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Visit to NYC 2012 (part 2)

December 3, 2012

Nov 22 (Thursday)

This is Thanksgiving Day and we woke up without any breakfast on the table. Alex doesn’t eat breakfast, usually sleep past noon and would not eat for a few hours after he wakes up (unless he has to work). Luckily the Whole Foods Market is open till 3PM today. So when both my wife and daughter woke up, we dressed up and drove 10 miles to this Whole Foods Market in Lake Grove. I was surprised I still had a few hours to do Tai Chi and ride the bike around Kings Place a bit in the morning. Mama did a huge shopping in Whole Food so that Alex could taste “wholefood” food and we don’t have to go out for breakfast the next morning. By the time we got back to Alex’s place, he was still asleep.

We sat down in Alex’s kitchen and surfed the web until he woke up. Then we chatted, and had “microwave” Turkish coffee, until Alex was ready for lunch. By that time, it was almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

“We have less than an hour before the sky gets dark!”

We forced Alex to drive his old car to Syosset to look for this Korean restaurant called “Surasang”. Every shop was closed, that made it very easy for him to drive and very easy to find that restaurant. We ordered so much, we felt our stomachs would explode like the day before.

When we got back, we talked briefly about going to the city using the LIRR train from Kings Park.

Nov 23 (Friday)

Mama changed her mind. She cancelled the trip to New York City.

“It’s pretty expensive, tickets for LIRR is about $14 one way and more than that if it’s rush hours.”

So all in all, it’s about more than a hundred dollars on LIRR transportation alone for the three of us. We could always drive our car there, but nobody was insane enough to do that.

Mama said we should just visit a nearby beach and then have lunch and head home to Erie. So that morning, we drove down to Sunken Meadow State Park picked up seashells by the seashore and rushed back to Alex house to eat the Whole Foods food that Mama bought.

So again we waited for Alex to wake up, waited for his stomach to be ready, then heat up all the organic+super healthy food that we bought from Whole Food Market a day ago. Alex was impressed by how light and healthy the food was. It’s the first time he tasted quinoas

That evening, we went to Smithtown to look for Red Mango for yogurt. But we ended up in Yogurtini instead. We then went to Joann fabric.  I dropped my wife and kid and went to Walmart alone to pick up some Puffy tissue papers and was greeted by piles of untidy toys on the floors everywhere – courtesy of uncouth Black Friday customers!  I quickly put the tissue papers in the car and ran back to Joann to see if Mama needs my consultation with length of Oil Cloth that she’s buying.  We found the oil cloth we want, but it’s $18 per yard+tax!

Then very quickly dinner time was near and we went back and forth on US-25 (Middle Country Road) looking for a “decent” Chinese place to eat. Dont’ ask me why but we ended up in Barnes and Nobles in Smith Haven Mall. And when it gets really late, we headed straight to the Whole Food Market in Lake Grove again. I have never visited Whole Food market so many times in a week.  Next morning, I had an email from Long Island City to visit James Wilson, another friend I knew in Rochester a decade ago.

“We should go to Long Island on Saturday and go home to Erie on Sunday instead!”

Nov 24 (Saturday)

We woke up early to wake Alex up to tell him that we changed our mind again. Immediately he turned around and went back to bed!  James and Alex were both graduates of University of Rochester in the late 90s. It must have been more than 10 years since we last saw him. We know that he was just married and had just given birth to his first born.

It took an hour to drive to Long Island. It took us a while to find the Cranky Cafe in Long Island City on Vernon Blvd. Our car GPS didn’t understand the 48-19 on Vernon Blvd. The largest number it understood was 2998 on that boulevard!  So naturally when we arrived, we were not near to the cafe at all. I attempted to walk but the wind chill was so uncomfortable, Mama refused to even check her iPhone for direction while we were walking. Finally when we met the Wilson family, we were hungry and frustrated. But nothing cheered you up better than seeing friends. James put on some weight and his spoke some Chinese! I did not even know he was learning Chinese. His wife is Venezuelan and he had to learn her language. I do not know where he find time to learn Chinese. His Chinese vocabulary is impressive and he could express almost anything he wants, but like most white Americans, he could not perfect his tone.

After lunch at Cranky Cafe, we walk to the water that separate Long Island from Manhattan and walked around like a tourist taking lots of pictures. James explained which line was the evacuation line and how the water came just to the evacuation line on the day of Hurricane Sandy. Amanda had a good time with James’ newborn, Maxwell. Mama and Amanda wanted ice-cream while I long for some warm coffee. So we had to go to two separate places to have the best of both! There was some walking, but it was well worth it.

After we parted, we went back to Elmhurst and had some very good Indonesian food at Upijaya restaurant. Then we drove back to Alex house. This time my wife could not wait to grill Alex why all this while he did not anything about his girlfriend we did not know.

Nov 25 (Sunday)

We decided to visit MITSUWA in Edgewater, New Jersey before heading west home. Mitsuwa was really is like seeing Japan in New York City. Okay, it’s not really in New York, but Egdewater is just on the other side of Hudson river from Manhattan. So even though it is not in the state of New York, CHOPSTICKNY.com would consider that place as Japan town in NYC.

I stood in one long line to purchase a “combo B: shoyu ramen” in ラーメン山頭火 for my daughter. Then when she is eating, I go stand in line for my own “kitsune soba” in a different store called “kayaba” (茅場).

Then we visited every isle in the grocery. Everyone spoke Japanese, except those who couldn’t. The funny thing we saw was that “Electrical appliance” is not sold on that day – Sunday, a strange and old Bergen County law.

This is the longest (in term of time driving) journey from NYC. On our way home, we were first trapped in a heavy traffic jam in Stroudsburg. Being clever, I snaked around the city of Stroudsburg and got ourselves out of the heavy jam by going to I-380 to go north to Binghamton. We had to change our route home (initially from using I-80) to using I-86. I thought that was a very clever move until we hit another terrible traffic jam in Binghamton. Overall, it must have cost us an extra 3 hours. But we arrived home before midnight. I usually avoided heavy holiday traffic like this one pretty well by planning ahead of time which day to drive, this is my first experience in America being trapped in the holiday travel. My daughter enjoy it so much when the FM radio played

“From Atlantic to Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific…when there’s no place like home …”

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