Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why do I ever leave this place?!

NYC, and you know what that means: late nights, early mornings, lunch meetings, rollerblading, art museums, dancing (and subsequent photos on the internet), bagels, and a whole lotta fun.
The night after I say goodbye to Nate, I meet my friend Patrick near ground zero. We pass what can only be tourists taking pictures of everything around them. We do as any New Yorkers do, giggle at them as we pass by.

We fashion an apple to hold shesha and hookah down a little path in a little park, which wasn’t sketchy until we got there. The rats, mosquitos, and Geoff were quick to join us.

After we finished the bottle of wine, Geoff and I played tag in a playground, which we were eventually kicked out of. Park hopping ensued.

Friday meant a lunch date with Ariela. We sat in front of a faux waterfall, one of the pockets of artificial natural settings created to make New Yorkers feel like they’re out in nature without making them leave the comfort of midtown Manhattan. So it goes.

After touring the Dalí and pre-fabricated house installations at the MOMA, I sat out in the patio in a rather uncomfortable chair contemplating human beings’ relationship with nature.

Click click. Rollerblades back on and I propel myself through Central Park, past horse carriages, bikers, pedestrians, and trees. Yes, we have some trees in New York. It’s good to be on human-powered transportation again after 23 days of roadtripping in a Honda.

That night I meet up with Patrick
, Geoff and Ben and take the G train, which I never thought actually went anywhere, to see 45 Thieves. They weren’t playing until 2am, so we oscillated between the dance floor and drinking Sparxx on the front stairs of an apartment building. When they did start spinning, they played all the ill tracks. We danced and danced and had an awesome time!

And what’s a raveparty without glowsticks?

At 4am, the music wasn’t as good and it was time to go. It took me three subways and 1.5 hours to get home. The sky was getting light as I stepped out of the subway station; what a weird feeling. Grabbed a bagel at my favorite Palestinian-run deli on 96th Street, but was too tired to speak much Arabic.

It was 5:30am when I went to bed and 9:15am when I woke up. After a quick shower and breakfast, I hopped into the car with my dad at 10:30am and we headed East and then North. Our destination? Harriman State Park.

After a slight delay due to unannounced road closures, we found the well-hid parking lot for the Africa trail. So called because of the birdseyeview shape of the trail. The red-dot trail quickly took us upward and suddenly all we could see were rolling hills covered in thick green trees.

Down the other side of the hill, where we intersected with the yellow triangle trail. Below the trees, the air was calm and the mood was peaceful. It is relaxing to get out into nature and just use your senses, but to use them passively as a means to absorb your surroundings.

We had a picnic of humus, pita, cheese and fruit on a boulder by the lake.

On the trail again. When out of nowhere, the bush to our right started rattling and shaking. I saw it and backed away. Dad didn’t see where the sound was coming from and got within 2 feet of what we later identified as a Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus.

It took me more than
a few moments to catch my breath and calm my racing heartbeat. By that time, the snake, no longer sensing in immediate danger, ceased rattling and slithered off. Petrified, I continued hiking.

Each time I heard a noise, I jumped. “Skiddish?” Dad asks. Well, yes. This is the second rattlesnake I’ve happened upon in a month. They are frightening creatures.

After the 3 hour hike, we hop into the car after one last picture and head to Milford, PA. We arrive at the little stone house just in time to start plotting dinner. Mmmm… BBQed marinated veggies and tofu with brown rice.

We munch on asparagus, corn, peppers, sweet potatoes (or was it a yam?), and tofu. It’s all delicious especially since it’s accompanied by Dad’s wine of choice. Ice cream and scrabble for dessert.
I’m exhausted not only from a great day of hiking, but from not sleeping much the night before. So I proceed to sleep for 14 hours.

Breakfast is accompanied by rain, which persists until we get back to NYC.

Meanwhile, Mom’s been busy preparing a feast. She’s going to have a few people over for a dinner party of
sorts. I try my hand at frying up some plantains. People arrive and soon the house drink (San Blas Sunrise) is gone! Mmmm… homemade guacamole and great conversations set the ambiance.

Dinner is served!
The food is delicious. The people mesh really well together. And it concludes with the most amazing cheesecake I’ve ever had.

So to recap. Amazing food. Hilarious people. A million and one things to do. I love New York City.

But now with the weekend over, I turn my attention to my trip to Bangladesh.

Wait. What? Bangladesh?! Why in the world would I be going to Bangladesh?

It will all be explained in my next post. Stay tuned.

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