NYC 2017: Day 2

09.14.17 | New York, New York | 09:06

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The Neighborhood in Jamaica, Queens, New York

Jamaica: The bed here is so comfortable! I was mentally checked out last night by about 20:00. I slept all through the night until about 06:00 and then got up, showered, and ventured out to find something for breakfast. I met Roseann, my host, on my way out the door and asked if she could point me in the right direction for breakfast. Something local that isn’t part of a chain.

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Authentic Jamaican Breakfast

The restaurant she suggested wasn’t open yet, so I walked down the street until I came to one called Tru Jerk & Soul. I asked the lady behind the counter if they had anything for breakfast. She turned around and started lifting the lids on a bunch of pans. This was not a traditional breakfast food in the western sense- no eggs, bacon, pancakes, or anything like that. She told me that the food was authentic Jamaican. She gave me a plate with white fish, potatoes, some greens, and okra. It would call it southern style, but nothing was fried. It was very delicious! She made me a to-go plate, but I ate it all there.

After breakfast, I walked around for a while, wondering what there was to see and do. I consulted the internet, and it didn’t offer much help. I saw a park, a few churches, some more restaurants, but that’s all there was. I did come across a grade school, just as all the kids were making their way inside. The students wore uniforms, and as much as I wanted to take some pictures, I didn’t want to be the creepy guy who is by himself, taking pictures of the little kids. They were cute as hell, though. Instead, I headed back to the house to prepare for whatever was next.

The house was shaking because they’re doing construction nearby. I noticed on the map that it’s about a 3-mile trek to the nearest train station. I plan on walking there, to avoid having to stand around waiting for any busses. I need to get an early start toward Manhattan. Wicked tonight!

23:04

My walk to the rail station was just over 3 miles! I could have called for a Lyft, but the more I walk, the more money I can save since this entire trip will be on a credit card (thanks to a $1400 mistake by my bank)- the less I swipe my card, the better.

When I stepped off of the subway in Manhattan, it was only a few blocks walk before I came upon a street that had been blocked off by the police. This was the yearly San Gerrano Festival. I had no idea that I would find this, but there was every kind of street vendor imaginable. All the fried food a guy could ask for in life, games with prizes, and all the restaurants had set up select dining areas out on the street itself. It was awesome!

From Wikipedia: 

The Feast of San Gennaro (Festa di San Gennaro) is an Italian-American festival. Originally a one-day religious commemoration, the festival was first celebrated in the United States in September 1926, when immigrants from Naples congregated along Mulberry Street in the Little Italy section of Manhattan in New York City to continue the tradition they had followed in Italy to celebrate Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples. His feast day is September 19 in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

I grabbed lunch at a restaurant called Paesano. I wasn’t craving Italian food, but I had to pee like a racehorse, and I saw a sign that read: RESTROOM IS FOR CUSTOMER USE ONLY. At that point, it didn’t matter what kind of food they were serving. I was going to eat something so that I could use the facilities. The food was good!

I made my way to the SoHo Apple Store for a few minutes. I was hoping they’d have the iPhone X on display, but the guy in front told me that they wouldn’t get any until we can preorder them. I’m going to have to wait, in other words. I’m not sure if I’m going to order one or not. Yes, I’d love one, but there’s nothing wrong with my iPhone 7. If I do get one, I’ll pay for it by working extra trips, so I don’t have to spend any of my savings or go into any debt for it. I’m a responsible adult, after all (yeah, right).

I walked further south and then ended up coming north to Washington Square Park. That was a great place to sit and rest for a while. There were thousands of people in the square. It was mad! Many people love to be in the city, but I think they need these parks to keep their sanity.

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It is amazing the number of looks a person gets when strolling around New York City wearing a Reba McEntire shirt.

I walked north until I got to Time’s Square. This is the place to go if you ever want to people-watch. Every kind of person is here, including this man whose name is Jason Hunter. This is his song/art piece called Ignore. It’s was catchy, albeit annoying. You can Google the words ‘Jason Hunter Ignore,’ and this same song comes up on YouTube. It seems as if he’s been pushing this same art piece for a while now.

Finally, it was time to make my way to The Gershwin Theatre and see Wicked. My seat was next to a girl who was visiting from Pahrump, Nevada. She told me she is in town for a continuing education seminar, something to do with nursing. She’s traveling by herself and says this is her first time in New York City.

This cast of Wicked is probably the best cast I’ve ever seen! The girl playing Elphaba had an incredible range, and she did some things with the high notes that I’d never heard before. This is my fourth time seeing this musical, and every time it just gets better! The first time was with Colee when she came to visit, the second time with LaDawn, the third time was when the traveling company came to Louisville, and I went with friends Ashly and Tammy.

