Thursday, November 18, 2010

First Observations

!!!!!!! I'M IN NEW YORK !!!!!!!!!!

I think I was so nervous this morning, that I didn't dare sleep through my alarm, which is really good considering we just made it to the airport. Luckily, I was all checked in and ready to go, I had no problems with security and I literally just walked on the plane. I also tested out using my passport, which was great to know that I'll be able to get through security without having to break out my soon-to-be-expired license when* I go home for Christmas.


There have been lots of stories on the news about the new scanners that see right through your clothes and how they are mandatory, unless you want to subject yourself to being felt up by TSA. A lot of people are unhappy with this, and I am among them. I think it is invasive and unnecessary. However, whilst Salt Lake City airport does have the new scanners, they aren't mandatory - yet - and so I didn't have to worry about going through it. They do have the technology, though, because I'm pretty sure I've gone through one before. (Unless it was in Ohio... but now I can't remember. I really just try not to think about it too much...) All of these measures that are meant for our safety... ugh. I'm not really one of those people that shares the philosophy of "better safe than sorry" or anything, because I know that I am not a terrorist, or even so much as a security threat, and so yeah, I feel really inconvenienced when they want to look through my clothes or "pat" me down or refuse to let me bring my perfume and shaving cream because they don't meet the required liquid regulations...

Anyway, I love the airport in the morning. People are cranky. I don't know why. The man who made my smoothie - worst smoothie of all time, by the way - was in no way willing to offer a "good morning," smile or...anything. I also saw a man walking around with a flannel cream colored shirt with elk drawings on it, and coordinating camouflage pants. Oh, Utah. I wish I had a picture, because really, I think they should take that look to fashion week.

Upon boarding the plane, I noticed that ALL of the flight attendants were OLD. I've seen a few older attendants in my day, but... not all of them, and not all of them close to retirement age. The man was sort of funny. He would get on the intercom and say, "Good news, everybody!" and then proceed to tell us some pretty good news (e.g. everyone boarded the plane on time, and so we left early; we arrived almost forty minutes early, etc.) but then he finished up his joke with the Geico tagline, and I lost all respect.

I slept for most the flight, but was wide awake when I landed and I must say that that I was extremely disappointed that I did not have a window seat. I would have loved to see the city as we were flying in. I kept trying to get a look, and the guy that was sitting next to the window pointed out three large container ships that were likely bringing in products from China. The ocean looked awesome... at least the part that I could see. At first I thought I was looking at a pod of whales, but I'm sure it was just really big waves, and I guess that's cool.

Because we were early, we had to go on a passenger car, which was this... box-like structure that would lift all the way up to reach the plane, we boarded it, and then lowered down and drove. It was seriously nuts. You couldn't see the driver....

I wandered around the airport for a while, listening to all the different languages and seeing all kinds of people, which I love to do anyway. I was so nervous that I was going to get lost, but I found the air train OK. I was told that I could buy a metro card at the airport, but I didn't see a kiosk so I just hopped on a train and hoped that I would know which stop to get off... I didn't, but I chose a stop that had a very cute, very helpful (and likely gay) man who noticed I looked lost and told me to get on a train - which WAS different than the one I had been on - so that was really, really nice.

The subway was SCARY. Not the people. They all seemed cool. And there were a lot of delicious looking black men... seriously. Colin had warned me that the subway conductors spoke in ebonics, but... it was like no ebonics I ever heard. Are people actually meant to understand them? I am certain that even the black guys on the train had no idea what he was saying. Luckily for them, they knew where they were going.

I managed to get off on the right stop, but once I got off the subway, that is where the trouble started. I found the numbers that I was looking for, but no red lines (like I was told there would be) and no "John Street," which is what I was looking for... So I finally just picked an exit and made my way aboveground. Honestly, I do not like subway stations.

Once again on ground level, I began walking, hoping to just bump into the street I needed. Colin was in a meeting and unable to assist, and my GPS was not picking up any satellites. (Thank you, tall buildings!) So I was on my own and decided to enjoy walking around. Which I did. I saw St. Paul's church and Trinity Church and knew that I was on the wrong path when I hit Wall Street and the giant bull. And, I'm pretty sure I walked past the World Trade Center site... but that is unconfirmed. But I watched people take pictures and then I found a map. As far as maps go, it was helpful, but completely turned around. I had to think backwards in order for it to tell me anything. So I turned around and headed back down Broadway, and found the street I needed.

My first meal experience was an Lenny's. I had a roast beef sandwich, and either I was starving, or it was seriously the best sandwich I've ever had. I am sated and pleased with my purchase.

My overall impression is that the City is nice, but... I am a small town girl at heart. I kept waiting for the subway to empty out, but it only got more and more full! I like to sit and observe, but I don't think anyone appreciated me...I think they thought I was trying to listen to their conversations or something, but that wasn't the case. Anyway, there are tons of people here, obviously, and they all stand on the outside of their buildings and smoke. But for the most part, I've noticed that everyone is really friendly.

Now I am awaiting Colin's arrival and we are on to the midnight showing of Harry Potter.

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