WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
this is the last little blog post. I’m in santa monica on my own with all sorts of hostel creepos always ready for a chat. the biggest thing in my life is that I have become a bit locked on to selling our gps. when we bought it at walmart the sales assistant told us that they had a 30 day return policy so laura and thought we were bonnie and clyde planning on returning the gps after almost 4 weeks and getting our $$. but now i’m in santa monica which is an hour away on a bus from the nearest walmart and frazzled at the thought of giving up on the criminal scheme. i think i’m going to have to give it away to a stranger so it doesn’t get thrown out. aside from the gps obsession being alone is pretty uneventful. i’m alone because laura has left. her flight was two nights ago, so now she’s home in melbourne and sending me photos of her and princey all stoked on each other.
anyway, laura’s guest blog left off in arizona. after arizona we had a big fight and broke up for a few hours. then we forgot about that and drove to yosemite. all the books and all the internet advice says you can’t enter yosemite national park without tyre chains in winter but lucky for us it has been a very mild winter on the west coast and there was no need. yosemite was majestic, those enormous sequoias were mesmarising (all the m words). we almost made it a mile up hill to the lookout point but gave up and found our own, probably much less impressive, spot to stop. turns out laura and i are very different people. she is slow like a donkey going up hill but runs like a maniac on the downhill. i am a fierce samurai striding up but particularly awkward and cautious coming down. we had really good lunch in yosemite at the deli, i was still hungry and ordered second lunch then laura ate some and got too full and became very strict about our spending. we were just realising we had no money left.
we drove to san fran after yosemite. laura had being saying that it was overrated and that she didn’t really want to go back but i insisted so we went. when we arrived we found out parking cost 35-50 dollars a day. at this point we decided it was probably time to ditch the car. by getting rid of it almost a week early would save just under $400. we dropped all our stuff at the hostel and took the car to enterprise.
in memphis lovely helpful morgan had told us that we needed to give them a credit card to have on file but that when we paid we could pay however we wanted. enterprise in san fran told us they would not accept our travel money cards because they don’t accept debit, only credit. we explained that they function the same way and then we were told this long elaborate story about how they have machines from the 70s that can’t take money from debit cards… we said just try it has worked in the middle of nowhere, surely it will work here. apparently they had already tried and it didn’t work. we had already moved all our money onto the travel money card to pay the 2300 dollar bill so we said that they’d have to find a way to get the money off that card. thus began a feud that will never die.
they said they were going to use the credit card they had on file. i told them that that card had a limit of 500 (all lies but we didn’t want to end up with 2300 extra in american dollars that we would have to change back plus all the credit card fees for currency changing and international transaction fee). they kept us for the next 3 hours. turns out the manager wasn’t there and they were all totally incompetent/terrified of her. they drove us to banks so we could withdraw and pay cash. our cards had a 800 withdrawal limit per day so then we had 800 in cash in our bag and still couldn’t leave. we tried money orders. at safeway they only took money orders from cash. at the post office they only took money orders from debit cards and ours was apparently a credit card. we asked about other enterprise offices, if they had computers made more recently than the 70s (did anyone have computers in the 70s?) we were told all of the enterprise offices around the country used the same technology.
after like 2 and a half hours of elaborate plans to get at our money by any means other than using an eftpos machine, the guy who had been driving us around everywhere said we’ll go to a few more banks then as a last resort try your travel card. laura and i did some frowny-faced communication and asked the man why they would be trying the card as a last resort if they had already tried it and it wouldn’t work. he was panic face. another story about how when they do it sometimes it does weird stuff. we were all please elaborate, what sort of weird stuff. deer in headlights. laura had said a while back that they were worried about fraud with the pre-paid card but i had thought surely not. even if it wasn’t our card and we stole it it’s the bank who takes the loss, not them. anyway, we realised she was right. told him to take us back to the office, we were going to keep the car and get rid of it in LA. when we got back the girl who was meant to be in charge while the manager was out told us she couldn’t release the car back to us. but then said she would try the travel money card again. obviously it worked straight away so finally we could leave. THE MOST FRUSTRATION.