Every time I see this play, it just gets better! There were even moments when I got goosebumps or a little bit teary-eyed. I know the storyline, and I know what’s coming, but this cast did so well, I was in constant chills!

I grabbed a Lyft outside when the play was over and rode back to Jamaica. This was a long ride and one that cost me about $60! So much for saving money- I only did this because I wanted to get back faster. I’m not sure how late the subway runs, but I knew that even if I rode back that way to Jamaica Station, I’d still be getting a ride for that last 3 miles.

I love the fact that I am sitting in my own home. I do love all of my travels, and it’s nice to stay in hotels (not having to make a bed), but I will never underestimate the comfort of my own bed! IMG_7318And just between you and I, I rarely make my bed at home. I don’t understand the point… I’m just going to mess it up anyway. Sadly I’m only in my own bed for two nights. On Friday morning I’ll wake up extremely early to head into Salt Lake City and join my work trip that will already be in progress. That’s the plan.

Usually, when I get home from working a bunch of trips in a row, I like to take most of the first day off and get some relaxation. You’d be surprised how your body just needs to shut down for awhile. I rarely feel what I would consider jet lag because of my work, but it still sometimes runs me into the ground. Normally, I’ll keep my phone off, at least for the first half of the day and just do light chores around the house- maybe even pop in a movie or something. Since I only have one full day off, however, this may be an interesting combination of trying my best to be lazy whilst simultaneously getting a whole lot done. We’ll see which part prevails in the end. I think I already know the answer.

Before I fall asleep, I want to discuss two more things on my bucket list. Number 22 is to attend 50 different state fairs. This is awesome. I remember growing up in southern Arizona- I would so look forward to attending the Graham County fair each year. This was even before my dear friend LaDawn introduced me to guinea pig night. Let me tell you- this changes everything! This is the first night of the fair, which was always a Thursday. You’d get to pay one fee and ride as many rides as you wanted. The other nights, however, you were required to buy tickets. The rider operators would take anywhere from one to four tickets, depending on how cool the ride was. But not tonight- tonight we are guinea pigs- but back to what I was talking about: this summer, I hope I’m able to attend a bunch of county fairs. I started to do the research a couple years ago, and most of the counties in Utah are involved in this.

Coming in at number 93 is to attend 10 different state fairs. Picture county fairs, but add way more rides and way more people. The entertainment is much, much better too. I remember once when I was in high school, a bunch of friends and myself road tripped three hours to Phoenix to attend that Arizona State Fair. This was so that we could go to a Vince Gill concert (Vince just so happens to be one of my mom’s country music singer crushes). There is just something wonderful about large gatherings of trashy people- I live for it.

I’m a little bit country. So is she.

At a very young age, my friend LaDawn and I would stand in front of the fireplace gripping a curling iron or a hairbrush, and we would pretend to sing A Little Bit Country – A Little Bit Rock ‘n Roll by Donny and Marie Osmond. The plan was to learn it well enough to perform it in the lip sync competition at the Graham County Fair. For whatever reason, we never made it to the fair, nor were they ever discovered that we were the next great duet. Go figure.

Marie Osmond came through my tiny, insignificant town on one of her concert tours when I was still in high school. I remember attending the concert with my buddy Josh Jones. I thought Josh and I were the coolest people in the audience because we both wore our boots, wranglers, button-up shirts, and our 50-gallon cowboy hats. I was right- we were cool!

After Marie sang a few songs, she asked the audience, “Anybody want to hear some country music?” We all threw our hands together and shouted- what can I say, Thatcher, Arizona has many country music lovers! Then she turned toward Josh and me and winked. Be still, my heart! I knew she was winking at us because we were the only two guys in that section of the Eastern Arizona College Fine Arts Center who happened to be wearing cowboy hats.

Jump forward to 2010 when I was in the process of coming up with my very cool bucket list. I knew what I needed to do: Number 63 on that list is to meet Marie Osmond. Jump forward again to today when she happened to board the flight I was working from Philadelphia to Denver. I didn’t recognize her during boarding but did once we were in the air. I needed to say hello and actually meet her, but she went right to sleep! For most of the flight, and hoped that she was awake, but nope. I wanted to “accidentally” bump into her, apologize, and then casually explain that I’ve needed to meet her for years and years. This stalker wasn’t getting his break.

FINALLY-at the end of the flight, when she was about to grab her bags and leave, I approached her, smiled, and told her I needed to tell her a quick story. She smiled and said sure. I basically told her everything that you just read above- I even pulled up this very blog to show her that meeting her was literally one of the items on my bucket list. I asked her for a picture, and she was so sweet and polite and posed with the crew. Then… I kid you not… she said, “If I’m on your bucket list, then we need to make this worth it!” She grabbed my left hand and pulled it around her waist. She threw her own right hand up to my shoulder and gave me a hug. We took another picture.

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