>Hello and welcome to the fifth and final edition of this on going series. This narration is about my trip to New York City, with my friends during the Thanksgiving weekend of 2008. It began with the long travel by flight followed by our Thanks Giving Day experiences and then a tantalizing tour of Washington D.C which lead to our field day of main attractions in NYC on the penultimate day. This is our last day at NYC and, along with my friends –Nat, Sen and Muan- I race against time to explore some dramatic historical artifacts about earthly beings, living and extinct and get my hands on some souvenirs.
Disclaimer: All names, places, accounts and events mentioned in the narration can be partially or entirely false. Reading this narrative may lead to high aspirations, even higer confidence and much much lower results. Possible other side effects include loss of time, increased knowledge, read rage and erectile dysfunction.
November 30, 2008: Revenge of The Sith
The last day is always a sad day. Not completely sad, but kind of gloomy. I am still excited about some last minute sight seeing but the fact that the trip will be coming to close in matter of hours is always there constantly ticking closer and I try to keep it off my mind since it will ruin the fun I could be having now, but that only increases the anxiety making me look at the watch every passing minute to make sure I extract as much satisfaction out of whatever time is left. Today was no different. Yesterday having been an absolutely wonderful and tiresome experience, I was tired and much content as I woke up relatively early. But the emotions mentioned earlier crept up to me and I realized we had only a few hours left before we boarded our plane home bound and there are still places we havn’t seen, including New York’s iconic Central Park. Getting a Lady Liberty statue that also doubles as a lighter with the flame at the lantern has been my dream since the movie ‘Jungle 2 Jungle’ and I wasn’t going home without getting one. During my visit to Ellis Island where the real Statue of Liberty stands, I asked the attendant for that specific kind of lighter at the gift shop and, believe it or not, she said that they get a lot of people asking for it but the shop doesn’t have them. I am not a business person, but if my shop is at the base of Statue of Liberty and a lot of tourists ask for a Statue of Liberty lighter, I will have the State Of Liberty lighter. A lot of them. Anyway, the lady told me that it must be available in the gift shops within the city and I wasn’t going to miss it at any cost as long its cost was less than 10 dollars. After considering all the factors and time constraints we realized central park would take a whole day and decided to hit the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and take it from there.
We set AMNH for the earlier part of the trip, but nonsensically they closed it down for Thanks Giving Day. This time they were wide open and as soon as we entered it we realized this is going to take more than a couple of hours to finish. The AMNH had astonishing collection of artifacts, specimens, models and photographs of what seemed like everything that has ever existed on earth. It was a huge structure of innumerable hallways leading to one section to another, each section containing swaths of articles pertaining to a specific field of scientific and cultural world. There were seemingly countless habitat dioramas of animals from north and south pole and then everything in between both land and aquatic and, did I mention, life size. There were halls dedicated to oceanography, with life size model of a blue whale, and massive 31 ton meteorite as an exhibit in the salt and mineral hall. They had separate section detailing natural evolution with scientific facts and specimens strewn end to end and then an entire section for all things extinct. And of course, last but no least, a huge prominent planetarium dedicated to everything outside our atmosphere. If you have even the slightest of interest in science, nature, earth or even just simple curiosity this place is a treasure trove. I figured it would take about two to three days to fully visit all the exhibits and savor them, but unfortunately for us we only had a few hours – a couple to be exact. We were only able to do a quick cursory tour of the museum and all of the above mentioned exclamation came to me within those couple of hours. As we started to leave I made a mental note of coming back and spending more time at the next chance I get.
By the time we got out, a prickly rain had started and threatened to become a full blown shower. We had grabbed a lunch at museum cafeteria, and since we had little time left to get back home, finish up packing and head up to Newark Intl airport. The cold was terrible and as we speed walked among moderately packed Sunday crowd, I remembered her. The Statue Of Liberty, more precisely a lighter of Statue of Liberty – I was not going to leave without her. Now we were really running under serious time crunch and we had to act quickly. After looking around for a gift shop without success, one of my friends and local resident Nat used his knowledge of the city to find us a gift shop after a short walk. The store had a grouchy looking Indian (Bollywood) guy and a pretty looking white, probably Caucasian, girl who helped me find the lighter. She was as beautiful as I always knew she would be and I do mean the lighter, but the girl was nice too. Contended I was ready to wrap up the tour.
My friend Muan got himself the inimitable New York Yankees cap and we bolted out the shop and down the street. Our departure time was getting dangerously close as we rushed to Nats home, packed our stuff and Nat stepped on the accelerator (if you can call 50 mph as really stepping on it). He had some Donuts in the car and we all had one as waded through traffic, and I had one more, barely finishing it, before stepping out at the airport curb. We ran down the airport hall to check if our flight was still on the ground, while Nat waited outside just in case. All this excitement came to a sobering halt as we found out that the plane was delayed, by more than an hour, due to weather. NewYork winter had thrown us a curve ball once again, but his time it turned out to be blessing in disguise since we would have surely missed the flight if it wasn’t delayed. After bidding our good byes to Nat, we cleared the security check point and settled into the seats at the departure gate, with so much time left before boarding began.
Usually about this time I gather my thoughts and relive all the special moments we had during the trip. But today, I was tired and exhausted and my heart beat was returning to normal levels. Only a few minutes back I was mentally rehearsing the email I was going to send my manager explaining why I would miss work on the following Monday due to missed flight and now everything seemed to be right back into schedule and a nice calmness was settled in. I didnt think about the Macy’s day Parade, or the ferry to Statue of Liberty, Wall street, Time Square not even the special Thanks Giving Dinner. The intriguing tour of Washington DC did not cross my mind and neither did Empire State building nor NBC Studios. Even the memorable experience at Colt Theater in Broadway street failed to register at that time. May be since this was the first time I saw all of them and they happened in less than four days was too incredible than I realized. I just drifted away to sleep.
And thus my most awaited trip to NYC which started exactly One Year ago on Nov 26 of 2008 became my most exciting and memorable one ever.
PS: After all this, I DID manage to miss my connecting flight at Las Vegas so had to miss work that day, so I got to send that rehearsed email to my manager after all. Also, to this day, I cannot believe that I did all those things in less than four days nor that it took me one year to write up my experience that happened in less than four days.