Friday, July 29, 2011

So I've decided it's about time I finally get around to writing about New York and Connecticut :) I've had this post written for a week and a half, I just needed to add the pictures.

The adventure started on a Sunday night. I had my carry on packed, the polka dot bag we were checking, and a bag that I was checking to bring Mark. I also had his laptop in my shoulder bag.  I loaded up Philip (my lovely blue Honda civic) and headed down to Rachelle's house. It's a little under a two hour drive, and I ended up getting there a little after nine. I grabbed a suitcase to take it inside, and then looked for my shoulder bag - it was nowhere to be found. I started to panic a little. After all, Mark needed his laptop for his job this summer, and the reason I had it was so that he didn't have to mail it to Kansas. I went inside and called Stephanie. Our phone conversation went like this, "Please tell me I didn't leave Mark's computer at home." Steph, "Well, I'm looking at it." Shoot!

My mother, being awesome, decided to meet us halfway so no one had to drive four hours that night.  Kathy and Rachelle hopped in the car with me, and we started back.  It actually ended up being a really nice drive.  We hadn't seen each other for several weeks, so it was a great chance to catch up and have some really good girl talk.  When we made it back that night we made sure everything was ready, and then set our alarms for 5:45 the next morning.

Rachelle's first airplane!
Monday morning we got up bright and early and managed to fit five suite cases in the car with us :)  Rachelle's brother Daniel kindly drove us to the airport.  We got there and made it through security super quick. We ended up being at our gate about an hour early.  Somehow we got lucky, and our seats were by each other all three flights.  We first flew to Vegas (a little out of the way), then to Detroit, and finally to Hartford. The first two flights we had the personal TVs on the seat in front of us, which was really nice. By the end of the day we were all sick of chex mix, red vines, and especially those Delta cookies. None of our layovers were very long, and everything was pretty uneventful. By the time we reached Hartford we were so ready to be done traveling. Kathy's brother Tim picked us up and we spent the night at his house.

On the Train
Tuesday morning we got ready and Kathy's sister-in-law Christy drove us to New Haven where we caught a train to New York. This was Rachelle's first time on a plane and train, so a pretty big two days for her :) After an hour and a half ride we exited into Grand Central Station, which is quite amazing. Google Maps told us our hotel was only .9 miles away, so we decided to walk it. Bad idea! For anyone who's ever been to NY, you know that they streets are crowded, especially around Times Square and the Theater district, which is where our hotel was. Trying to pull three suitcases through the streets was quite the adventure.

Interesting New Yorker #1: A random musician who calls himself 'Mustafa' - Rachelle made eye contact, and suddenly we're all holding Cd's. Kathy got hers signed, and both of us paid him $5, Rachelle got away with paying nothing. First souvenir in NY - a really crappy rap CD with 23 terrible songs. Win, hahaha. He then went on to say we were H-O-T, and could all switch off being a different letter every daily.

INY #2: The guy checking us in at our hotel. Kathy and I went in alone, in case we had too many people for our room :) He gave us 2 beds for the price of one, and in his words, 'best day ever!' He then proceeded to make fun of Kathy when she didn't know what she was talking about.

INY #3: Some guy trying to get us to go to a comedy club. "Are you guys sisters?" "No" "Dang you look alike!"

We at lunch at this little sandwich shop. I ordered a chicken pesto sandwich, but they were out of pesto, so I asked for grilled chicken or BBQ. I had them put on lettuce, cucumber, and avocado, and then for some reason they put on Sweet 'n sour chicken. Gross! It was probably the weirdest sandwich I've ever had, and it cost me $9.80.

Seinfeld Cookie
INY #4: The Purse salesman. We all bought purses from him, and he modeled a purse for Rachelle, pretty much mocking her at wanting to see it on someone :)

INY #4: The kind man in the subway who told us which train to take. "That's your train right there!" We ran up the stairs and then back down on the other side. "Two stops!" He yelled across to us. We liked him a lot.

While walking through NY, a pigeon flew in Kathy's face, and of course she screamed. She was then mocked by a man walking by us :) We then bought fruit form a very nice fruit vendor. We also found a purse for $2700 at Bloomingdale's.

On our way back on the subway, it was way more crowded than we'd seen it before. People push on and off at the same time, and it's quite chaotic. The doors closed so we had to wait for the next one. The next thing I saw was Kathy sadly waving at us as the subway pulled away with her on it alone. Her face was priceless!!! Rachelle and I got on the next train and got off just in time to get a call from Mark, who was just two blocks away. We met him and then we all reunited at the hotel :)

That night we went to Little Italy for dinner. When we got off the subway Mark said we were walking South. A man walking by us then replied, "You're walking east." We got a good laugh from that one :) We then ate on the street at a lovely little restaurant, and it was really good. We were then serenaded by a man with an accordion. He played a slow song and told Mark to dance. I've never seen him so embarrassed, it was hilarious! We then got gelato and saw tons of cockroaches swarming a drain. It was sooooo gross!!

INY #5 - An older man in the subway, wearing a graduation cap, singing happy birthday to Doralee. Only in NY.

That night Kathy, Rachelle and I had a conversation where everything was much funnier than it normally would have been, especially because we were whispering because Mark was asleep. Good times :)

Wednesday morning we headed off to the Statue of Liberty. It was really nice to be in a place that didn't smell like trash. We took a ferry to Liberty Island, and spent a while relaxing there.

