Yes, I suppose I could do the usual thing and backdate the entries to the days where these events actually happened... but this is more fun!
So, Day 1. (That would be April 27, for those of you eager to play our home game.)
Mom dropped me off at the Salt Lake Airport, and I climbed aboard a Delta flight to Newark, NJ. I now realize it would've been smarter to pick a closer airport, but I made the mistake of choosing cheapness over convenience. Anyway, the flight seemed to whizz by in nothing flat since Mom had lent me a good book, The Color of Water by James McBride. (Julie later laughingly told me that she had lent the book to Mom in the first place, so in addition to taking in a good read, I unwittingly did a good deed by returning it to her.)
I'd done my homework before I left, which suggested that the Super Shuttle was probably the most economical method for getting from Newark to Manhattan. I should have been warned when the lady behind the counter looked at the address and said, "It's gonna take a while."
After about a half hour wait, the driver showed up and escorted me to the van. He stopped at two other terminals, where he filled the van to capacity. We then headed for Manhattan, right into the middle of rush hour traffic.
"Dis don't look like the Lincoln Tunnel, Sam."
Wait, I take that back. This looks exactly like the Lincoln Tunnel.
I turned out to be the last stop on a very long route. But I wasn't exactly on a tight schedule, so I just sat back and took random foties of the passing scenery.
Turning onto Eighth Avenue. Yes, that is the New York Times building on the far right.
The University Club's rather pretentious-looking Façade of Fancy-Pantsness.
After letting off about 12 people, the driver headed uptown for my stop, pointing out notable neighborhoods along the way with the seasoned flair of a tour guide. He also turned the radio back on so he could enjoy some smokin' salsa beats being laid down by DJ LOBOOOO! ¡A-OOOO! (At least that's how all the bumpers sounded.)
Here I discovered that I seem to have inherited a particular quality from Mom -- namely, the ability to get total strangers to tell you their life stories. After a few gentle queries, the driver proceeded to tell me that he is Moroccan Spanish, was born and raised in Málaga, Spain, came to the U.S. in 1989, is married, has three children (one of whom is a singer), and knows the streets of New York like the back of his hand. I could practically write the man's bio, except -- well, you who know me well have probably already guessed it -- I can't remember his name. I guess I haven't inherited all my mom's abilities.
Julie lives in what would probably be termed a transitional neighborhood; it's a bit rough around the edges, but that means the rent isn't too steep for New York. The driver took a look around the area in the fading light and said, "You call your sister and I'll wait here with you until she comes to get you." He also escorted me right up to the front door. When people take the time to be nice to a stranger, especially when they don't have to be, that covers a lot of ills in my book.
Once I had thunked down all my bags in the Spare Oom, I got a brief tour of the apartment. We ended up in Julie's room where we proceeded to have something of an impromptu pajama party -- a friend of hers, who was visiting, had just experienced a disappointment in love and was seeking advice. (She was clearly too good for the guy!)
Having determined this, Julie and I headed out to Dinosaur BBQ for some dinner.
Julie looks ready for some pulled pork and some homestyle mac & cheese. And I do have to say, it was pretty delectable. Much om nom noming issued from our table that night.
Afterward we went across the street to Fairway Market (which, much like the TARDIS, appears to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside) and shopped for a little breakfast food, some toiletries, and medicinal chocolate. Fairway is a bit like a rabbit warren inside, but it is full of all manner of wondrous goodies. I'd definitely shop there if I lived in New York.
After the impromptu shopapalooza we caught a cab home, put some stuff away, and I fell into bed. (I had not only my own bedroom but my own powder room at Julie's apartment! Fancy digs, I tells ya.)