...unless of course your superbeing of choice is Xenu or Cthulu, who, I’m sure you’re all aware, aren’t exactly on the benevolent side of things, but are hepcats nonetheless.
Anyway, this turned out to be much longer than I had anticipated, so I'll probably end up dedicating an entire post to each day. Luckily, this first one is light on the images, since I didn't whip out my camera at that point, but I'll make up for it by posting images of tickets of various sorts, and other miscellany. Once the actual pictures kick-in in the upcoming entries, I shall hereby dub these posts NOT DIAL-UP FRIENDLY, at which point there will be much public shunning of all who lack high-speed internet. (Shun the nonbeliever! Shuuuuun!) That said, on with the show!
Day One – Saturday August 25, 2007
THE DAY IT ALL STARTED. After waking up at (what seemed at the time) an obscenely early hour, I got a ride to the airport from my younger sister, formerly known as kiltedhobbits (and later _dangerkitty_), who, after much convincing, also agreed to hang around the airport with me for as long as she could (security permitting), seeing as this was my first time flying aynwhere and I had absolutely no idea how to navigate my way through an airport. Especially one as large and as busy as Orlando International. (I mean, seriously, the place is massive. Just look at it!) Since I was flying Delta I had to go in through the South (or B) side, and after going through security and all that was sent to Airside 4, Gate 73.) All in all, I have to give mad props to OIA (or MCO if you prefer going by the same letters as the airline industry. If any of you ever have to come through the central part of Florida, I highly recommend doing so through here.
[image of flight ticket/boarding pass/whatever the kids are calling it these days (click for full-size)]
The flight itself was (for the most part) uneventful. I have to admit that my pre-first flight jitters weren’t so much along the lines of "OMG THE PLANE IS GONNA CRASH!!11" like most peoples are, but I was more concerned with what the change in air-pressure would do to my face and how much that would hurt. (For the uninitiated, back around August of '03 I had MAJOR re-constructive surgery done on my face (by the order of my orthodontist). I mean, not only were the surgeons poking around inside my head, but I mean they cut out both my upper and lower jaws, set them out on the table, and basically rearranged the way things fit together. Four years, seven plates, and 36 screws later, (and yes, that’s the exact number; I have one of my x-rays) the slightest change in air pressure, from a hurricane a few hundred miles away, to a cold front, to simple sinus congestion sends me into worlds of pain that only lots of pill-popping can handle. And that’s only on a good day.
But enough of that tangent! Luckily I barely noticed the pressure change (in fact, I had more problems with it while riding some of the elevators in the city and on the LIRR; but now I’m jumping ahead of myself). As for the rest of my flight, I sat next to a girl who might've been a few years younger than me, but was so deep in her book that there was absolutely no chance of talking to her. I also somehow got stuck in the WORST SEAT ON THE ENTIRE PLANE, as it was an aisle seat right between the engines and a door, and also right where the flight attendants' kitchen is situated. :| Needless to say, next time I fly I hope I get a better spot. (I also hope I get a better plane (our flight was on a McDonnell Douglas MD-88).) Other than that I had no problem. Both takeoff and landing went smoothly, with no noticeable turbulence along the way.
A few short hours later, lo and behold, I was in New York! \o/ I must say, even as we were approaching for our final descent, the only thing my brain could focus on was "OMG. I muthafucking did it. I’m HERE! O:" Then, once I finally got off the plane, and actually set foot on solid ground, it was like the weirdest experience of my life. All of a sudden I was in an entirely new place and just— flail dries nails Not only that, but as soon as I turned my cell phone back on, I had a text waiting for me from hymenchan, saying that she was already at the airport, had found vespalicious and and and! ... This was shaping up to be much more than EPIC. It was, in fact, EPIX.
Anyhoo, after Tam and Jess found their way over to the Delta terminal at LaGuardia (yes, I had to be difficult and come in at my own private
And uhh, let me state right now that even though that was NOT my first ride in a cab (that honor belongs to the times where my families minivan was stolen while we were all watching Armageddon in the theatre), it was one of the scariest experiences of my life (though it definitely wasn’t the most horrifying of our cab rides that weekend). The main highlights of this particular venture into the world of defying death on the New York City streets was the discovery of a parking space that only Niki/Jessica would use (ROFL), many signs of the infamous death!mop (LMAO), and that our driver’s name started with the letters MOH- (D: ruuuun!). It was then that we arrived at our hostel.
Which, now that I’ve actually stayed in one (well, kind of), I can totally understand the concept of naming a horror movie after one. While I can’t judge every hostel by the experience I had at just one (well, one and a half, if you stick around) I can definitely say that I will think long and hard before I decide to stay at another one. That said, if you are EVER headed to New York and are traveling on a budget, do yourself a favor and do not, I repeat, DO NOT stay at the Broadway Hotel and Hostel. I cannot emphasize that point enough. Everything about the place was (as stated in my graphic) EPIX FAIL. This place has not one, but an entire armada of FAILboats! In hindsight, you’re probably better off shaking up at a bus station, or out on a street corner (heck, that’s basically where we ended up for a time).
