Well here it is....My trip across the Pond

Well I guess I’ve been putting this off for too long now. I did want to plan this out but I figure I’ll just shoot from the hip.

So here we go…

Chapter 1 - New York

Well there is some story to tell before the trip even started but I figure that you would rather hear the main story before i

Well?!? Don’t keep us in suspense.

I’m thinking someone hit “submit” a little too early.

Either that or she got mugged as soon as she stepped off of the bus.

He’s been abducted!!! :eek:

Oooooh… this is going to be better than I thought!

Let this be a lesson to all of you. Those who do not capitalize the “I” when referring to themselves shall be publicly humiliated. Don’t ever try this at home.

Well I guess I’ve been putting this off for too long now. I did want to plan this out but I figure I’ll just shoot from the hip.

So here we go…
Chapter 1 - New York

Well there is some story to tell before the trip even started but I figure that you would rather hear the main story before I delve into the prequel. All that you need to know is that after a week in London I was exhausted before I even stepped onto the plane. It was hot in London. Very hot. And after my friends had said their goodbyes at the train station I was ready to curl up and go to bed. But I had a long journey ahead of me. So a quick train to the underground and then it was a case of sweating my nuts off for an hour on the way to Heathrow. I arrived at the terminal, checked my bags and waited for my plane. The nerves started to set in, I need something to calm me down. I had my cigarettes in my pocket but I had to find somewhere to smoke. Which is when I saw it, the pub. A pint of Guinness and a few cigarettes later I was feeling better. Off to the gate and I went through the first of many security checks where I learnt the first of my many random things:

Airport security likes your shoes.

They like them so much in fact you have to take them off so they can look at them properly. Security check over, terrorist exam passed (or failed depending on your interpretation). And so on to the airplane. A behemoth that would make anyone question the laws of physics. I mean how does that get up there. But the plane was very pretty inside. I was not expecting to even have a radio, let alone the multimedia smorgasbord that was presented to me. Movies, television shows, music and games all at my fingertips. If I wasn’t exhausted I would have been as fidgety as a small child. So I settled down to watch Garden State and then enjoyed (well endured maybe) the food and even got to enjoy some red wine before we arrived in America. I knew in the back of my mind it would be my last drink for a while. One six hour flight over I arrived in Newark Airport just as Saturday morning broke. I was excited but too tired to even think it. I just wanted to get to where I was staying. Now don’t ask me why I did this. I was tired, in fact I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was get some sleep. So when a guy came up to me asking if I needed a ride, I assumed he was a taxi driver. I agreed and he was off. So I followed him, past the taxis, into the car park and to his van. Still not realising any danger I was just thankful he let me smoke while we were driving. It wasn’t until we got going that I realised. “Oh…” I’m getting a ride from a complete stranger in a banged-up van to a place I’ve never been to. But as much of an idiot as I was it turned out alright, and $80 dollars down I was at the hostel. Well about 2 blocks from it. So a short walk through New York in the middle of the night and I was finally there. There was a lot there to learn a lesson from so I’ll just shorten it to this:

Don’t do anything I did.

And it isn’t much longer until we get to our next lesson.

Don’t stay at a place when you don’t know what it looks like.

It wasn’t the worst place in the world, but it would get a honourable mention at least. I was on the fourth floor so I had to climb stairs that sounded like they were going to collapse at any minute. The colour scheme was mold brown and the smell was…unique to say the least. Another thing I had noticed when I arrived was the heat. I thought London was hot. This was just suffocating and in the room with no air conditioning it was unbearable. I had to get out so as soon as my bag was in the door I went outside for a cigarette. You may notice a pattern here. When you’re on your own on the other side of the world you’ll take company from the strangest things. In my mind I had about 15 or so friends in my pockets. I go outside to be confronted by the other guests, or should I say tenants because these people were definitely not tourists. It seems the hostel isn’t specifically for holiday makers and a lot of locals stayed there as well. A lot of drunk locals. They were friendly enough and we sat and smoked for a while. I felt sorry that they were staying in this place out of necessity. Still once I had finished I still felt I should get upstairs as soon as possible. Unbearable was now upgraded to Just Bearable and I collapsed on my (hopefully clean) bed. It had been a very busy day and it was only now that I got a chance to collect my thoughts and a heavy dose of homesickness of course. I missed my home, I missed my friends and family but most of all I missed my Lauren. After a few hours I managed to get to sleep.

