Day 1: In the Ghetto, In the Ghetto...
I arrived in NYC at 7 AM. Since I couldn't meet up with Tone, whose apartment I was crashing, until after 6 PM, I was forced to wander the streets of NYC lugging 5 days' worth of clothing and toiletries in one backpack. It was NOT FUN.
Since I had never been there before, I decided to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I got slightly lost on the way and wandered around Battery Park for a while. Apparently, there are huge crowds for the Statue of Liberty, even on a Thursday morning, and people who don't get on the ferry before 8:30 can't go to the crown. Instead, they can only go to the 10th floor. While I was stewing over the injustice of it all, I stood in line for over an hour (hey! It's just like Disneyland!) to get into the Statue and got more and more annoyed by the bratty children around me. When I was about to kill the kids, I thankfully got in the Statue but was stopped by security because the guy at the X-ray machine couldn't tell the difference between my hair dryer (it's the wand kind, not the type that looks like a gun on steroids) and a gun. As I walked up the stairs, I learned that while you can take an elevator to the 10th floor, you HAVE to walk up to the crown. So it turned out that it was a good thing that I didn't get on the early ferry, because there was just no way I was going to make it up to the crown carrying my house on my back.
After I looked at the view and snapped some photos, I went to Ellis Island and looked around in the museum. Chinese people are really under-represented there. There are a lot of photos of Japanese people, but only 2 of Chinese people. Oh well, c'est la vie. Anyway, all the other Asian groups are not represented at all, so I guess we're lucky.
When I was done with Ellis Island, I decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was very important for me to go to a museum so that I could check my weighty backpack in the coat check and straighten out my back. I checked out the Medieval Art and European Art sections while in search of the American Art section (which completely eluded me), and got lost in the Egyptian art section. I kept passing by the dang Temple of Dandur or whatever that call it over and over again.
I finally ended up at Lincoln Center, where I met up with Tone. We ate dinner at Josie's, where he takes all of his visitors (not on purpose, it just works out that way), where I had mushroom ravioli. We then headed out to Tone's apartment in all its ghetto-fabulous glory. After Tone debated for eternity and a day about whether to go out again, his cheapness won out over his fatigue, and we decided to go to a bar that serves one-dollar frozen cosmos and margaritas. When we arrived, it became apparent that this was a gay bar, and since Jaime had warned us earlier about gay bars that aren't hetero-friendly, I asked Tone to go in first and check it out, but he wouldn't. So we ended up standing outside of the bar for 5 minutes debating until we saw a girl exit the place, after which we entered. The music at the bar was NOT good. It was old stuff like Madonna (but bad Madonna) and Information Society, and when they switched to gay porn, it was our cue to leave.
We went back to his cockroach-infested apartment where I took a shower (his ghetto shower doesn't have a showerhead; instead the water flows from a pipe that comes out of ceiling) and went to bed.
Wanna see photos corresponding to this trip? Click here!
Day 2: I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane...
Since Tone had to go to work, I was once again forced to wander the streets with all of my luggage, so instead of doing anything fun, I ended up buying food and riding to LaGuardia to catch a flight for the wedding. My flight was delayed for almost two hours due to either weather or air traffic congestion, so I hung out for quite a while in the U.S. Airways Shuttle terminal, which I must say is VERY nice. They have nice phone consoles and desks where you can work on your laptop, and they have tons of magazines you can sift through. After getting into Buffalo, I went to the hotel and met up with Grace. We chatted while getting ready to go to Tracy's rehearsal dinner.
At the rehearsal dinner, I met Tracy's family and in-laws and future husband, all of whom seem really nice. I also met her flower girl and ringbearer, who were very cute. However, they were also very energetic, and the four cups of Mountain Dew that the ringbearer drank did not improve the situation. We spent much of the night running around after them and trying to work out our love-hate relationships with the two angel-hellions.
Day 3: Goin' to the Chapel...
In the morning, Grace and I went in search of THE MALL, which we were told was only 5 minutes away. Since we didn't have a car, we asked the guy at the front desk of the hotel if the mall was within walking distance. He said "yes" and gave us directions. We walked and arrived at a strip mall, which was greatly disappointing, as we were expecting a great, big air-conditioned mall. We learned later that THE MALL is 5 minutes away by CAR, as it requires going on the freeway, or whatever it is that they call it on the East Coast. So we missed out on a shopping opportunity.
