Saturday 30 April
Tried like mad to finish The Time Traveller’s Wife before leaving, but had to stop 20 pages from the end. Met colleagues at Heathrow and took late evening flight to Newark, NJ. Watched Vera Drake and several episodes of Friends; stayed awake throughout the flight. Arrived at hotel to find no second bed in the room I was sharing; took some time sorting this out, which set me up to be thoroughly jet-lagged throughout the week.
Sunday 1 May
Colleagues up at crack of dawn, so we took water taxi to Manhattan and shopped until we were on the very verge of dropping. Met some of the LA office staff and went for dinner in Hoboken. Started to realise that I’m the only Brit in the company.
Monday 2 May
Up at 5am to drive to Connecticut, to visit our parent company. Struck by the wonderful cliche of travelling across the USA on a four-lane highway, listening to The Eagles. Spent the day drinking black coffee and being incoherent, then back to Manhattan for food somewhere in Little Italy.
Tuesday 3 May
Feeling slightly more human. Day of presentations from each regional office [UK, LA, NY, Mexico and China]. All quizzes resoundingly won by the UK team. Tried really hard to offend or confuse colleagues by using lots of British English. Mostly failed. Finished day with departmental meal out at a tapas bar somewhere in Manhattan, and drinks at The Fat Black Pussy Cat.
Wednesday 4 May
Today’s agenda said Team Building and Motivational Workshops. It was everything you imagine it would be, and more. The workshop leader did the Southpark mmm-kay thing frequently, but americans didn’t seem to find this cripplingly funny. Solved the balancing 12 nails on one nail puzzle while no-one was looking. Released at 5pm and headed across to Manhattan to meet Pete. Thereafter, see below.
Main impression of NYC: friendlier and less threatening than expected, and who knew skyscrapers could be so elegant?
With grateful thanks to Stuart and Krissa for their wonderful hospitality for the rest of the week.