Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blading The Big Apple

Day two of my New York City trip started with inline skating from our hotel in Long Island City to Manhattan. The most fun part was just skating over the Queensboro Bridge. I loved the view and feeling like just a regular New Yorker.

Then my boyfriend and I went into Central Park which is amazing since it gives you a sense of nature in the middle of the city. There’s a lot to see including a small castle and an ancient obelisk. There’s also a lot to do from just relaxing on a green somewhere to paddling a boat in the pond. We chose to do the paddling as I’d seen this in many movies and it looked romantic. It was relaxing, offered great views and was even a bit romantic but nothing like the movies. The water was a putrid green toxic looking substance. There was a sign stating “no swimming allowed” …as if this was necessary. But it was still a fun touristy activity and relatively cheap too. After our paddle we bladed the whole park with lots of stops for lunch, pictures or just to take it all in.

We were over Central Park after a few hours since it seemed to have a Disney feel to it and we get enough of that in Orlando. I was double dog dared by a friend on Facebook to skate Times Square so that is what I did next. Skating down the street with all the taxis and through the crowds was a blast. Thankfully it was a weekend so it was not overly crowded. With so many lights and so much going on I don’t think anyone even noticed me even though I pulled out some of my best skating tricks. There were several people in costumes who charge you a dollar to take a picture with them. While it was just a buck this just seemed crazy to pay to take a picture with someone. I get lots of pictures taken of me every Halloween...just think of the money I could make!

We went back to the hotel to rest and I switched to my bike for the evening's transportation needs. We took the subway with the bikes to Chinatown. When we got on the subway it was light but it was already dark when we walked up to the surface in a new part of the city. I was looking at my map trying to figure out which way to Chinatown when my boyfriend said “I think we are in it”. After looking around and noticing lots of signs in Chinese I realized he was right AND a lot more observant than me.

We biked around looking for a good outdoors place to eat. When we didn’t see any we headed toward SOHO thinking they would have some nice outside areas. Then we found a cute street full of people and places to eat. I was only finding Italian restaurants and wasn’t really in the mood for Italian so I kept looking. It took about six Italian restaurants before I finally realized we must have crossed the line into Little Italy...duh! It’s amazing to me how close these different communities are to each other. We ended up picking one of the many Italian restaurants. It was tasty but the best part was we met the couple next to us and they were locals and bikers too. They were a great help and gave us lots of advice for the remainder of our trip. They told us to go to DUMBO! That sounds mean but it was a cool spot and I will talk about it in a blog coming to you soon!

Cat ‘City Slicker’ Cathy

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Biking the Big Apple

With winter approaching I wanted to head somewhere north before it was too cold so my boyfriend and I chose New York City for our latest travel adventure. Except for what I’ve seen in the movies I really didn’t know much about the city or what to expect. But that just added to the excitement.

The first thing we did in the city was get on a bus and leave…to go to New Jersey and buy bicycles. They seemed like the best way to get around the city and since renting them was so expensive we just bought ‘disposable’ bikes from Wal-Mart. I was surprised when I asked a Wal-Mart employee about getting a second bike and she didn’t seem to understand what I was asking. Quickly I pulled out my big Spanish vocabulary and said ‘dos’ as I pointed at the bike we wanted and she seemed to understand. This really surprised me since I would have expected it on our last trip to Nicaragua or even in Orlando but I didn’t know NJ also had a big Spanish population. I guess that’s part of why I travel…to learn more about the world and all the people in it.

After snapping a few silly pictures of us with our new bikes at the Wal-Mart we gps’d our way back to the city. It was only a few miles and it was definitely worth it when we hit the Hudson River and had an awesome view of the Manhattan skyline.

We took a ferry to Manhattan to get dinner. I was just about to lock the bikes with the lock I brought from home when my boyfriend asked where the key was. Good thing he did this since I had left it in Orlando! That would have been a huge downer and a big waste of money for two bikes! So with no real lock the first day we stayed near the bikes and spent the next several hours exploring the east and south side of Manhattan. I’ve always wanted to bike in NYC since I pictured taxi cabs everywhere and riding like one of those bike messengers but this wasn’t like that at all. The trails we rode were separate pedestrian/bike trails and were not dangerous. This was probably a good thing for our first day but I don’t think a trip to NYC would be complete without some biking on the streets.

My first impression of the city was a good one. I loved the energy I felt just being a part of it all. Plus people were very friendly. Obviously no one just smiles or says hi to strangers on the street since there are just too many people around. But everyone we spoke to was very friendly. We met a nice fisherman at Battery Park who showed us pictures of some of the cool fish he had caught. We enjoyed these 'local color' experiences most of all.

After about a 15 mile bike ride which ended with crossing the Queensboro bridge around midnight we were safely in our hotel. Our long travel day of taxi, plane, tram, train, subway, walk, bus, bike, ferry and finally bike some more was finally over as I crashed out quickly in our hotel room. Stay tuned for our next day at Central Park, Times Square and SOHO/Italy.

Cat “I heart NY” Cathy

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Caught Between Ma’am and Baby Doll

I was playing hockey the other day and one of the younger players ma’amed me. I’m not a huge fan of the title since it just seems to bring up visions of a very old librarian but I realized he was a young kid and was just being respectful. Not five minutes later another young player called me ‘baby doll’. Now this title although not overly respectful and rather unusual was almost a little flattering.

I feel like I’m at an unusual age somewhere between ma'am and baby doll. Personally I wish there was just one title for women like there is for men. What is the deal with distinguishing young women from old and married from single? Why is that around anyway? Let’s all just be Miss and be done with it!

Miss Cat “Baby doll” Cathy

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Beep or Two

Today I’m tackling a serious social issue. When you are driving in traffic and someone is texting or otherwise not paying attention and delays movement do you beep once really loud or give two little 'beep beeps'? To me one really loud beep is kind of like saying “HEY YOU &*!&^% GET YOUR &*&! MOVING!” While two little beeps is more akin to saying “excuse me but you need to move now”. Personally I always try to use the two beeps since it just seems friendlier. Plus I think we have all been on both sides of this beeping dilemma so we should have a little understanding. Also the double beep is likely to lead to a nice little ‘oops I’m sorry’ wave versus just getting one finger if you use the one beep! So why not practice a little kindness and next time you are mad in traffic….be like the road runner and make it a double!

Cat “Beep Beep” Cathy