Lesson learned: Do not think you can write out anything longer than 50 words off the top of your head without accidently hitting reply

Wee! Can’t wait until we get to the part about Florida! :stuck_out_tongue:
Susie Derkins said she’s sorry she missed seeing you, btw.

New York continued

The heat was almost too much that night. I was literally drowning in sweat. So it shouldn’t have seemed so strange that I woke up very early on Sunday. But of course it’s summer and without a watch I had no sense of time when I left my room and went for a walk in Central Park. Which brings us to lesson number four.

The “City That Never Sleeps” actually naps a little

It took me a few minutes to realise, then I looked around. No more than half a dozen cars, mostly taxis were in the streets. Hardly any people were walking around. New York was eerily quiet. I figured I’d stepped into the Twilight Zone for a while until I saw a new type of traffic. The New York joggers. Hundreds of them filling the roads through the park as organised as traffic. In fact I had to stop at the crossing and wait until there was space to cross. A little while later I made my way back to the… well to call it a hostel would give it a lot more credit than it was due. I sorted out some money, put on my sunscreen and made my way out to see the sights, map in hand. But not before I thought I’d check in with reception to see if they had a New Jersey phone book. You see I had planned to meet a certain Doper or two while I was in New York and my severe planning failures meant I was in a bind to find them. But lo and behold the hostel seemed to have an ace up it’s sleeve with an internet terminal. So I sent out an email to our very own Hal Briston to arrange a get-together. Of course things never go to plan as you’ll see here

With the situation unbeknownst to me, I ventured out into the city making my way quite accidently to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I spent a good hour or so wandering around looking at all the pretty things. From there I decided I wanted to see the Empire State Building. So I walked around Central Park and down 5th Avenue or at least I thought it was down until I passed the Guggenheim and had to turn around. But thankfully my little mistake led me to find the preparations for what I was told was the Achilles Run, a marathon through Central Park by amputees. Now on the right track I started my walk to the Empire State Building which brings me to my fifth lesson.

When it’s hot, a walk can feel like eternity.

I got as far as the Public Library before I needed a break. I just never realised it could take such a toll on me to walk that far. But feeling rested (and more importantly cooler) I finished the trek. And faced a two hour wait in line to get to the observatory floor. I almost turned around but figured I had put too much effort in to just walk away. So when I saw the chance to skip the queues for a few more dollars I jumped at the chance. A elevator ride or two later. I was looking out at the whole of the city. Well just about, considering the smog. I got to see the Statue of Liberty which was about as large as my fingernail and after that standing as high as you can get above New York lost it’s novelty. So a couple of souvenirs and a drink later I was back down on ground level. It was sometime in the afternoon by then and the homesickness was hitting me again. I wondered where the best place to make an international call would be and, for some reason, Penn Station hit me. So off I went, through what I think might have been Chinatown until I got to the station. The temperature was rising and I was just happy to be inside in the shade. One phonecard later I tried calling Lauren. Now one thing you should know is that Lauren was in Spain at this precise moment so I had to negotiate with the hotel receptionist who seemed to lack any skill in the English Language. No-one was in. I asked to leave a message, he gave me a speech in Spanish and hung up the phone. Great. I was bummed to say the least. It was the hottest weather I’ve ever been out in. I was something like 3 miles from the hostel and I was the most depressed I had been since I had arrived. But New York has a way of keeping you going and almost as soon as I left the station a girl approaching me. This is what happened:

Me: :dazed and confused:
Her: Hi. Do you have a cell phone?
Her: I was just wondering if I could have your number.
Me: … I’m from England …
Her: Okay. Never mind.

