Day 1 pretty much started at 10 p.m. Friday night. G and I went to the airport and got settled in at the gate. We checked in at about 11 p.m., but since it was so late they only had one security gate open, so it took about as long as if it were peak times with all gates open.
After getting through, we had enough time for a beer and caesar at the ONLY place open in the airport at 11 p.m. At this point, G had been up since 6 a.m. because he put in a long enough work day that he wouldn't have had to work the Saturday.
I was in full-blown zombie mode by the time we had gotten to the airport and the hope of a beer putting me to sleep was optimistic at best.
Once we were on board and everything we tried to sleep, but as everyone knows sleeping on an airplane is damn hard. I curled up into a pretzel, my head resting on the airplane's tray table, legs crossed. I'm sure I invented a new yoga pose during the three hour flight.
Finalle we landed in Toronto, got through customs in about a half-hour (what was I worried about?) but there was a GIANT line for people to go through customs that weren't on a connecting flight, so they ended up holding our plane about a half-hour back. So we just sat around, talking about our trip (well, I wanted to talk. G wanted to sleep).
|Look how giant my hair is already in TO. This did not bode well for the rest of the trip. Look at my giant receding hairline. This is not going to bode well for the rest of my life.|
This was all the easy part. Getting from Newark to where we were staying in the Bronx was not a walk in the park (we did that later).
We got the train from the Airport to the Jersey Transit system, then from there to New York Penn Station. That was pretty simple. Getting our bearings in Penn Station was hellish (at least for me). We couldn't figure out how to get MetroCards, and when we did I couldn't figure out how to use my credit card - it prompted me for my zip code (which I don't have, obviously). So when I tried to pay with cash I couldn't use anything amounts that would give me change over $6 so I had to get a ten from G.
NY Penn Station was like the alarm clock and cup of coffee I needed to get back on track (no pun intended). The sheer energy of the place somehow transfused itself into a NYC-jolt to get us through the last leg. Laurie was understandably a little on edge. It was only a matter of time until her panic spread to my frustration, but my calmness and her perseverance pulled through.
Once we had a card we got to the station and got on the #2. But this weekend the subway is undergoing maintenance, so it stopped short of the actual station where we needed to get off, so we had to take a shuttle bus and figure out the stop, then find our place on foot. In hindsight, after writing it all down it doesn't seem that bad, but when you're hocking bags around, it's a zillion degrees and you're in a strange place it can be pretty stressful.
It's that sense you get when you don't know where the hell you are and you also don't know where the hell you're going. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, get out more!) Of course, as is often the case, you end up exactly where you want to be.... ours just involved a lot of : "Is this the right line? What station was that? We are traveling uptown, right? Who's that crazy guy shouting for money?"
I was warned about the humidity, but I once spent a summer in Nova Scotia and didn't recall it being that bad. Well, either I was falsifying memories or NS was much cooler, because it was intense here. I don't think I have ever been that hot and sticky in my life. I haven't even bothered to curl my hair because it's just going to go *POOF* again. Instead I'm going to follow Retro-Chicks' Lazy Girl's Guide to Being Cool As Cucumber and probably just stick my hair in a clip, add a flower and call it a day.
Once we got settled in our lovely place (thanks again for the opportunity Dan!) we went to explore the apartment and the neighbourhood.
We took a long walk through Bronx Park in search of little Italy (but we were going the wrong way) and it really allowed us to soak up the local culture, which I think is really important. It's one thing to go to NYC and do all the other touristy things (which we totally plan on doing) but it's another to see the side where it's actually where people are living. I don't know if it was just where we were, but there was a lot of Spanish, both on signs and being spoken. In Canada everything on cans, etc., are typically in English and French, but that's because we have two official languages, but you'd be hard-pressed to find two people in downtown Camrose just gabbing away en francais unless they were exchange students.
Post little Italy fail we decided to come back to the apartment and look up a closer place to have food, because my Google Maps app does not like me being in the US - I guess we're going to have to explore the old fashioned way. So we looked up a pizza place to go to near by and made our way.
One word: phenomenal.
We've made a vow to not go near anything we can get back home - no McD's, no H&M, nadda. Why visit New York to eat the same food and buy the same clothes we can get at home?
Now our plans for the rest of the day include getting dressed and getting out exploring. We don't have any attractions we want to go see, we just want to get our bearings in Manhattan first.
Laurie & Garret