The whitest kids in Brooklyn
Trip Start Mar 06, 2008
14Trip End Apr 07, 2008
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This flight happened to take 5 hours. 5 hours! You can fly from England to Iraq in 5 hours! But in the US, you can fly from one side of their country to another. If I wanted that I would have just went to Perth. Anyway, we landed in icy New York, found a cab that took us to our hostel (the hostel which, by the way, said when I booked it that it was in New York City, but after I booked it found out it was actually in Brooklyn) Now when I think of Brooklyn I think of Fat Italian men eating pizza and talking about the Yankees. Turns out that Brooklyn is full of black people. This is, of course, not a problem. What is a problem is that Milli and I are the only two white people in Brooklyn. Oh and ze Germans in ze next room. But they don't count as all they did is spend the day moshing to Euro-thrash metal and whinging about how their shampoo bottles are empty, like their hearts.
I digress. We got in at about 10:30 last night, checked in then went in search of food. What we found was a deserted street, a crack addict, Chinese food and lady who sassed me.
We were walking down the street, minding our own business when I saw some guy pimp walking up to a parked car and peered in the window. Knowing that no good could come from this, we turned around and went back to the Chinese take away joint we just passed. The Chinese take away had no seats, just a brightly lit area and a lady behind a perplex screen. So we ordered and while we were waiting the dude that was looking in the car window came in all black stuff around his face (no not his skin) and started talking to us "Man I saws you at the bus stop before and man I just need some money because my sister is sick and I need to buy me some fried chicken" (by the way we figured out that black people love their fried chicken... Ok so I'm no nostradamuas but still, it's everywhere.
We bumbled something about only having enough money to buy fried chicken for two people (not two people and one crack head... ok I said that with my mind and not my mouth) and he left, as he left he asked some lady who was near the door if she could spare some money for his sick sister and some fried chicken too. Well he stared to ask her that but before he could get two words out she just pointed her index finder out and kept talking on her phone. He walked out defeated. Tres cool. Whish I was a big black lady from the Bronx but somehow ended up in Brooklyn with every other black person in the tri-state area.
Anyway the food was cooked and paid for (so incredibly cheap, were talking prices akin to those in Thailand) and started to leave, forgetting our sodas (horribly flavoured crap masquerading as soft drinks) when another black lady that walked in sort of clicked her fingers at us and said "yo! Your sooooodaaaas!" (the soooo is said in a higher pitch than the daaaas, in case you wanted to try it out yourselves) so I went back to get them mumbled something like "oh almost left without them, thanks" when she turned around and gave me the "hmmmm" that you see every black woman do on every tv show, ever.
I appreciate her telling me about the sodas but really - stop living the cliché!
Next morning we were up at 6.30am still trying to get over the jet lag, took the train in and walked from the tip of Manhattan near the statue of liberty all the down to just before central park. We spend a good 6 hours doing it, ducking into diners for bad food (but had to try it) getting bagels and coffee from street vendors (great bagel, horrible burnt coffee, but hey for 75 cents who cares) and strolled through different suburbs. It was a great way to get our bearings.
So now its 10.30pm Friday night, and I'm going to bed.
It seemed to come quite quickly after so long planning, but yes it was time to catch our flight to New York! Via Sydney and LA of course. GRRRR. The flight(S) took SO long all together. Separately would have been fine, but no. So after a very long flight over ocean and ocean and the 'Lost' island, and more ocean, we got to LA. We were lucky enough not to have to check in again which I remember Lou and I doing, and we sat and had a beer and waited for our next flight to New York. We actually saw the Hollywood sign on the hills which was cool! No wait, that was once we were on the domestic flight to New York. Hang on. Trying to remember. Anyway, we took the next flight (as did many people from Melbourne which was interesting) and I was fascinated by the land we were flying over.
It was daylight so we could see everything, and as I tried to not think about the 5 hours we were going through again, I was drawn to the shapes and colours below me of the massive countryside and windy roads connecting towns and cities. It was geologically interesting, sounding like a wanker I know but it really was. The weathered craters and crevices and the unbelievably large stretches of land with nothing in it. Finally we arrived at New York but had to hang around in the air for a while until we could land. Yay. We were lucky with the biggest stretch of flying to have seats near the door with leg room but otherwise it was tough. Getting out in New York was fine, and we sparked up a bit from our zombie like state and got excited to be there! We grabbed a cab and upon arriving at our hostel realised just how far away we were from the island.
We were greeted well enough but after dumping our bags and wanting to get something to eat and kind of explore we realised (as Shane has no doubt covered) we were the only white people around on a Thursday night (and at any time really, as we found out later). We quickly picked the first Chinese 'restaurant' nearby, as walking further meant we were looked at more and sinister looking cars were motoring over to us. I use the term 'restaurant' loosely, as it was really just a kitchen with bullet proof glass protecting it from us - the public. We entered and stood in the bare area near a couple of other people in big black Michelin man coats. Couldn't have been more hardcore and less friendly. We were asked for money by a guy who said he saw us from his car and came in, but I was kind of irritated that the guy used a line that I always get near Flinders Street. Anyhoo, the food was quite good, very cheap and we left quickly to eat it at home.
The lack of windows in our room means we have trouble waking up at any normal time, but because we were so out of whack we woke up and realised it was light so left eagerly to the city. Later we deducted it was about 6.30am, so we ended up with the work crowd on the train, and again were the only white people there until we reached the island. Getting off randomly we found we were at Ground Zero which had lots of fences and work going on. We followed some workers and walked for a bit until we grabbed a bite (again quite cheap) and kept walking. Shane discovered the coffee joke that it is always gross and burnt is actually quite accurate, though his bagel was great! We walked and walked and walked that day. We walked to the tip and looked out to the statue of liberty, saw some squirrels, took some photos of the brilliant and never ending architecture, saw a sign for the soup nazi - or where he originated from! - and warmed up in a diner for a bit before going again. It was blue skies but very cold. I quickly bought gloves for a dollar in Chinatown, watching all the herbs and fish getting put out for the day, and on to Little Italy where we vowed to return to eat some vodka pizza! Later we found out New York seems to have an obsession with Vodka in their Italian food. Not sure why. Hmmm.
We walked and walked and walked, just taking it all in and trying to convince ourselves we were here. I noticed generally New Yorkers seem quite polite, though often they are pushy and loud but that's normal American for you. The people in hospitality are quite rightly very polite but that's because they rely on tips. Damn those tips I am still trying to work them out. Quite awkward! I think the cold and travel was getting to me at one point but we ducked into a diner and had some food and felt better. Americans love their tuna.
That was pretty much all we ate on the United Airlines flights, and it features heavily throughout menus in New York. Also cheese. They like their cheese. Shane had macaroni with cheese, and was asked if he wanted extra cheese on the top....he said no and thank God for that because I don't think we've every injested anything that cheesy before in our lives. He couldn't finish it and I think we've stopped having cheese for a bit. Also its orange but that's anther story.
Anyway we finally came out to Times Square and there were tonnes of people all taking photos and trying to get from A to B. We found M and M world which was ridiculous but we went in all the same, and stopped here and there to have beers in little bars. Typical American bars have crap beer and sport sport sport on about 10 different screens constantly. Oigh. We found some Irish bars which were ok, and we really did a full day, coming home about 5pm.
The next day we were totally out of sync and woke up and went back to sleep and finally woke up and checked the time and it was 1.45pm. It had been raining all morning and was still when we got outside but we persevered because we don't have much time! I threw the crap umbrella I had away but luckily the rain stopped by the time we got into the city. We had missed three meals so went to a soup place that was AWESOME. Very excited about that. While Brooklyn has a chicken and rice store every two metres, at least on the island they have everything. And they seem to love their soup and salads so that works well with us! We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which was just on the edge of Central Park. The park we glimpsed was filled with bare trees but we will go in another day as our second hostel is just there. Somehow we got into the museum for free which was great, stayed for a while and it really is a great space, saw some Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet it was great! We then took a cab to the vodka pizza place, found a cool Japanese bar and had some sake, and resorted to an American bar and watched some College Basketball......
We woke the next day at 11am which was slightly better, and MAN IT WAS COLD. The sky was beautiful clear blue but it was ICY. I was ecstatic about the fact there were ice puddles, Shane not so much, and I kept touching them as we walked to the train and back into the city.
It was really really cold. Jibbed of snow though. Whatever.
We had a nice breakfast in Chelsea, saw a few gay sex shops and small galleries that encapsulates Chelsea, and kept walking around. There are so many dogs here but everyone is in apartments. Weird. We had some pizza and beer and decided to go home as the next few nights will be actually ON the island and not halfway between Brookly and Queens in the middle of gun toting motown. Sheesh. Ok ciao.