Day 1: Hastings, Nebraska

Into the heartland

Apparently, we were eager to start our vacation. For some reason we booked our flight out of LaGuardia for 6am, which meant the car service picked us up at 4:30. Fantastic. Our flight was uneventful and we made it to Omaha in one piece.

For our international friends in the audience which have no idea where Nebraska is, it is in the geographical middle of the United States. It is a huge agricultural state, raising mostly corn, milo (not the Australian chocolate beverage), wheat, and cows. Many, many cows.

We are here to visit some of the relatives on my dad’s side of the family. I haven’t been here since 1987 and if I didn’t get here often when I lived in New York, I doubted how often I would get here when living in Sydney. A vist seemed in order.

We picked up our rent-a-car and drove 200 miles to Hastings. We made a quick stop in Lincoln (which is, as we all know, is the capital of Nebraska and home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.) Well, we didn’t see any government buildings, nor did we see anyone shucking corn. However, we did find The Manhattan Deli Company. Their idea was to recreate a legitimate new york deli in the middle of Nebraska. While they couldn’t recreate atmosphere, they could recreate the menu. I can’t vouch for the knishes or the latkes, but I can attest that their hot pastrami on rye, with swiss and mustard was unbelievably good. They even had Doctor Brown’s Cream Soda available to wash it down. Alas, I must have been asleep, I didn’t take any photos.

Our arrival into Hastings was uneventful. We met up with the grandparents and had dinner at the OK Cafe, featuring a very nice chicken fried steak (which is steak fried like chicken, but contains no chicken. Got it?)

We are staying at the USA Inns of America which is cheap, clean, and has free WiFi. The best part is just how patriotic the name is: “United Sates of America Inns of America.” I guess it is no worse than “ATM Machine”.