Ferry to Liberty Island
Mark sleeping
Cheesy Tourist Pic Fail

 For lunch we ate at one of the 40 Ray's Pizza's in NY. A group of foreign guys invited Rachelle and I to sit with them, which we politely declined.

After Lunch Rachelle and Kathy went to do Baptisms at the temple, and Mark and I went to the David Letterman Show. We waited a while to get our tickets, and somehow got a sticker on the back that meant we were part of the 'audience elite' and were on the second row.  Apparently we're just good looking :) It was fun and a good experience, but I wouldn't normally watch his show. The coached us on laughing before the show started, and informed us all of Dave's jokes are funny, even if we didn't get them. We didn't laugh at the gay marriage and some of the other inappropriate jokes. I'm sure they loved having us on the second row :) The only person I really knew on the show was Patrick Dempsey, which was pretty cool.


That night Kathy and Mark went and did a session at the temple. Rachelle and I ate dinner at this salad place, which was really good, except for Rachelle's salad dressing, which was soooo gross! We had a great chat at dinner and then went swimming at the pool.

Thursday was a long day for Mark. He had really bad jet lag, and he tended to fall asleep everywhere. That morning we went to the top of the Rockefeller center, which had amazing views of NY.

  We then saw St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Rockefeller ice rink, and Radio City Hall.

We then got AMAZING smoothies, and took a subway to Brooklyn. We then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, which was pretty cool, and fulfilled one of Kathy's dreams :)

After the bridge we went to Chinatown. We ate at this Chinese restaurant that was pretty good.  NY Chinatown is very different than LA's Chinatown. It's tons bigger, but much more ghetto. We walked around for a while trying to find souvenirs, but we were all a bit tired and out of it. Mark bought 3 watches, Rachelle got a purse for her mom, Kathy got a scarf, and I got some nail polish, a bracelet for Steph, and a headband for Meggie. We then got Canolis in Little Italy (which is right next to Chinatown).

I'll take the jelly fish please! (gross!)

We then all headed back to the hotel and took naps so we wouldn't sleep through our Broadway shows :) For dinner we at at Ellen's Stardust Diner, which was pretty fun. They sing show tunes to you while you eat, and it's very touristy and cheesy, but fun. We also got amazing frozen hot chocolate.

Kathy was very disappointed in her gross pickle

 Kathy then went and saw Wicked (for $150), which was another one of her dreams. Rachelle, Mark, and I went and saw Phantom of the Opera, which was amazing. The Phantom had the most amazing voice!

After the shows we went and walked around Time's Square at Midnight. It was still crazy busy. Kathy also got a really neat piece of spray paint art.

Mark loves Nerds :)
Friday morning started off eating breakfast at Fluffy's Cafe. We got real food, which was soooo good.  We then went to the Museum of Modern Art. It was pretty cool, and we did see some really famous pieces, such as "Starry Night" by Van Gogh, but a lot of it was really strange. Tons of it didn't really seem like it was 'art'. 

After the museum we made our way to Central Park. We ran into a guy advertising bike rides through the park, so we decided to do it. He asked where we were from, and had never heard of Utah! Crazy, I know.  We then rented two tandem bikes (Rachelle's dream!) and rode them through the entire park. It was way fun, but pretty tiring :) It was also quite hilarious. 

After Central Park we went to Ground Zero, but there really isn't much to see. When they have it finished it'll be much more impressive. We then at dinner at a different Ray's Pizza, and made our way to Grand Central Station. It was a bit crazy with all of our luggage and tons of stairs, but we finally made it to our train. Rachelle and I sat by two of the cutest little boys ever. One was less than a year old, and the other was almost two. Mark slept the whole way :)


Saturday we all slept in, and then headed to the beach. It was super nice to just lay on the beach and chill. The water was warmer than Cali, which was way nice. We ate at this little seafood place called Chick's, which was really good. 

We headed back and then picked Rachel up from the bus station. That night we at at a Portuguese pub, and it was actually really good. We even had squid.


Sunday we went to church, and then took Mark to the airport. The rest of the day we spent relaxing with Kathy's family and playing games. Monday was the 4th of July, and absolutely nothing goes on in Hartford!! We took tons of pictures, and went planking :)

We also had a BBQ and made a 4th of July cheesecake.

We attempted to see fireworks, but gave up when the traffic was insane.  We then drove to Storrs to take Rachel back to UCONN. It was a little bit of a creepy drive, which was quite hilarious.  Tuesday was our last day, and we spent it doing random things, like visiting Mark Twain's house.

Lego Mark Twain
 We also learned the importance of putting the correct address into the GPS. We put in 'Hartford' instead of 'West Hartford' when trying to get to the library. We ended up in a sketchy part of town, and witnessed a guys bash in a girl's back car window with a baseball bat about 20 feet from us. We decided not to get out of the car there. We also cooked Kathy's family dinner to saw thank you. That night something happened to the sewer system, and it was leaking in the basement. We all went out to ice cream to use the bathroom :) We also washed our faces outside like we were camping, and waited until we were at the airport the next day to use the bathroom.

Our flights home were fairly uneventful.  We only had our own TV's on our last flight, which was a bit disappointing.  We got to SLC around 4 and we were so ready to be home! Vacations are fabulous, but it's always so good to be back.

Weird coincidence, I texted my Dad when we were in the Minneapolis airport. He called me just as we were landing in Vegas, and apparently he had been in Minneapolis the same time I was! He was coming home from a business trip and then had a layover in Denver. Crazy!

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