Monday, January 26, 2004

NYC Trip Yesterday

So yesterday I went to New York City to meet four people from the Hatrack Chatroom which I frequent. It was really a great adventure so I want to tell everyone about it.

I took a Greyhound bus both ways. The ride up to the city was rather nice. The bus was only half full, and I got two seats to myself. In the seats across from me there was a baby girl who was very cute, and we looked at eachother a lot and I passed most of my time just watching her and gazing into her eyes. I also read some, and we had two stops, but we arrived at Port Authority station twenty-five minutes early.

I found the C line in the subway, which was to take me to the apartment where we were all going to meet. This took me up the west side of Central Park. When I got off, there were two girls who got off from the car behind me as well. I glanced back a couple times, and caught a glimpse of the expected orange of Kristina's garb. So amazing that we got off at exactly the same time, and they had arrived in the city one and a half hours before! We greeted each other and walked to the apartment.

At the apartment, we sat around and talked, and the third princess arrived. Jeremy, the one whose brother was a renter of the apartment, was cooking us a fine Indian meal, which we all enjoyed together with all the other roommates. I played a mix of popular songs from the mid-nineties in accoustic form as well as a Switchfoot CD. Then Sarah(the third princess) left to go meet with other friends. We sat around for some time more, and then decided to go out at around 4:30.

We decided to walk through Central Park, which was very nice. Our intention was to go to the Met, but we got there just as it was closing, at 5:15. We wanted to go somewhere warm, since we were freezing our jaws shut. We took a bus and a subway to Times Square, and walked around till we found ourselves inside the largest Toys 'R Us in the country. It had a ferris wheel and every toy and game you could imagine. There were three floors and on the third we found this motion sensitive floor projection, with a bunch of nifty little games that cycled through about every minute. We spent a lot of time just playing with that, kicking puppies and doing paint-by-color with our feet.

My Uncle Terry and I had planned to meet for dinner, but it turned out he was too busy, so I didn't get to. So, since we were hungry, we looked for a place to eat, and decided to eat at a four-floor TGI Friday's. Unfortunately, the food was inordinately expensive, with about a $4 mark-up compared to an ordinary franchise. Since we were also getting horrible service, we decided to leave.

I had left my backpack at the apartment(I have a bad back and I get cranky when I have to carry something around for a long time). So we went back to get it, and find a cheaper place to eat. It was a horrid trek back to the subway station, since the first one we arrived at was under construction. But eventually we made it and I retrieved my belongings. It was late...about 8:15, so I we needed to find a place fast. We found a little pizza shop and we each ordered a slice. I finished off Sarah the Younger's piece as well, and we were off. We parted with Jeremy, and took the subway back to Port Authority. We escorted Sarah the Younger to the Grand Central Station shuttle, and said goodbye to her. Kristina and I headed back to the Port Authority bus terminal, and we hugged and went to our respective gates to wait for our buses.

It was a wonderful time, and it could've ended there, but this is where the adventure begins! The lady at the information desk told me the wrong gate number, and an attendent informed me that my bus hadn't arrived yet, and that it was to arrive at gate seventy-three, and not seventy-four! The thing is that there were more people lined up at seventy-three than could fit on one bus. I went to another information desk and asked if my bus had arrived yet, and the lady said that it had already left. Worried, I returned to the gate and wandered around, observing, until a bus arrived at seventy-three. I went to the same attendant and asked about my bus again to make sure, and he said that the bus which had just arrived was mine. So I got in line, and before I go to the front, the gate is closed!

I called out to an attendant and asked if we would be let on. He said the bus was full, and the service is on a first-come-first-serve basis. So me and a few others are left waiting in line for one and a half hours for the next bus, at 11PM. It came, finally, and we rode home. As we neared Baltimore, the weather got worse and worse. There was a driving snow falling and the bus had to slow down to about 40mph by the time we were approaching the beltway. The roads weren't in driving condition, and when we finally arrived in Baltimore at a little before 3AM, the driver announced that all further bus service was canceled until further notice. This left a lot of people headed to North Carolina and such stranded.

I bought a bottle of water at the convenience store inside the bus station since I was very thirsty, and I was about to leave when a man a little older than thirty approached me and asked if I would buy his ticket for $10 so he could call a cab. He said his job was on the line. I said I didn't need a bus ticket because I was going to drive home in my car. He perked up and asked if I would give him a ride. So I asked him where he was going, and he said it was just four blocks over. He seemed safe enough to me, so I agreed to drive him. While I turned on the car he wiped all the snow off with my ice scraper. We waited for the engine to warm, and then I carefully drove him through Baltimore's unplowed streets, and into the slums of west Baltimore, the worst part of the city.

He said he had just moved from Tennessee, and indeed he had a fitting accent which I recognized. He works on fiber-optics and needed to meet someone who works for him and lives in this part of Baltimore, he said. We arrived at the place he needed to go, so he thanked me and I drove off. I drove back through to 95 and took that down pretty slowly to home, and arrived safely at about 4:30AM.

What an adventure! Hope you've enjoyed hearing about it!
Here are some pictures.

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