I’m sitting in Coaches, which is the bar/restaurant off of the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Chicago.

Since I brought my iPad with me, I’m confident that I’m sending off a creepy vibe. You know those guys who go to a Starbucks and type on their laptop? They scan the room, hoping you’ll ask them what they’re working on so they can tell you all about their superb screenplay. The real reason they’re there is that the WiFi is free and they can’t afford an internet connection at home. That’s me, other than the fact that I have the internet at home… and this isn’t a screenplay. Or is it?

Yesterday, I was supposed to work Washington D.C. – Omaha – Chicago – Hartford, but we were so delayed that they had us end our day here in Chicago. The good news is that we won’t be able to catch up with the rest of our original trip, so today’s assignment is to deadhead one leg back to Denver. This means that I’m going to get paid to do nothing. Isn’t that the American dream?

The lady just brought me biscuits and gravy. Although delicious, they don’t even stack up to what my mom could do, or my grandma Bess did when she was still on this earth. Still, these are pretty great.

Last night I ended up in Arlington, Virginia.

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I didn’t realize that the DCA hotel we stayed at was close to The National Mall in Washington D.C. If I had known, I would have left the hotel earlier and done a little tourism, maybe hit the Smithsonian or something like that. Instead, I tried to sleep in. I think I made it until a little after 07:00.

fullsizeoutput_7358I had an early lunch at an Ethiopian hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Dama, very close to the hotel. They have the best food! The first time I ate there, I went with a flight attendant who was originally from Ethiopia, and she told me that Dama is very authentic. The restaurant is buffet-style, so I don’t even know what was in the dishes that I ate. I do know that they were very different and very delicious! They brought me some flatbread which had a sour taste to it, and the best way I can describe the texture would be to take a bite out of a dryer sheet. Not my favorite surface, but still delicious!

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The rest of the morning and early afternoon, I was pretty lazy. The walk to and from the haircut was about 3 miles, round trip. I needed a nap. Regretfully, I was sucked into stupid judge shows and even The Maury Show. It never ceases to amaze- the guests on these shows are such idiots! I’ve only seen a couple episodes in my life, so don’t judge me.

One of my crashpad roommates was actually once on The Maury Show. I haven’t seen the episode, but another roommate told me that he (the roommate who was on the show) was arguing with his girlfriend and was denying that he was the father of her child. He thought this because even though the baby was healthy, the child had been born prematurely. He thought one of his babies could never be premature, and therefore concluded that she had cheated on him with another man. Anyway, the whole story was made up, and the show even gave these actors money for their appearance.

Now I am sitting in the airport in Omaha, Nebraska. When we landed here, they told us that we had an unscheduled aircraft swap. Instead, they gave us a plane that doesn’t fly. At the moment, it’s being fixed. So who knows when we’ll leave or where we’ll end up tonight. It’s anybody’s guess.

I just learned that two of my coworkers are getting ready to fly to Germany!

They are going to experience Octoberfest in the land that it was meant to be celebrated. I shouldn’t be jealous since I just returned from New York City, but I am. Even though I don’t drink, I’d still love to be there. This travel bug runs deep.

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This reminds me of going to Paris and Germany with James and Jason years ago. It was a great trip, and I had hoped we’d get to explore Austria as well. If I remember correctly, we got as close as Heidelberg. Being a massive fan of The Sound of Music (I played Kurt VonTrapp in 1993- my one and only attempt to act), I definitely wanted to add this to my bucket list! Number 6 on said list is to go to Austria. I hope they have lederhosen rentals.

Speaking of Austria, item number 103 on my bucket list is to see the Austrian Alps with my own eyes. I can’t wait to plan and execute this trip!

NYC 2017: Day 10

9.22.17 | Manhattan | 23:48

I’m extremely sad to report that this was my last full day in the city. These last ten days have been so incredibly wonderful! I’m so glad I chose to come here. This is perfect timing because now I need to go home and pay off my credit card. The bank has fixed the error that was made, so at least I have the money to pay off the card! A special thank you to Chase Bank for getting their act together!

Today was good. I probably walked somewhere around 4 or 5 miles around downtown, trying to fit as much in the day as was physically possible. I did some more shopping- don’t you know I hate shopping but managed to find some more shirts and another pair of pants to wear when I go out.

I thought the perfect end to a perfect trip would be one more musical. I highly recommend you see this one when you’re in the city. Anastasia was extremely good! It was much like the cartoon, only take out the magical Rasputin character and tell what was really going on in Russian history with the Romanov family. I don’t know how accurate the storyline was, but the woman who played the part of Anastasia was perfect! I will definitely be back to see this one again!

Tomorrow morning I will board a plane and fly back to Denver for a week of work trips and then head home to Utah for a few days. I am so blessed to get to have these experiences! I hope I never become a person who takes this life that I’ve been given for granted. I’ve met so many coworkers who often do! I hope they can find whatever it is that makes them happy.

