Saturday, August 8, 2009

New York: Day 01

All right, so finally I'm going to write about my 6 days-5 nights New York trip. I was having some problems with the camera, but somehow I got it to work. Plus I had to unpack, pack again, go to 3 days-2 nights orientation, and then unpack again. That's the busiest I've been in a while, but anyway, it's kind of long so I collapsed it.

+/- New York: Day 01

This trip to New York was unlike any other vacation I've ever been on in ways more than one. First of all, it was the first time I've ever been on vacation with only one other person, who in this case, happened to be my sister Elisa. Second, I didn't get excited for the trip until the day before we left. I usually start packing several days before our departure date, but for this trip I packed the day before. So weird. Third, I had a bigger responsibility in this trip, because it was only Elisa and me, unlike the other trips where I just went along with the flow.

Anyway, being the careful non-risky asians that we were, we left for LAX at 5 in the morning to get there by 5:30AM, having well over two hours before our flight. Our parents drove us there, so that's my dad in the picture.

Mistake 001: I took pictures in the car.
*Let's keep track of all the mistakes we make during the trip! :)*

So there we were, 5:30AM, LAX, Terminal 5 for Delta Airlines, everything going exactly as planned. We got our stuff out of the car, kissed our parents goodbye, and we were on our own. As nervous as we were anxious and pumped with adrenaline despite only getting a few hours of sleep, we checked in, printed out our boarding tickets, and headed over to the luggage drop-off. The lady there was a black woman in her late 50s or early 60s, and greeted us in a friendly tone.

For the remainder of this trip (and possibly for the remainder of this year depending on how good my memory is), this woman's face will be engraved in the back of our minds.

"Hi, how's it going."

"Good, good. How are you gals doing this morning?"

"We're doing good. Pretty anxious about the flight, haha."

"Haha, do you have your boarding tickets?"


Hands over tickets

"Excellent, and ID?"

Elisa takes out her driver's license, and since I don't have a license yet, I take out my passport. While the lady is checking our boarding passes, Elisa places here license in my passport (much like the picture above) so that it's easier for her to see.

Mistake 002: We got an old lady.

Mistake 002: Elisa tries to make things convenient.

Now you see, Elisa slipping her license between the pages of my passport plays a very key role in the disaster that is about to take place here. Also, the bar of Butterfingers the lady bought at the vending machine and hastily ate this morning right before she took her place at work because she snoozed just one snooze too many and didn't have time to eat breakfast is key.

The lady hands us back our boarding passes with a smile (surely checking beforehand that none of the Butterfingers chunks were stuck between her teeth), and reaches over to get our identifications, drops them both, my passport landing on the luggage-weight-measuring-scale and not having enough mass to hold significance, and Elisa's easy-to-slide-out-of-your-wallet-slick driver's license slipping into the gap between the scale and the counter the lady was perched behind.



I was the first to see all of this happen, and if I don't say so myself, I have pretty fast reaction. Pretty good, because if I had really good reaction, I would've caught them both in time or at least nipped it so that the vector of the falling license would have changed ever so slightly, just enough to have diverged its direction and furthermore the fate of landing in one of the most inconvenient places in that setting.

Anyway, like I said, I have pretty fast reaction. The license fell in the crack, and within 0.5 seconds after that I responded. My response was to open my eyes widely and drop my jaw. FML.

The lady's reaction was a little bit slower, about another 0.5 seconds after my jaw has dropped the lowest it possibly can, I heard a "Woops!" Mind you, that "Woops!" is reacting to the fact she dropped the identifications, not to the fact the license is now intangible. She will respond to the latter in about another 5~10 seconds.

5~10 seconds pass, and the lady finally realizes what had happened. She goes to get paper to see if she can push it out, and it becomes this whole thing where people come to see what happens, disappears for a while, comes back. First I think it's kind of funny; come on, it's kind of funny! So we're standing back and watching all this happen, and I tell Elisa, "Hey, you know what I should do? I should take a picture of this."  

So I reach over into my backpack and dig for my digital camera and, fuck me, it's not there. Remember that first mistake I made? I left my camera in the car. Good thing I didn't leave my cellphone! I hurry and call my mom's cellphone, and she doesn't pick up. Most likely, because she's driving. I hurry and call my dad's cellphone, and he doesn't pick up. Most likely, they both forgot their cellphones as home. It's around 6:00AM and I call my little brother Taiki to tell our parents I forgot the digital camera in the car and they need to bring it back ASAP; he's falling asleep on me even as I explain my current situation.

God what a horrible way to start off a vacation. There we were, waiting for I-don't-know-what because the black lady from earlier had gone off somewhere (***SPOILER*** She never comes back) and I didn't know if Taiki would be awake to tell our parents.

I'm not even going to try to explain it, but those were one of the shittiest 30 minutes I've experienced in a while, next to that one basketball practice where we ran like crazy. Anyway, after that things went smoothly, our parents had to get Elisa's passport from home and deliver that and my digital camera to us, they eventually bolted the scale out and got Elisa's license in time of our flight too. Good thing we went two hours early, huh? Actually, while we were waiting out the uncomfortable 30 minutes, Elisa and I were talking, and I was saying how we would laugh about it on the plane once it's over, and how it was good we came so early. But then she said something kind of interesting she said, "Well, it seems good that we came two hours early, but at the same time, if we hadn't come two hours early, would we have really had this lady?" Hmm. Good point... Still though, if that didn't happen, I would have probably forgotten all about my camera until we were on the plane or something.

