Sunday, August 03, 2008

One weekend in Saturday

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.


Anonymous said...

Now there's a fun weekend - hanging out with friends, eating nonauthentic food, shopping for deals... You're right, fantastic views from Chris' place.

MorenaTejana said...

Sounds like you're having so much fun in NYC! I don't remember enjoying that city very much, but you are seeing a different side of it as well. I'm so glad you're happy.

PLEASE don't tell me you like Wal-Mart LOL! That is the devil's place haha. I have been boycotting Wal-Mart for 2 years now. May I NEVER return!

(I thought it was interesting how you mentioned the sexual orientation of the gay person but not the orientation of your other friends...just one of my typical observations. You shouldn't have a conversational/discourse analysis linguist-to-be reading your blogs...haha)

Olivia said...

Nikki - lol, nonauthentic food indeed.


Memo - and I call you that coz you don't like it and you've wound me up yet again! I didn't used to like Wal-Mart, but in my situation (jobless) it's a good thing and I cannot complain.

As for the gay friend, well, he was most decidedly so without a doubt, and he would probably want me to mention it as much as possible.

If I'd described the guests at the brunch, I might have mentioned I met a Japanese guy (whom, I might add, liked living in San Francisco for reasons obvious to the rest of us) or a girl from Mauritius with a French accent, or one from Colombia who brought empanadas, or a couple from India who brought curry. You have to differentiate between people sometimes to add imagination. For example, I didn't have to add that Vera was a "starving artist" but it gives her character, rather than just a name.


To the rest of you, don't worry about my exchanges with MorenaTejana - she and I go way back and she has ALWAYS given me a hard time. But she knows I am a loyal friend, so she can make me tear out my hair one day and know I'll still talk to her the next. Grrrrr!

meimei said...

i love your weekends. I had to work mine, but saturday was rockband with friends and pizza, Sun had to work(on my day off) blah.

Tonight is loverboy concert-but depends if I am super tired or not because I work tuesday too.

but do have wed,thur, friday off.

Jo said...

Well, I'll call our weekends a draw when compared against one another: You got to hang out with old friends and relax and I got to meet my brand-spanking-new niece!

P.S. I knew that Mexican food in NY would be unimpressive! Lemme guess, no borracho beans, very little cilantro and lime and not enough heat?

Olivia said...

Mich - actually, sometimes having days off during the week give you more freedom because if you need to run errands, stores/banks/post offices are not closed.


Jo - YES, NOT ENOUGH CILANTRO!!! Or lime (that's why Chris ordered extra lime wedges), and heat - I added the table chili sauces to the salsa. Well that reddish watery sauce that they called salsa.

I do go on so much about cilantro that C says, "It's always about the cilantro with you, isn't it?"

And I don't like beans so no loss there :P

Apparently there are some good Mexican restos in the city, one called Crema, and I have yet to go there or discover the others. I guess other latin populations don't use the seasonings that I so love about Tex Mex food. :(

MorenaTejana said...

I didn't mean to make you so angry even though I was very bothered. As a writer, we have the power to choose which details to elaborate on (as you pointed out); however, choosing to point out someone's sexual orientation b/c it MAY be different from that of the majority of your friends and does nothing to move the story forward is just intriguing. I guess I'm just tired of people, especially straight people, making gay or les people appear so different from straight ppl, and to me, highlighting his orientation and not the others makes me feel that way.

I didn't want to make you angry. I apologize for even pointing it out. I'll bite my tongue next time (like I've been doing for some of the other posts).

Olivia said...

Memoria - not maybe, but definitely. No straight male has ever called me a fellow artist (this guy was very artsy). The most compliments I ever received in one sitting was from a gay Spanish guy in London last year. You see why it's important now?

Didn't you know that straight girls really dig gay guys? So don't see it as an insult.

And maybe I shouldn't have said "dig"...What other verb would you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Olivia darling, it's a novel! *hugs* RomaCittaEterna

meimei said...

agreed Libbs. sometimes weekdays are grand as well. new postings of my new finds, jewlery, my city, the man coming soon.

beginninghere said...

The restaurant did look fun. Perhaps we can find you some good Mexican food when you're out here. Funny, but that seems hard to find even here! Love the pics. You do know how to cram a lot into a day:)

Palm Springs Savant said...

I can relate to the late snacking. I actually like eggs any time of day, not just breakfast! btw- lov the raindrop photo

Flighty said...

Good to see that you had another good weekend.
I like that last picture! xx

MattJ said...

American contribution to civilisation - Turning right at a red light (awesome!)

Downside - price on the ticket looks nothing like the price you have to pay! (grrrr!)

Unfortunately, Wal-Mart prices are low because they are utterly morally bankrupt, treat their employees like indentured servants, their suppliers not much better and the prroducers like so much disposable produce.

And target have a cooler sign. :D

Um Naief said...

that weekend sounds fabulous. i love that you have a group of friends there that you can turn to if you need a hand and to hang out... makes things so much more enjoyable.

i LOVE WalMart and Target. gosh, i went crazy at both stores while in california. i only wish they had them here... altho, they do have a few stores that are similar, but they'll never compare.

need to read further down to see what happened w/ your dental interview... :)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm amazed I even understand what you're talking about, m'lady. I first discovered Target when I went to Australia with 19 students a couple of years ago. (And I'm supposed to be in Australia again RIGHT NOW...but my family has other issues, as you well know.) I only really know about Wal-Mart because my father worked there briefly just to dent his post-retirement boredom.

I've been an ex-pat now for almost two decades. I've become totally out of touch with my native culture.

But at least I have a Costco here!

Planethalder said...

The weekends you are having in NYC are much better than the ones you had in London. Looks like you are "home".

Christopher said...

Darling, don't feel bad about Target...Wal-Mart is HELL when it comes to how it pays it's employees. Remind me to tell you about when I staged a demonstration years ago at one trying to unionize and organize it!

Life in the woods is cozy...I am so enjoying it! How are you?

Mark said...

Hey- looks like you're having some great times. Long may it continue! Love and best wishes from the UK!!

Glo said...

Sounds like you are having a ball! Woohoo!