I didn’t get it and it was enough to confuse me into getting on my way back home. And it was a long walk, very, very, very, very, very, very looooooong. Unbelievably long. Tediously long. Really quite long. I didn’t think anything could get worse. Then I receive Hal’s email. It’s safe to assume that I was pretty depressed. I had one last shred of hope. I go outside to a payphone, dial some numbers for 5 minutes and get the Spanish hotel again. Luckily it’s not the man from before but a woman, a nice woman, an english-speaking woman. She puts me through to the room. And after too many days I finally hear my baby’s voice. And instantly I feel better and everything just floods out of my mouth like I’m 6 years old again. We talk for a while and after a couple cigarettes I go to my room and sleep a bit better.

p.s. I just wanted to say hello to Hal and kitten and hope you guys had a happy anniversary. (a bit late I know) :slight_smile:

Enjoying your tale!

FYI, are you aware that the walk from Metropolitan Museum to Empire State bldg is over 3 miles… and that you could easily get there by subway?

Also, you walked through Korea town, which is in the 30s, not Chinatown. Chinatown is much further south. :slight_smile:

Hi, 'tick!
Looking forward to hearing your tales of adventure. Maybe next time you can visit us here on the left coast.

Can hardly wait until you wind up in Toronto on your way to Florida.

Dear, lovable nocturnal_tick, Mapquest is our friend! Really! Try it! You won’t be eaten alive by crack heads on your way home to the hostel hovel.

They show the location of crack heads on MapQuest? That’s a new feature.
I think part of ticks problem is that is wasn’t a hostel but a hostile.

Just wanted to chime in on this. I can’t say that the hostel’s odor was unique…actually, it was quite a bit like a Giants Stadium lavatory, just after halftime, in 95 degree weather.

And yes tick, we had a very nice anniversary, thanks! :slight_smile:

Sorry I haven’t updated recently. There has been a sudden influx of friends arriving so I’ve been elsewhere. Part three coming soon though… :slight_smile:

Well it’s that time again folks, so to part 3:
New York continued, continued

So it was my final day in New York and boy was I tired. With my sightseeing fix taken care of I decided to just enjoy the nice weather and sit in Central Park for the day. I get changed and sort out my money for the day when I notice lesson number six.

New York drains your money like crazy

I had less than half of what I had started with and still had a week and a half to go. But not wanting to worry I went into the park. I walked for a while just to see what I could find until I ended up in Strawberry Fields and decided to take a seat for an hour. Or seven. Yes I did sit at the John Lennon memorial for seven hours, just smoking and occasionally finding a hot dog stand for food and drink. It was fun just watching all the different people coming in. Some left flowers, one of which was a bride who I think was married in the park but I can’t be sure. A lot of people were on the way to the Gay Pride function going on so there were a lot of colourfully dressed men and women, a lot better than my demin long shorts and my black t-shirt I can tell you. And every 10 minutes a tour group would pass, the leader often carrying an umbrella which made me chuckle. Mostly it was adults with an occasional group of hormonally charged teenagers either wanting to go home or find a corner to sneak off and make out. Yes, there was a couple that tried.

So the day came to an end pretty much like that. Well at least I thought it would. I had a plan to leave 3am the next morning for an early flight for Washington. So I figured I’d stay in my room and stay out of trouble just after one last cigarette. Famous last words springs to mind. Not 10 seconds after I sit down outside out comes this old man, t-shirt in his hand coughing up a lung from the sounds of it. He introduced himself as Vinnie, in this thick Brooklyn accent and proceeds to tell me stories of his father, his jealous brother, the “punk” cops, his crackhead neighbours with abused children. Finally he leaves to make a phonecall and my plan goes out the window. Time for plan B: Get the hell out of New York NOW! I pack my stuff, check out early and get a cab to Newark which drains me of all but my last few dollars. I arrive at Newark Airport somewhere around 9 or 10pm. With the whole night ahead until I can even think of checking in and the airport turning into a graveyard I prepare for what could be the longest night of my life.

Next time: The insanity of nocturnal_tick