In the afternoon, we prettied ourselves up and headed off to the church and almost got killed en route on multiple occasions because our driver, who shall remain unnamed, was not the most attentive person on the road. The ceremony was short and sweet, and I got all teary when the groom's voice got all choked up as he said his vows. Tracy, the bride, looked beautiful, of course. My plane left early, so I had to leave the reception early; however, the people at the reception were really nice, and made sure that I got my food first and everything! The flight from Buffalo to NYC is only an hour, thankfully, since I had to sit behind 2 whole rows of spicy people. I made it back to NYC around 10, and met up with Wendiva at the Empire Hotel, which coincidentally, is right by Lincoln Center, which where I was waiting for Tone my first day. It was around this time that my sensitive olfactory nerves began to tire from the endless assault of foul odors that permeate NYC.
Day 4: Right Here Waiting...and Waiting...and Waiting...
Wendiva and I met up with Gloria and decided to grab lunch and see a show. The two shows that were on our list either did not have performances on Sunday or were out of seats, so we ended up getting 50%-off tickets in Times Square for A Thousand Clowns, starring Tom Selleck. I had a Father of the Bride moment at the ticket counter when I thought the cashier said "Twenty-two fifty" (which sounded like a 50%-off ticket price to me), and I handed him $22.50, only to receive a dirty look and an annoyed-sounding "FORTY-two fifty." I took a deep breath and sadly parted with my cash.
We had lunch at Carmine's, where we got the four-pasta dish for $30. It came with lasagna, ravioli, ziti, and manicotti. The portions were GYNORMOUS. Any of our acquaintances knows that we can pack it away, and yet, after we had stuffed ourselves to the max, we still had enough pasta for two more people. Having set ourselves up for a food coma, it was ever so appropriate that we would then proceed to sit in a darkened theater to watch a play. I managed to stay awake, but just barely. The play was not bad, but it was not worth the $42.50 I paid for it, which could have been put to better use at H&M, the Ikea of clothing stores.
We arranged to meet up with Tone and Jane for dinner. Tone couldn't decide where to go for dinner and made us trek from our hotel across the street to Barnes & Nobles so he could pore over the Zagat survey for two hours. We ended up in Flor's Kitchen, a hole in the wall Venezuelan place that was good, cheap, and with huge portions. What more can you ask for, really? After stuffing ourselves with our appetizers, empanadas criollos and arepas, we did ourselves proud by finishing off our main courses as well, all the while washing it down with sangria. After rolling off our chairs, Wendiva expressed some disappointment at not having enough time to stay at Veniero's for cheesecake, as she and Gloria had to head off to someone's b-day party. Although I was stuffed, I had told Tone that he owed me a cake for my b-day, so I was disappointed as well.
We headed out to the b-day party, which was not a happening place, so we went in search of a place to go clubbing. Apparently, it is very difficult to find a hip-hop club on a Sunday night in midtown Manhattan. Some friends suggested Potion, which turned out to be more of a lounge than a club, so we ended up going back to the b-day party, which had gotten better. We graced the dance floor with our presence for half an hour, and then left the sweaty masses to get our beauty sleep.
C'mon! I know you wanna see the photos! Click here!
Day 5: Mmmph, I Couldn't Possibly Eat More Cake...Oh, Yes I Can!
Gloria left to see her cousin, so Wendiva and I met up with Tone for brunch. However, Tone spent two hours debating about where to eat (does anyone notice a trend here?), and all the while, I started growing faint from hunger. We ended up eating at this tourist trap where Wendiva had to pay $20 for cold eggs benedict with sour-tasting salmon and stale potatoes. I fared slightly better with the food, paying $10 for pancakes with 3 strawberries and half a banana. Because we had spent so much time debating for food, I (1) did not get to shop, which was my secondary goal of coming to NYC (the wedding being the primary goal) and (2) did not get any cake. It was very disappointing. Tone refused to take responsibility for the culinary catastrophe that was our brunch, claiming that he had been ready to walk away from the restaurant in search of another when we had insisted on staying. I retorted that neither Wendiva nor I could be held responsible for any actions during our hunger-induced delirium. The highlight of the day was when Jane drove us to the airport and, bless her heart, bought us mini-cheesecakes and biscotti and goodies from Veniero's! Yum, yum! So in the end, I got my cake and ate it too.