First I take Manhattan

My first column is out. Highlights:

As I leave the overnight red-eye flight to head into the city that never sleeps, I feel like a zombie. The temperature is 30˚ and humid, and my first-floor apartment, with its barred window overlooking rusty fire-escapes, lacks air-conditioning. First, I get a fan. Then I buy cold beer.

An Egyptian-born deli owner on Broadway greets me at five past midnight with a broken smile that flashes gold. "Ah, very good choice!" he says, as I plonk a six-pack onto the counter. Remembering a Monty Python line that's always worked wonders in New Zealand, I quip: "I'm buying foreign, because I heard all American beer is like f---ing close to water!"

His smile remains, but the eyes are no longer friendly. The bottles in question are Kronenberg 1664. The label reads: "Bi̬re Рbottled in France." First, I smear his adopted country's beer, and then I take the piss.

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