Published: August 7th 2012April 10th 2012
I randomly thought of New York today so belatedly I am blogging about it.
FIrst off, this was a copletely unplanned trip that sort of just came to happen because I was
a) still unemployed
b) bored and frustrated by unemployment
c) Jesus spoke to me (no. not really. I'm not religious.)
So off I went a wandering to the city of dreams: NEW YORK CITY.
Now when I say I'm a city girl, I mean I am a city girl. Life is supposed to move fast and people talk fast, walk fast, and we deal fast. Everything is meant to big and loud and crowded and hustling and bustling and moving. 24/7.
If I could live in Manhatten (SOHO for life!) it would be so amazing.
Anyway, the night/day started out with the most empty Greyhound across the border (of which we were stopped at Syracuse to transfer and again at the border so it meant I got about 3 hours of sleep). Nice thing about empty buses is that I got 2 seats to myself and got to lie down and sleep the best I could.
My friend JClare had already arrived in
New York the night before and was staying in Brooklyn so she came to meet me at the bus station around 7 a.m. and then we started wandering around. The first stop was to be my hostel up in Harlem. I figured, eh, it's just up through Central Park, it's not that far so we could just walk!
Probably one of the more wrong assumptions I've made in my life.
WHY IS CENTRAL PARK SO BIG?!
Well it's beautiful really, and yes, if you ever get the chance to walk through it you should. But don't do it running on 3 hours of sleep and carrying a (albeit small) duffel bag with you. So we sloughed on through the Literary walk of fame, JClare ate a very salty pretzel, took pictures of the gorgeous cherry blossoms, and eventually made it to Harlem.
Trudging up the the hostel, the door was locked so I rang the bell and waited.
Now this is where the whole "city people are so mean" thing gets blown out of the water. City people are amazing. I am a city person so I am biased.
I have found pound for pound, city people are way more open-minded, helpful, and just all around nicer than small town or country kids.
I'm biased. And slightly travelled.
A man sitting on the stoop next door apparently knew the owner of the hostel so he said he'd give Joe a call and see why he's not opening up. JClare and I played with a cat that seemed to like us while we waited. He ends up calling Joe 3-4 times before a girl who was also staying the hostel EXITED and I scrambled like a mad person to the door.
Turns out Joe was upstairs all along and just didn't have his phone near him. Go figure. Jessica & I met a gal from Montreal (yay Canada!) and we spoke French :D
Anyway, I dump my stuff, vow to actually have the nice clean sheets and pillow cases rightly set up tonight and then roll out the door.
Day 1 results in being an absolutely ridiculous attempt to see EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING. While being CHEAP. JClare and I had both just returned from Africa you see and were both wonderfully unemployed. We wandered through
Manhatten, went to the parks, the shopping district, Tiffany & Co. (because you know... quality), JQlo, the ice skating rink at Rockefeller, MOMA, ate at Applebee's for lunch, Grand Central Station, TGIF's (Cosmos... in New York! Apparently this relates to Sex & the City. I wouldn't know.) and then of course, la piece de resistance: TIMES SQUARE.
Eventually, at about 11 p.m. we went our separate ways back to our hostels having decided our game plan for tomorrow. As I wander back into the hostel room (which is incidentally 3 bunk beds) and lamented not taking the time to actually set my bed right because now I was lazy to do it. Sigh sigh, life is soooo hard
Suddenly a guy shows up at the door and asks where I'm from and what I'm up to and I get to meet Rudy, the hostel maintenance guy quite awesomely goes to hold down (i.e. stand in and lay claim to) the nicer shower for me while I get my stuff sorted out. After having experienced bucket showers, I can't say I'm too bothered by imperfect showers. However, it's the little things like say... running water that really count.
When I get back to the room, another traveller is setting up shop and I meet Elrigz (No, I don't know how to spell it). And he's from Arizona and travelling around doing 'meditations'. I stare at him for a bit before I realize he's dead serious. I don't get it. City girl is confused. But he's super nice so he tells me about Arizona a bit and his strategies and structures in meditations. He of the Native ancestry is quite knowledgeable and far more in tune with this whole concept and it's pretty fascinating.
Rudy reappears and tells me to go with him and meet with some of the other denizens of the hostel which include:
- a lovely couple from France (we speak MORE FRENCH! Hooray!)
- a Dutchman making his way eventually to Canada
- a Brit maybe named Tom
- a super nice Aussie girl
- and KIKI - Rudy's fat and friendly dog
Somehow I end up watching a Spanish telenova whilst exchanging war stories - The Dutchman hated his job and quit, supposedly Tom is wandering, the French couple are on a vacation, Rudy is from Latin America somewhere, Aussie girl is
at the end of a long trip. Somewhere in between I end up correctly translating the death of a millepatte by the hands of the Frenchman so that the entire room could scrunch up their noses and say "eww".
The Brit possibly named Tom asks if I have any plans tonight and I say no - I was intending on sleeping and letting my feet and legs recover from marathon walking. Instead however, the lot of them are heading out to a "smoking bar" of which then I realized: damn, Europeans, I forgot how much they enjoy smoking.
In the end, I don't end up at a "smoking bar" with the merry band of Europeans but hanging out with Rudy, his dog KIKI, and a Bavarian who could have been Klaus (I'm bad with names ok, like that's a secret). "Klaus" has me try to guess his age and I guess incorrectly at the 33-37 range when he was actually.... 47. WHAT. KIKI ends up falling dead asleep pinning Rudy's arm and snoring loudly. Instead of being helpful at all, I laugh at his misfortune. I want to dognap KIKI.
Somewhere between here and there I actually
do put my bed right and get to sleep already enamoured with a city and it's people that I only have 2 more days to enjoy.
Sadly I don't have any photos of KIKI just nice memories of her trying to sit on me, tripping over her out the door and nearly down the stairs, and her dragging Rudy forcibly down the street as our little gang walked to the corner store to get snacks.
There are more photos below