Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NYC--Phase II

I left off last post at Kelly's house Friday night. We returned home late from her parent's house, and were soon off to bed. Unfortunately, my peaceful slumber never came. It was, instead, interrupted by a nasty stomach bug that had me up several times in the night hurling up pizza guts. The worst part, is that I was still queasy when we left Kelly's house to head to the airport. I could only hope that the queasiness would dissipate quickly. I was wrong.

I settled into the back seat, and attempted to NOT think about being in an airplane, and being nauseous. As one might expect, I was unsuccessful.

When we arrived at the border crossing, Kelly dutifully handed our passports over to the crossing guard who had 1 questions, "Where do you know each other from?" We found out rather quickly that "we're friends" is NOT an appropriate answer. In my feverish state, I think I remember him reaching for a gun, but I've been informed that I was mistaken. He simply asked, more sternly, "WHERE. DO. YOU. KNOW. EACH. OTHER. FROM?" When Kelly replied "through our dogs", this answer satisfied him and we were off. (I think he was probably just a wee bit bitchy about working the border at 5 am, but I could be mistaken.)

We made it to the airport, onto the plane, to NYC, and to the hotel without incident. At this point, Gene encouraged me to curl up on the bed and take a nap. However, in my weakened condition, I felt it was best to keep moving- for if I were to lay down, I likely would not move the rest of the trip. I was determined to push on.

First on our list was the statue of liberty. It had not occured to me, when making my decision, that seeing this beauty would require an airplane, a NY taxi driver ride, a subway ride, a ferry, and 3 miles of walking. NOT the best option for someone with a stomach ailment.

I was a little shocked when I first saw her, and knew my fever had spiked. This is NOT how she looked in all those photos I've seen!

I also don't remember her pointing at me, and I certainly thought she was bigger! I was MUCH relieved to find out that the above masculine creature was NOT the statue I had traveled so far to see!

This is more like it!

In the original of this photo, Lady Liberty and I share a similar skin tone. Photoshop made me look happy, and healthy. And, yes, she IS as tall as I thought she would be!

After a second ferry ride with a hot dog vendor directly behind us, and another 3 mile hike back to the hotel, it was definately time for a nap. Gene and I both settled in, and slept for several hours. As I had feared earlier, I would not rise from this spot the remainder of the day. Since Gene's NYC bucket list included Rockefeller Center at night, I encouraged him to go and enjoy without me- just take plenty of pictures so I could live it vicariously through photos. He obliged, and I've only posted a few of them here!
This is the *The* Christmas Tree.

TWO Tickle me ONE block? I think this is one of the 7 signs!

More Christmas trees and lights.

Red Christmas Trees!

He also took a stroll through Time's Square.

The Hershey's Store.........

Right across the street from the M&M's store.

Sunday morning greeted me with more strength, and less queasiness. I was determined to make use of what little time we had left. After a breakfast of 3 bites of a bacon/egg/cheese biscuit, we were off to Ground Zero.

As we walked around the ginormous hole in the ground left by those B*stards, we came across this memorial

on the side of THIS fire station. I knew that Ladder Co. #10 was close, but I had no idea that they are, literally, on the opposite side of the street.

Next, it was off to do some shopping. We first went by Saks, but based on the line outside- we figured they were doing credit checks to see if you were even ALLOWED inside the doors. We opted to take a photo--and move on.

Next was FAO Schwartz.
No credit check required--just a high credit limit!

When we stopped at one intersection, and found a ferrari dealership on one corner

and a Maybach dealership on the other corner

We knew we were here:

And, if you've ever spent more than, say, 5 minutes in NYC--this sign is funny. If you've spent the night at a hotel NOT on Park Avenue, but just around the corner from Broadway? It's hysterical.
One of the lovely churches we came across--right in the middle of mass, so we thought it might be a *little* inappropriate to go inside and take photos.

Another of the lovely churches.

Gene got a Chicken Gyro from a street vendor for lunch. I opted for....a Mountain Dew.

We had our lunch right by the Fox News studios. If we had hit this area earlier, we could have been one of those nerds outside, waving at the camera.

The Hershey store in the daylight.

And, the M&M's store. (Which, I might add, was NOT open on Sunday- although the Hershey store was.)

Ah, one of the most elusive creatures in NYC, captured on film. Sightings are few and fleeting, so I wanted to document this one. What am I referring to? The purse vendor, of course! Most of the purse vendors we saw had their loot in a bed sheet slung over their backs like Santa. They would display the loot briefly, always ready to gather the sheet and make a run for it.

And, a last bit of humor I found. There was a private drive on one of the streets that we had to hike to/from the subway station. Evidently, this is how these types of disputes are handled.

All in all, it was a pretty good trip! I hope that we will be able to go again, but this time spend longer, and have zero illness while there.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

You're going WHERE? WHEN? Are you Crazy?


