a hero can save us

If I can make it there...

I've got a feeling
That tonight's gonna be a good night

That was the song I last remember reverberating through the walls in our humble abode last night around midnight. It wasn't TOO bad. Just... recognizable. I suppose it was Friday night in NYC. We're staying in a Dominican neighborhood, in an apartment building with a lot of character, a tiny and slow but new elevator, and spatterings of marble sheeting and crown mouldings. We both liked it and the neighborhood instantly. Just about a block away as we walked here from the Subway, an Orthodox Church was spilling out into the way, with people dressed in black and holding candles, singing. Everything was peaceful, but there were a few police officers about to keep it that way. The whole neighborhood is just steeped in character and life and everything Spanish-American. We adore it.

Soon she's down the stairs
Her morning elegance she wears
The sound of water makes her dream
Awoken by a cloud of steam
She pours a daydream in a cup
A spoon of sugar sweetens up

Friday morning at 6:15, Paul woke me to get dressed. I'd been up quite late on Thursday night ensuring that we were packed and the house was tidied, because there's nothing quite like coming home from a vacation to a house with a pile of random crap and dirty dishes. Neither is there anything to compare to the feeling of coming home to one without spot or blemish. Paul had tackled the few dishes we had created in our two days since Saskatoon earlier. So when we got the call from Sarah and Andrew who were bringing us to the airport, we were out the door and feeling pretty ready. When we called Sarah about them giving us a ride to the airport so early in the morning, Sarah had said to Paul that a little suffering was suitable on Good Friday.

Our flights had us seated near the back of a long and skinny plane, same seats for both flights. Our first flight was loud and buzzy and uncomfortable and I felt kind of sick. Paul was fine. Our second flight was quieter, slightly more comfortable, and Paul felt kind of sick. I was fine. While we were flying, we watched Passion of the Christ to celebrate Good Friday while traveling. Paul hadn't seen it before and we had some discussion on its portrayal of characters and the parts of it that we felt were most compelling. We ate in the Minneapolis airport at the Toscata Grille, and were impressed by the food, which was cheap for airport food (I think food in the USA is cheaper overall by a dollar or two a meal, possibly because of different server wage laws) and it was tasty. Paul had an awesome quesadilla and I had a delicious burger. On the second flight Paul caught a few Z's and I played on the computer a bit, though I couldn't really type on it because I was wedged in so close to the seat in front of me, so I used the webcam with Photobooth and came out with about 20 photos in the end, some with funhouse mirror effects, some with comic book or pencil crayon effects... it was fun, and the first time I'd had extended time to play with that program.

We got off the flight and collected our baggage after some confusion, since the baggage car didn't have our flight number listed, then found the AirTrain (in Newark) to get to the Amtrak (which confused us because we forgot about the Newark Penn Station before the New York Penn Station. We got off and then got back on again after getting directions. As is usual in NYC, whenever we looked lost someone asked us where we were going and then directed us to the right track. We actually had our tickets punched by a train person!

We had to wait about an hour and a half in Penn Station for our host. About ten minutes after sitting down, a panhandler called me a fat b****. Welcome to NYC. And then we watched (as Paul calculated) several thousand people going up and down the stairs to 7th Ave while we waited. There were some ridiculously amazing shoes (and some that were just ridiculous) and some women able to walk long distances in them. Others were struggling a bit in platform 3-5 inch heels, who could blame them. Paul commented that for the most part, people dress just like they do in Canada. We also witnessed at least three domestic/public disputes, and random people singing. (Paul: "You mean, if I walk down the street singing it's okay here?" Me: "No, dear. You aren't black." Paul: Awwwww." Later we did see a white guy singing too.) One of the things I love about this place is that it's very raw here. Too many people to have secrets, life is out in the open. And despite being a big city, there's such a sense of community here.

Finally, our host found us after he was running late, and we waited a minute or two for his girlfriend. Then they tried to take us to a pub for supper, but it was totally full, so we settled for a 50's style diner on 8th Ave, Tick Tock Diner, which was alright. We found out that the girl is a textbook editor for a major textbook company, which we thought was cool. We found that our host is a fan of dark things and "f*ed up theatre" that examines the darker side of life (as his book collection here at the house backs up - Lord of the Flies, Catch 22, Kafka and such). Paul discovered a set of small glasses in his cupboard all labelled in old type faces like an apothecary's jar with a type of deadly poison - hemlock, arsenic, etc. So cool.

We told them about theatre in the prairies and they commented that the center of the States can sometimes be considered, as our host put it, "a cultural wasteland," but we contrasted the Canadian prairies which are full of theatre and the arts, both ameteur and professional. He was like, "What are you doing in New York then?" He misheard us at one point and he was like, "Did you say FREE theatre? I'm moving!"

He works for the theatre industry in stage design and building. His house backs that up too, there's a grommet machine on the table beside the couch and tools and random stage props sitting around everywhere. My favourite part is that one of the walls is blue and has a cute sun and clouds (obviously an old prop) mounted on the whole wall, with one of those cloth dollar store smiley flowers sitting beneath it.

Already he's notified us that there's an intimately small and inexpensive showing of Oliver coming up next weekend near the Bronx. There's lots of benefits to CouchSurfing!

On our way to the food, we weaved through heavy foot traffic while gawking at the billboards and lightboards and tall buildings around 7th Ave. "Have you seen Spider-Man yet?" I asked Paul. He grinned at that. It's going  We have now banned the word "authentic" from our vocabulary while we are here, because everything here is authentic NYC, and there's no reason to point it out except to be very touristy. But our neighboorhood is super authentic. We passed a barbershop with a super good looking young and probably Dominican-American hairdresser and a bunch of guys in it chatting. Also, I don't know if I ever mentioned last time I was here that cut flowers are everywhere, and cheap. Lots of people were carrying them around in Penn Station.

Paul is just now getting out of bed and stretching like a cat. There are two cats here, the one with more black and the one with more white. The black cat is nice and enjoys me. The white cat hisses at my approach and disdains me in proper cat-like fashion. Paul and I have nicknamed them Good Cat, Bad Cat (a la Good Cop, Bad Cop) One of the cats is constantly sneezing (I'm not sure which.) I am stuffed up too, but the place is worth it.

I have aspirations to try and see a Broadway show this evening, but we'll see what Paul says when he gets out of the shower. Maybe today will be a museum day or something instead. It's just a half day though, because we were both pretty tired and I let Paul get some extra sleep this morning before he got up. He is in total disbelief that he's on vacation and was saying this morning that he keeps expecting there to be a deadline creeping up on him. But there isn't one. There's just a big city. The adventure begins.
Server wage laws? I'm not sure about that, but lots of things are cheaper in the US than they are here. :\ My mom complains about it whenever she goes down, returning with all kinds of stuff she couldn't have bought for the same prices here.

I'm glad you guys are having a big adventure in the big city! ^_^ One of my favorite parts was being to all the places I've seen on TV. Do you feel that way when you see them?
Checking out old comments I'd never seen before thanks to forwarding errors.

I totally had, "I saw this on TV" moments, and forced a poor Paul, who'd never seen Sleepless in Seattle, to kiss me in the same spot they finally met up and whatnot - it was particularly awesome because it was closing time, we were there so late! =)
Hey, even if he didn't get it then, now if you guys watch Sleepless in Seattle he'll get to go "HEY I've been there!" It'll be just as good, even if a little later than your reaction ^_^

(I don't think I've seen that movie myself though...)