the guy said something about being glad it was all sorted and then LT went off. told him he would never have our business again, that they were useless incompetent, had wasted our day, then started with rude hand gesture after rude hand gesture as we walked away. when we rounded the corner she looked at me like she was going to be in trouble for being so rude but i was laughing/hugely relieved she hadn’t picked up a rock and thrown it through their window. if anyone made it to the end of the rant please rest assured that we are masterminding a letter of complaint of epic proportions.
the next day we had the first and only morning apart for the whole trip (in retrospect it would have done us some good to have had more of these). we did this because i wanted to go to alcatraz and laura had already been. it was good timing because her birthday was coming up and she kept ruining all my brilliant plans for birthday presents. the whole trip she had been looking for a wallet to replace her one that was falling apart but they were all too big or too shiny or any number of other issues. so after alcatraz i went on a mission to find the perfect replacement wallet. it took me to lots of strange old men’s shops where i was quite out of place. after looking at lots of wrong wrong wrong ones my brain was jelly and i couldn’t remember what brown looked like. i was meant to be meeting laura at 3 and it was almost time. i walked into one last place. there were very eccentric italian men who were very helpful. the wallet they showed me looked right but all of a sudden i thought it might be a better present to get her a wallet that was totally different to the one she had already. you know, big and bright coloured. she’d love that. luckily the man behind the counter wooed me with a lovely gold box to put the small brown wallet he had shown me in. it won me over.
when i got back to the hostel laura wasn’t there. she had left clues as to where i had to find her. it was mission after mission in san fran. i found her an hour later at dolores park which had the most beautiful views of the city. then we went to the GLBT museum near the castro and fell in love with the transwoman in the documentary that was playing about her life. the area was very hipster/middle aged gay male. flags everywhere. laura was loudly complaining about pride and being a general menace. so we bought groceries and got out of there.
the next day we got on a bus to LA and stayed in chinatown and had delicious chinese for dinner. LT has taken to being a rude lady calling me a rice chaser. then it was laura’s birthday. she got a birthday tattoo in the morning. we had delicious sandwiches and fresh juices (thank you LA for the fresh foods) and then moved from chinatown to hollywood. we had a great tapasy dinner feast with yum cocktails and then watched forest gump because laura had recently discovered that i had never seen it. we’re all about the party, obviously.
for the last few days we moved to santa monica to be by the beach and to be slack. before Laura left we went on a massive ferris wheel on the beach and then went out for a lobster dinner that was more decadent than we could afford. so now i am abandoned and surviving off beans, or something a bit less drastic. and that is the end. see you all soon! peace out homeboys.
WE STILL KENNY FROM THE BLOCK (Guest blogger Laura Tan)
The Grand Canyon is so vast you have to look away because your brain is telling your eyes turn it off I can’t comprehend. We had a scary walk on some slippery ice on a trail through the canyon. Then Romy asked me if a deer was a mule.
After the grand canyon we had a night in vegas, we weren’t going to go because lame gambling etc but decided to go get a fancy hotel suite and hang out there for a night. There was a bath in the livingroom and balconys looking at the strip which was tacky-amaze, we got what is apparently the best thai in the usa for dinner (our score: 7/10) and watched bad tv from the bath. Since vegas Romy has been reeling from being thought to have been a 33 year old woman when trying to buy beers at wallmart after the shop assistant entered her birth date into the computer as 1979. She has since been threatening to ‘get fit’ and cut her hair even shorter.
we drove to Tempe, AZ and met up with ASU pals Courtney and Laura2 to watch their softball game, they were all blind drunk and the whole thing seemed dangerous as to me. They lost. Afterwards we went to the vine and shitLaura beat me at an arm wrestle.
In the morning, I got lost trying to show Romy around what was once my hood. My memory was however tainted by some very confusing and inaccurate north/south directions from Courtney, and I hadn’t brought my trusty compass. Romy made out like I was leading her blindly into the Arizonian desert with no water despite being on Tempe’s main shopping strip for restaurant and bars. We finally found the café I had been looking for and spent a great deal of time catching up on necessary internet chores such as banking and facebook.
That night, we went and saw Volcano Choir with the girls. We had delicious $5 bean and cheese burritos and even cheaper PBR tallboys. Justin Vernon was all hand gestures and swoon central. This was where Laura2 began her incessant mocking of our accent…. basically, the band were UNBALEEVABULL. alhough Romy was stuck between a rock (weird girl with space issues) and a hard place (annoying fratboy with huge inappropriate moshing arms).
We spent the next day in Jerome, an old mining town turned hippy-artistry. Laura2 put her floppy hat on and fit right in, those of us with accents did not. Laura2 and Courtney had bought a dozen doughnuts of varying flavours for the car trip so then we had cocktails and pulled pork in the sun at this place for lunch then went to another place for beers and dancing to some blues with a bunch of old people then we went to another place with millions of kaleidoscopes and then found a van to jump in front of then got back in the car and ate more doughnuts.
Courtney and Laura2 took us to the gaybourhood for a boogie followed by a famously scrumbumtious quesadilla at Charlys- the local cowboy pickup joint. I must point out that Romy has taken to American dancing like a pig to mud- engaging wholeheartedly with college culture which includes getting down and dirty, fully-fledged booty to booty shaking and hair flip-whipping. mY experience was less successful and I got propositioned by an old dude.
On that note, time to pass the baton.
WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
After saying goodbye to our kitchy airstream and the backyard farm we drove to dallas to scope out some big blonde hair and cowboy hats. dallas wasn’t all we dreamt it would be, way more city, way less boot scootin’. after getting lost and ending up on highways going in the wrong direction a couple of times and lots of fighting we made it to our crappy motel straight out of crossroads (starring britney spears). we had to do some scary driving late that night, looking for a late-night burger. it was so foggy, we couldn’t see more than a meter or two ahead of us. we were eating late because laura had claimed not to be hungry and because i was working like a maniac last minute trying to finish a job application.
american roads are great but they are covered in rubbish. things come off the back of cars all the time and there are big hunks of tire all over the road. pretty much everyone in texas drives a super sized ute. anyway, in dallas we went to the jfk museum and saw the spot marked on the road where he was shot. laura got very grumpy because i was so slow at reading. after dallas we drove to fort worth which is apparently dallas’ country bumpkin cousin just 30 minutes away. because i was slow at jfk we were too late to make it to the cowgirl museum which was disappointing. in fort worth we saw the old stockyards which are now touristy and saloony, mostly shops and restaurants. we went to this bar called love shack and had the best burger/shake so far this trip. then we chatted to a crazy cowboy pirate who wanted us to give him money to let us have a photo with his guns. we didn’t take him up on his offer but laura got locked on to the gun idea so we found some wooden rubber band guns and found a rodeo park to shoot each other in.
later that afternoon we drove a couple of hours north west to a smaller town called denton. we decided to stop there because we wanted to go to the local gay bar called ‘Mabel peabody’s beauty salon and chainsaw repairs’ but it ended up being a really lovely town, especially around the town square it was really lively and friendly. buuuut the bar was great. it was karaoke night and the crowd was the ultimate mixed bag. there were so many great characters, some overwhelming dancing, a girl next door that sang come together better than the Beatles and a gang of mates straight out of grease. that was a late night, well.. later than we were used to anyway.
the two days were big big driving days as we made our way west. after lots of driving and more burgers and motel after motel we arrived in Page, Arizona. we arrived late at night and ate some weird diner food before passing out. the next morning we grumbled as we left our motel, probably bickering about where to eat breakfast, we walked outside into a canyon. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL IN PAGE. we went into antelope canyon where the light comes through in all these places and makes crazy patterns on the walls. then we drove to horseshoe bend and lake powel look out points and took off our clothes for a sneaky nudie shot with the sunset. that night we finally watched apollo thirteen (which we had been meaning to do since nasa). Our dinner was also a bit of a fail that night, i got carried away wanting chinese, laura suggested it looked suss but i was like ‘how bad could it be?’ so we bought it. and the answer is bad. very bad indeed. so bad. unbelievably bad. laura has since demoted me from restaurant chooser.
I’m so behind with this blogging I should probably just give up but laura has promised to help by guest blogging so I am persevering.
WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
the last blog post left off when we arrived in New Orleans where the food was yum and the weather was cheerier. We’d made it all the way south driving on the opposite side of the road and we had argued most of the way, well not most of the way, but the last two hours when we had no where to stay got a bit lord of the flies.
