Sunday, February 21, 2010

En Route

It’s funny how we seem to rush through the travel portion of our vacations or trips in a hurry to get where we are going, often dreading the drive, flight or train ride. I am guilty of this myself; the hurry up and wait mentality of the airport isn’t my favorite. As per usual, I was excited to get to New York but was not looking forward to the two flights, going through customs, being on a cramped airplane for hours and then reaching my destination tired, clammy and likely a bit grumpy. A friend drove me to the airport (Thanks Jess!), and I reluctantly got outta the car knowing that the endless cycle of rushing to the counter, than waiting at the gate, rushing onto the plane just to sit and wait on it for hours, rushing out of the plane to get your baggage, then waiting at the carousal for it to come was about to begin.

I began to wonder though, why I always dread the actual traveling portion of the trip so much. Ya, everything I mentioned above holds true, and it does kind of suck, but airports can be really entertaining and interesting places. For anyone who enjoys people watching, Pearson is the place to do it. There are your typical business travelers, in their suits and brief cases, power walking through the terminals; there are the exhausted parents, lugging small children, Dora the Explorer back packs, well equipped with snacks and wet wipes; and at this time of year, you have your spring breakers, pumped to spend the next week on a sandy beach with a drink in their hands. I can’t help but wonder where people are going, where they are coming from and the reasons for their trips.

It occurred to me while sitting on the plane on the tarmac in Toronto, waiting for boarding to finish, watching the seemingly nervous, jittery man beside me open up a book written in a language I don’t even recognize nor could I begin to decipher, that if someone were to really take the time, imagine how much they could learn by simple boarding a plane and talking to every other passenger. I think that’s what I like so much about people; you never can know what to expect, as much as you think you have someone nailed down, they always manage to shift your opinions of them and make you wonder why you were so quick to judge.

I am currently sitting on my plane somewhere between Toronto and New York City, and after napping the entire way between Charlottetown and Toronto, I am wide-awake and pumped to finally arrive. I booked a ticket on a bus from the airport to Port Authority online yesterday, so I’m a little nervous about figuring out where to catch this bus, but at the same time, not actually worried. It’ll all work out…it always does. This trip so far has already been a lot different than any other trip I’ve taken. I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to lists, normally I would have had about 3 lists in preparation for the trip-what to pack, what to do before I go, what to do when I get there etc.

I am proud to say that I actually didn’t even have a list on paper anywhere that had to do with the trip. I just threw some stuff in a duffle bag this morning, and figured I’d spend my first day in NYC bumming around downtown and stumbling across cool things. I think my goal for tomorrow is a running tour of Hoboken, maybe stopping in at Cake Boss for something delicious mid-run, then probably the Rockefeller Center because there is a Magnolia Bakery in there. Cupcakes for lunch? Yes Please!

I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma right now by Michael Pollen. I’ve read one of his books before, and I’m a fan. What I like about his writing is that it’s super informative, and he is passionate and clearly has strong opinions about food, the industry and the raising of the animals we eat, but he’s not preachy. I recommend this book for anyone who wonders what it is they are blindly putting into their mouths. It’s crazy when you think about it, we know SO little about the agricultural industry, yet it’s one we rely on for survival, and depend on for our health. There are very few other things that we are so willing to trust despite not knowing anything about. I think in my next life I will be a farmer, or maybe for some portion of this life. I would love to have a giant vegetable patch, some chickens and a beehive one day. I am going to try to get a job on a farm this summer, or do some volunteering as a farm hand in an attempt to learn more about what goes into the production of the foods we take for granted every meal.

In other news, I JUST arrived at Rachel’s in Hoboken and it is such an awesome spot, I love it already. Her roommates are super awesome. At the airport the bus attendant guy called me perky, and in the same breath asked if I was in the military. Until now I was unaware that a correlation existed between those two-but maybe this means I look assertive and therefore people won’t mess with me. It must because I'm badass.

The entire plane ride from Toronto to NY was full of people talking about the Canada versus US hockey game that’s on right now. I heard about 6 different groups of people say they were going to the bar Tonic to watch it as soon as we landed. I think it really just started with one person saying it and being over heard until eventually the entire plane decided it was THE place to go to watch the game. As soon as we landed, 60% of the passengers had cells phones in hand immediately, dialing friends to find out what the score was, who was scoring, which goalie was in net etc. I couldn’t always tell if there were more Canadian fans or US fans but given the enthusiasm and sense of urgency in knowing, I’m guessing Canadian.

Driving on the bus through the city to get to the bus station I couldn’t help but notice how bright the city is (I know, anyone who has never been here could have told me that!) and of course the first thing I wonder is how many of the light bulbs in the city are energy efficient? I’m crossing my fingers but not holding my breath that the majority are. It actually mostly reminds me of the CNE-there is so much cheap crappy food being advertised on street corners and in little hole in the wall shops, people everywhere and everything is on sale.

I was initially worried about being a dork with a map in one hand and a camera in the other, but I quickly realized that the mere fact that I’m not wearing a scarf, nor did I even bring a scarf is a dead give away that I’m an outsider. First stop tomorrow? Scarf shopping.

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