Friday, 27 April 2007

New York - take 2

Well, what a week it's been! I managed to tear myself away from the couch and hoot to the airport, where the ground staff were surprisingly friendly and relatively optimistic about my chances of getting on the flight. I had a nail biting 2.5 hour wait and was finally handed a boarding pass at 25 minutes before take-off. There was another girl on standby, so we made our way to the gate together, jostling with slow walking passengers and arrived at the gate with plenty of time to spare. I'd forgotten how ridiculously long the screening process is for New York bound passengers and was put through a painful bag search. One of the less-than-clever guards rooted around in my bag and clearly found what he was after, hefting a tampon for all to see and demanding 'vat is dis?' like it was some sort of weapon. What a dick.

I arrived in New York feeling very weary, as I was seated near a charming child who screamed and squealed like a stuck pig for the entire journey. By the 13th hour I was ready to lean over and yank his naughty little tail. His parents clearly didn't care that he was making such noise and just let him run riot. I passed the time by watching more movies than I can remember and was feeling like I'd been locked in a box by the time I arrived. I was disconcerted to feel how cold it was when I disembarked and realised that the flimsy little coat I had over my arm wasn't going to cut it against the oddly cold weather. Out of season snow was expected that day, but luckily didn't fall.

I spent two days wandering around New York, not doing the people watching in Central Park that I'd hoped to. It was just way too cold to venture in there. I sought shopping refuge in Abercrombie & Fitch but was perplexed by a few things: 1. they weren't selling sweaters, it was all short shorts and singlets and 2. one of the male models had pecs larger than my breasts. I ventured into Tiffany's, but avoided the engagement ring floor this time, as the rings have mind-altering effects and I didn't think I could take the dazzling sparkles.

Ladies, I have discovered the pick up place of New York. It is .... the perfume department of Saks on 5th Avenue. Clearly a marketing ploy, but if you're up for an ego stroke, head straight there.

I spent a few hours in New York's public library, marveling at the beautiful old books and rooms full of maps and the old brass studded doors. From there, it was onto the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and was amazed by the fantastic collection they have. I was of course on the hunt for Van Gogh's gorgeous Starry Night but must confess I was unaware that one of my other all time favourite paintings is also housed there: Monet's Reflections of Clouds on the Water Lily Pond. I also had no idea how HUGE it is! I rounded a corner, still looking for Starry Night and nearly fell over when I saw that the lily pond spanned an entire wall! I sat mesmerised, taking in all the colours and shapes and observed it from afar and close up. I tore myself away and located Starry Night, which was just as magnificant as I'd imagined.

Larger than Mona Lisa (who was a little disappointing up close, all lonely and hidden behind glass and roped off), Starry Night's colours were vibrant and the trees almost seemed as though they were moving. The paint strokes are fluid and enticing - I got very close and was saddened to see that there are tiny fracture-like cracks in the paint around the moon. I heard someone talking and saying that it was because he didn't prime the canvas. Not being an art buff, I'm not sure if that's the reason, but it seemed a shame that such a gorgeous painting is showing such signs of age.

I also saw some lovely Picasso's, Warhol's, Klimt's and Matisse's. While there was no touching or flash photography of the artworks inside the museum, I got in trouble for touching an outdoor sculpture! I couldn't believe it - they were large sheets of some kind of scungy, rusty metal outside in the sculpture garden that are open to wind, rain, hail and snow, but my fingertips weren't allowed to touch the rusty looking stuff?

Finally the time came to head west toward California. At this point, I must make a plug for a little known (to me anyway) company in New York: The Super Shuttle. The shuttle will pick you up and also drop you off to any destination in New York City for the bargain price of $17. While the subway would have been cheaper, it was ideal, as I really didn't know where I was going and didn't want to run the risk of getting off the subway in the wrong area or having to tackle the steps alone like last time. The drivers are friendly, know where they're going and if you're lucky they'll put your bags in the van for you.

I navigated the massive 9 terminal JFK airport, checked in and was relieved to find that my suitcase fit within the limits and I was off. With a short transit in Salt Lake City, I marvelled at the scenery surrounding the airport. It appeared that we were in a basin surrounded by snow capped mountains which were truly beautiful. I was off again and this time landed in Sacramento Airport.

It's been what feels like the longest day in the world. Flying from Sacramento to New York, connecting within a few hours and then direct back to Dubai = something like 24 hours. Lucky for me the flight out of New York was pretty well empty and I scored 4 seats to myself and stretched out like a cat and napped for a large part of the flight.

I'll report back tomorrow with part 2 of the holiday!

1 comment:

BrilliantX said...

Wow!!! You are having a Great Time.