New York, 1999

I opened my email on Sunday to find a letter from Siobhan asking if I wanted to go to New York City and visit Carla and Krista. My calendar being woefully empty, I agreed. :) I stipulated that we had to leave after my appointment on Tuesday morning with the ENT about my recurring ear aches and she agreed that she had some errands to run also on Tuesday. Monday we met at the writers group meeting and agreed to leave at 4pm on Tuesday since we were both feeling antsy and wanting to get out of the city, added to which night driving is easier since the traffic is lighter.

Aug 31

I rode my bike to Toronto General and was early for my appointment, which of course meant that I had to wait even longer than normal to see the doctor. A resident examined me first and then was called away to see another patient by the doctor. They eventually both came back to look at me and the doctor found that it wasn't my ears at all, but my jaw joint. He mumbled TMJ, take two advil a day, come again in three weeks then shuffled me out. I made the appointment and left in a bit of a huff - he didn't even explain what TMJ was to me, leaving me to do some research on line when I got home. I did that after a trip to the gym to work out the soreness from the last workout, showered, finished packing and let Siobhan know I was ready to go. She had to pick up her car from the repair shop, but came by to pick me up by 5:20. I threw my things in the hatch, but kept the food I'd brought in the back seat. We were on the Lakeshore and then onto the Don Valley easily enough, but traffic caught us halfway north. It wasn't too bad, since it was mid week, and we made it out of the city relatively quickly. We headed east on the 401, made a brief stop at The Big Apple and stopped for gas just before Kingston. I took over the driving there and turned us through the border crossing at the Thousand Islands. It was dark by then so we didn't get to see the gorgeous view, but we got through the border relatively quickly - they wanted to know who we were visiting, what they did, if we'd been denied access to the USA and if we'd ever been arrested. They ran our IDs but passed us through without pulling us over. I continued driving down through Watertown on 81, and we changed over drivers at some point, heading through Syracuse and turning at Scranton. I managed to navigate us through Manhattan and into the Bronx, but at that point the Yahoo directions failed us, and we missed a turn since it was listed as being onto a street that didn't exist off the highway we were on. We made it up to a few suburbs north before turning around and making it on the next try. We parked just down from Carla's house, and she came out to let us in. It was around 4am. I staggered downstairs and threw my sleeping bag and myself onto the couch in the basement and was immediately dead to the world.

Sep 1

I woke up at 1:30 and made up a breakfast from the fruit and granola bars that I had left over from the drive. I sat and read for a while, then took a shower, talked to Carla's mum a bit, and then heard some movement from upstairs. Siobhan came down at around 4 and injected some coffee then went up to wake up Carla. We sorted ourselves out and walked over to the diner for food. Siobhan had called Krista and she was going to meet us at the diner and then we'd go from there. I had a huge Belgian waffle with fruit, but the lack of real maple syrup lessened the experience. We drew out the meal as long as we could, ordering Irish coffee, floats, and sundaes until Krista arrived. She had a coffee and we finally vacated the booth, leaving our ghost waiter to find someone else to spook. Krista drove us back to Carla's house and we pulled ourselves together for the evening, planning on going to the Raven for the punk night. Since it wasn't going to start until at least 11, and it was only 9 at that point, we decided to hit a movie first. We drove over to a mall complex and got tickets to see The 13th Warrior with Antonio Banderas. I have to admit, he looks yummy as an Arab, but he also played the part well, showing his assimilation into the Norse culture when he got picked to round out a group to aid a chieftan. The action was a bit disjointed, but overall it was good.

We stumbled out of the dark theatre and found Krista's car again, heading into Manhattan. We crossed over onto the island then followed the Henry something parkway down the west side of Manhattan to the Village. We ended up stopping to call information to find out where the Raven was, since our vague directions from the DJ weren't sufficient to actually find it. We found a parking spot fairly easily and trooped into the pub. They had Guinness on tap, so Siobhan was happy. Emily talked to us for a while, and Krista was cornered by an ex's ex. We left when the music started to get a bit too loud, and Krista dropped us back in the Bronx. Somehow we ended up getting home at 3am. Siobhan and Carla took a short walk, but I went straight to bed.

Sep 2

We all woke up a bit earlier today, I was up at 11:30 and the others at 1pm or so. I packed up my stuff since Siobhan implied we'd be leaving that night after seeing Voltaire. We walked to the diner and had a quicker meal this time, though I still didn't get real maple syrup on my French toast. We decided to walk back to the mall where we'd seen the movie last night to go to Party City, since Siobhan wanted to pick up some decorations for Hallowmas. Half an hour later, we found it but there wasn't anything there that she wanted. I drooled over some of the ready made costumes, storing up ideas for the various costume events I plan to attend. We stopped off in a Dunkin' Donuts to get liquid refreshment then caught the bus back to Carla's. She packed up her stuff and we headed into the Village to meet Krista at St. Mark's place. I remembered to ask Carla if she had her passport or proof of citizenship, and since she didn't, we ended up getting a bit lost trying to get back to her house from the highway. We eventually got back, she got her passport and we took off again for Manhattan. We managed to miss the highway down the west side of the island, going down the same one as last night. We found parking near 2nd Ave and 14th St, but then we found out that we were supposed to be at 3rd Ave and 8th St instead, so we hoofed it over there. We ran into Krista just as we spotted the sign for St. Mark's, she'd gotten stuck in traffic and had just arrived. We stopped into Religious Sex and the Sock Shop, and a CD store, where I bought another Tom Waits disk. We decided to get some food and went into a tiny place called Sushi and More for supper. The sushi was liberally laced with wasabi but quite good. They gave us lots of freebies too, picked carrots, extra salmon roll, two kinds of fish appetisers, though we had to struggle to get our water refilled. They let us use the tiniest washroom in the world in the kitchen before we left. We decided to skip seeing Voltaire and just hit the road. I navigated us out of New York, managing to confuse Siobhan onto the wrong highway but recovering us and getting us into NJ. I then dug out my pillow and dozed until we were about half an hour before Syracuse.

Sep 3

We stopped for gas and I dosed myself up with sugar and tea and managed to get us back on the highway eventually. The signage was somewhat lacking. I drove us up to the border with Canada, over much more easily this time, not even a check of our ID, and back onto the 401. I stopped just outside Kingston and let Siobhan take over the driving again after her nap. I woke up when we hit Toronto and just managed to wake up enough to drag my things out of the car and up into my apartment. The sun was well up at this point, but I burrowed under the covers and managed to get to sleep for a few hours. I checked my email when I woke up and agreed to meet Siobhan, Carla, Steph, Jean, BC, and Lindsey at the CNE and much fun was had. I went on the roller coaster and a haunted house that managed to scare me, causing me to burrow into Carla's shoulder when ever it was black as pitch. She kept her eyes and ears closed the whole way, the cheater. :) I managed to get myself a snow kone and froze my mouth eating it too quickly. I watched Sio and Steph take advantage of their all rides pass and played a couple of games with everyone. BC managed to win a stuffed parrot that was very cute, and Sola won a lion. I walked home and made the mistake of starting to read a story that TSM had sent me and dove into bed when I realised that it was 3am. I'm heading back to NYC to drop Carla off on Tuesday and then will head south to visit Twilight in Baton Rouge, along with a few other people on the way there and back.
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