I originally wanted to go to Taiwan for some good shopping and eating before starting school in the fall, but alas, when it came time to purchase plane tickets, the SARS outbreak foiled my plans. However, I still determined to do a little "traveling", so I decided to head off to New York, where I knew Cur would be able to give me free accommodations (the best kind, really). I arrived in New York on a Wednesday night, and stood waiting for the Airport Express to show up. However, it never did. I gave up after an hour and grabbed a taxi to Manhattan. I did manage one celebrity sighting during that interminable wait, though. I saw Laura Elena Harring from Mullholland Drive waiting for her transportation, just like the rest of us.
Day 1: Art, Nature, and Gourmet Dining
It was so hot and humid in New York. In the time it took me to leave Cur's air-conditioned apartment to reach the first floor of her apartment building, I had started up a sweat. NYC claims to have more culture than LA, so I had to do the requisite touristy thing and "experience culture." Since we are not cultured, Cur and I decided to get the artsy-fartsy part of the trip over and done with as soon as possible. To that end, we began the day with the Frick Collection, a once private art collection that is now available to the paying public. I liked it because the collection was quite small...that way, I was able to finish looking at the entire collection before my feet started aching, and because I had finished the entire collection, I didn't leave the building feeling any regret and a need to go back the next day. We were so proud of ourselves for having done something "cultural" that we called Em (someone who cares about that stuff) that night and told her about our accomplishment. And also to congratulate her for having survived the bar exam.
After the Frick, Cur and I took the bus to the Conservatory Gardens in Central Park. They were much smaller than expected. Being the sedentary people that we are, we immediately looked for a place to sit down. After resting, we headed back downtown to Grand Central Market to pick up a dessert for our dinner party. When we reached Grand Central, I started to suffer from some malaise. The blaring sounds and pungent odors of the city made me feel nauseous. When we got there, we browsed the different bakeries and decided upon an apple tart that was sprinkled with golden raisins. Because I felt sick, I decided to find a place to sit before dinner, which was hosted by Chef Tone. I wanted to go to his place earlier, but the bastard decided to go work out, so he wasn't home and we were stuck in Grand Central for at least an hour. We whiled away the time, sitting and reading.
When we finally were allowed into his apartment (which is really nice, by the way), his closet of a kitchen was emanating the odors of various foods and seasonings. I headed straight for the bed, where I curled up and started moaning about my mysterious ailment. Dr. Tone, unsympathetic to my plight, has a very cold bedside manner, I must say. He just told me that I was fine and that it couldn't be that bad. Bastard. However, the bastard did cook a very grand meal. He made a salad of mixed greens and tomatoes in a yummy dressing (I ate about half my plate), roast chicken with mushrooms and other stuff (I'm hazy about the details because at that point, I had crawled back into the bed), and panna cotta with berries (which I had a spoonful of and was very delicious).
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Day 2: Soaps and Stinkbombs.
All that activity the day before totally tired us out. Cur and I slept in and stayed snug in our respective beds while watching soap operas. We watched a particularly intriguing episode of All My Children and declared we would try our best to keep ourselves updated on the exciting goings-on. After our soaps, we watched one of Oprah's "best of" shows where she tells people about her favorite things and gives the audience members lots of freebies. Cur and I were entranced by all the different items she showed while cursing those undeserving wretches in the audience who got such wonderful freebies while such worthy people like ourselves could only watch from her television. We only tore ourselves away from the television because we had to go to the TKTS booth at South Street Seaport in an attempt to get "Movin' Out" tickets for Cur's friend's b-day festivities. Alas, we arrived too late, and everything was sold out, which meant that we would have to go to the TKTS booth in Times Square the next day, braving that swarming mass of humanity. That afternoon, I became liquid from the waist down and had to make periodic runs to the bathroom, which was not cool, especially since bathrooms in NYC are not known for their cleanliness. Plus, the use of toilet covers is not as widespread in NYC, which is really just too bad.
Later that day, I met up with Angi (from college), who took us to a Thai place called "Holy Basil." The food was delicious, and the portions were good. I hate it when you go to a restaurant and they're stingy about their portions. It was fun catching up with one another! During the dinner conversation, we started talking about scary movies, and both Angi and I thought that The Ring was pretty scary. So, after dinner, Cur decided to head to the local video store and check it out. In addition to The Ring, we also decided upon Phone Booth, one of the few movies I had not yet seen. When we got home, we decided to watch Phone Booth first and save The Ring for later. Phone Booth really, really stank. I highly do not recommend it. Cur said, "Even I thought it was bad. And when I think a movie's bad, that's saying something!"
