Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Back

That was a very short trip. I wish I had stayed longer. I didn't even see the Statue of Liberty, although I did see a man dressed up like one. In fact, I saw many men dressed like women. You certainly won't see that around here. I was supposed to arrive in NYC around 6pm, but the plane ran out of fuel, so we had to head over to Baltimore for three hours. That was strange in itself. Once I arrived in the city it was already dark, and I still had an hour to drive before I reached our hotel near West Point. I hopped a shuttle to head over to the rental car place only to find out they were out of cars. This trip wasn't turning out too well already. I waited for quite sometime before they approached me to see if I was okay with having a Mustang. Uh, yes! That was just fine with me. The guy behind me got a mini van and wasn't too happy with me at all. I stuck out my tongue and just carried on. What a baby. I reached the hotel by midnight and went to bed as soon as I could kick my shoes off. I had to be up before the sun the next morning, so I wanted as many Zs as I could squeeze in. The next morning we headed over to the training area and conducted classes. My part was quite short, so I was out of there by 1000 and on my way into the city. The lady at the hotel desk gave me directions to the train station, so I hiked it about a quarter mile to the platform. She told me not to bother taking my car, so I didn't. It wasn't but a few minutes until the train came, but I had no idea where to get a ticket. The little train station was more like a bar than a ticket counter. I found two girls about my age to ask about the boarding procedures. They laughed at me the entire time, but were a help nonetheless. Turns out there is no ticket counter. It's all automated.It didn't take too long before we reached Grand Central. This is where the real fun began. There were so many people shoving and pushing. I was afraid I'd fall onto the tracks, so I kept to the center as much as possible. Once I got out of the terminal I couldn't figure out how to actually get out of the station. It was huge, and it seemed like every corridor lead to another platform. I found a group of three police officers, and said "How do I get out?" They all laughed to each other before one said "Walk out!". What a jerk. I've never gotten lost in the woods or on a land navigation course, so I figured it out. Once outside on the street I debated on trying my hand at hailing a cab, but decided against it. Instead I found my way down and around a few blocks to a hotel front where I picked up a double decker tour bus ride. It was one of those hop-on/hop-off things, so it sounded like a good way to see it all and get around at the same time. The first stop was Rockefeller Center, so I hopped off to get a few pictures and walk around. It was super crowded, and I wanted to get in so much more, so I hopped back on the next bus that pulled up to the curb. Before we reached our next stop I snapped a few dozen more pictures.I thought I was quite funny that the street signs were so plentiful that they just kept stacking them up and up and up... Do you see the one on the bottom says, "USE THE TIMES SQUARE SHUFFLE"? Ha! That's a lot of cars doing a lot of honking.We zoomed right passed Radio City Music Hall.

They call them "dirty water dogs" in the city. I doesn't exactly make me want oneCheck out the city's disposal system. Ew!

The tour guide said this was Trump Tower. It was my mother's only request to get a shot of it. I hopped off the bus again to walk around Central Park, but I ran into this massive list of park rules. Wow!

I was so excited to see Central Park, but once I was inside it didn't seem so great anymore. It was dirty, there were fences around everything, and it was full of rude people sprawled out eating bagged lunches while screaming on their cell phones. I didn't spend much time there before heading back to the bus stop.The next stop was Times Square! Of course I had to get off and walk around here. Has anyone seen the Legally Blonde movie? How about the musical? It's on my to-do list for sure. I'm headed back to NYC next month, and I've already planned on seeing it live. I'm super anxious to see who turns out to get the lead role. MTV has a reality show based on the audition process. Yes, I'm addicted. I also stopped for lunch and souvenirs. Mom would be disappointed if I didn't after all. Grandma needed a postcard, my sister was quite indecisive on what she wanted, and Mom asked for a mug. I picked up plenty of extra things too. I plan on making a super fun mini book using a postcard book as my album base... Anyhow, back to pictures.

Here's where the ball drops on New Year's Eve. Okay, back on the bus...

After growing up in wide open spaces it's difficult to imagine living like this.This is The Empire State Building.These things remind me of Petticoat Junction. Does anyone remember that show? It's super old school.Here's a picture of the subway entrance. I was too scared to go down there by myself.

