It's been quite a shock to the system, coming from the woods of Connecticut and very few people, to New York City and all the people - a good kind of shock though. I've done quite a bit of walking already.
On Sunday I went up the Empire State, which I'm so glad to have done despite its fairly hefty price and assault course on the way up of shops and enforced photos.
Yesterday I went to the New York Museum of Natural History, and the Planetarium too. Both were really super, the museum in particular was wonderful. I hadn't intended to spend much time there, but got absorbed by all their displays - their dioramas are brilliant.
Birds of South Africa - realistic!
I spent most of my time in the Mexico and Central American section, as they made such lovely things. Look at all these guys!
Clay god figurines. Please don't smite me, Bat god, for my rubbish portrayal of you.
This furious bottle man is from the Pacific, where they also made a lot of bowls depicting people having sex, but "not in a way likely to cause insemination" - museum speak!
Then I went to the reptile room - this isn't a great photo, but I had to take it to show how big the biggest salamander can get, as I had no idea! And now I'm scared. So for context, that dot in the circle is probably about 10 pence size - then comes the world's biggest frog, then look at that salamander!!! He is Japanese, thank goodness, so not likely to run into him soon.
The displays were all so good that I found myself staring into them looking for things, trying to spot extra hidden stuff. But the thing that found me, that ALWAYS finds me in these places was... the pipa toad! I'm not extra squeamish, but the pipa toad has always horrified me since I saw a photo of one years ago - the female toad has holes in her back in which she deposits her eggs which then grow into babies IN HER BACK - it's every Cronenbergy, flesh-creepy horror you ever had. And here they had an EXTRA LARGE model, urrrrgh. I was too traumatised to take a photo to show you.
Afterwards I walked down through Central Park past wholesome New Yorkers jogging, cycling and playing baseball. Then I sat on a big rock and drew the view - it was peaceful bliss.