Day 3: Music, Dinner, and Dancing
Unlike our usual routine, Cur and I woke up bright and early in order to be at the beginning of the line for the discount tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square. I was still feeling liquid despite the many Imodium AD's I had taken, so while Cur patiently waited in line, I walked from establishment to establishment in order to use their restrooms and to get cups of water (with which to down my Imodium AD's). Finally, we got to the TKTS booth, and lo and behold, they did not have any tickets for the show cur's friend wanted to watch. Instead, we got tickets for "Urinetown," a show that Rhonda wanted to watch very badly for the name alone.
After purchasing the tickets, we went back to Cur's apartment for much needed napping and TV. After that was done, we headed back to Times Square and caught up with two of Cur's friends. We saw "Urinetown," which was really funny. It's more of a parody than anything else, so there were some über-cheesy songs, during which Cur would not stop groaning. I felt vaguely anxious for the safety of my head, knowing that Cur has a tendency to slap people's heads when things strike her as amusing or obnoxious. Fortunately, my head remained unscathed through the performance. Afterwards, we headed to John's Pizzeria, a well-known restaurant that serves a famous "Pizza Bianca." The pizza has no tomato sauce, just mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Yum. After consuming all that cheesy goodness, we headed back to Cur's apartment for more TV. Namely, The Ring.
Tone called us while we were in the middle of the movie, and said he was coming over. After he arrived, he kept going, "Oh, I know what's going to happen!", although all of his conjectures were wrong. Since I'm easily scared (and I had already seen the movie), I spent most of the night doing my "I'm scared!" dance, which consists of jumping off of the bed, running to the kitchen with my hands over my eyes so I can hide from the TV, slowly approaching the bed once more, and then repeating all three steps when the next scary moment came along. Even though, Tone spoke derisively of our John's Pizzeria leftovers, he ended up inhaling most of them anyway. What a hypocrite.
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Day 4: The Triumvirate of Fun -- Food, Shopping, and More Food
We started the day at an Indian buffet with Tone. We then headed to Ground Zero, where I took a quick look and felt uncomfortable, watching tourists being all smiley in front of the camera...I mean, Ground Zero really isn't a "smiley" kind of place, you know? We headed across the street to Century 21, a big discount store where Tone wanted to get a blanket. Unfortunately, they didn't sell the one he wanted. Since Cur and I wanted to continue shopping, Tone bid us good-bye, rather than spend the afternoon shopping with girls, I guess. We were planning on going to Coney Island, which according to Angi, is an amusement park that looks like it was accidentally dropped in the projects. Unfortunately, we were experiencing freakish weather patterns and found ourselves smack dab in a sudden rainstorm. After the rain tapered off, Cur showed me around the "real" Chinatown, where some guy poked me and gave me this "Hey! Remember me?" look. When I asked him, "Do I know you?", he spouted some Cantonese at me, which I naturally did not understand. I tried to be nice and told him I didn't know him, but then he got this offended look on his face. At this point, Cur and I hurriedly walked away. Since I had no money, Cur brought me to a store called Daffy's, which sells discount stuff too. I was able to get some good stuff and left with a good-sized shopping bag. Since shopping is so tiring, we headed back to Cur's apartment for more rest (yes, we need to rest quite often).
After we were rested, we headed off to a Japanese place in the Upper East Side called Hana Sushi. It's got some funky, exotic sushis with wrapped in mango instead of seaweed and other stuff like that. Cur got seared tuna, not realizing that it would be raw inside. She did eat it with grace and said that she might even try completely raw fish in the future. On our way back from the restaurant, we stopped by a market to buy 2 pints of ice cream since we clearly deserved dessert.
Day 5: I have to go home...*sniff* *sniff*
Since Cur had to go to work, I remained by myself in the apartment, packing up my stuff. Tone totally surprised me by showing up at my door in his office clothes. He said he'd spend the day with me, so we decided to head down to his place, so he could change into more comfortable clothes. I tricked him into carrying my suitcase for me (I'm sneaky like that), so I was very happy. On the way, Tony took me to Payard, where I was able to buy some cookies and teacakes for my family. After he changed, we went to a restaurant called "artepasta," where they have very reasonably priced lunch specials. I got a grilled chicken sandwich that was really good. Tone showed me around his neighborhood, and we went into a funky shop that sold soaps, candles, and various goodies, only to get stuck AGAIN in a rainstorm. We ended up walking in a drizzle back to his apartment. We dried off while watching Oprah (she's always good for passing the time), and then I decided it was time to head out to the airport. I hadn't realized that I would be traveling in rush hour AND that the Manhattan Mid-Town Tunnel was flooding. I sat in my taxi, totally freaking out that I would be late for my flight. I ran to the checkout counter and flew through security, only to arrive at my gate, huffing and puffing, and discover that my flight had been delayed for 2 hours. All that exercise for nothing.
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