Things looked up after that long sleep. we had a lovely day of trying all the foods, wandering around the french quarter and learning about hurricane’s and bureaucracy in the Katrina museum. also laura was stomping around like a boss because this old black local maybe artist guy asked laura if her boots were timberlands, then he looked at them, stood back nodding all cool and says ‘naaiiice’. then the next day we were at urban outfitters and all these people kept thinking she was staff, maybe because she looked like a Nola hipster or maybe because she was running around like a deranged store assistant, cleaning up other people’s mess.
all the good hostels were booked out so we chose a crappy one in a more suburban area but was good because we were a few blocks away from the wallmart (lots of time spent in those aisles)… but the hostel was like a frat house, kitchen smelled beyond suspicious, most of the offending odour coming from the fridge, there were no signs of cleaning in the three days we were there and the guys who ran it were always lurking around drinking beers. There were also more creeps. One boy walked into our room and said to laura that it was nice and pretty but small, then hung out in the doorway for an awkward amount of time. he followed us around asking odd questions about cooking. there was also adam, who was this canadian guy on disability leave from the military because he was wounded in Afghanistan and was telling us about his post traumatic stress and how when he went to afghanistan veterans had a lifetime of military pension but when he came back the rules had changed and now it was a one off pay-out. laura and i cooked dinner that night and adam came outside and sat with us and asked why we were cooking when we were in a city with such amazing food. then he ordered his pizza hut.
on our last night in new orleans we went out to a jazz bar. it was small and hot and smokey in there, turns out people can still smoke in bars in the usa. the music was amazing and there were people from the audience that knew how to dance so so so so well to the music, all these lifts and turns. we thought the couple dancing had been dancing together for years and danced regularly with the band but afterwards we overheard the man telling a guy next to us that he had just met the girl he danced with. then on our way home we walked past this guy selling his painting on the side of the road. he kept going but then decided to go back. it wasn’t painted on canvas, it was some sort of plasticky netting. he had this long story about how he needs to sell paintings to keep housing his homeless friends in his house.. may or may not have been true. we chose a beautiful painting and then heard all about the story behind his work. his collection was called embrace and it was about the relationship between the head and the heart and the body in relation to love and sex and then there were all these hurricane’s on the sides to symbolise both real and figurative hurricanes in human experience. he was quite round-about in telling us about it and the story was very repetitive. we felt so lucky to be taking home such a beautiful painting.
We went to houston for the space centre and to be able to spend the day saying ‘houston we have a problem’. luckily laura remembered that i had the very sharp and threatening looking bread knife in my backpack before we went in or the day might have been ruined. the nasa museum was so great. we listened to a lecture on current and future projects on mars, saw a documentary on the international space station where there is all this cool research taking place, saw this exhibit with the changes in space suits over time and parts of the space station that had been damaged by tiny hurtling bits of debris in space. finally, the best part, we went on the tram tour that took us into the actual johnson space centre and saw all the buildings and got to go in a few. we went into the control room that launched all the apollo missions and learned what different people’s jobs were and what it was like to work there in the 60s. then we went to this warehouse the size of two football fields where they had part and experiments, like new vessels and robots and even the rockets the entrepreneur guy who invented paypall is using to send supplies etc up to the international space station. nasa have outsources so they can focus on more exciting projects. finally we saw a real rocketship, saturn 5. it was amazing. so enormous. you can’t even get your head around it.
We had two nights in austin and found THE BEST PLACE EVER TO STAY. this lovely couple who have all these foster kids and a pig and two dogs and two cats and chickens and an airstream in their backyard. we stayed in the airstream. its this vintagey silver spaceshipey trailer and inside it looked like something straight out of frankie magazine. maps were wall papered all around and it was soo cute and lovely. we’re going to put up pictures in a sec/few days. In austin we ate more ribs and some GREAT VEGIE PIZZA OH AND THEY HAVE THIS STREET FULL OF FOOD TRAILERS. we went to this fusion vietnamese place for lunch and had rib bahn mi with kimchee then went to the donut trailer where there were options with bacon and chicken but we were feeling conservative so had chocolate and raspberry which was FULL ON. she made them from scratch, they were SO DELICIOUS. that night we went to a brewery (can’t remember the name) where the greatest bar tender ever told us all these great places to go. then we went to the continental club to see some old school rock and roll, the band was made up of this really old guy in a cowboy hat and boots who looked like george dubbya bush but played his electric guitar like a wizard and the singer was this man who looked like santa clause and then there were younger guys on drums and bass. after them this experimental synthy jazz band played lovely sounds. austin was a great city, totally liveable and unexpected in the middle of Texas. we’re going to miss our airstream and all the pets. that was so spesh.
WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
yesterday we drove from memphis to new orleans. got a car yesterday in the morning. cost a million more dollars than we were expecting so now we are financially limited. before memphis we were in Toronto with - wait for it - my grandma’s cousin’s daughter’s family. we were so looked after. susan picked us up from the train station late on the 26th and drove us to her house where joel and their two kids owen and maeve were all still up. we were spoiled with cuddles and kisses and dahl and chocolate chip cookies. and then went downstairs to the basement where we had a bed made up and the laundry was down there which was a relief because we were out of clean clothes. the next morning we went to niagra falls. susan and joel had hired a car so that we could all go. the drive took just over an hour. we had heard before we got there that it had become very touristy and it was but the falls were so beautiful. so big and loud and the spray gets you even from the other side, there was heaps of ice all over signs and street lights from the spray. it was a freezing day though so everyone got hungry and cold before too long. we heading into the main street and got some lunch. that night was new years eve. susan and joel had a lovely dinner party with fondue (cheese and then chocolate) with neighbours. joel showed us through his local craft beer collection and laura and i did some chopping up of fruit and veg for the fondue. after dinner we watched the televised new years party from times square, the coverage of the ball dropping was a bit weird, there was none, the cameras all seemed to point in every direction but. the kids were so excited to be up until midnight, but after our big day at niagra falls we were all very unconscious quickly after that. we had our flight from toronto to memphis on the night of the first but before we left we managed to get some tobogganing in and then michael and dorothy came over for some lunch. it was sad to leave so quickly, it would have been great if we could have stayed longer and gone up to their cabin but it was such a nice little part of our trip and we were so glad we made it all the way to toronto.
memphis was very very different to canada. it was significantly less cold (when we left it was like negative 10 and negative 20 with wind-chill) whereas memphis was more like 5 degrees. in memphis we ate a lot of fried chicken. then we ate some bbq ribs. then we had some beer and watched some blues. we went looking for a car to rent. from australia we thought it was going to cost us 1400 for the car including insurance but all the quotes we were getting were between 2500 and 4000 not including insurance. we had spent heaps of money in new york and canada so our bank balance wasn’t looking good and we got a bit stressy about it. at the avis car place we got a quote and then we were pretty much ignored by the guy who had a social call instead of getting our business. which was reason to bail. then we had some more fried chicken. we found a deal online that said it was 1800 but by the time we paid for insurance and being under 25 it ended up being 2500.. which we paid. a third of that is the fee for driving the car to california and leaving it there. if we were smarter we would have planned our trip so we wouldn’t have to do that. ahh well though. the car is great.
laura was braver about driving it than i was. as soon as we got it we went looking for a wallmart to buy a gps. you can get them from the car rental place but it’s like 10 dollars a day. getting the gps was a challenge. the nearest wallmart was in west memphis which is over the bridge in Arkansas. we missed all the turn offs and ended up much deeper into arkansas than we meant to. it was quite stagnant out there. not much seemed to be happening. except the petrol station had a yummy spicy vegetable juice. and on the radio they were playing a story about a court case where two women had offered to give this other woman an amazing booty so they injected her with who knows what and now she was deformed and angry and sewing the silicone out of those ladies. it was meant to be a 10 minute drive but it took us an hour.
everything changed, however, when we turned on the gps. quality of life improved drastically. went back to memphis for fried chicken and debated whether to go to nashville for two days and then to come back through memphis for al greens gospel church on sunday or to start heading south towards NOLA. in the end we put NOLA into the gps and meant to go just a part of the way but decided to get it all over and done with. i was terrible at staying in my lane and we both had a few missteps into the left lane but no major driving issues. when we were about an hour out of new orleans at 11pm we realised we were low on petrol and asked the gps where to go. she took us to a very isolated place in the middle of no where. the petrol stations have outside credit card things so we were trying to use them and being rejected when an angry man came out doing that thing when you move your hand in front of your throat like a stabbing… laura was like get in the car and i was like I’m just going to ask this nice man about the petrol and she was like rom we’re leaving so i got in and i was like that man might have been able to help us and laura was already driving off and she said rom that man had a gun. and then i realised that yes, he does, and that i’d seen it but not registered it… and we were panic stations bailing out of there.
