I’m not dead yet. Whoever said that office life in America was all work, work and more work was right. I’m glad that I’ve seen a few interesting places over the Thanksgiving holiday and last weekend.

NYC offers a lot of attractions for the weary worker, except that at the end of the day you’re so tired that all you really want to do is collapse in the comforts of your hotel room. The cold alone is enough to discourage one to go out. I guess that’s what being one of the locals is like.

I’m stying at an “extended stay” hotel near the New Jersey-NYC border. Most of its occupants are “expats” like me, such as Indians, Asians and a few Latinos. Last Monday, two Filipinos from another IT company in Makati checked in to the hotel. When we realized that we came from the same country (and city, no less), we easily chatted up. That afternoon as I was waiting for the R train at Whitehall, I met two more Filipinos who were also consultants to the same client. We didn’t just say the customary Hi’s and Hello’s; we even posed for photos. On any given day, things like these don’t happen in Manila.

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My route has become really familiar, that I have no worries crossing the NY-NJ border to and from work anymore. I guess I don’t really mind the hour-long travel each way due in part to the fact that there’s hardly any traffic jams and that I don’t have to deal with pollution and insane jeepney and bus drivers. The five-mile bus ride sometimes takes only 15 minutes, while the subway ride is about half an hour. Now, I’ve learned to take the express (Line 2 or 3 from W 42nd and 7th Avenue and then transfer to line 1 at Chambers St.), which cuts travel time by half.

Given the craziness of NYC, retiring at a quiet place away from the city is welcome. I’ve been terribly tired lately, though, that I don’t even have the energy to look around the vicinity, unlike during the Thanksgiving slow-down. I’m usually up by 5. For good or bad, there is no other choice but to wake up early because the earliest bus that stops in front of the hotel arrives before 7. It takes another 30 minutes for the next one to arrive, and by then I’m already terribly late.

Fall Foliage

Sunday afternoon, a co-worker and I walked around Central Park. It’s huge and well-maintained. The fall colors are lovely. Some parts of the park are unbelievably quiet, you’d think you were not in the middle of Manhattan. The only down side is that some parts of the park smell of dog poo.