I spent the last few days in New York City... after a long... make that LOOOOOOOOOOOONG plane ride. Let me emphasize, that I was on the plane for 9 fucking hours, but that our flying time was all of around 6. To spend an extra 3 hours on the plane without going anywhere is annoying to say the least. Needless to say, the natives were getting restless.
I woke up at 8:10 AM the day of my departure for New York (much to my husband's chagrin, I was leaving him for a week and a day... he couldn't come with me on this trip because of this thing he calls "work"... he has a normal job, so I guess that's the word to use), finished my packing and got ready. We arrived at LAX without incident because it was a Sunday, the best time to be on the freeways in LA (oh, you do NOT want to be driving on the 405 -- in either direction -- on the weekdays, particularly Friday... it's hell on earth, without exaggeration)... got checked-in and through security. I thought that the journey to NYC would go uneventfully. I was even able to catch the final moments of the British Open golf tournament (yes, Tiger Woods won) in the airport lounge before I made the decision to head downstairs, buy my Starbucks latte and get to my gate.
Part one of my trip goes without a hitch. I land at Dallas/Fort Worth airport, check which gate I'm leaving from, and wait for around an hour, texting my friends in Manila and calling my friend Victor to inform him of my arrival and confirm dinner plans with the girls. Finally, the boarding announcement is made... I settle into my seat, ready my noise cancelling headphones and my iPod, put my book away, and lean back.
This is when things get frustrating.
Once everyone's on board, the captain announces that "due to bad weather conditions in New York City, we cannot take off. Air traffic control is telling us that we will be delayed around 2 hours and 20 minutes" WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!? At this point, some passengers make the decision to take their things and get off the plane to wait in the terminal. I thought to just stay on the plane, in case air traffic pushed up up in their flight sequence. Besides, I was too lazy, too sleepy and too tired to gather up my possessions and disembark. Never mind, I'll sit this out. How bad could this get, right?
I then lean my seat back, and strangely enough I'm able to get around an hour of shut eye. The captain's voice then awakens me with another announcement (I usually can sleep through just about anything... why was this an exception?): "Air traffic has advised us that unfortunately, things in La Guardia are such that our schedule has been pushed back. We've been hoping to get pushed forward, but we apologize for the delay, and will advise you if there are any changes." This... is... not... good. It was a minor consolation that the airline decided to show all the inflight movies and TV shows while we were on the ground to keep ennui from setting in, but after a few hours on that plane, you are bound to get stir crazy. And that captain expressed that to air traffic control, that everyone on the plane was getting restless. It must have reached God's ears, because a few minutes after that announcement, we got our salvation: "We'll be departing in 10 minutes." All the passengers hurriedly put their electronics away in preparation for the soon-to-happen takeoff. FINALLY!!!
The trip went quite smoothly once we were in the air, and the flight attendants started serving the food almost immediately after takeoff. After an hour or so, I decided to look out my window, and was stunned by the view outside: a more-than-half moon lighting our way, the black sky dotted with stars, and just below mists of clouds that made the scene look like something out of a Harry Potter novel. It was breathtaking. God was around somewhere, and if anyone else was looking out of their windows that night, would have been consoled by the beauty of the night sky. I wouldn't have traded that view for anything, and I felt fortunate to have seen it. It lasted all of a few minutes; I looked out again, and all I could see were grey clouds. I was blessed... for a few minutes, I felt blessed.
Landing in La Guardia was hectic, given that just about every delayed flight from different parts of the country landed at the same time ours did. Four flights per carousel (and there were a few carousels going round and round) were being serviced, and the ground staff was trying their best to get everyone's bags out as quickly as possible. My limo driver was also calling me, trying to find me amidst the crowd. We finally saw each other, and he met me at my spot. It didn't take too long for the suitcases to appear, and once they did, we were out of there.
I arrived at my hotel at around 2 AM (it was a pleasure getting into Manhattan today; no traffic from the airport!), checked in and brought my own bags upstairs in the hotel push cart, as there was only one person downstairs watching the lobby (and the mesmerizing fish tank). I navigated the narrow hallway (with the pushcart, which was at time unwieldy) to my little room, unloaded the luggage, parked the cart by the elevators, then began to settle in. The room was bathed in blue light when I entered, which I thought was cool. Then 5 minutes passed, and I had to turn them off. There was a plasma TV hanging on the wall (perfect for in-bed TV viewing), double window shades that were both drawn, a small bathroom, a desk with both broadband and dialup ports as well as electrical outlets and a really comfortable bed. As sparsely furnished as the place was, I was in a good place, and I'm glad the reservation was made.
The highlights of my stay were: seeing to the plans for the renovation of my New York apartment, the setting up of my website, meeting with the director of a concert I'll be doing in November at Carnegie Hall, and seeing two shows: DOUBT and SPAMALOT. Also, having rounds of blowjobs with my friends, and having dinner with my friend Yvette and her husband Marc. It was so good to just sit, drink, and catch up with everyone.
Doubt just won the Tony Award for Best Play, and it did not disappoint. I had never seen Cherry Jones in anything, so I had no idea what to expect. I was rivetted by her resolve as Sister Aloysius to determine the truth. Unfortunately Brian O'Byrne didn't play Father Flynn at that performance, but his standby Chris McGarry was quite good. The play ran at 90 minutes, and went by so quickly... I now need to read the play, in order to get a handle on whatever I might have missed. There were moments of laugh-out loud humor, and you-can-hear-a-pin-drop drama. No overacting, no hamming it up, just honesty. It was incredible to watch.
Spamalot was a trip!!! After hearing the soundtrack (and hearing of the passion for this show from friends in Manila), I was incredibly excited. Upon going inside, before I headed to my seat I made a beeline to the concessions stand to gather merchandise for the Spamalot Fan Club, Manila Chapter (you know who you are, peoples!), then went to the ladies room and finally found my seat, with the mountain of souvenir brochures and t-shirts at my feet. After hearing the creative "turn your cellphone off" message (I won't ruin it for those who haven't yet seen the show), the orchestra started to play... and from the first notes of that overture, I knew I was going to be in for a really great ride. I will not write about the show here, except to say that the entire cast was excellent and the show itself a riotous load of fun. My face was exhausted from laughing and smiling for over 2 hours. I didn't think having a good time would be so draining! After the show I headed backstage to visit my friend from the ensemble of the show, and was pleasantly surprised to see two former colleagues from the Manila production of Miss Saigon. We all exchanged hugs and how-are-you's. It was so great to see them. I then headed off to the car rental company to pick up my car... I had a long drive to DC ahead of me.
The drive was gorgeous, very different from driving on the freeways of Los Angeles. On my right were rows of tall trees, which made my imagination run wild with the thought of how beautiful this drive must be in the fall, when the foliage is a colorful display of reds, siennas, browns, yellows and oranges. I've never made an east coast road trip in the fall before, and it's something I wanna definitely do in my life before I die. If I do another New York show, that will definitely be on my to-do list. It's a sight I want to share as well with those I love and whose company I enjoy.
So... I have a concert on Saturday, and I think I'll be just fine. These are songs that I've done in concert before, so I'm not as stressed as I was in Munich. My New York friends are also making the drive down to watch the show, so I'm excited that they'll be here.
Signing off... this is one long ass blog!