Monthly Archives: July 2008

The trip

Day 0

The plane was really hot, but at least they gave us Vitaminwater. But, best of all, was the XM Satellite radio. The first song I heard on the radio: Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park. I guess it is only fitting. Lots of black people on the plane heading for Atlanta.

Day 1

Food: The Waffle House and Charley’s Grilled Subs

A two-hour-thirty-minute rain delay forced us to leave the game early. At the time we left, the Padres were winning, but on the verge of collapse. So we went back to the hotel thinking the Padres won–even though the game was not yet over. The rain was pretty scary though. Hiding underneath a hat and a thin jacket simply does not work. We were probably in one of the worst parts of the stadium too because the wind was swirling right into us. Progressive Field played a bunch of annoying songs about rain and waiting during the delay–only one or two of which I actually knew or liked. They did provide some entertainment through through a scoreboard feature that allowed people to send text messages to display on the big screen during the delay.

The hotel was pretty crappy. The room smelled of smoke and was not cleaned probably. But a terrific white lady, who I assumed to be the manager’s assistant, was quite nice in cleaning the room and making us feel comfortable despite the stench of cigarette smoke in the hallways. The gym was a joke too–way smaller than it was promised to be.

Day 2

Food: Moe’s Southwest Grill

We visited the Ford Rouge Factory in the morning. It’s amazing how many people it takes to build a Ford F-150 truck. The seemingly never-ending assembly line requires one person to complete the same exact task on car after car for 10 hours a day, 4 days a week. You think they could get robots to do some of the tasks, but I guess it provides jobs to lots of peoples. They did have neat robot that snaps windshields to frames with crazy instant-glue stuff.

After the Tigers’ game, we had to deal with tons of smokers as we ventured back to our car. Once there, we found a shopping center with a fair amount of food choices. Lo and behold, it was right near the Ford Factory–back where we started. We had a choice between Chilis, On the Border and the Moes. We ended up dining at Moes, which turned out to be the first of several copy-cat Chipotles that we ran across. They welcomed everyone with the greeting "Welcome to Moe’s!" They could not serve us tomatoes though. Still want to dine at the former restaurants someday though.

Day 3

Sunday taught me never to leave my parents in charge. Much argument and debate occurred going into the day and continuing throughout the day about what to do, where to go and when to go. We ended up at some BAPS temple in Toronto, where I learned about Kaccha the Tortoise. That’s exactly what I’m naming my pet turtle/tortoise some day… When trying to leave the temple, we were temporarily delayed by what else but a thunderstorm. Sunday was also the day I got sick after eating some mango as prasad at some dude’s house.

Day 4

Woke up bright and early without breakfast so at the first gas stop I picked up a donut and a bagel at Tim Hortons. The place was basically Golden Bagel fused with Krispy Kreme, which was very convenient. Sadly, the orange juice I drank did not ease my sore throat.

In Cooperstown, life was hell. Although we got some more free vitaminwater while waiting for the baseball parade to start, the actual parade kind of sucked. Kevin Towers seemed really bored as he drove by in a trolley car.

As the clouds started coming, my grandma and I entered the stadium and my parents returned to the car to grab some jackets. Their efforts were worthless as the rain came down and drenched my grandma and I. The stadium had to be emptied due to the impending lightning, but the event organizers thought everything had passed so we returned inside the stadium—only to have the same thing happen again. Except this time, the form of precipitation was hail, and my grandma and I were forced to huddle under an overhang with hundreds of others. A horrible solution as water from a gutter kept dumping on my back. All the while, I really had to go pee. I finally satiated my kidneys by visiting a porta-potty. The highlight of the day may have been the bagpipers in the parade–those things are tight! The lowlight of the day may have been my mom’s lack of following directions. I repeatedly told her we needed to buy ponchos, but to this day we lack this helpful rain gear.

After the game was finally canceled, we started our trek toward the City of New York. Our GPS took us through some beautiful forest areas. The only problem was it was dark, foggy and just a touch scary. When the rain got to the point where it caused my dad’s driving to slow to alley speeds, we stopped for dinner Paul’s Diner for some pizza and spaghetti before checking into a hotel.