No, Canada---the Great White Way!

The short answer is...Yes, we ARE crazy! But, that's how WE roll!

It all started when the DH decided he needed some more frequent flyer miles for 2010 to be upgraded to gold, or platinum, or something. So, he suggested we take a short vacation before the end of the year. Okay. Cool. Sounds fun!

It was at this point that my friend Kelly (Wave and say "Hello" Kelly) said, "You should come visit ME!" Sounds like fun, right? Going to visit a friend? Close to the holidays? SURE! Except that THIS friend lives in Canada. Yep, that's right, that country just south of the North Pole. Since this was already Octoberish, there were not many open weekends before the end of the year. We found a mutually agreeable weekend in December. 2 weeks before Christmas.

Plane tickets bought, dates confirmed, and the adventure began. We went through airport security in Dallas, and while we didn't have to be groped- or go through the x-rated machines, it was requested that I remove my shirt. (Okay, so I had on a sweatshirt with another shirt underneat, and they just wanted me to remove the sweatshirt, but still!)

Because of the fact that a.) people are too stooped to understand the meaning of "1 carry on and an additional personal item", and b.) the airlines are too lame to enforce same rule, the overhead compartments were full before we boarded the plane, causing us to have to gate check our carry-on. What they failed to tell us, was that the gate-checked bag would not be waiting for us at the gate during our layover in Chicago, but would be placed in the belly of the beast, and we would have to go to baggage claim in order to retrieve said carry-on. Oops!

Upon landing in Chicago, I waited inside the airport while Gene went to baggage claim, retrieved the bag, and then returned through security. Luckily, the line for security was short on that Thursday afternoon.

We arrive in Buffalo where we were accosted, er, greeted by Kelly and her Dad. (Hi Dad!)

When we got to Kelly's house, because of the proximity to the North Pole, the dense cloud cover, and the late date, it was nearly dark. By the time we deposited our luggage, greeted the schnauzers, and loaded up for our first glimpse of Niagara Falls, it was dark. DARK DARK DARK DARK DARK. (I don't think the moon reaches Canada)

Our first glimpse at the falls! Niagara Falls, NY is in the background.

The Canada Falls---not quite as impressive as the American side, but still lovely! ;)

They heard that the Americans had invaded, and were nice enough to provide mood lighting for our viewing pleasure. (When you only get 3 tourists during the month of December, you go out of your way to make them happy!)

After a lovely Italian dinner of baby seal alfredo and whale blubber gnocchi.....(okay, not really). It was Italian, and it was awesome. We headed back to Kelly's abode where we settled in, chatted for awhile, loved on the dogs, and then headed to bed to get an early start.

After a breakfast of Non-Candian bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc., we headed out for a view of the Falls during daylight hours. The fog and the mist is incredible!

The layer of frost, ice, and snow on EVERYTHING!

During the summer, the viewing platform below is open to the public. Not sure WHY it isn't in the winter! Hrmmm.

Me and Kelly, in front of the Canadian Falls, being pelted by frozen rain. (Despite Kelly's firm belief that if her image is captured on film, her soul will be stripped from her body, she graciously allowed me to take 2- count them 2 photos of her.) Kelly was such a trooper to endure the bitter cold/rain to stand and stare at something that is practically in her backyard. Something she can enjoy during NICE weather.

I found this sign amusing, and wonder if it was REALLY necessary. If you're stupid enough to not know that climbing over the railing (especially an icy one) could result in a plunge to an icy, watery grave, then, well, that's just nature's way of putting a little chlorine in the gene pool.

Evidently, the Canadian interpretation of the this sign is a little different than the American interpretation. Darn Canadians- they don't do ANYTHING right!

We were informed that this hung in the middle of photo is a Scow- abandoned many moons ago when the crew of the scow feard for their lives. I guess they didn't *really* have to worry about going overboard, did they? I think it was a Garbage Scow, but Kelly argued with me.

We then loaded up in Kelly's little 4-door Speck and headed to wine country! Niagara-On-The-Lake. What a beautiful little town. It reminded me of the Hallmark Christmas stories that take place in a small country town, where everyone knows each other.

We got a nice little Christmas present while there. They can do that in little towns!

Of course- furniture in this small town was a bit more........rustic.

I found this sign interesting. I mean, really. Who adds sugar to beanie babies anyway?

We found out quickly that we did NOT have the appropriate attire for Canada. Far from it! No one told me I needed a moose hat!

At the end of an afternoon of shopping, we stopped in the historic "Prince of Wales" hotel for a hot toddy, where we posed for a group shot.

We spent our last evening in Canada at Kelly's parents house, eating pizza, and learning all about Kelly's deep dark secrets! (I can be bought!) We were to be at the airport for a 5:30 flight to New York City for the second phase of our vacation. The NYC adventures will be chronicled in another blog post!