Thursday, March 31

NYC and a body search

This morning began at the ridiculous hour of 4am. It's been a long time since I have seen that time of day; okay, maybe it's only been a week but it felt like forever. I'm too old for four am.

The drive to the airport was uneventful, and all seemed well until we got to the security section of the airport where I was "randomly selected" for the full body scan and pat down.
I must admit I was looking cute in my lulu pants, I just did not realize how cute.
Ma'am can you come with me, you have been "randomly selected" for a body scan.
Ooh, umm okay. Where do I go?
Can you step over here with me?
You can choose, would you prefer a body scan or a pat down?
Well, I said, I am rather picky about who puts their hands up my shirt.
He blushed, a little shocked at my answer.
Is the body scan... ummm, does it show everything?
He assures me it won't show "everything" but it didn't matter as... another guy comes over and whispers something to him.
He returns to me and says, we are too backed up for the pat down and scan, so you just get the swab today.
I cough/choke and say, That does not sound like a better option!
He laughs at me, it's just your hands we swab ma'am.
What a relief!
Lesson learned, do not look cute while flying!

The rest of the day was exciting and a bit of a blur. So here is the day at a glance.

YEG (Edmonton) at 5:00am.

The long and exciting walk to our first of two planes.  After my assault with the swabber.

Plane #1 (Edmonton - Chicago).

I don't even really have words to describe how beautiful it was to finally reach above the clouds where the sun was bright and the sky was a perfect blue.  It's been so dreary for weeks now that I almost forgot it could be nice again. It was so peaceful and wonderful and the perfect scenery to my music selections.

I got the window seat; listening to my music. 

I want to address a text from my friend that I got earlier asking if I had any intention of joining the mile-high club while on this trip.  Here's what I have to say to those who claim to be members of the mile-high club.  YOU ARE LIARS. There is no physical way a human being could adequately maneuver such a small space let alone two human beings with the accuracy that would be required. The idea of it is so ridiculous that it is just annoying. I had to use the washroom on four separate occasions on the airplane; and one time the plane encountered turbulence while I was hovering and I banged my head on the wall.  I completely discredit the claims of the mile-high club. To you; I say pft!

The windy city! Oprah was supposed to come and take me to lunch but my plane was running late and I wasn't able to meet up with her.  Even as much as she begged, I couldn't make it happen.


In the Chicago airport they have these completely flat escalator things?? Perhaps they are there if walking is too difficult? I didn't really understand them but for fun Drew and I ran on them which was fun until you get to the end and you hit a complete stoppage of momentum and jar yourself. Next time we'll walk on the normal ground.

Beautiful neon lights across the top of the moving floor between the two concourses.

The only picture of Chicago that I got from the ground.  For the record, the lady that sold the salad to me at the airport was exceptionally rude.  I had been prepped ahead of time before going down on this trip I might encounter a few rude people, but I was shocked how rude this woman was.  I started to play a game where I smile at people and see how many smile back; most people gave me the stink eye, and only one person gave me a little half-smile...
Until I got back on the airplane headed from Chicago to New York and a blond haired man sat down beside me and started chatting me up, telling me about how excited he was to go to New York and yada yada yada.  Finally - one nice person.  He asked where I was from and when I said "Edmonton" he says "That's crazy! I'm from Sherwood Park!" (on the other side of Edmonton).  

Also while boarding this flight Drew and I almost witnessed a fight between two passengers over a suitcase location in the overhead compartment.  Our experience so far has been that people are pretty intense down here.

Also on the flight (Chicago-NY) was this group of guys .  I swear they looked so familiar to me - I knew I had seen them before and was pretty sure they were a Canadian musical group.  After passively staring at them the majority of the flight and with a little encouragement via text from the Brit to talk to them, I got up enough nerve and introduced myself and asked them where they are from. Sure enough they are the Canadian group "City in Colour".  They chatted me up for a bit, told me they were playing in NY tomorrow - and became my official first celebrity sighting!
Back on the airplane, flying to NY.

New York, New York! 

Me telling the Brit's we were in New York.

