Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day Seven: New York!

The one-week anniversary of my US tour had not yet dawned when we landed at JFK airport.  This end of the country, after all, was a full three hours ahead of where I had come from, the west coast.  Feeling a little worn at the seams and time-disoriented, I searched along the terminal for a Starbucks (sometimes the only cafe you can rely on to do a decent soy latte) but none was to be found. So onward I went, to collect my baggage... I was so tired and stiff after the cross-country flight with unsettled sleep, I didn't see Ckeanna first, and she'd grabbed me before I realised what was going on!  It was so good to see her again - we'd met twice before when she'd come all the way across to Fawnia's for my workshops.  Ckeanna, owner of Diva Fit Pole Studio in Massapequa, Long Island, had always stood out before as a huge supporter of pole dancing and a very warm and outgoing personality, and I knew already that I was in good hands here in New York.

On our way out of the terminal, we stopped at the only cafe there: Dunkin' Doughnuts.  No soy milk.  And, I'm sure, no espresso.  No thanks, said I, and we continued on to the car and homewards.  Well, I guess that was my first indication that I was no longer on the west coast.

Driving through Long Island just before dawn...
There's something very confusing about coffee here in the US.  Seems most people drink filter coffee, so that's what's most readily available.  Then there's espresso (as we know it in Australia, ie made as shots, usually with some kind of milk added), and then there's a third choice here: Americano, which I believe is espresso with hot water added.  The latter has me stumped: why would you water down your coffee?!  On the same topic, I have to mention that for the most part my trip here has been "sponsored" by Starbucks, and although in Australia (where somehow we have turned into a nation of coffee gourmands) we mostly turn our noses up at Starbucks in favour of the smaller businesses that produce much higher quality coffee, I have to say that I have been incredibly grateful for the Tall Soy Lattes (of course - in the US, Tall is the smallest!) that have given me the little kicks I needed to get on to the next thing/ class/ journey/ entry.  Thanks for being there, Starbucks.

Long Island as dawn breaks...

As a traveller, and one moving around so very much and with so much to do on the way, I've also come to appreciate the hospitality I've received, from rides to and from airports and train stations, to hotels arranged for me to have my downtime in, to home-cooked food and home-brewed coffee - the latter being á la Ckeanna!  Mmm, that first NY meal, oatmeal cooked in half water-half soy, with raisins and cinnamon added.  Followed by home-brewed coffee that was more welcomed than even a Starbucks! The day was originally intended to be a rest day, a recovery from my fierce schedule and long travel overnight.  But we discussed the possibility of taking a ride into New York City for a few hours, and my instinct said Go For It!  So, after a one hour power nap and a shower, we set off.

I can barely describe how thrilled I was to be having this unexpected adventure in this world-famous city.  It's incredibly cheesy but Alicia Keys's Empire State of Mind kept rolling through my head... from a place that I and thousands (millions?) of Australians have only seen on screen from childhood to now, to a reality stretching before my eyes for miles... My fatigue was irrelevant.  I was in New York!  

Empire State Building

Grand Central Station

Clock, Grand Central Station


Ckeanna and I

From Penn Station we walked our way up to Times Square, and lo and behold, there was the (in)famous Naked Cowboy doing his Naked Cowboy thing!  For those who don't know, he wears a hat, boots, and jocks; he carries a guitar and does sing, but rarely has the opportunity to get through more than a bar or two before being accosted by (mostly) women wanting their photo with him.  He's more than happy to oblige and, as he's a robust over-six-feet-tall, said women are often swept up into his arms for the first of several shots.  Here's me in my inevitable pose with him...

So, having taken our Cowboy shots, Times Square was Done for us.  We headed on to the East Village via the subway, but soon fatigue caught up with us and we didn't have it in us to argue.  Plus I had a class that night... So, satisfied with what we'd managed in such a short space of time, we headed back, and a few hours later I was in front of a room full of students ready to roll all over again! 

"Threatening" to pole dance on the subway... "Let's take a walk around the pole..."

Oh, yes, have to add - not before discovering "that" Amityville house...

Class that night in Ckeanna's fabulous studio, Diva Fit Pole in Massapequa, flew by.  It was a sell out and I worked hard to make sure that everyone had their time with me.  And at the end the smiles on our faces in our photos were most definitely for real!  I've loved all the way along this tour that we have Facebook now - so all tour photos have been posted and tagged and are easily found again by whomever was in them.

It was sad going to bed that night though, knowing that first thing in the morning I'd be off on my way again, leaving behind New York, and a lady who is now most definitely a friend.

No comments: