Pictures are on my External Hard drive – need power adapter for it to access it in Europe before i can put the pics online. Same for Vancouver.. Gah!
Day 1 NYC:
Well I’ll call this Day 1, although to be technical I landed in at 10pm the previous night. The flight over from Vancouver was uneventful and I slept a lot less than I had expected, considering I hadn’t had a wink of sleep in over 24 hours, although all considering I wouldn’t have wanted to be wasting that precious time sleeping anyways. I landed in Newark Airport on time and then the adventure to make my way down to the lower east side of Manhattan from Jersey began. To my surprise the airport was filled with red-coated customer service people which were extremely friendly and helpful in getting me onto the airtrain, over to the New Jersey transit PATH train that took me into Penn station. Upon the advice of my friend Roland, once at the Penn station I took at a Cab to his house, although next time, now that I am comfortable with New York I’ll no doubt take the subway and save the $10.00. The cabbie was a very friendly Punjab man who was pleasantly surprised that I wanted to sit in the front seat with him for the ride and have a conversation instead of riding in the back. We discussed a ton of stuff but spent most of our time solving the social-economical problems of India, which we agreed could be done by eliminating the Caste system and raising the literacy rates in rural areas.
Around 1:30 am or so I arrived at Roland’s building to be greeted by yet another friendly New Yorker working the door. Unfortunately amidst our joking he misheard which apt I was going to and sent me to the first floor as apposed to the 10th. Consequentially I startled a sleeping chinese woman with my incessant knocking on her door in the wee hours of the morning. A trip back down to the doorman and a few laughs later I was up to Roland’s apartment to be greeted by a warm hug and the face of a man who I have known very well and worked closely with for over a year but never met. It was wonderful feeling to be in physical contact with someone who I consider dear to me and who has inspired me with his brilliance nearly every day for over a year. It was far past Roland’s bedtime and so while I worked on until 4am or so he quickly went to sleep. I was in Manhattan, had a ton of emails to answer and there certainly was no time for sleeping
So onto the official Day 1 in NYC Roland and I awoke around 8 or so, had a nice breakfast of Oats and a long chat about the project we are working on and then we set out to explore Chinatown. It was a cold winter day in New York so I imagine it is usually much busier than it was however the sidewalks were still packed with throngs of people, mainly asian, going to and fro wherever they had to go. Open air markets were on every corner and the smell of fresh fish lingered in the air as it seemed that every 2nd shop was a fish shop. With the temperatures below freezing there was no need to cover their goods and a plethora of seafood could be seen in any direction. We walked for a couple of hours, Roland explaining this building and that until we headed back to buy some fresh, and extremely cheap, vegetables at one of the markets for that evenings stirfry. Once home we settled into our work for a couple of hours and then I began making Roland dinner. It feels good to cook for someone when they are kind and generous enough to lend you a spot on their floor for the better part of the week. We ate, talked, ate, talked and then Roland mentioned that he was going to a Polesque competition that night and that I was welcome to join. You see Roland is a professional pole dancing instructor in his off, off hours and many of his students were competing tonight. Not to be confused with a strip club, this was a competition of the technical feats of pole dancing, impressive to say the least. We headed out, caugth the subway into DUMBO, which I(as well as many of the new yorkers with me) learned from one person in our group stood for ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’. The club was fantastic, all concrete, tons of candles on the walls, groups of seats arranged on lily-shaped stages on a big pond in front of the stage. The competition itself was also impressive, the technical feats performed were fantastic, especially considering this was an amateur show. There was a broad variety of talent there, big girls, little girls, all using their abilities to their max. Roland of course knew most everyone there, which was mostly gorgeous athletic women who knew their way around a pole. A good man to be around when going out I quickly learned A very common thread of dissapointment went through every person that we met as they learned that Roland wasn’t going to be competing tonight. He would have been the only male on stage which meant that it would have been a very different show considering his superious upper body strength in relation to the women. Roland, in real life, is even more physically impressive than his photos. Not only the weight lifting but as I learned practicing on his pole that he has setup in his living room, the pole dancing is an insane workout. I am tempted to pick it up when I settle back down somewhere, wherever that may be The competition was awesome, the energy of the crowd was off the hook and it was my first taste of a truly diverse culture. There were rarely any minorities where I went, it was equal parts of the races present which was wonderful. As I learned from the Cabbie there was very little racial tension sin this amazingly diverse city.. Everyone seems to get along just fine, unlike back home, which I suppose is something that just takes time as exemplified by a 400+ year old city versus such a young one such as Kelowna, or Surrey. The competition ended and we mosied back home in ths frigid night air, which over the course of the week only got colder – but being Canadian I wasnt’ one to complain(well at least not too much). As per usual I stayed up and tried to get as much work done as I could before passing out and so concluded my first awesome day in New York City!