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10 January 2007 @ 02:16 pm
Home sweet home  
So, I spent New Year's in New York City and I have to record my itinerary before I forget everything ;P
But first things first:

There's one thing I really hate about christmas. Suddenly, I get emails from people I haven't talked to all year, with best wishes and such and expecting an answer. I know that it's probably all well-meant and such, but what the hell? What is so special about that day that people send mass emails to everybody they've ever met? Okay, this had probably a lot to do with me being in no particular holiday mood, but this was really annoying.
Okay, so christmas wasn't really my thing this year. I had lots of work trouble in November and December and was simply stressed out. I was on business trips a lot, up to five days a week, which was really annoying.
Also, I've been brooding again recently, about what I want to do in life and where I'm headed. I have some new options, job-wise, which made me think about what job I would love and I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing anymore...
Also, my 5 hours chats with Olga made me think about what I want to do with my life in general, and since neither Superhero nor Space-Adventurer are realistic job-options, I have to figure something out and soon.
So, all of this meddled with my lack of christmas spirit and led to this version of the Grinch.

On with:

I was really, really looking forward our trip to NYC. Actually, it wasn't really my plan to spend New Year's there. Michi and I had wanted to travel there for years, but it was always either inconvenient or too expensive or whatever. Then we finally settled on late November / early December 2006, do some christmas shopping. But then Tobi said that he wants to go away with my for New Year's. And I simply couldn't afford two vacations so close to each other. So, the three of us decided to kill two birds with one stone and go to NYC for New Year's.
My brother picked Tobi and me up at 3 am on Dec 28 to drive us to the airport. There, we met Michi at around 4 am. We checked in and had breakfast first ;P Michi was really nervous about the flight, but we managed to distract her with stupid stories on the first flight to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, we transferred and were on our way to the Big Apple, and Michi was much less panicked in the big plane.
I had actually planned to sleep some on the plane, but I couldn't, so I ended up watching loads of movies or playing some of the games they had in their entertainment system. We were all pretty beaten when we landed, but it was only noon in NY (stupid time lag). We had to wait some time for our shuttle to arrive and were then stuck in our first and only taste of a NYC traffic jam.
After arriving at the hotel, I phoned Olga and we made plans to meet the next day, had some sandwiches and went to bed at 6.30 pm ;P
My first impressions of NYC were sort of disappointing. My dad had always told me about his first trip there and how he felt like a little farmboy there. I didn't really share that sentiment. It's a city like every other, just a bit bigger, and the skyscrapers weren't that impressive to me. But it was noisy (mostly firefighters' sirens) and dirty.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, which was really expensive but also so very good. We then waited for Olga to arrive, but she had overslept. So we met two hours later and went to the Rockefeller Center to look at the EXTREMELY ugly but still famous christmas tree. The place was packed, so we decided to leave real quick and went to Saks, then to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). This was really great, because you could see art of pretty much everything in there. We saw some Medieval Armor and Japanese Armor there, that was really fascinating.
And I finally met my Olga! Actually, meeting Olga was one of my foremost reasons for wanting to go to NYC and it was great to finally seeing her in person after years of chatting and emailing. We spent the day talking about every possible topic, walking around the museum, occasionally even glancing at some artwork ;P
We finished with some great Thai food and I got 'Watchmen' from a comic book store at Union Square and even scored Lost season 2 DVDs. But, stupid me, I didn't realize that there was a tiny heater on the floor in the Thai space and melted my DVDs >_< Well, just the case, the DVDs themselves seem okay, but the case (that I had just bought, damnit!) was very dented. Argh!

The next day, Dec 30, though, Olga wasn't feeling good because she'd been dressed too lightly on our day out. So, Michi, Tobi and I were on our own, which was also okay, so that I could talk to them some more.
We went to Macy's first, but this, as well, was sort of disappointing because it's not really different from the shops at home, just (again) bigger. The Empire State Building was packed, so we decided to return another day. In the afternoon, we did a boattour, which was great. We drove down the Hudson River, around the Financial District in the south of Manhattan and up the East River. On the tour back, we also did a little detour to the Statue of Liberty while the sun was setting, which was a captivating sight. The tourguide was really great and managed to impress everybody on the ship with his stories and even though I'm normally not that easily touched, he managed to send shivers down my spine with his tales.
We finished the day with a disgusting dinner at the Burger King (I wouldn't have thought that Fastfood would taste that bad in the land of it's origin).

New Year's Eve, Dec 31: We got up REAL early to get on our bustour. I was feeling especially crappy, though I don't really know why. The bus took us first to uptown Manhattan, Harlem and the Central Park. All of which weren't that impressive. Sorry, I don't care which celebrity du jour lives where. Then, we went to Ground Zero and stopped for frigging 45 minutes to look at a construction scene that was really creepy. I mean, they're still finding bodies there, but they're already building something new on top of a graveyard?
By then, my back was really hurting and I was happy when the bus drove on. We drove past Battery Park and finally stopped again in Midtown in the afternoon. We took a walk in the Theater District, stopping by 42 street and the Merriot Hotel with it's famous restaurant 'the View', which was closed for the public for the night (hotel guests only). By then, the police had already started to blockade the area around Times Square, but we managed a peek into the M&M store there. We decided to go for Korean Barbecue that night, but couldn't find Little Korea again... My back was getting worse by the minute and I could barely stand up anymore. So Michi and Tobi went on alone and I returned to the hotel to lie down some. We were supposed to meet up with Olga later that night, around 1.30 or something, so it was just the three us us for dinner and a hotel room crashing party with Olga later.
Michi and Tobi came back some time later with a Korean BBQ reservation (YAY!) and some party groceries to pick me up for dinner. We went to the Korean place around 9 pm. Korean BBQ is really one of the greatest experiences I had with cuisine experiments. We had shrimps and beef and some side-dishes that I mostly can't name. Ohh, tasty.
Afterwards, we walked around some but couldn't find a place anywhere. All bars were either closed for private parties or demanded and entry fee we couldn't or wouldn't afford. In the end, we ended up on Herald Square, a couple of streets down from Times Square and watched the fireworks with a small group of people there. 5 minutes after midnight, everybody left and we also headed back. New Year's is really not the same there...
In the hotel, Olga called to inform us that she was too drunk to come over anymore ;P So, beaten as we were, we went to bed. That was really one of the lamest New Year's Eves ever, but I guess it was our fault for getting up so early and not making advance plans that could actually be realized... Oh well.

Welcome 2007! The rest will have to wait for another entry, my fingers are bleeding... ;)