A Travellerspoint blog

October 2006

South Africans learn a lesson

semi-overcast 15 °C
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Hi All,

Had a rather eventful weekend…

Kloppie arrived, everyone say hi Kloppie…

It was Perkel's birthday last week, so Kloppie hit the ground running as we went to Soho for some celebratory drinks at a South African watering-hole called Shebeen that night. Good martini's - don't know about it being a Shebeen though…

There was a lot of drinking on Sat, tried out a local pub for lunch and another in Manhattan before hitting the Shebeen. The pics are a bit lame, so left them out, to think as I took them I thought they looked great… Getting back home involved more trains being caught in the wrong direction - awesome at 3am in the dirty subways!

On Sunday, we woke up to a fire alarm in our building… being South African we were very un-fased by it and actually mistook it for a malfunction. We peered in the corridor and saw a few people asking what the problem was, then decided to go back inside and ignore it and made coffee - we were out til late the night before, understand? For some strange reason, I then decided to look outside again, and realised that people were actually evacuating the building - so we decided it must be a fire drill - you know, Americans and their drills - like in the movies… So we refilled our coffee mugs, put on sweaters - not taking it very seriously… and out we went… Shortly after we got outside, about 4 or 5 fire trucks arrived a few minutes apart - and hey, we realised that it might actually not be a drill… more and more people vacated the building carrying bags, well dressed in coats and scarves, pets safely in their little pet carrier things and there was me and Kloppie with coffee mugs… Clearly, these people were prepared and had an evacuation strategy… At least Kloppie had his wallet. Both our passports were in the apartment and well, I had my smokes and phone - so I was fine right? I think the coffee mugs gave it away that we didn't think it was for real… but there was actually an apartment on fire… Our quiet street was all of a sudden buzzing with activity as passers-by stopped to marvel at the commotion - there was even a bit of yellow tape to keep people from the entrance to our building…

The pics below are of the first fire truck to arrive when we started realising that the fire alarm could be making a #%* noise for a good reason… decided it would not be good form to take pics after that...

The New Jersey firefighters did a splendid job and saved the building else me and Kloppie would have been in a tight… We could even smell the smoke when we re-entered the building… Lesson learned: things don’t just malfunction here - a fire alarm means there is a fire, and yes, we now have an evacuation plan… and it does not include coffee and smokes…

What a joke… :)

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The Eagle has landed

sunny 13 °C
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Hi Guys,

Yes, I have hit the Big Apple. I've been here for 4 days and what an experience it has been. Got here on Sat morning (lunchtime for y'all), had some drama with getting my keys - not ideal after a 18hrs flight - but it all got resolved…

Moved into, what others would call a pimp-pad, others lifestyle - I call it home… I live in Dudley Str Jersey City which is awesome. I am literally 1 subway stop from Manhattan J. The first thing I noticed in Jersey City - everyone has a dog and it’s the coolest most in-thing to walk it. So cool that I was considering getting one just so I fit in until I realised that you have to clean-up after chi-chi has done a doo-doo, so no thanks, chi-chi can stay in SA thank you very much!

On Sun, I decided it would be a good idea to go find the office - had to report there at 8h30 Monday morning - never mind that Monday was a public holiday - you know how it is at the green dot? Anyways, with maps safely in my bag (coz you can't go wandering around looking lost/like a tourist) I confidently braved the quiet streets of Jersey City to find the Path Station (subway between JC and Manhattan). It wasn't too difficult, but I was extremely proud of myself, paid the $1.50 and went in. Now, I knew that the World Trade Centre (my stop) was just one stop away - but being so overwhelmed with pride, I caught the first train to stop - needless to say it was traveling in the opposite direction :)

I flew in with Brent - which was great, have met with Selaelo and will be meeting Danita and Andrea soon, which is awesome (for those who don't know, they were Deloitte 3rd yrs last yr and are now working in NYC). I can't really say I have seen much - obviously it’s only been like 4 days but so far so good. Everything is bigger though - dunno about better, I'll let you know as I get to know the place better.

Internet shopping is the in thing - like who walks into shops hello - competition is huge, so even when shopping they encourage you to compare prices,
internet wireless connection is everywhere - the cafeteria at 2WFC (where Deloitte offices are) makes the canteen at Nedbank look like child's play;
you don't just walk into Deloitte and find a an empty spot with a free internet cable then sit there, you pre-book a cubicle in advance. Then you log yourself in and your personal extension gets directed to where you are sitting - that's why everyone here has a direct line… larney...

Oh, the WFC where Deloitte offices are is right across the road from Ground Zero. Actually, my subway stop WTC is right there then I cross the road to get to our offices…

Oh, my clients: I am working in the Investment Management group within FSI (FIST), so I have Private Equity clients which is BRILL! My main client is on Manhattan Island (I believe near Central Park) I have interim audit now and final from Jan. I'll be working on a brand new fund on my own - dunno if that's good or bad, and my other client (planned in Nov & Dec) is around the corner from my (oops OUR) apartment which is great. That one has a huge team though with 3 snrs including me, so I am hoping to pull an AFBANK 2006 stunt and stay under the radar : work like a 2nd yr… wish me luck…

The pics included are a bit random - I was feeling skaam of being all touristy, but I am over it now and will take proper ones over the weekend and send you the link to my e-album.

Cool oakies, keep hope alive. The grass does seem greener on the other side… but again, I have only been here 4 days...

I know some of you guys will be going on leave soon - if I don't get to say all the good stuff before you leave - I'll be thinking of you…

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