I can’t wait to come back to New York City! Wanna come with?


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | The End

NYC 2017: Day 9

9.21.17 | Manhattan | 23:56

img_8192My downtown hotel is a sad joke. It is located right in, or maybe just outside of Chinatown. No big deal, that’s access to some great food, after all. I walk in the front door and there is a very long staircase leading up to the front desk. When I reach the top, I have to ring the buzzer to get the clerk’s attention. He buzzes me in. Makes me wonder what this neighborhood is like. Do I dare go out at night?

This definitely was NOT the picture on display when I booked the room via booking.com. Let me describe it to you- picture a twin size bed… and that is all I need to describe the size of the room. No shelves, no vanity, no desk, no window. There was, however, a fan bolted to the ceiling (who needs a/c?). Oh, let’s not forget the stains on the ceiling tiles, from a leak in the room above me.

The restrooms are shared ones down the hall. Each bathroom smelled like either urine, feces, sweat, or some combination of those smells. It’s the kind of hotel where you know beyond that shadow of a doubt that you will be wearing shower shoes, even if you decide to just stay in your own room. The only good thing about the situation is that I saved [some] money by staying here. I really don’t hang out in my room. Rooms are, for the most part, a place to sleep and a place to store my stuff. That’s it.

Tonight was more musical theatre. I can now say I have seen the live version of Sweeney Todd. The set was a carbon coby of Harringtons, a pie shop that exists today in London. It was more like a dinner theatre, the way the cast used members of the audience in their act. Very clever! For an additional fee, they offered “pie service” where you showed up to the theatre early and ate some pie. Very clever, it being Sweeney Todd and all. I didn’t want the pie service as I’m already not eating as healthy as I should. This is an excellent movie to see for Halloween, by the way- well maybe if you’re a mature adult. The whole premise makes me hungry.


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | Forward to NYC 2017: Day 10

NYC 2017: Day 8

9.20.17 | Bronx | 23:47

New York City really isn’t New York City unless you stop to buy a hotdog from a guy on the street. For me, it’s always the same: a sausage (they’re larger and spicier than a regular dog) with sour kraut and mustard. There is simply no better way to eat a dog on the street! Your argument is invalid.

Today was a day for two musicals! Months ago, I bought tickets to Waitress, but it was for a matinee’. I had the night free and decided that it was best to go see another musical. I discovered this terrible app called TodayTix. The reason it’s terrible is that it takes the unsold, or returned tickets to events and sells them to you at a fraction of the price. It’s usually a good deal, but I noticed that some of the prices weren’t really deals at all. A few clicks and swipes and I was also finally able to see Miss Saigon!

I met Evelyn and Elaine while waiting in the Waitress line. They are with a senior citizen group and are from Long Island.

Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant that was decent at best. You can always tell if the food is going to be good by how the chips and salsa taste at the beginning. My salsa was weak, probably closer to ketchup than an actual salsa. The main course was a little better, it was some kind of fish with plantains. I would order it again, but I just wouldn’t get the chips and salsa there. No, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant.


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | Forward to NYC 2017: Day 9

NYC 2017: Day 7

9.19.17 | Bronx | 22:41

I don’t have much to report on today. This was more or less a day of rest. It took about 4 hours to get from Staten Island to my next stop, which is the Bronx (Walk to the train, train to the ferry, wait for the ferry, ferry arrives and then breaks down for about 45 minutes, ferry ride takes about 30 minutes to Manhattan, then finding the right train that would let me transfer to another train that would take me all the way up above the Bronx zoo- it was exhausting!).

This is the first time I have stayed in a hotel on this trip. When I was booking, this seemed like the best option. After my long commute, I thought the best thing to do when I arrived was to try to take a nap. That didn’t happen, as they’re pounding away next door, building or renovating something. I was so tired, I didn’t even think about putting in earplugs.

img_8174I gave up and hopped back on the train, went down to Chelsea and walked around until I found some Mediterranean food for dinner. It was ok- some kind of lamb shoulder, I believe. Nothing worth blogging about, but here I am blogging about it.

Later on, I was looking for the right train to get back up to the Bronx but finally gave up. Come to find out, the train I needed wasn’t in service because they were doing some construction on the line. Instead, I got a Lyft ride back to my hotel. My driver took me via the upper east side, which reminded me that I really need to explore that part of the city as well. So much to see, so little time! That will happen on another trip.


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | Forward to NYC 2017: Day 8

NYC 2017: Day 6

9.18.17 | Staten Island | 09:27

I just finished breakfast at Mike’s Place, a restaurant that has been here for at least 20 years. The food is diner food, but it’s really good! Sort of like Denny’s but better. My Airbnb host, Ritaanne suggested that I try it since it’s only a few blocks from the house (and her son works there). One thing I didn’t realize last night is that the house here is about half a block from the shoreline! It’s so great! She told me that there once was a nice walkway and wall, but it all got wiped out by Hurricane Sandy, a few years back.