the news stories in memphis are cray. all this stuff about the kkk in the paper and full on obama blaming for everything that ever goes wrong to anyone. and on the radio we listened to the foreign affairs report with this guy called hucklebee and it was like obama makes america weak by not starting a war in syria and that caused something with putin who thinks america is pathetic and now everyone is poor, the end.
anyway we arrived in nola late last night, like 1am. the place we went to was full. we called another place, also full. we went to a crappy motel, also full. at this point everyone was very tense and grumpy. lots of snapping about who was driving and why and the bad job both the driver and the direction person were doing. we ended up having to drive back out of the city onto the highway and found an overpriced hotel but couldn’t have been happier to have a bed and a car park. fell into deep deep sleep, both of us having very strange action packed dreams.
Have to leave that there for now, laura is ready for a game of chess.
WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
We’re on a train on our way to Toronto. Today was the coldest day yet, freezing winds tearing through our clothes.
Mostly we did a lot of eating in Montreal. We made a deal to eat early in the day after a few hungry tantrums on both of our behalfs. Laura is now in charge of breakfast and I am responsible for dinner. We frequented (went twice) to a chinese restuarant run by some rowdy vietnamese, who saved us from starvation late at night. we went to a deli a bit further out of town and ate a plate of meat with pickles and mustard and also a meat sandwich with a very dense ratio of meat to bread. i had a coffee and laura tried to one up me with a coffee and cream. The combination made her debilitatingly unwell. i was slightly less damaged by the experience.
that was the day we were meeting wil’s friend jo. we were concerned that we might not be in a good enough place for new friends but everything made a well-timed recovery. Jo was so great! she took us to a lovely bar where we had cocktails in jars then we went with her to pay the rent for her new sharehouse and got to have a tour. Jo took us to a vegan restaurant for dinner. the choice was between vegan or something chickeny but we voted against the meats. the vegan place was really cheery and busy and fresh and exactly what we were needing.
after dinner we went ice skating down on the waterfront. I was nervous because i’m terrible at not being good at things but Jo and Henry (a friend of Jo’s who met us after dinner) were so sweet holding my hand and telling me i was getting it (all lies but appreciated). Laura, after all her threats of laughing mercilessly at my lack of ability and leaving me behind in a sea of manic child skaters, was the best, so patient with me, even though she is at a professional standard, doing tricks, impressive ones. just casually. she’s looking for a competitive partner if anyone is interested/knows anyone. it was so fun! after skating we were going for another drink in the old town when I stacked on the ice, Henry (being a sweatheart) tried to help me up but mostly just landed on top of the heap. laura has spent the last two days impresonating this scenario.
the bar we went to after skating was strange, decked out sort of like eve, all faux fancy with a raging (but maybe empty) nightclub underground. the bar tender was very busy picking up the lonely lady next to us so getting drinks was hard work, he was showing her all these photos of himself in some naked calander thing.
it was so great meeting Jo and Henry, they were such lovely people and so generous in showing us around.
mm what else? oh yes the french toast with fried chicken and blueberries. that was weird. but surprisingly edible. that was at a cute cafe near our hotel, we asked the waitress what she recomended and she said that, we’d been debating trying it for a few days already so we gave in. once was probably enough though.
yesterday was colder than the days before so we decided to explore the underground shopping mall. we were terrible at it. we got so lost and felt so stifled. also, there were creeps everywhere. there have been an inordinate number of creeps around us in montreal. most of that is because of where we’re staying but no, they find us in the sweet neighbourhoods as well.
at the end of the mall experience we decided to find a supermarket and have lunch at home and had a great feast of brie and pate and cherry tomatoes and cucumber on yum bread. so so good. even though we had to get a bit animal tearing at things with hands and teeth because we didnt have a proper knife or a plate.
Oh and today we tried the must-have delicacy, poutine which i had been calling putain without realising. such a rude lady.
we’re off to toronto now to stay with family on mum’s side. they’re having a new years eve party which will be lovely and it will be nice to meet everyone.
