Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Years Eve

December 31 2012. New York City. Roughly 9:30am. Was totally outside the window of the Today Show for a few seconds. I’ve now been on American telly. Who wants to touch me?

The reason I was hanging around the NBC building was because I was on my way to a 10am tour of their studios, mainly just to see if 30 Rock looks like how it does on 30 Rock. And yes, yes it does.

Two NBC Pages take you on the tour. One was José, a cute nerdy guy with dark hair and glasses and who I instantly decided I wanted to run away with, and in a demonstration of just how shallow I am, I honest to god don’t have the slightest idea what the other guy’s name was. He had curly hair. We shall call him Curly.

José and Curly took us through a few different studios, talking about the glory days and what filth they’re used for now (I’m paraphrasing. No offence, Dr Oz). It was interesting, but I didn’t get excited until we got to the studio they’ve used for the last 38 years to film Saturday Night Live. José pointed out the stage they use for the ‘more intricate’ sets, for example, ‘that’s where they filmed the Wayne’s World sketches.’ Good thing the seats in that studio are yellow, because a little bit of wee came out. Then he told us that there’s a lottery to get tickets to a SNL recording, and that for a CHANCE at getting standby tickets you have to sleep on the street for two nights prior, ‘so next time you’re in New York we can all do that together.’ So… I went to New York and an attractive man who works in television invited me to sleep with him. That’s how I’m telling it from now on.

After the tour my plan was to get back on the sightseeing bus and head to the American Museum of Natural History (I only wanted to go because it’s the one in the first Night at the Museum and I really like movies with monkeys in them. Also considered going to the Guggenheim just so I had an excuse to say Guggenheim. Goo-gen-highmmm). But, alas, it was New Years Eve in New York and all the roads were about to be closed off. There were only going to be two more buses and that’s not enough time to do some museum laps. It was my last chance to use the bus, so I decided to freeze my ass off one last time and do the entire two hour tour. And I’m glad I did, because for the second time that day, I fell in love.

Her name was Denise. She was an enthusiastic tour guide from Harlem with dreadlocks down to her hiney and a passion for starting open-top bus sing-a-longs. Even when you’ve lost all feeling in your face, you can still muster the energy to belt out New York, New York.

Anyway, when I got off the bus you couldn’t get anywhere near Times Square, so I went to a park and bought some donuts. They were amazing. One was coffee flavoured, and I couldn’t get over how weird it was that the Americans can make a donut taste like coffee, but can’t make a cup of coffee taste like coffee.

Then I went back to my hotel, put my pjs on, turned the heat waaaay up and watched the ball drop on TV.

Happy New Year.

Friday, February 8, 2013

New York, New York – The first few days

It wouldn’t be my life if a few little things didn’t go horribly, horribly wrong in ways that seem to amuse people who aren’t me. So welcome back to my travel diary, and the days leading up to New Years Eve.

The Statue of Liberty cruise
I wasn’t about to waste my first day in New York, so I started the day off by heading to Battery Park where you catch the Staue of Liberty river cruise. Couldn’t go to the Statue though, they were still having some minor issues with the pier in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
It started snowing while I was on the boat. To a girl from Melbourne who has only ever seen snow once before in her whole life and couldn’t get over the fact that ICE WAS FALLING FROM THE SKYYYY, this was a magical and beautiful thing. Until I got off the boat. Then it was just balls. See, snow hits you in its pretty little icy pieces, then slowly melts to saturate you. It’s like delayed rain. And speaking of delayed rain, it then started to rain.

The open top bus tour
When booking one of those open top bus sightseeing tours, I recommend looking into the following area before you book your tickets: that the bus isn’t open top ONLY. Because mine bloody well was. It was 31 degrees Fahrenheit that first day. That’s just below zero in Celsius.
0 degrees + open top bus + wind-chill factor + the glorious combination of snow and rain falling from the sky at the same effing time = THIS WAS NOT FUN FOR ME.

Hailing a cab
I’m invisible, apparently. And I was wearing too many layers to flash some boob.

The reason for my suffering
So people think the reason I wanted to go to New York in winter was New Years. I let them think that because I didn’t want to admit that the real reason was a big ass Christmas tree. Yes. A Christmas tree. I genuinely enjoy sparkly lights and pine trees that much.
Standing in Rockefeller Centre watching people ice skate under that tree while snow falls and Christmas music plays is enough to warm your heart. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to warm anything else. If I had any feeling left in my face, I would’ve smiled. And if I had any feeling left in my hands, my photos would’ve been better.

Class and culture and all that
One of the stops on the bus tour is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It’s a huge European style gothic looking church. As much as I can appreciate architecture and history and fancy things, I didn’t get off the tour bus for the cathedral. I got off the tour bus because the cathedral is one block over from the diner they used on Seinfeld. No one was around at the time, so it only took about two minutes to get a few decent photos, followed by another two minutes or so to walk back to the bus stop. Then came the waiting. The cold, the wind, the suspected onset of frostbite, and the waiting. Turns out the bus schedule ain’t so friendly. My suffering was short-lived however, when a knight rode in on a white horse and saved me (by ‘knight’ I mean bus driver, by ‘white horse’ I mean bus and by ‘on’ I mean in). He was from a rival tour bus company, but told me he couldn’t leave me standing out in the cold and to get on anyway, and ‘just don’t say nothin.’ So I didn’t say nothin. His bus had a bottom level. With walls. And windows. And heating. And he was the first New Yorker I fell in love with.

Next blog: New Years Eve, New Years day, and more New Yorkers I fell in love with (the men are very friendly…).