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American annoyances and Casa Harlem

Right now we have 1 guest. Sebastian from Sweden. He got here through Stephen, who came on his bicycle from Chicahgo. We've had quite some more guests in the meanwhile, another friend of Stephen, and then I had too many requests too handle through couchsurfing for the weekend of the 4th of July. I kind of told people there would be a lot of people and let them figure it all out - and I almost never say no to hitchhikers. It started to feel like Casa Robino and the more people arrived, the better it was. It was great, for a few people it the first experience with hospitality exchange, and dumpster diving. E will be leaving the 13th and before I fly back to Europe I will be visiting my friend Joe Edelman whom I haven't seen in 1,5 years or so. He sounded very exciting about his recent progress with the future of social adventure. Yesterday my 30-day unlimited ride was finished. So I decided to get a new one for 7 days, to cover the last full week in Harlem. I put in 20 US$ in the machines, then another 20, which was refused. So I tried again. Then it came out, but it got stuck. It got stuck in such a way that I didn't dare to pull it out. I didn't know what to do, E was not underground because of a phone call that came in MTA: prolbem? call (212) metrocardand I tried to summon the guy in the booth. He didn't come out. Then after some moments of wondering what to do the machine ate my 20! And no metrocard came out, no money. Instead I got a little receipt that said I paid 20 US$. I went back to the guy in the booth and the only thing he could do was give me a restitution form in which I'm going to put a printed version of this story. And I'm supposed to hope to receive a check for 40 US$ in my mailbox at some point, but I don't have a clue what I should do with that. Fuck the MTA. Fuck American institutions (more about this later). 6.99$. You get to the counter, and then it's suddenly 7.58$. In the US it's annoying that it's always unclear if tax is included or not. Fortunately Chinatown seems to be the exception. Today we had some cheap (4.5 US$, tax included) and greasy but still nice food there. 0.99$. You get to the counter and it's 1.50$. Fortunately it was just because of a Duane Reed customer card that was quickly provided by a girl behind me. Americans are usually really really friendly, unless they're employees of some kind. Fuck American corporations. I've started addressing West-Africans, in the subway and in the street. "E be bamanankan?" "Ueeh?" [amused surprised face] "I ka kene?" ... "E togo?" "Abubakar Keita" [laughter]. Meanwhile I'm about to start a couple of new wikis, I'm working for some human rights NGOs (about which I will definitely write more when the time is right). I also got very excited about search engine optimization. It's such a fun game to play. And then there are little tidbits of things I'm working on. More later, for sure. Anyway, I will be back in Amsterdam on the 19th of July. Ready for a dose of Europeanness.

Kasper in Central Park Summer 2009