How not to lose a vegan called Al, in NY city? The answer is simple. You have to walk VERY fast to keep up with him or, at the very least try not lose sight of him. He’s tall so that helps a lot and he also wears a hat so that’s doubly helpful. If you get side tracked on the side walk, chances are he’s already 3 blocks away so be warned.
Al follows a strict vegan/non alcohol diet. Not out of choice, nor because he’s a die-hard animal rights activist, but because of health reasons. He’s been masticating on carrot sticks, lettuce leaves and what amounts to me as little more than thin air for the past 15 years. I salute him.
Al’s been partnering Pedro on the UJI business trip around the States for the past 12 days and together they have been to countless meetings and had lots of discussions in the quest to put the new up and coming Sampoerna funded university in Jakarta on the map. It’s been exhausting for both of them but there has been some good fun and a lot of laughter too. Al is British born but has lived in the States since he was 4. He is extremely intelligent, a true diplomat and gentleman, witty, and an engaging conversationalist – in short an extraordinarily interesting man who does an excellent job. It has been an absolute pleasure to have spent time with him.
We landed in NY early yesterday morning and then headed straight from LaGuardia airport out to the Hall of Science museum at Queens. Whilst Pedro and Al went for their meeting, I explored the museum.
What a fabulous place! It was packed out with excitable children and I joined them in their delight as I zipped through cosmic rays and learnt about microbes 9,000 feet under the sea and imagined myself flying in the Nasa rocket into outer space. There was so much to see and do that I could easily have spent an entire day there and hopefully one day I shall.
After the meeting we were then free to explore NY. We dumped our bags at the hotel and then the 3 of us set off like Piglet, Pooh and Tigger to explore our new urban wonderland and Oh boy, what a wonderland New York is!
And Al, forever the wonderful, selfless guy that he is, took us to a fancy Bar-B-Que place for dinner. The Irishman and I drank Samuel Adams and stuffed ourselves on ribs and wings whilst Al cheerfully waded through the biggest plate of roasted vegetables and salad that I have ever seen and downed alcohol free beer. Cheers Al! and thankyou for being such a great travelling companion and fabulous company.
N.B As for the Irishman, he could easily slip his leash and disappear. There’s an Irish bar on just about every street round these parts for him to get lost in.