Tuesday, May 31

i heart ny

I love New York. But I’m never going back.

Have decided that unless there is a miraculous cure for my baikar, I’m never going to fly ever again. It’s just too much torture.

Imagine feet swelling to the size of trotters and not being able to do anything to prevent or relieve them. Leg room of 30cm that barely allows for any movement or stretching. Hot needles of pain constantly being jabbed directly into the veins. For the longest 24 hours of my life.

But sandwiched between the two worst flights I’ve ever taken in my life are two fabulous weeks in a city I almost wish I lived in.

i heart ny x 2

I love New York.

I expected it to be a combination of my favourite cities -- the never-go-to-sleep attitude of Barcelona, the never-say-die vibe of Hong Kong, the culture-vulture scene of London, the everything-available-at-a-price market place of Bangkok -- and it was.

But something was missing -- I don’t know what -- and the city just didn’t reach out and grab me. Or perhaps I was hobbling too slowly and wasn't able to get into the pace of the place.

I will still tell people that I love New York. But I must admit that I expected to love it more.

i heart ny x 3

I love New York because of:

-- picnic in Central Park and playing our Favourite game. Who’s your favourite character actor? Favourite author? Favourite holiday companion? [The last is a trick question, heh heh...]

-- Krispy Kreme donuts fresh off the conveyor belt. And I got the T-shirt to prove it! Also have the “I heart New York” T-shirt, just like a true blue tourist.

-- Chelsea Papaya’s BLT, which was specially made for me the non-beef-eater. I swear it was nonetheless contaminated with beef juices from the grill, hence so delish.

-- the Met’s Temple of Dendur. I stood within it in a daze, unable to comprehend that this was the actual temple from Egypt, brought over and recreated stone by stone.

-- Williamsburg and its quaint little shops.

-- Greenwich and Magnolia Bakery’s diabetic-inducing cupcakes.

-- Coney Island [which is not an island and we still haven’t found out why it is thus named] and its rickety wooden roller coaster and laugh-until-stomachache ride called The Zipper. Just found out that the roller coaster, known as the Cyclone, was built in 1927 and, according to the website, Emilio Franco, a mute since birth, regained his voice on the Cyclone, uttering his first words ever -- "I feel sick"!

-- Cocktail at subterranean Russian bar Pravda. We made the one delish drink last the entire evening and bonded over Most Embarrassing Moments, a variation of our Favourite game.

-- TV dinners on compartmentalised plastic plates.

-- TV. Endless episodes of Gilmore Girls and Law & Order on Tivo. Season finales of shows which haven’t even started on Singapore TV. Circumsized Cinema. And of course, Channel 35.

-- Tiny Doll House, with its, ahem, tiny doll houses filled with tiny chairs, tiny beds, tiny chandeliers which actually work, tiny fake food [Krispy Kreme!], tiny mannequins with tiny dresses in progress. Tiny, tiny, tiny!

-- flea markets. Don’t be jealous of my Little House on the Prairie dress, beaten up red leather bag, floral circle skirt, vintage pony brooch, fake amethyst earrings...I can’t get enough of old stuff.

-- Urban Outfitters, Crate & Barrel, Old Navy and of course, old favourite H&M. Oh the many happy hours we spent there.

-- MOMA gift shop. Call me shallow, but even though I couldn’t squeeze time out for the actual museum, I managed to go to its gift shop three times.

-- the weather when the sun was out. But for one abnormal week, it was the coldest spring since 1967. Going around in flip flops when it is 50 deg F (10 deg C) and raining makes you learn how to walk with wet and frozen feet without slipping and truly appreciate sunshine when it appears.

-- Ginnie and Alfie.

i heart ny x 4

I love New York. And I have the photos to prove it.

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Pretending to be a seagull at Coney Island.

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NYTC and me.

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The Zipper made us come undone after the ride.

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NYTC and Ginnie at Central Park.

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Worshipping the Krispy Kreme conveyor belt and its waterfall of icing.

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Photographer and model at work. Fashion shoot in New York, how glam is that? Big hug and thanks to Alfie and Serena.

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Saw Lady Liberty from afar. And somebody's ass up close.

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Empire State Building from my cousin's rooftop.

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The only monument I climbed.

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Ginnie and me again at the Cast Iron Building, which was being renovated.