Our very high end cab.  
The driving was psychotic - like a mixture of NASCAR and a demolition derby! All you could see was a sea of yellow cabs out the window - inches away from each other, horns blaring.  It was kind of frightening.

Every picture that I took of New York so far is amazing; there is texture and depth in each one! They all look great.  I can see why so many movies are filmed here.

Drew's clenched teeth smile while driving in New York.  He said that any cab fair is worth his sanity not having to have rented a car ourselves.

This was cool - we drove past all of these basketball courts like I had seen in movies like "White Men Can't Jump".  It was amazing the sheer numbers of children out playing on the run down courts.

More beautiful pictures of the apartments in NY.

This is the edge of Central Park.  Again, more beautiful architecture and space.

This is our hotel (the Hudson).  

This is the lobby of the hotel.  A beautiful huge chandelier with all of the walls and ceiling covered in ivy and greenery.  Absolutely gorgeous.

The other side of the lobby.  In the back is a private park for the hotel guests with outdoor seating.

This is our sardine can, AKA our room.  Thankfully we were prepped ahead of time to expect rooms in NY to be very tiny and people were not joking! This room is so small when you sit in the bed you can touch the walls on the side. Presently as I am writing this blog people in the room right beside us are opening their door and the rooms are so small and walls so thin it sounds like they are opening our door and it's giving me a heart attack.  If you could hear what I hear out our window, you would be serenaded with sirens and screaming and constant traffic and noise. Thankfully we won't be in the room very much, so it's not really that big a deal. It's exactly like they say in the movies.

This is when we went out exploring before dinner.  It's a huge roundabout before you cross the street into central park.; the big statue is of Columbus and I loved Crowfoot's picture of Columbus that he took when he was in NY, so I took the same type of picture (wink wink Crowfoot).  

These are the amazing fountains (and seating area) right before Central Park on the SW side.  

More lovely statues.

There is a cobblestone area as you are entering Central Park - it's quite substantial and it's where people that are offering rides on trikes and horse drawn carriages pick people up.  

Also on the cobblestone area is a man who makes huge works of art  out of coloured sand. It is amazing! No chalk or brushes, he simply pours out the sand into these elaborate designs. Not minutes after he was finished I saw him sweeping his work up into a garbage bin. 

There was a little grass and a few flowers in Central Park.  Most of the trees have little buds on them, but even without they are so structurally fantastic. And it was nice to be somewhere where there was no snow.

The pathways were filled with joggers and bikers.  Every time you turn your head there is another beautiful bridge.

Even Drew was impressed with Central Park.

This is the bridge that Drew took a picture of me on and after some strange guy started following me around.

My favorite picture so far!

I can't even express what it feels like to be here.  This city is electric. Today was so overwhelming that I'm grateful I have many more days so I can take it all in and not have to rush.

For dinner we walked around the block and found this little place called Moonrock Diner.  I had the grilled portabello mushroom salad with vinaigrette dressing and feta cheese.  It was delicious.

Drew had a NY Striploin steak sandwich on garlic bread, which was fantastic.  Just as a side note, this is a pretty impressive food review from Drew who only ever thinks things are "meh, OK". 

The piece de resistance! To the naked eye this might look like a humble and simple piece of plain cheesecake on a boring plate, but please do not be fooled my friends.  The only word to describe this is the "O" word.  Sorry... I'm a G rated blog so I can't spell the whole word out. But I'm pretty sure you know what I'm saying. The outer layer was a tiny bit denser than the inside, but not by much and not unpleasant at all.  The inside was so rich and so creamy and so smooth that when I put it in my mouth I smudged it all over my mouth with my tongue so that every inch of my mouth would have equal opportunity to enjoy this culinary genius. I have never been tacky enough to lick a plate until tonight.  We are currently in negotiations with Transport Canada on how to bring back one of these cakes. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.


I am grateful I did not have to have a body cavity search today.  

I am grateful that I did not get a headache from flying so much today, nor did I throw up.

I am grateful for this experience.


Lastly, I am grateful I had the forethought to prepare ahead of time some April Fool's day jokes on some friends of mine.  They begin tomorrow and I can't wait to tell you about them.