Because seriously? WHAT THE FUCK! Every other time I’ve checked into a hotel the people at the desk go by my name and ID, look up the reservation on the computer, hand me a room key or two, tra-la-la "check out is at blankety blank time, free breakfast, yada yada yada, here ya go" and five minutes later I’m crashed on the bed, flipping through the TV channels, and throwing toiletries into my bag. These people tell me, after asking for my name, ID, etc., that they’ll also need a printed copy of the reservation. Though apparently, the printed copy of the CONFIRMATION that I had with me wasn’t good enough, so I had to bust out my credit card, charge a couple of bucks to it so I could use their public access computers, and OMG
Finally, we’re given our room key. So we make our way up (to either the second or fourth floor; frankly, we ended up moving so many times at that place that I can’t remember which room was where), open the room, and discover that judging by the sheer amount of baggage already in the room that there was no way there were going to be enough beds for everyone. (For the record, there were already four HUGE bags, plus everything the three of us had, divided by four beds, and yeah. Not enough.) So I go downstairs to talk to the person at the desk. After I explain the situation, I’m told that, yes, it is OUR room, as clearly evidenced by our reservations, and once the other people return I should just send them down to the desk and the situation would be dealt with. I heave a sigh of foreboding doom, and trudge my way back up the stairs (there was an elevator, but so small/cramped/busy/barely functional that the stairs were the better bet).
Anyhoo, Tam, Jess, and I are hanging in the room having a grand ol' time. Tam breaks out CDs she made for us (both a supercrack and a "slightly more serious" version), along with our trip mascot, Mr. Muggles (more about him later). We talk about various things, from pirates, to the Gabriel Graaaaaaay-face, to surprise buttsecks (<- not a joke), to what exactly we might wish to see while all of us were there. At this point, the previous inhabitants arrive, with looks of "We're European and we'd like to know what the shit is going on" etched onto their faces.
After explaining to them a few times what the people at the front desk had told me, they go down, and later come back up, saying that it was the hostel's bad and WE had to go get a new room assignment. Thus, the trouble truly begins to get truly
So we go down. Get a new key. Go to that room. Occupado. We go BACK down, get yet ANOTHER key. By the looks of it, this room (while it does already have baggage in it) seems like it'll work out. At this point, it's starting to get a bit late, so we decide to just fuck it, change clothes, and head down around Times Square and Broadway to go see our show (Avenue Q). After a quick freshening up, the three of us head back downstairs, hail a cab, and make our way for the first (of many times) to the central hub of NYC life.
Let me tell you internet, it is fucking HUGE. The buildings and the lights and the GUH. There are really no words to describe it. It was like every movie or TV show I watched as a kid, but MORE. We passed by so many landmarks that I had seen in pictures or books and it was like some weird out-of-body experience. And I'd totally do it again.
Anyhoo, we finally arrive at our theatre (the John Golden Threatre, on 45th right before Eighth). Because the show hadn't sold out yet Jess was able to get herself a ticket, and a short while later we made our way inside. And oh, what a theatre it was! I've never really been inside a small old theatre like that before. All the ones I've been in before have either been civic auditoriums (like the King Center in Melbourne), HUGE performing arts spaces (like the Broward Center, and to a smaller extent Bob Carr), or your run-of-the-mill school/church auditorium. This place was just so... antique-y. I mean, it had great acoustics, but was also so small. Up in the balcony where we were, it still felt like the actors were close to us and not so impossible to see. Even the molding along the walls and ceiling were just beautiful! I haven’t even mentioned the show yet! :D
[image of Playbill from 'Avenue Q'; I can't find my actual ticket, though. ;_; (click for full-size)]
Now, I’ve been a fan of 'Avenue Q' for a few years, though mainly through the soundtrack. Sure, I've seen some clips, but nothing to really give me a feeling for the actual show. That said, IT WAS FANTASTIC! Aside from all the parts from the soundtrack that I knew were funny, there were so many laugh out loud moments that I nearly LOST IT multiple times! ("One nightstand. One night stand." XDD) What made it even funnier were the old prudes who were sitting next to Tam: (on cell phone before show) "Oh, we’re seeing a plaaayyy!"
Good times, my friends. Good times.
Anyhoo, after the show, we all realize we were kind of hungry (I had actually noticed this quite a deal earlier, but chose not to say anything; part of that whole "no really, even if I'm dying what we do is totally up to you" thing I have where I won't say anything for hours on end). We found a small Japanese store/restaurant/bar on the other side of the block, go in, and get something to eat. I, of course, had to puke before I was able to put anything down (a problem I seem to have regularly whenever I travel great distances), and likewise wasn't able to eat much the entire trip (another problem I seem to have; a few bites and my stomach shuts off the intake valve). ANYWAY. :|
After dinner we decided to walk around a bit before heading back to
OH, NOT SO! MURPHY'S LAW WASN'T QUITE FINISHED WITH US.
So we get back to the hostel, walk inside the lobby, where once more a HORDE of people are congregated in front of the desk, by the sound of it upset that they had no rooms to stay in. So we trudge up to our room, showers are taken (thank God those were private!), I proceeded to zonk out because HELLO TIRED, and then people come in and are all "Umm, our room GTFO."
LONG STORY SHORT, let's say that I can now safely add "walked down Broadway in naught but my jimjams (and dragging along my luggage) at 1:30 in the AM" to my list of Things I Have Done In My Life That I Quite Honestly Never Expected to Happen. More or less, the guy at the desk of our hostel SAW that we had already paid, "felt bad", thought he'd get us a room at their brother hotel down a ways, only to find out that they too were full.
Sometime after three they put us in a partially full room (top floor, of course). And let me tell you, seven people to six beds just doesn't work. I got real friendly with the floor that night.