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Words of Wisdom

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I decided to take the train and ferry back over to Manhattan and explore a little before having dinner at Mirandi. This is the first this year that has felt like autumn is coming because of the overcast weather. I came to the ground zero, the 9/11 memorial site, and I was very pleased to discover that they’ve removed the wall, so you can now walk up all the way to the fountains without having to wait in line or pay any fees. I noticed that you only have to pay to get into the museum. I’ll have to check that out another day. Also, nearby there is a new mall. The area has changed so much!

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A New Mall

I love coming to Mirandi! I try to get here every time I’m in the city if I have the time.

This is what I’ve been waiting for! The ferry ride back to Staten Island was perfect with the night view of the city! What a wonderful view! I have to give myself kudos, these pictures turned out rather nice, even though they were just taken with my iPhone 7.


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | Forward to NYC 2017: Day 7

NYC 2017: Day 5

09.17.17 | New York, New York | 08:48

Brooklyn: My major complaint against this Airbnb is that the hosts didn’t provide me with any bath towels. This means that yesterday I had to dry off with my clothes (this was annoying because all I had were dirty, stinky clothes), and this morning I had to dry off with paper towels. Hopefully, after I check out and they come down to clean the apartment, they’ll see all the paper towels in the bathroom trash and take the hint.

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Manhattan: My lunch was terrific! I have always been a fan of ramen noodles, even the cheap kind you buy when you are a poor college student! They’re delicious and comforting. A dear friend told me to try out a restaurant called Ippudo. This was the ultimate ramen! I will be coming back for future visits!

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Staten Island: I have arrived at my next stop- I had no idea what Staten Island would be like. It seems so much more relaxed than the fast pace of the other boroughs. The ferry to cross over from Manhattan is entirely free, and I look forward to crossing tomorrow night again to see all the lights on the shore!

My Staten Island Airbnb is probably the nicest one I’ve ever stayed in. So many of these places are created as an afterthought. People want the income from renting out their business, but they all don’t seem to want to put in the time or effort to make it feel like home. I really can’t complain about my Brooklyn stay, but this new place is so much more comfortable! It has that feeling of home.

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My host even put towels in toiletries in a basket on the bed! A great touch!
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The kindest note to welcome me!

NYC 2017: Day 4

9.16.17 | Brooklyn Waterfront | 12:42

It is 100% necessary that I have pizza while I’m here. This is not negotiable. I’m not a huge fan of pizza, but since I’m in New York I must do as the New Yorker’s do. I just tried to grab a piece from the restaurant nearby, until I found out that they don’t sell it by the slice. As glutinous as I am, I dare not eat a whole pie. So I’ll get pizza another time.

This afternoon I’m sitting near the waterfront, right next to the Brooklyn Bridge. My western skyline is the giant buildings of Manhattan. I love this city. I would hate to live here. I love this city. I just finished lunch. I settled for a burger and fries at Shake Shack. It wasn’t the pizza experience I was craving, but an experience still. Very overpriced, but this is a tourist area and this is New York City, after all.

Fulton Market, Manhattan, New York | 14:35

I just crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge- this is something I’ve always wanted to do! Not really bucket list worthy, in my opinion, but this is probably one of the most (if not THE MOST) famous bridges in the world. Seriously- every natural disaster movie has a scene where the Brooklyn Bridge falls into the water and thousands of people die. Lucky for me, there were no natural disasters (or Godzillas) while I was crossing.

After crossing the bridge, I turned left. I decided to walk around the lower east side, one of the parts of the city that I’d never explored. I stumbled upon the Fulton Market. This is a great area to explore! Now I’m sitting in probably the nicest, swankiest cinema I’ve ever been in. Waiting for American Assassin to start. Ticket cost me $20… and that was for the cheaper seat! The expensive seats are $32 and they come with a personal concierge/ server. I opted to carry my own beverage, rather than having it delivered to me by a servant.

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For dinner, I found a Pret A Manger. This is a restaurant that started in France (I do believe) and has spread to many countries. I first discovered it in Scotland and am happy to learn that there are 92 of them in New York City, so far. You can go there to get fresh made sandwiches, soups, snacks and sweets. They believe in sustainable farming, getting produce locally, and all kinds of hippy crap. Their food is so good! Even though the sandwiches are premade, they have no expiration date so everything is removed and donated at the end of the day.

Tonight’s broadway was The Play That Goes Wrong. It was really funny! It’s basically a play that is supposed to be serious, but the actors keep screwing everything up. One has stage fright, another is an over-actor, etc. Also the set is very cheaply made, and so it keeps falling apart. It’s like a grand comedy of errors. Tickets were only $35! It was a great deal, even though my seat was way up in the nose-bleeds!


Back to NYC 2017: Day 1 | Forward to NYC 2017: Day 5