Sunday, May 17, 2009

New York City Here We Come....The Big Apple

Here I am in the airport and guess what.....the little pair of scissors I bought at the market made it through in my carry on baggage and will be right with me from Pittsburgh to NYC. So I can now stitch on the airplane.

Last night I took Linda to the tapas bar, Seviches, for dinner again. I liked it so much that I didn't mind doing it again and she was absolutely fascinated watching all the chefs put stuff together. (She is a camp cook for very hard working men when she is at home). She talked with them about the stove, the ingredients and got them all so interested in where she lives and what she does that they got talking back and I benefited because they made three extra dishes for her (and me) to try and they didn't charge us for them. So she's a tapas expert now. I told her I'll expect it when we go to her place. She said she was thoroughly enjoying eating stuff that was not meat, potatoes and gravy.

And with Linda along...someone with a sense of direction.....we walked back to the hotel without one wrong turn. Wouldn't you last day and I finally know my way.

This morning I was up on time. Linda woke up and told me to get up and she went back to sleep! I had my shower, packed, and headed to the shuttle I had reserved. Linda didn’t have to leave till late morning. All came together well. I had planned to send my business clothes, laundry and samples home ahead of me, but the customs and Fed-Ex arrangements were outrageous. When I told Linda about that, she said she would take it with her on Amtrak and she said she'd probably be able to do the same for me when we leave NYC because she is travelling really light.....has one little bag! I so wish I could figure out how to do that. Altho I must say that I have worn everything I brought and nothing was wasted so I definitely planned for the Pittsburgh part right! Now if it's not too hot in New York, I'll be fine. Yesterday was so hot I took a shower after walking home. Today it's at least 20 degrees colder and actually feels better...especially for travelling.

So I'm off to LaGuardia airport, another shuttle, and a day in New York all by myself....Ang and Linda arrive about midnight.

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Arrival in New York City

The Colorful Plane!

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I had trouble sleeping last night because I was afraid I would miss the alarm and then the plane! But Linda rolled over at about 4:30 and said “Gladys, don’t you have to get up?” and then she rolled over and went back to sleep! I couldn’t sleep anymore and lay looking out the window at all the tall buildings until the phone call came from the front desk. I got up, showered, packed my incidentals and was out the door to get the shuttle.

The black woman driving the shuttle was great. She was having a hard time with the person on the radio from her office who wanted to argue about how many people she had in the van! She eventually just shut the radio off and said “Aw juz gives her de confirmation numbers at dee end of da day an she can arga wid hersef.’ All the passengers....all from the Quilt Market, laughed at that one. We got to the airport in about half an hour, I checked in, got a cup of tea, sent an email I think, and then we boarded the plane. American Airlines....and it was a little tiny plane which when it flew over the city gave me visions of standing on the wing in the Hudson River. The flight was fairly uneventful.....I fell asleep and woke myself up when my head dropped a couple of times, but it was cloudy up high so I didn’t miss anything. When we got over the city they made an announcement about beginning their descent, which woke me up. I was lucky enough to be in the single seat on the left side with a window. The view from the air was pretty fantastic.....New York City goes for miles and miles and there are a lot of tributaries reaching into the land mass. And a lot of industrial businesses like oil refineries right on the edge of most of them! Must be because the big ships can get to them but it seemed a waste of waterfront! I was surprised at how many green spaces there are amongst the subdivisions. The residential areas looked like they have lots of little parks.
The airport is huge and the plane coasted for quite some time before it stopped and let us off. The photo above is a plane we passed during that tour. I thought it the prettiest most colourful plane I’ve ever seen! When I got my luggage, I bought a bus ticket for $12.00 and arrived at Grand Central Station about 12:30 p.m. The bus was supposed to go to Times Square too which is where I wanted to get off. When it got to Grand Central, (which didn’t look as great as it does in pictures but a few days later I realized this was the back alley’s spectacular at the other entrance and breathtaking inside.)
The bus stopped here, a man got off and asked something. He apparently didn’t get the answer he wanted as he started arguing and waving his hands. The driver and the porter ignored him and he got on the bus and yelled at all of the people left on the bus that if they thought they were going to Times Square, we’d been lied to and it was only going to Penn Station. He stood there waving his arms and raging for a while and then got his bag and we all got off. I don’t know where he went. He disappeared. But a black lady in uniform checked with each one of us and asked where were we going and then said “jez a minit ... Ah be right back” and walked across the street and around the corner and in two minutes was back with a van. She loaded the four of us into her van and headed towards our hotels. Right to the door. She too was annoyed with her person in the office. She said “Ever tahm he on de bawd I’s got to argoo all day wid him!” Can you tell I was totally fascinated with their speech? I could happily have stood around just listening to people for hours, both in Pittsburgh and in New York!
She let the business men off at their hotels and then brought me right to the door of mine. Believe me....New York is everything they say it is and more. I commented on it and she said “Honey, you jez wait faw tomorah....dis here is Sunday an tomorah a ho difren stawry.” She drove that van like there was nobody out there and I swear was within centimetres (they’re smaller than inches) of the other vehicles. The intersections are gridlocked, she just pulled out and around someone who didn’t turn fast enough and cut him off. She says “Look at dat guy waving his fist at me! If’n he wan’t so dumb we be der awready.” Four lanes wide, yellow cabs EVERYWHERE, horns honking, and when there’s a yard opened up they step on the gas and go for it! Music blaring from all the flashing billboards, it’s incredibly different!
I checked into our hotel, which is clean but old and small, and certainly not in the same class that we stayed in at Pittsburgh. I settled into what will be my corner of the room, sorted out my stuff and then decided to go for a walk. (I couldn’t sleep...I did try to have a nap). I decided this was not some place I wanted to risk being out alone in the dark so I better get something to eat and drink before then. (There is no coffee or tea machine in the room! But, there are coffee shops all over the place down on the street.
So I went out the door and in a concerted effort not to get lost, walked to the end of the block, turned left, walked two blocks, turned left, and when I wanted to head home I turned left again, walked two blocks, turned left again and guess what! I made it! So since it was still light and interesting, I did the same thing over again only turning right. That’s when I found the street that was closed to traffic and a street market was going on. All kinds of the weirdest foods being cooked in the street.....all kinds of jewellery and designer bags, shoes and shawls , stuff like that.....everything seemed to be $2, or $10 or $20.00! It was very interesting. I took a picture of one BBQ ....I’ve been known to call Bob a hillbilly, but this one beat anything I’ve ever seen him do....and didn’t look to appetizing either! I’ll try to remember to attach a picture of it!