yesterday was the last night of my stay in usa. 6 weeks passed suprisngly fast. When? What did i do? Where did all the money go?

My 13th visit in the states. Unlucky 13?

What i like about this country is … nature. No! People! No! Nature! No! People! Hard choice. I do not have to choose. I like people and nature.

new york city – i just love this place. Pics are here.

fair lawn, nj

My base. This is where i stay. Lots of russian friends. They speak in their own language. I just sip every word, every sound. I am learning. Best teachers ever. If i do not understand, i ask them to say it in english. If i do not know how to respond, i say it in english. We manage somehow in this weird world of international (eastern europe) communication. Those are people from different parts of russia, e.g. moscow, siberia/lithuania (i know it is not in russia), st petersburg. Every each of them speaks differently. I like Marina’s russian the best. It is just a pure pleasure to listen to her. And we share the same passion for cooking. Last saturday we did korean night. Yum! It was 5 de mayo, but we wanted to be more oriental than latino. Sorry chicas and chicos.

Katia K. – well, this time we did not have that many occasions to meet. But she is always cheerful. Talks about everything with passion and the smallest details. And i will never forget the toast she raised during her birthday last January.

 

So, i really speak more russian than english during my north american holidays.

 

glen rock, nj

A town glued to fair lawn. We are two blocks down from the border. And pretty close to our home there is the only bar – jalapenos. I go there every now and then. During this trip i met people. Staff and clients. Ladies first – Ania and Ashley. Two very positive gals. Bringing light to that place. Well, i met Ania few years ago. I was shocked when i heard  she was teaching guys speaking polish. Of course there were not words like „Good morning“ or „how are you“. No. She was teaching them all variation of F-word in polish. And believe me, as far as that word is concerned, we polish people are very … originative. Ashley is girly, smiles all the time. She is always there. Whenever you nod or not, she is by your table and has always something to say.

George – the owner. I talked to him few times. Of greek descent. Very open guy. He used to be a manager but 3 years ago he and his dad bought that mexican restaurant. He is always dressed with a smile. Treats his staff well. And that is what i appreciate in people. I always look how people treat other peole. George is slways helpful. One day he even  waited tables as it was super busy. And when i told him that i had just returned from LA and was hungry, he treated me as a king. Told his people to pay attention to my table. It was incredibly nice gesture and … feeling. Either Ashley or the guy from the kitchen were checking on me quite often. George says that staff and food are the most important factors in this business. „I still have some problems with my people, but the food has always been good“. Well, George, i beg to differ. Your people are the best. Very good team. As he said – no personnel fluctuation in the past 3 or 4 years. That means a million! Food? Well, question of taste.

Mike, Kev, Chris – the soccer trinity. They are always there whenever there is a soccer game. You know, not american league but european. Mainly Premiership (Chris is from northern london) and champions league (Yeah, they think liverpool will make it this year). They joke, they have sense of humor. Whenever there is a goal they cheer extremely loud so the cook runs out from the kitchen to see the goal. Sometimes they cheer when there is no goal. To tease the cook. In Europe those games are at night or evening. If i want to watch something i call my guys and we go for a beer or two. But it is 8.45 pm. Here, in usa, it is 2.45 pm. And my trinity is always at the bar drinkinmg its ambrosias.

John – avid golf player. He sells diamonds/jewelery. He used to play golf 3 times a week. Now once a month. „What happened?“ i asked. „Kid happened“ he replied. „John jr“.

Mark – guy who understands polish (his late parents came from southern poland). A realtor. Very monumental, barely moves, sitting at the bar, sometimes glimpes left and right. Our conversation was like that:

– are you polish?

– yes

– have you ever been to Warsaw?

– yes, i live there

– i was there 15 minutes ago

i was really dismayed. What? How? No way? What?

Later than night it apperead that Warsaw was a bar somewhere nearby.

 

I miss my local bar where we play darts, laugh, talk to the waitresses behind the counter, drink cheap beer and eat frozen food from microwave and grill.

 

lolipop lady. I am sorry – crossing guard i should say. Lolipop lady/man is very disrespectful. Everyday when i walk Mike to school we have our little conversation:

– have nice day young man

– thank you, how are you today

– good, thanks

and on my way to the car:

– have a good one

– thanks, you too

Mike is always silent. So i do the whole talking. Eh, that young generation.