This is the U.S. Custom House.And here's China Town. The last place the bus stopped before I ended the loops was the United Nations, so I jumped off. I was a little confused as to which gate was the entrance, so I just walked up to the first one. I started to ask the guard where I should go, but he quickly nipped my question to tell me they were closed for the day. I'm not sure why I didn't walk away at that moment, but I started to ask him questions about what the U.N. was. I already knew, but in an instant I had a school girl crush on him, so every bit of random babble spilled out of my mouth for the next five minutes. He told me he was about to change shifts, so I wrapped it up by asking for directions back to Grand Central. He said he was going that way, so he'd walk me there. I waited for a few minutes for him to change and meet me back at the gate all the while wondering what the heck I'm doing hanging out with a random stranger. I quickly called my sister and gave her his stats and full name. I did one of those mental snapshot thingies I do sometimes at his badge. I think the Army taught me that. I'm always gathering tiny details. It freaks me out sometimes. Perhaps they really did brainwash me in basic training. Anyhow, we stopped at a pizza place on the way to the train station where I again babbled my little head off. I asked him if it was normal behavior for him to befriend tourists like this. He confessed that it occasionally occurred. I appreciated the honesty although I still pretended I was the only one to captivate him this way. He then walked me to my platform before we said goodbye, but not before exchanging phone numbers and agreeing to meet again tomorrow. I know. I know. I'm crazy. The next day I once more had to be at work well before the sun rose. We needed to get in a 12-mile foot march before the West Point cadets could graduate. The work day was done by 1130. I suppose that's one good thing about waking up early. I had lots of time to explore and revitalize before heading back to the city. I went to the West Point Museum, and ate at a little dive that one of my friends recommended. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a scenic look-out. It was crowded when I stopped, so I decided to mill around before I looked over the edge. The second I peered over the cliff a huge eagle soared up and loomed overhead. It was amazing. I'm an extremely patriotic person as you may know, so little things like parades, children waving flags, and the Star Spangled Banner really get to me.

Oh, and I squeezed in a little test driving of the Mustang, too!

I took a little nap and shower before heading back into the city.

I had about 30 minutes left before meeting my gorgeous guard again, so I camped out on a bench in a little park around the corner while I read a book. Once we met we decided to go over to Jekyll and Hyde for dinner. It was across town, so we took the subway. Man, was it packed. There were some amazing dancers down there though. They were just kids, but they knew exactly how to get the crowd's applause and money. Once we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by a loopy maid and an arrogantly odd butler who jumped from table to table (sometimes literally) spreading creepy comedy tidbits. We had a good time. We then went to a birthday party for one of his close friends where we hung out for a while before heading back to the train station once more. It was nearing one o'clock in the morning, and there were only two more trains I could catch. I really didn't want to leave. I was having the time of my life. We exchanged email addresses before I reached for a hug. He kissed my cheek. I convinced myself again that I was the only one he'd randomly sought adventures before with while wishing simultaneously that my cheek wasn't the only thing to touch his lips in that moment. I boarded the train headed back to the hotel. I had to be on my way back to the airport by 0900, so I packed up all of my things and collapsed into bed. My travels back to Tennessee were uneventful compared to the previous parts of my trip. I can't wait to go back.

8 comments:

Marie said...

Glad to have you back and WHAT an adventure!!! Sounds like you had lots of fun, and I don't mean training those cadets, either!! ;) You'll have to keep us posted on Mr. Security Guard man!!!

Estivalia said...

woo hoo, I'm happy to read you had an awesome adventure in NY! :)

Jen said...

I have always wanted to go to NYC, but since I dont have the money or the time right now I just settle on going to Chicago over the weekends, I figure its just a little version of NYC. I loved the pics and glad to hear you had time to explore the city. Just like Marie said in the comment above you have to keep us posted on your Mr NYC Security Guard :)

Shannon said...

Ok - are you holding back the picture of the handsome security guy ...... post it please. Sounds like you had fun ... a girl has to live and if he gave you the bad creeky guy vibe you would have felt it from the start!

Suzanne said...

What fun! And I'm with Sharon - why are you holding back pics of your security guards?!?! Keep us posted :D

Kathy W said...

What a trip! Love your photos; I would be so overwhelmed if I visited NYC be myself for the first time. Great adventure with the security guard. So glad you're cautious, but also glad that you had a good time. Just the perfect little unexpected pizzaz to make your trip extra special. TFS. And I'm like everybody else...you MUST have a picture of this mystery man; we want to see!

lauren said...

ohhh how fun!! its amazing you did all that stuff! i'd have been to scared to do all that on my own!! miss ya girlie girl!

Leslie Miller said...

What a great trip! This was fun! Love all the photos and stories. Gee, you finally met a nice guy and he lives all the way off in NYC. Thanks for taking us along with you!