Why are we going to Giant Stadium?

Trip Start May 12, 2009
Trip End May 24, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meet the Cast:

Dave:  Planner, part-time navigator, food critic, and once again trip blogger.  Not sure how I keep getting stuck with this job.  Probably because of my superior memory skills and lack of anything better to do with my time (I also type at a moderately fast speed of 73 words/minute).  My favorite animal is the leopard (even though we didn't see one) because they are smart, fast, and don't like to be bothered by humans.  However, I should not be held accountable for making dinner reservations.

Amy:  "Photo Documenter" of the trip as well as "champion navigator of the early afternoon drive from cape point to hout's bay."  Amy enjoys shopping, spa treatments, and petting cheetahs.  Her favorite animal is the hippo because no other animal hunts them and they get to hang out by the pool all day.  However listening is not her strong suit.

JB:  Co-planner, chauffuer, and videographer of the trip.  JB enjoys listening to himself talk, showering outdoors, and watching animals die.  His favorite animal is the warthog because he watched one of them die (weird).  While driving JB thinks that speed humps are optional, and he often gets his windshield wipers and turn signals mixed up.  

Lindsey:  Chicago's finest GI nurse (Lindsey had numerous jobs on the trip, but I led with her career for this joke -->).  When she isn't hanging out with assholes, Lindsey enjoys photography, African sherry (boy does she get the giggles after 3 drinks), and searching for decorated ostrich eggs.  Her favorite animal is a giraffe because they are tall like she is.  On the down side, Lindsey is very bad at the "That's what she said" game.

Planning Stage:

A good friend of mine, Arthur Frommer, sent me a link to a fantastic deal that South African Airways was running for Cape Town/Kruger National Park (although we actually picked a slightly different itinerary).  I passed along the information to JB (since he has been talking about South Africa since I met him) and Amy, knowing that nothing would come out of it.  After both showed interest, I decided to inquire more about the deal, still thinking this was all hypothetical.  The original itinerary was for 4 nights in Cape Town and 2 nights on safari.  This seemed like an awfully short amount of time considering we would be flying in airplanes for 40 hours (this does not include time in airports).  However, after hundreds of emails with Doreen, the rep from SAA Vacations, we extended the trip by 3 days (2 days in Cape Town at the beginning, and 1 day at the end on safari) for a nominal fee.  Normally I would book the air and hotels separately, but I couldn't find flights alone for cheaper than this entire package was.  There was no turning back now.  The timing of the trip was perfect as I felt I needed a honeymoon from the great time that was the Burke/Steinmetz wedding. 

At first, I wasn't sure whether Amy was more interested in going to South Africa or at the possibility of increasing her wardrobe.  But after a trip to the travel clinic to get Hep A shots and a jar full of malaria medicine, we were all set for a "lifetime of memories."

Off we go:

Following our typical routine, Amy and I finished packing after work and hopped in a cab to 30th street station to catch the megabus to New York.  We arrived 30 minutes early to ensure seats next to each other, but this was overkill as we pulled up to see a double decker bus.  We were the 3rd and 4th people respectively to board the bus, and we immediately headed upstairs.  We took the front row (above the driver) so that we could get a great view of the new jersey turnpike.  It was 5 minutes before we were ready to leave, and still only 4 people were on the bus.  Not sure if this was because no one wants to go to New York on a Tuesday evening, or the fact that everyone was scared by the lady that was downstairs.  For the last 10 minutes she was thanking the lord for everything from clearing her sinuses (true) to keeping the teenagers in school (true) to fixing her chronic hemorrhoids in the late 80's (false).  Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people expressing their religious beliefs, but I think she took it a little overboard.  One more passenger ran on board just as we were leaving, and after seeing his options, he decided to join us upstairs.  

The ride was going very smoothly and we were expecting to arrive 15 minutes early.  We just passed Newark airport and you could start to see the city when our friend downstairs decided to play 20 questions with the bus driver.  "How far are we?"  "How much longer will it take?"  "Where are we now?"  "Where are we being dropped off?"  By the time she got to "What are you doing later tonight?" we passed right by the exit for the Lincoln Tunnel.  Thinking no one upstairs saw him miss the exit, the bus driver came on the loud speaker and said that the exit was in fact closed.  So we turned around and started heading back, now on schedule to arrive right on time.  However, this time he decided to veer right at the split in the road.  Unfortunately the Lincoln Tunnel exit was to the left.  So after getting a tour of Giant Stadium's parking lot, the bus driver got it right on the third try.  We made it into the city and since we were now 30 minutes late, they decided to change our drop off point.  We finally de-bussed and try to get out of there before there are any more questions to hold us up.  

Amy and I grabbed a taxi and headed to the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on 53rd and 7th.  This is not to be confused with the Sheraton Hotel on 51st and 7th.  Ken and Jessica were at the hotel waiting for us.  They seemed to be having a good conversation going, so after saying hi, Amy and I went to check in.  The lady at the front desk explained to us that since we booked through priceline (and saved $350), we were scum and were gonna get the worst room in the hotel.  She said we would have to take a handicap room, since that was all they had left.  Fine with me, I enjoy the extra space in the bathroom.  Unfortunately she lied to us as we walked into a 2 queen bed setup instead of a super-king bed configuration that I typically prefer.  This gave Amy a little buffer room from my snoring, tossing, and turning (and other words that end in -ing).

We head back downstairs, grab Ken and Jessica, and walk over to Rumours on 55th and 8th where Hetal would be joining us shortly.  It was 10:30 at this point, so we had to drink fast since it was a school night.  Great drinks and greater conversation lasted until around 1:00 when we all went our separate ways.  Amy and I decided to grab a slice of pizza before crashing for the night.
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