Day: November 6, 2009
Mind, Body, Spirit, and Yarn
Not in that order. We went on a walking tour that included a stop at the New York City Public Library, Macy’s, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Our friend Brian guided us from place to place like the NY native he has become.
Frank’s favorite stop of the day was Knitty City. Yes, a yarn shop.
Again, my favorite part was the crowds on the sidewalks and on the subway. I also very much enjoyed shopping for Christmas presents at Macy’s! I got Ben a _____, and Sam a _____. Ruth, I still haven’t found your gift, but I have something in mind.
I got to talk to a friend from high school who lives here. We’re going to try and meet for lunch tomorrow.
“We could take a cab,” Frank half-heartedly suggested, knowing already my thoughts about it.
“No way!” I said. “Figuring out how to get there using public transportation is half the fun. Getting a cab is like cheating and admitting defeat.”
Yes, my sister taught me well.
We took the AirTrain to Jamaica, then transferred to the E train. We got off on 42nd St. and walked a long way to the 2 express train headed Uptown. (More about that walk in a minute.) Two stops later we hiked up some stairs (a challenge with our forty-five-pound suitcases) and we reached our destination: Brian and Ted’s apartment on the Upper West Side.
Did I plot out this feat of urban transport? Heck no! Frank did almost all of it, relying on his Blackberry and Google Transit. The trains themselves give more information than they used to, with the electronic map showing the next and upcoming stops. It’s not cheating as long as you’re not paying too much for it. I guess I should edit what I’m saying from “cheat” to “cheap.”
About that long, underground walk to transfer trains. Where else can you go and experience that many people facing each other in a tight space, and yet it be quiet? All you could hear was the sound of people’s shoes clacking on the concrete floor. Each person was lost in his or her own thoughts, oblivious to the people around them, or seemingly so. I was looking at the people around me. Perhaps others were looking and me, the tourist with the oversized bag trying to navigate his way through the subway system.
Walking through that underground tunnel defines New York for me. Taking the subway isn’t so much about saving taxi fare as it is experiencing the city and it’s people.
Brain took us to a Peruvian restaurant near his place called Pio Pio. YUM. Ted met us not long after we got there. Good food, good friends, great city!
Frank and I don’t travel enough to be used to traveling. We spend too much time packing and then waiting. Even though our plane didn’t leave Puerto Rico until 12:30 PM, we weren’t comfortable spending the morning doing much besides getting ready to go.
Frank’s goal for the morning was to ship beach clothes home via UPS. We had already found a store just a short walk from our favorite restaurant for breakfast, Mi Casita. Sadly, we found that the windows were papered over and the store was closed. Our waitress misunderstood our intent and gave us directions to a US post office that didn’t have packaging for a flat-rate delivery. On the most humid day of our trip, Frank went on an unproductive search that ended with his repacking his suitcase with his beach clothes.
ed my own frustration. Throughout the week, I had been throwing my dirty clothes on the closet floor. When I started pulling them out to pack them in my suitcase, I found that they were soaking wet. Either the tub in the adjacent bathroom had leaked water onto the closet floor, or the maid had slung water under the folding door when she mopped the tile outside the closet. After I discovered the mess, I took a deep breath and found enough plastic bags to keep wet and dry separate.
Determined not to let these minor setbacks leave us with a negative memory of Puerto Rico (we’d long forgotten the waterless-no-public-restroom-San Juan-experience from two days before), Frank took a Xanax and watched the ocean from our room with the air conditioning set at 65, and I grabbed my camera to get last shots of the orchids in the hotel’s garden.
We made our flight and Frank especially enjoyed the extra leg room that’s part of Jet Blue’s appeal. Both of us enjoyed the free in-flight movie, Up. None of us (include the poor lady sitting next to me on the plane) enjoyed the moment when my body decided to react to the milk that must have made the morning’s oatmeal taste so good. IBS struck again.