Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Was a Part of It...Again!!! :)

So, as many of you may know, I was surprised by an all-expense-paid trip to New York City!! Very soon after the surprise, I realized that I was the one paying the expenses (I'm so generous!) Anyway, I was quite excited. Why the surprise? Well, my brother and his wife and kids were planning a trip up to Salt Lake and, as a result of some volunteerism and favor-asking, it was decided that I would fly out to New York to escort my sister-in-law and children (hers and my brother's) back to Salt Lake. However, Plan A was for me to fly out on the red eye to New York and then, 4 hours later, fly back to Salt Lake (i.e. I would not leave the airport). I thought it would be helpful as my sister-in-law did not speak much English (and I would have been scared to death to travel with two children to an unknown land with a different language). However, something unexpected and not too pleasant (but potentially pleasant) happened, leaving me quite confused.

The passports were all ready and had been sent off for the visas. However, the consulate office (for some unknown, stupid, but hopefully valid reason) would not let my brother and sister-in-law pick up the visas and passports in person. I don't know, I'm sure the government has its reasons, but one would think it would be safer if the individual were to pick up their passport in person, thus ensuring that the passport is delivered successfully. But, what do I know?! Anyway, it ended up that my brother had to delay the flight plans (which means I did too). However, I could not pass up a vacation to I only delayed my flight coming back to Salt Lake! WAHOO!!!! I booked a hotel, got work off (PTO!!!), and started packing.

Now, you might be thinking that this was at least a few weeks ahead of time. No, this all happened THE DAY that I was supposed to fly out. (Actually, I bought the tickets about a week before but I did not know about the delay until the day I was supposed to leave). So, anyway, as I was driving down to Salt Lake to my parents house (I was going to leave my car at my parents house), I started to realize the implications of this vacation: 1) How was I going to get from JFK to Manhattan (the subway), 2) I had no hard-copy subway schedule with the different routes, 3) I could not check into my hotel until 3 pm (I was arriving at 6 am), I was going to be completely alone (the biggest city I have been alone in was...Provo...which is like comparing a grain of sand to a beach!) When I got to my parents house, I was hitting high anxiety levels and feeling a bit sick. My mom reminded me that I had been there before and so I somewhat knew my way around the city. Also, to my benefit, my cousin called (who has lived in NYC) and gave me some pointers. I also found out that I had a friend who was living in Manhattan. I WAS SAVED!! I was not as nervous (althought I was still nervous about the subway and getting from JFK to Manhattan).
Anyway, I took the flight, could not sleep at all (even though I had all three seats to myself), and arrived...EARLY! My flight got there at 5:30 am. I had no idea where the subway station was and the JFK airport people were SO helpful and pleasant! Just another validation as to why I hate asking people questions (the pleasant rolling of the eyes, the nasty tone of voice, and the sighs of exasperation.) I eventually found the stop for the subway and took the hour ride into Manhattan. Once I got there, I called my friend who said I could leave my luggage at his apartment while he worked. I was free to roam the city (my Disneyworld, explained with the link). I had a great time. I saw the Temple, Central Park, Times Square, etc. However, I was cold and very tired! I got to my hotel by 5:30 pm and was freezing (seriously!) When I got in the room, I turned the heater up to 80, got into bed, and slept until 8 am the next morning. The mattress was a memory foam mattress. It was so comfortable!!! Anyway, I was well-rested and ready for a day of touring! I went to the financial district and saw Wall Street, Ground Zero, Battery Park, Lady Liberty, Staten Island, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Rockefeller Square (the Christmas Tree was still up!!), Central Park (again), the Temple (again), Radio City Music Hall, South Street Sea Port, the Juilliard School of Music, the Metropolitan Opera House, and Central Park at night (obviously, I'm a big fan of Central Park!) I then met up with my friend and we ate and then walked around some more. I didn't get back until 11 pm (so daring! It was like a rite of passage to adulthood!)

I had meant to get something for my aunt. She had requested a Prada bag (knock-off of course). I had asked a couple of friends who had them how they got them. When they told me, I at first did not believe them. Then, I realized they were serious. This is what I heard...

I was told to go the China Town and that the sales people will be on the street trying to get you to come to their stores. When they come up to you, you are supposed to say "Prada" or "Gucci" and they will lead you either 1) to a door in the store that leads to some stairs. You go down with them and they will show you their storage and you can choose, or 2) they take you to a van with no windows and you get in and they shut the door and you can choose what you want. My friends said that it feels like you are being abducted and that's normal. I decided that I was not going to risk it. The funny thing was that the first thing that came to my mind as to why I would not compromise my safety was because I needed to get to the Gershwin Theater for "Wicked" (not getting back home safely or priorities were a bit screwy).

The next day, I had to check out of my apartment, so I did so and then took my luggage back to my friend's house. I then did some repeat tours (the Temple, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, South Street Sea Port, the Financial District and Ground Zero. To top the evening off, I saw "Wicked" at the Gershwin Theater!! It was absolutely amazing (even better the second time around). However, that put me at Times Square at 11:00 pm (which was actually pretty exciting! It was all lit up.) I had to get up to friend's apartment (just up from Central Park) and then get to the airport (southeast of Manhattan). I got there and then went to get on the subway for the midnight! I was feeling quite risky that night. I was doing pretty fine until the speaker came on and said that, due to construction between the current and the next stop, we had to get off the subway and then shuttle to the next stop on a bus. That is when I noticed that I was in Brooklyn and it was about 1:30 am and there were a ton of people wanting to get on the buses. As each bus came and filled up, the doors closed to many violent and X-rated comments. I was scared to even try to politely-aggressively get on the bus. However, I did so and eventually got to the next subway stop and onto the subway. Then, I realized that I was on the right line but that the train I was on was going to head the wrong way when it split (the airport was south and I was on the train going north). So, I had to get off again and wait.

Obviously, I made it to the airport safely and in one piece (otherwise, you would not be reading this!) I got there about 2:30 am and my sister-in-law (and her children) were not due to arrive until 5:30 am, so I found a telephone booth and slept for a couple of hours. They arrived and it was such a great time to see them for the first time!!! I could not believe they were finally here!!!!!

Anyway, that was my fun little vacation. I ended up having a great time and was glad I went. I now want to go back in the summer to experience it again that way. It was funny but just as the plane was taxiing off the runway, I almost cried (I know...a bit ridiculous!) I really like NYC. I know I'll be going back again, but I think I need to see DC again before going back. I am quite sure I would have a much more enjoyable time in DC and NYC than I would at Disneyland and Disneyworld. Another downside to this trip...I really want to go abroad again. Spain, Brazil, UK...who knows. Anyway, I hope that was enjoyable for you. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

mary.katherine said...

Provo?? BIG CITY??? HAHAha! That made me laugh. A lot.

"I didn't get back until 11 pm (so daring! It was like a rite of passage to adulthood!)"
11:00 p.m.--haha. What was your curfew growing up?

X-Rated comments. Welcome to...anywhere besides Utah.

Juilliard. Beautiful.

I am debating where I want to take my summer trip. NY and DC are in the running. Suzi thinks maybe Seattle. Maybe Pittsburgh. We will see where we end up.

Still laughing about Provo...


"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears

"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge

"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles

"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden