Yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. I dragged myself out of bed, attempted to wrangle my various limbs into making some kind of combined walking/bag-carrying effort and somehow sleepwalked my way down to the bus station. After wolfing down some kind of breakfast burrito (it might have been a BLT? My brain didn't really register), I boarded the bus that was to be my abode for the next (supposedly) 11 hours.
The first portion of the trip (Toronto-border) I mostly slept, doing that special kind of contortionist's dance that one does in the unforgiving world of bus seats (thankfully I had two to myself so I could almost get comfortable). The border guards were brusque but let me through, and we proceeded on through Buffalo, Syracuse and onwards.
I had no idea that the bus trip would take me through three (yes, THREE) states - along with New York, we popped in to Pennsylvania (and visited a Burger King - oh the thrill!!) and motored through New Jersey on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel. We'd been on the road for nearly 12 hours by the time we emerged on the NYC side of the tunnel, and were just turning onto the road that would take us to the bus station when disaster in the form of a beige sedan struck the side of our bus.
Yes, a freaking CAR hit our BUS, which would have been bad enough, but then the driver (who might have been new) decided that it would be prudent to keep everyone on the bus while he waited for the police to arrive to sort out the accident. This whole 'being locked on a smelly bus after 12 hours of travel' situation quickly devolved into other passengers yelling and jumping out of emergency exits and the like until it seemed that only myself and this lovely couple from Providence were staying at all calm. Others were screaming out of windows at passersby and talking about 'hostage situations' and threatening to sue the poor (but misguided) bus driver. Oh, the drama!
After almost two hours of being stuck inside the stinking thing, the police finally arrived and ushered us to freedom. It turns out we were less than a block from the main entrance to the station the entire time, and I've never been so very happy to see a sketchy bus terminal in my LIFE.
Upon arrival I met up with my lovely host who proceeded to take me on what felt like a psychedelic trip down 42nd Street, where my poor, tired, possibly Stockholm syndrome'd to a bus brain could hardly take in all the flashing billboards and giant stores and is that a McDonald's with a sparkling light marquee?? Just as I was feeling like I was on some bad drugs, we mercifully turned off the main drag onto some lovely streets that instantly brought to mind (you had to have known this was coming) Sex and the City, all pretty brownstones with the requisite stairs and charming little restaurants. Our first dinner-pick was too packed, so we wound up at a bustling Thai place, where I satiated my extreme hunger (I'd been mainly subsisting on granola bars for the last eight hours of the trip, not being tempted by the greasy ick of our Burger King rest stop) with absolutely delectable chicken with peanut sauce on a bed of steamed broccoli. I mean, this stuff was manna from the heavens and I wolfed it down with pleasure.
Once dinner was done, Pamela took me back through the whirlwind of lights to the subway, and from there we chugged on out to Queens and arrived at her lovely apartment, where I gratefully washed off some of the bus-grime and collapsed on an extremely plush couch.
Now it's almost 8 a.m. and I've already been treated to homemade Indian-style tea by one of Pamela's roommates and am sitting in the sun shining in through the window as I write this first missive from the land of the Big Apple. Now I'll sit down and try to plan out my first day on the town, which judging from the sun will include Central Park. The roommate also told me that the Museum of Natural History might be free today, so I must look into that. Tonight is the Decemberists show as well, so I have that to look forward to as well.
Now I'm off to begin my great adventure - I'll be back soon with the second installment of NYC: The Big Sexy Trip of Awesome, by Jessica Bartram soon!