Oh, one cool thing that did happen, while we were going through security the security guards were talking, and it went something like,

"Hey, Brad Pitt's coming in 5 minutes right?"

"Yeah, we have to escort him. He's flying to Salt Lake City again."

"All right."

Nah, we never saw him, haha. I don't think he'd fly Delta anyway. Still though, it was cool.

And 7:30AM, off we flew to New York just as planned thank god. Airplanes always make me a little nervous, you know when it sometimes gives you that free-falling feeling in your stomach? They're fun on roller coasters, but not so much on airplanes.
Our mom made us lunches so we wouldn't have to buy one on the flight. Can you tell? It's the Statue of Liberty!

I have this thing where I can't eat the head.

The flight was about 6 hours long, so we got there around 1:30PM, and then add another three hours to that because we're in New York and we landed at around 4:30PM.

We got our luggage, took a shuttle bus, took the subway where we bought our 7-day unlimited metro card, and then we ran across a problem. For some reason, one of the subway trains were down and they were going by bus that day. All the signs and directions for the bus was hand-written, and we kind of just followed the signs.
Mistake 003: We took this bus.

We were going to stay in a youth hostel the first day, and it was in Brooklyn. Brooklyn was kind of ghetto, but maybe it isn't depending on your definition of ghetto. The hostel was in the nice part of Brooklyn, anyway, and maybe it was just me, but the bus seemed to be taking us deeper and deeper into the jungle of Brooklyn. It took a while, but I noticed that we seemed to be heading in the complete opposite direction. Let me just say, the scenery was the complete opposite of what I imagined New York to be. We got off, took the bus going the other way, took the subway again, and finally made it to the stop closest to the youth hostel.

There were a few homey-looking cafes and grocery stores and such, but other than that there were just creme-colored buildings everywhere and nothing else. No trash on the ground, just buildings and occasionally somebody riding a bike passes by. We walked a few blocks and made it to our youth hostel.

Despite its plain look from the outside, the inside was really really nice and clean. We were staying in a room with 10 other girls, but we only met like 2 of them. One of them had a British accent and it was wonderful haha.

This was one of the signs at the check-in. It has absolutely nothing to do with the trip, but god it bothers me when people write with "..." at the end. It's okay when it makes sense, but when they use it in normal, happy chats or texts, it gives me the impression that they're either:

1) Really sad.
2) Think you're stupid.
2) Are tired of talking to you.

Even when they're not. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. Maybe you can't see it (you probably can if you clicked it), but almost all of the signs in that picture have "..." in them.

The room that we stayed in. 6 bunk beds (6x2=12 people can sleep in one room), one restroom (toilet and shower in same room), and one AC. Not bad, not bad at all.

We were getting pretty hungry, and I suggested we go to Manhattan because at the time I was a little upset that our first day in New York did not feel at all like what I had in mind. So we went to the subway entrance and uhh, make our fifth mistake of the day.

Here's how the subways worked. You know those doors where it's like a Merry-go-Round? Well, you slide your metro card and the "Go" light flashes and it allows one person through one of those Merry-go-Round entrances. I decide to question this method of entrance. Couldn't two people fit at once through this thing? I submit my answer to Elisa, and with no responsible adult present to stop us, we put this plan into action.

Mistake 004: We question the system.

A loud BEEEEEEEEEEEP sounded and we were no longer able to pass the doors. Well, shit. We slide the card again, and the words read, "Just used." Well, fuck. The only option left was to go find another subway entrance and use our cards there.

I really wonder how those things work though, how did it know that the two of us were going through at the same time? Did it go by weight? What if you're just fat? Are there people monitoring this thing, making sure no multiple numbers of people can go through at once? Weird, weird, I wonder how it works.

We walked to the next nearest Subway entrance, and rested a while at a park.

Idk, I guess it's an exit.

Finally got on the subway towards Massachusetts.

Now that looks closer to what I imagined New York to be like. First night, so we decided to get pizza!

Mmm, after I took this picture the guy said no pictures no pictures.

And then he laughed and said jk you can take pictures!

The pizza was really good! It was getting pretty late, so we headed back to our youth hostel for a good night's sleep.

And that concludes our first hectic day in New York.

1 comment:

Donna said...

ahaha I don't even know why so many bad things happened! I can't believe you fucking FORGOT YOUR CAMERA. Are you an idiot!?!

All I can say is that damn, you took a bus that tells you to learn english (surrounded by black people). The jungle indeed! Lol, did I just say that?

Damn, you stayed at a hostel! Was there a murderer there? It looks like such a depressing place though. Glad you're outside doing stuff instead of hanging around in there.

Story: something like what you expereienced with the subway thing, my mom and I didn't know that we needed passes to get onto boston's train system, so we just ducked into the other side when someone swiped their card. Bad news: the security stopped us as we were about to board the bus and told us there was a HEFTY fine involved. Good news: we begged and pleaded our way out of it and said that we're from los angeles and all this other stuff. Haha it was scary!

Looking forward to reading more about your trip!