January 2010 - New York
All my adventures usually begin with a plane flight and this one was epic... epic because of the 20 odd hours it took to get here... but I am here... In New York motherf*ing City (I'll explain that one a little later I promise). The food on the plane was crap, the service average but this is what I come to expect of Qantas, so am not surprised in the slightest. I have become accustomed and therefore prepared to be disappointed. However I did have a spare seat next to me. There was a guy at the window, so it was a communal seat (as in I didn't get to stretch out) and didn't get a whole lot of sleep. Four episodes of the new season of 24 kept me occupied for a little while.
Customs in LAX is now like being arrested. They take ALL your fingerprints, not only your thumbs and then the mug shot (I'm certain I never want to see that picture). So get off the plane, get shuffled through customs, give your bag to a person that looks like a construction worker in what looks like a construction zone with trolleys in the hope that your suitcase is going to make it and then wind up exactly where you started two hours later, getting back on the same plane. But BONUS... TWO FREE SEATS next to me... I spread out and slept all the way to NYC, only waking every hour to change the direction that my head was facing. Flying in to New York scored a perfect view of a very lady liberty and Manhattan Island.
Had a very chatty Russian driver take me to the Hotel. Jimmy. Half the time had no idea what he was talking about. We somehow got onto Bruce Willis in the latest Die Hard film where he launches the car at the helicopter. DO NOT ask me how we made it there.
The Hotel is everything I come to expect of a Four Seasons... Was met at the door by the guest relations manager, George and taken straight to my room. My room, is on the 26th floor, overlooking a small part of Central Park. Fruit, bottle of wine, more space that I know what to do with. Yes, yes... This will do nicely for five nights.
Within half an hour I had Raj, Ruchi and Laurinda (carrying a cheese platter) all in my room like old times. We chatted away for a while before they left and I was able to wash away the plane smell and get out of those clothes. On a concierge recommendation Raj, Ruchi and I caught a cab to Greenwich Village and ate at this quiant Italian place that Raj was certain was probably owned by the Russian Marfia. We chatted over a very traditional (and quite yummy) meal and a bottle of wine between Raj and myself.
Now you might think, and I can see how you do, that this would be the end of the evening, I did only fly in less than 6 hours ago and could count the sleep I had had on one hand, but no. This is New York we are talking about here. This was the one and only night with Raj and Ruchi and a little lack of sleep was not going to hold me back.
Now I would like to warn you that the remainder of the evening was spent in a drunken haze. I have decided to blog it because it's what happened and this blog has a tendency of being honest, I'd like to keep that. So with that warning let me continue...
We headed to Bleeker Street on the recommendation of our waiter (who by the way would love to travel to Australia... they all say that here). We found a random pub (well actually it had Jackson's in the name, so we decided that would be perfect). The cocktail list consisted of a poison of things that SHOULD NOT be mixed together, but we all had one. Mine was Southern Comfort, Malibu, Cranberry Juice and something else. Individually I think those three items are okay, together... yeah like I said, poison. A lady in short shorts came around and offered us potent vodka jello shots with cream on top. Not the easiest things to eat (as Ruchi found out). Random pictures were taken with us pointing at street signs hanging in the bar and another random picture of 'The Boot'. 'The Boot' was an oversized novelty chug of a beer glass. Think a ladies knee high boot and roughly the same proportions. Raj and I were tempted let me tell you, but in the end we were satisified with a picture with 'Daniel' Ruchi and myself and The Boot. btw Daniel was the guy with The Boot.
Next pub, next drink. Not as eventful as the first but it was a beer house and Raj decided that since Toohey's New was on the menu he'd stick with that. Ruchi and I had vodka and lemonade. I'd just like to emphasise something Raj told me that night... "There is no such thing as a standard drink here." I swear that vodka and lemonade was 1 part lemonade, 3 parts vodka.
I had no concept of time, everything was just so surreal to me. I couldn't get a grip on the fact that I was in New York and even now it is still yet to hit. We caught a cab to Times Square and stood on the steps taking many pictures, screaming Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi (Raj's voice was worse for wear the next day). We ended up at another random bar called Tonic for yet another round of drinks. The security guard check my id and straight away said, "Oi Oi Oi." Too good. Got chatty with two random guys (found an email address in my bag this morning, not that I'll be using that). Another couple of 3 parts vodka, 1 part lemonade and I was trashed. We got in a cab and headed back to the Hotel and managed to make it to the room, but as soon as I relaxed and went to lie down... Game over, I was sick.
I woke up in the morning and struggled to remember the end of the evening (parts have come back to me since) but basically from putting on my coat and being sick, I remembered nothing... so I firstly registered that I felt like crap piled upon crap before one thing hit me.... I was back in my plane clothes... How the hell did that happen I thought? Let's just say I had two fairy godmother's looking after me that night and I'm completely mortified-however thankful I am. I was also wondering how my bag suitcase was opened... Did I do that? So I set about cleaning myself and any other evidence up before calling Raj to see how they faired. Shortly after we were at this totally American Cafe eating Bacon and Eggs for breakfast (I struggled, let me tell you). Toast was served with Grape Jelly (doesn't appeal at all) and hash browns. I'll have to go back and have breakfast when I can appreciate it more.
This was about 11am and around the time I was becoming accustomed to the time. We walked up to fifth avenue because I wanted to go to Abercrombie & Fitch, but it was Sunday and Sunday is the day that most stores do not open until 12. We wandered until finally heaven's gates were opened. Kid in a Candy Store... Kid in a Candy Store! All the pretty colours everywhere but this was just recon, nothing more. There was no way I was in the mood for trying stuff on. We also hit Banana Republic at Rockefeller Centre for recon as well. By that time it was close to 1pm and we were all worst for wear. We ended up back my hotel room, taking a quick cat nap before heading down to Macy's and Starbucks and Penn Station to say farewell.
It had almost been 24 hours since I arrived in New York and it was only then that I felt, hey, I'm on my own here. I wandered around near Macy's for a little while, exercising my credit card with some light (and no try on required) shopping. Sephora, Victoria's Secret and finally I had enough motivation to try a few things on in Banana Republic (that was only round one for Banana Republic I think). I walked back up to the Hotel and was left with 2 hours before...