I must admit that that lady is very serious about her job. Very involved. You can see that security of the kids is the prioroity number one for her. Thank you on behalf of the kids of fair lawn.

 

People from instagram – Krzysiek (staten island), Ted (pennsylvania), Craig (los angeles). People number 5, 6 and 7 i met from instagram. Social media is powerful and connects people. I told Craig that this was unbelievable that i had traveled half the world to meet him. Of course i did not tell him that tickets to las vegas were more expensive than to los angeles. But you know, traveling half the wolrd makes an impression, right [blink]. I just flew in to the city of angels to rent a car and hit the road to explore death valley. And of course to meet my follower from instagram [blink]. We have known each other for almost two years now. So it was about time to meet.

Ted – that was easy. Philadelphia is only 2 hours drive from fair lawn. I wrote about that meeting last month here on my blog.

pics from Philly

Krzysiek – well, it was the seocnd meeting. Also wrote about it.  However it was on my polish blog, i think. So once agian – a very good companion, interesting person with a passion for photography. I am a huge fan of his works (http://www.35×35.com).

He should really get his acts together and do something with his talent.

Well, i hope i will meet those people again (maybe at least two of them). I would really like that. Thank god this june/july Ula from Texas, i mean Tradition/Tradycja is visiting her family in poland, so maybe she wil find time. I will for sure.

 

Death valley – amazing place. One of the best so far i have seen here. Diversity of the park is surprising – desert, sandy dunes, badwater basis (the lowest point in north america, 282ft/86m below sea level), canyons, mountains, dry riverbeds, sun, deadly sun, hot, extreme hot.

pics from death valley

Bryce, zion – hiking, exploring places with the smile. Views are rewarding after long hike. That intensity of the colors are nowhere else to be seen! That greenness of leaves! That blue of the sky! That red canyons!

pics from bryce, zion, red canyon.

I stayed in beatty, nevada (death valley), tropica (bryce), springdale (zion). People are just so nice! They have time to talk, to explain everything, to recommend places, to praise this and that. They are just nice, humble and sincere. It is not new york city anymore.

Seattle, Vancouver, Portland – i flew to the capital city of grunge music. The city was … bright, sunny, warm. I expected the opposite. What a nice disappointment, right? City is changing. New houses are being built. I liked everything there but space needle. I paid 26$ just to see less than half the town in 5 minutes.

In vancouver, my 4th canadian city after Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, i had a great time in capilano suspension bridge park. The bridge was scary. Swinging dangerously. I felt like i was drunk while walking it. And i thought i would swing out of that foodbridge. But it was a good scare. Exploring cliffs, walking high between trees – it was money well spent.

 

I did not understand portland – empty town. Apart from homeless people. In general on west coast there are lots of people on the streets. It is seen.

I asked a guy in visitor center what i could see in 3-4 hours in portland. He recommended 2 museums and a huge bookstore. Weird, right. Why not something outdoor? After one hour i wanted to go back to seattle. In the stores there were no light so people inside looked like shoplifters. It was hard to find a place for lunch. Eventually i googled something. i asked the guy why this town was like that. He said „yeah, i know. It is because of the rain“. „What rain?!“ i shouted surprised. People appeared on the streets and in the public places after 3 pm. Really unique town.

pics from seattle, vancouver, portland.

Yesterday we took everything from the fridge that had been already opened. And Ula prepared supper. The last supper before going (back) to poland. Yum!

 

That was my lucky 13th time. I really enjoyed it. I saw places i loved. Places i will remember for the rest of my life. I met people i will remember.

 

I am already thinking about my trip number 14.

Two options:

1) hardcore

fair lawn – pensylvania – ohio – indiana – illionois – kansas city, mo – wichita, ks – oklahoma – austin, tx – new orleans, la – alabama – tennessee – virginia – maryland – pensylvania – fair lawn

 

2) less hardcore

flight to new orleans.

New orleans – mississippi – arkansas – kansas city, mo – oklahoma – austin, tx – new orleans, la

 

Maybe this fall, who knows. I got to meet some new people on instagram from those states.