I seem to have a thing with weekends now. Or maybe this is what weekends are supposed to be like!
On Friday, Vera flew in from France. She's been there for 3 years studying photography - she is "one of the gang" from university in Houston (and was nearly my second roomie until Residence Life gave me Vanessa). She is staying with Chris while she undertakes a 2-month internship at a magazine. The three of us met up at Union Square for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Being experts on Tex-Mex and Chris's family coming from Mexico, we were not impressed.
But the decor was fun!
Poor Vera was so tired from her flight that when we finished dinner at 11pm her body clock was at 5am, so she fell asleep at the table, and the waiter thought she was drunk!
On Saturday we were to meet up at Lisa's house at 12.30 pm for a pot-luck brunch (she who had the housewarming party last month, Chris knows her from his MBA school).
It was hard to get up because I'd been up past 3 am chatting with roomie's gay friend from high school. He sees in me a fellow artist, some of his more whimsical little photos are much like mine (playing with shapes and light, etc).
However, mid-morning some amazing storms swept throught the Tri-State area ;)
That's me sounding like a local.
(Tri-State refers to the Manhattan area commuter belt of New York/New Jersey/Connecticut.)
Raindrops on the glass-enclosed revolving doors at Lisa's apartment building. The doorman thought it was a great idea.
Anyway, the rain held a few people back from arriving at brunch on time, including Chris and Vera, who arrived last at nearly 3pm bringing a giant Spanish omelette when everyone had stopped stuffing themselves an hour before. Because Lisa had worked in Mexico City for a while, she always makes great pico de gallo and has tortillas on hand. There were all sorts of brunchy food and drinks, even white wine!
Chris, Vera and I were the last to leave - after that we went back to his place in Jersey City, which is now full of boxes and new things. Vera has an air mattress in the living room, but she is very much the starving artist type, and so she deflated that because she prefers her sleeping bag directly on the floor!
We got into the car armed with directions to Wal-Mart in Union City, NJ. I love being Navigator.
For the first time in my years in the US, I actually like, um, Wal-Mart....Plus shopping in NJ is great because you pay 7% state and county tax instead of NY's 8.5ish% (depending on your county). BUT the counties/boroughs that make up NYC have eliminated all sales tax on clothing and shoes that cost under $110 each. These are Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Kings (Brooklyn), Richmond (Staten Island).
And there is no Wal-Mart within reach of the Metropolitan Transit Authority so I can't take the subway. Since Chris has to shop there a lot in the next month, and because he is sure it can take him less than half an hour to drive from Jersey City to Bay Ridge, he promises to let me shop with him and then drop me off at home! Woot! No bag-lugging across Manhattan (it takes an hour and a half on the subway, but by car across bridges and through Staten Island, it is much shorter because this area really is quite compact.
Wal-Mart is so amazingly affordable that they felt bad for all the purchases they had made at Target the day before. Target is the cool and trendy fashionista's version of Wal-Mart. And I felt bad that I had bought anything anywhere else too.
We were there until closing at 10pm, then we headed back to Chris's place for dinner using whatever he had in his fridge (eggs, ham, English muffins, and salsa). The night views of Manhattan from his living room window are great, and the breeze is wonderful on the 23rd floor.
The brightest and tallest spot in Manhattan is now the Empire State Building, a reinstatement as it was from the 1930s to the 1960s. Fitting because it is a symbol of New York, "The Empire State" - but imagine how it would have looked with the WTC twin towers...
Then I worked the kinks out of Vera's neck and shoulders while she fell asleep, bless her, because she had been in pain throughout the day. Chris dropped me off at the Pavonia PATH station at quarter to midnight, and I arrived in Bay Ridge at a quarter to 2am. The New Jersey PATH trains and the NYC subway were as busy at this time as they are in the daytime. I don't know how long it will take me to get used to this pattern.
And so, today, Sunday, I am doing what you should on Sundays: resting. Oh, but I do need to pop out to buy more bagels, Swiss cheese, and whatever other foodstuff takes my fancy.