WE’RE STILL JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
I have been demoted from accommodation finder. We are in Montreal in a “hotel” above a sex shop, sleeping in a room that gets very hot, with the window open above a street that has a lot of emergency services blaze past followed by big trucks and abusive drunks at night.
But for now… back to New York. Once we overcame the jetlag we had quite a few action packed days in a row. We got the ferry to staten island and back for a quick cruise past lady lib. Went to ground zero, which is a massive ordeal… so many lines and security checks and requests for donations to get into a monument that isn’t finished yet. It was breathtaking through. Laura was getting hungry i think, she started having a go at the survivor tree, saying it was the kind of tree that would throw you under the bus to look after itself. We went to shake shak after that and stood in an even longer (but more efficiently managed) line, and then everyone was back in the game and no longer abusing trees.
We went to Moma which was an amazing museum but a bloody nightmare. They let every man and his dog in all at once so it’s raucous in there, so much chatter and people clogging the doors, so many people milling about who don’t want to be there. When we saw Maria Isabel a few days later she said it’s always like that and that if you become a member you get to see exhibitions at different times when all the spill off from all the hotels near by aren’t there. i would have loved to have done that. Museums are so sweaty when you’re wearing thermals under your jeans.
a few days in and we were becoming overconfident with our abilities to navigate nyc. Laura had bought a compass so we always (sometimes) knew which way was north, which you would think would be very helpful in a gridded city… but anyway, we were feeling like nyc was our stomping ground. It was the day before christmas and we were on our way into central park. changing trains at union square, we just missed the train we needed. but then the doors opened again and laura said GO! and I jumped on and then turned around for a high five but there was no one behind me. she was still standing on the platform looking sad. staying cool I did some great sign languaging to tell her I would get off at the next stop and wait for her there. I was smiling cause it was funny (lol) and i was going to see laura in just a bit… two hours later after a lot of panic and not being able to move from the spot that i had messaged everyone who had laura’s american number that i was in because i had wifi but no phone and she had phone but no internet laura found me having a meltdown in the outrageously busy underground apple store.
that night we caught up with Maria Isabel, a friend of mine from chile. it was so lovely to see her. and so unlikely considering i had also managed to see her two years ago when i was in santiago. she took us to this tiny tavern on 9th avenue where there was home made bread and yum sangria. she has been working for the UNs security council so hearing about her work was fascinating. i wonder where in the world i will bump into her next.
we thought the city would be quiet on christmas day but it wasn’t. we made the mistake of leaving broadway to the end of our stay so navigating time square was a necessary evil. during the day we went to central park and hired bikes. it was so cold on our hands! we had booked a fancy lunch for christmas which ended up being quite weird. it was under a gallery and i think part of a hotel. the entrees (appetisers) were lovely but the main course (which they weirdly call entrée in america„, which i cannot get past) was weird as, laura had some gross deep fried grease as a side with her lamb. our waiter was the creepiest character we have come across yet. but it was nice to be festive on christmas day. to end the day we saw chicago on broadway which was great! so fun and the show was so well done. since then laura has been singing ‘the gun the gun the gun the gun’ over and over but it was worth it.
now we are in montreal after 10 hours on the amtrak yesterday. nothing much to report except some gross microwaved food from the food carriage and more and more snow as we got further north. so many cute towns on the way. oh and a strange taxi driver last night from the train station to our “hotel”. We had no canadian cash so i asked if taxis take credit card. he said yes taxis do but he doesn’t. after a lot of confusion he told us he would take american or thai currency. or anything really, just not credit card.
we didn’t have a map today so we got lost a few times before breakfast and everyone was grumpy. once we bought a map things began to improve. then laura pushed me into a deep pile of snow… which was surprisingly as soft as it looked but a lot colder. we found a cafe called melbourne and couldn’t resist being sucky tourists and getting a coffee. we got some graffiti photos for lauren and then laura lost the map so she has been demoted from being responsible for the map.
laura just did some googling and discovered that we’re in a dodgy part of montreal where the drugs and the hookers are. it says to walk in groups at night…. great.
tomorrow we’re meeting a friend of will’s for drinks but mostly we’re being super relaxed in montreal after crazy nyc. that’s enough.