i have adventures (sometimes)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

I Actually Do Want to Be a Part of It

So I was moderately successful in my plan to start adventuring in earnest. I started off Thursday morning with a trip to the Empire State Building - from the bottom, because all my money is currently going on having things to eat and a place to sleep.

It's OK, I can see it from here.
Starting off a sombre theme for the day, my next stop was the African Burial Ground, which was fascinating. During excavations in 1993, they found a cemetery for African people dating back to the time of slavery, and now there's a monument and visitors' centre there. It's a really moving memorial.

Since it was nearby, not because I like to use up my serious faces all at once, I headed to Ground Zero. I saw the new World Trade Centre being built, but I didn't actually make it to the September 11 memorial, because I didn't want to fight my way back through the crowds to get a ticket.

By this time, despite my intention to be really really adventurous, I was tired and sore and feeling a strong need for chocolate, so I set out for what sounded like a nice vegan bakery. Unfortunately for me, it turned out to be non-existent (or maybe just closed), and so I grumped back to the hostel via the grocery store, which both existed and sold fancy chocolate.

But my grump could not persist, because that evening I met up with my friend and former flatmate Henrik for dinner, a catch up, and a chocolate brownie ice cream sundae. I also got a chance to celebrate my dissertation results with a real life friend and a glass of melon juice, the latter purchased for me by the former. Or rather, four fifths purchased for me, partly because he didn't have enough change, and partly because, as he pointed out, I didn't quite get 90%, which would really have warranted a whole melon juice.

I look terrifying, but Henrik always looks beautiful. I think it's a Nordic thing.
On the subway back home, I met a guy called Madison when he complimented me on my many-coloured outfit, and as we were getting off at the same stop, he showed me some cool street art before we went our separate ways. There's a part of my brain that tells me that strange men on the underground couldn't possibly be murderers if they also appreciate my green jersey.*

Friday was hostel moving day, which meant lugging my mysteriously heavy backpack (I swear it's growing of its own accord) across town from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan. My new hostel has a more conventional number of people in each room and is also more conventionally lit, in that I no longer have to read by torchlight.

After dropping off my bag, I stopped for a slice of vegan pizza at a little take-out place nearby, where I first dealt with a guy who was sweet and lovely, and then a colleague who was so rude and brusque that tired me wanted to cry.** But the pizza was fairly good, and I took it to Central Park to eat it while I waited for my room to be ready.

But Central Park was grey and sad, and the leaves weren't crunchy. I'm pretty sure it's always sunnier than this in the movies. Maybe people in movies just go to the park in park-appropriate weather. For all their terrible decisions and failure to adequately communicate with one another, movie people do some sensible things.

Stop playing jazz in a park. You're only making me more grumpy.
Considering that Romeo and Juliet is less a beautiful love story than a case study in why not to make major life decisions at the age of 13, this is strangely beautiful and evocative.
It's sunny only in Movieland.
I am grumpy in this park. 
But I like to imagine the underground giants attached to these hands.
Red tree!
Green lake!
It's a bridge!
And... Death?
By the time I'd walked around enough of the park to be tired (well, more tired), it was time for me to check into my hostel. I took advantage having a bed to nap in. Disappointingly, said bed is in a room that smells overwhelmingly like feet.

Eventually I had to cave to the need to go shopping before I wasted away***, and so I went irrational-hungry-shopping at Whole Foods. Irrational-hungry-shopping is a lot like regular shopping, except that instead of bring sensible and planning ahead, you go somewhere expensive and buy whatever you think you'll be able to put in your mouth fastest, as well as some chocolate and some TOTALLY NECESSARY backup chocolate, and decide to worry about the rest of the week's meals as they arise.

So I had a ridiculous double supper of a ready-made salad, a vegan s'more, some edamame and then some more chocolate, and then I felt ready to face the world again. So ready, in fact, that I decided to go out at night, almost like other people in hostels do, only not really, because they seem to go to clubs. I didn't go clubbing, but instead I went to Times Square, reasoning that I should take advantage of the clear night before the hurricane/tropical storm hits some time in the next few days and I can't do anything except visit museums and have Wizard of Oz-like hallucinations.

And in Times Square, I found my adventure spirit again.

For the first time since arriving in New York, I actually did want to be a part of it. (If you didn't sing that line, go back and try again.) I loved the lights and the crowd and the cold air, and I even talked to people. Real people! I had a long chat to a Nigerian guy when I asked him to take a picture of me, and one friendly man said he would arrange things for me if I wanted to party. I thanked him and said I didn't like parties, which in retrospect may not have been what he was offering. I also got a lot of comments on my hair, and, weirdly enough, another one on my jersey. Never has this cheap green thing been so famous.

Ermahgerd! Terms Squer!
Friendly AND slightly creepy!
I nearly asked to pose with him. I bet we'd get on like a house on fire! Only it's my house. And it's hellfire.
I found him!
Thanks for the reminder.
I'm still exhausted. But I think there's a little tourist spirit left in me. At least, I won't write off New York just yet. Not everyone is rude, and there's a lot more to it than just sore feet and grey weather.

 Even if I am inclined to agree with Hipster Brianne.

*One day, I will die at the hands of the Green Cardigan Killer, and you'll all nod knowingly.
**I'll earn another point towards my adulthood merit badge when rude people no longer make me cry.
***This was never a risk.


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