Thursday, September 22, 2005

Manhattan Cruisin'

There are a few times that life smiles at you and puts a nice girl next to you in long flights. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen every once a while. That is one of the most exciting things of travelling: you never know who is going to sit next to you, and it can really be anyone. I still remember the French girl on my Air France flight to europe on my way to Greece,and also the Greek-American girl (and her indian friend) on the way to London with Virgin.

This time I fell onto a law student at NYU. it was great because we had very similar interests and we both are on the same part of our life - graduate school. She used to live to LA and now for 1 year she is staying in Manhattan. She agreed with me that life in Manhattan is much more intense than LA - it's too crowded and everyone wants to be the best, and this creates a lot of competition and stress which she didn't like sicen she was used in the more laid back lifestyle of LA. Also, she argued how she doesn't like the Law school because it's all law students that only talk about politics and stuff. 100% of her NY friends are Law students. She was fascinated to meet a scientist(!) since I was only the 2nd one she's ever met, after her neuroscientist cousin.

Anyways enough talking about the girl. I got a car as soon as I landed, and I headed straight for Manhattan (in the opposite side than Brookhaven is :-) ). This time I needed no map as I now by now pretty well how to get on and off the island. Then, I had one of the most weird experiences of my life while driving there. It was Sunday night after midnight, and instead of finding traffic I found empty streets and green lights all the way. At the same time I was scanning through the radio stations and I came across a classical music piece that was very exciting and fast and adrenaline-pumped. So I put the volume to 100%, opened the windows and drove quite fast through the scyscrapers... I drove all the way from Central Park to Times Square where I met the first red light (the perfect spot to stop and watch!). When the light turned green again, I kept driving at full speed, with the music loud, and one after the other the lights ahead of my turned green, guiding my way until Washington Square (that's about 50 blocks from Times Square).

I drove though Midtown Manhattan, one of the busiest places in the whole world in less that 10 minutes... The feeling is very difficult to describe unless you live it yourself (have you seen William Dafoe in Boondock Saints?).

Now that my work is almost done here (I'll return to that next week when I have more time) I am starting to prepare for the weekend... one of the most promising weekends of my life. My friends from LA are coming, and we have huge plans for taking themost out of the 72 hours we'll spend in Manhattan. For the nights, the schedule in already booked (with all reservations made over the internet): On Friday we'll go to China Club, a 3 floor dance stage with open terrace in the middle of the scyscrapers. On Saturday we'll go to watch the Phantom of The Opera at the arguably best theater in Broadway, The Majestic (I hope it will be worth the $110 each!). Next, we'll go to Bouzoukia, a traditional greek type of entertainment hosted in The Cave, in a basement somewhere in Astoria (the biggest greek community outside Greece). On Sunday we'll go to some bars in Greenwich Village, where is the place for many students and artists to hang out, followed by a visit to NY Dolls Club (now you can figure out what kind of place this is, right?). As for the daytime, we don't have an explicit schedule yet, we are planning to visit the Museum of Natural History (truly great stuff there), the Museum of Modern Arts (never been there before), Columbia University and Central Park, do the circle of Manhattan by speedboat, plus a few more things... After this visit, I will have succeded in the tasks I set to myself to achieve last March, when I wrote this post. I just didn't expect them to happen within 6 months!