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Because I failed to consult the guide book, we ended up at the New York Public Library on a day that it was closed. When we returned the following day, I petitioned Mayor Bloomberg to extend opening hours. They had a letter-writing counter set up for that.

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I lurved the cup noodles at Times Square because it had real steam coming out. What am I saying? I lurve cup noodles. Period.

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Not quite double exposure, but a photo of a photo of Times Square. An image of me reflected onto the image of the woman.

Friday, May 13

new york, new york

I have to leave for the airport in four hours' time and I'm still in the office.

I have not even started packing and I still need to go to M's place to pick up some stuff.

I am so screwed.

Friday, May 6

eight days to go

NYTC leaves for New York tomorrow morning. Another eight more days to go for me before checking into Casa Del GA.

Tuesday, May 3

anybody home?

Some time last year, this old classmate of mine called me up at work out of the blue and from a payphone, no less.

Him: Hello, do you know a Chee Tiong* from ACJC?
Me: Erm, yes?
Him: I am Chee Tiong.
Me: Erm, hello.
Him: Have you heard any news about me?
Me: Erm, what? [I thought I heard wrongly, as it was noisy.]
Him: Have you heard anyone talking about me?
Me: Erm, no. Who's talking about you?
Him: Reporters have been calling me and calling me.
Me: Erm, about what? [I was thinking at this point that he was insane.]
Him: [Hemming and hawing] About me. And my business.
Me: Erm, why would they want to know about your business?
Him: They want to know.

The conversation went on in this vein for a while, until he hung up, still with disbelief in his voice that no one was enquiring about him or his activities.

Last week, he called my home and asked my Mum for my mobile number. She didn't give it to him, of course, and took down his number on his insistence. When she passed it to me, I shuddered and said: "Psycho!" And then I threw the scrap of paper away.

Two days later, he called my office. For some unknown reason, I picked up. [I usually don't pick up unknown numbers, to avoid long-winded PR girls and their brainless spiels.]

Him: Hello, do you remember Chee Tiong?
Me: [Heart sinking] Erm, yes?
Him: I am Chee Tiong.
Me: Erm, hi.
Him: I tried to call you at home.
Me: [Brightly] Is it?
Him: Have you heard any news about me from Audrina*?
Me: Er, no, I don't really keep in touch with our classmates.
Him: Have you heard any news about me from your colleagues?
Me: [Clutching my phone in disbelief that this is happening again] Erm, no.
Him: They have been following me.
Me: Erm, why?
Him: They want to find out more about me.
Me: [Rather loudly and impatiently] Erm, why?
Him: Can you let me know if anyone asks about me? This is my handphone number.
Me: Erm, ok.
Him: Can I get your handphone number too in case?
Me: [Lying through my teeth] I don't have one.

He finally gets the idea and hangs up.

* Names have been changed so that he won't be able to google and find out that people have, indeed, been talking about him.

Monday, May 2

online booking

Thank you for booking your stay with us at Casa del Ginnie & Alfie (aka
Casa del GA)!
Here in reputedly one of Manhattan's smallest studio, we go by the
motto, "There's hardly any room but cheapos shouldn't complain!"
Casa del GA (rhymes with Agar Agar) is a cosy studio located in
downtown NYC (2 blocks south of WTC site) that offers fine
starving-artists sleep-on-mattresses-on-the-floor style quarters with
practically no privacy and endless hours of Law & Order, Gilmore Girls
reruns, VH1 music videos from the 80s, fresh episodes of reality Tv and
the occasional Cooking Network programs. We provide free internet
access but we dont promise any meals. Pajamas are not provided but
city tours are available on request at the kitchen counter (For
Art/Museum/Book/CD tour contact A. Lee, for Shopping/Food/Supermarket
tour contact G. Teo. Please reserve in advance).
Casa del GA is a smoke free but not (entirely) snore free zone.
For our Singaporean guests, Casa del GA is roughly equivalent to the
size of a 3 room HDB flat minus the 2 bedrooms, or for those unfamiliar
with government subsidised (or so they say) housing, it can roughly
accommodate 2 Mercedes S class wiper to wiper, with 1 driver stationed
in the kitchen alcove and the other in the bath.
For those with no sense of smell and an iron stomach Casa del GA also
provides a subway transfer service from JFK and La Guardia.

We at Casa del Ga hope that you'll enjoy your stay with us and look
forward to seeing you!
Alfie & Ginnie
Casa del GA
"Where there's hardly any room but cheapos shouldn't complain!"