Day 5

Now, I am starting to feel really bad. No rain during the day, but some light drizzle during the game. We visited Columbia, which was old. I could not really picture myself hanging out within the gates that outline the school. No school on Fridays is attractive though… The Yankees have this cool chant for Jorge Posada–HIP HIP JORGE! I wish we had something that cool. I guess KOOOOOOUZ counts, but I mean you can’t compete with hip hip Jorge! We sat in front of some interesting Jewish twenty-somethings. It seems like all the Jewish males in New York wear yamicas. There is no similar prevalence of Jewish headdresses in San Diego.

For lunch, we stopped at Google, which was basically Souplantation on steroids. Speaking of steroids, the daughter of my mom’s friend (whose house we stayed at) looks quite like this girl I know named Jenny, except on steroids. But, yah, Google had amazing food, a whole wall full of drinks and a big vat of smoothie slushiness. Beautiful. Idli was dinner.

Day 6

Woke up sick and without a voice. Still made it out to NYU, which was very sleek. Something I like. Lots of royal purple. Something I also like.

Trying to get into Yankee Stadium for the second time turned into an adventure. My mother was denied entrance for having one of those cloth bags that are now so popular. Apparently, the bag does not qualify as a purse even though people with similar types of bags were admitted entrance the night before. First, their policies vary from gate to gate. Second, in a nation that has becoming increasingly eco-friendly, the Yankee Stadium employees forced my mom to throw away her cloth bag INTO A TRASH CAN and instead put all of her stuff into a clear plastic grocery bag! Some stores have stopped issuing grocery bags–and here Yankee stadium security forces are wasting tons of them. What difference does it make if my mom carries stuff in an open-top over the shoulder cloth bag or handheld clear grocery bag. The contents do not change. Worst of all, the bag was lost to dump for absolutely no f’in reason. Those employees should be convicted of treason. Al Gore, where are you!?

In other developments, I found Korean food quite appetizing. Korean pancakes are actually omelettes. And something called bing bing bop actually turned out to just be really tasty burnt rice (sounds like an oxymoron).

Day 7

While my mom and grandma toured NYC on a CitySights bus, my dad and I wandered around Times Square. We eventually settled down for a couple hours at the ESPNZone to watch SportsCenter and later the Padres-Yankees game on YES. Some black dude ended up coming up to us and chilling. Since I had no voice, I could not converse much, but he made an effort to understand my strained whispers. He was a really nice and well-educated man (at least as far as sports are concerned). His only flaw was that he kept bitching about how he should be at work right now and how he was going to end up in a lot of trouble. I really did not understand why he just did not leave. It was sad to leave him and it was even sadder that my dad refused to shake his hand. I ended up eating two dinners of Indian food Thursday.

Day 8

Northeastern turned out to be a pretty traditional campus, but Emerson College consisted entirely of  a few high-rises. What was cool about Northeastern though was that they have underground tunnels so that you never have to go outside during the winter! At Emerson, one of the tour guide girls said she applied to 17 colleges, include Harvard and Yale, and was accepted by every single one of them. Damn son. But Emerson is not the kind of place that I could see myself staying at for the next four years. Between colleges, my mom and I wandered around Boston for more than an hour because we forgot where we parked. Meanwhile, back at Fenway Park, my dad and grandma stood in line for a limited number of gameday tickets. They had no food, no jackets to battle the light drizzle and no place to pee in. They managed to tough it for four hours though. We procured our tickets and were immediately escorted into the stadium. We ended having to wait three hours for the game to start since we got in at 5 and then had to bear through an hour-long rain delay. During those two hours, I tried to catch some batting practice home runs, but not a single one was hit while I waited. The celebration for the Boston Celtics championship was pretty cool though. The glistening golden trophies in the rain were a sight to see.

Day 9

Saturday featured an incredibly long drive during which I could not talk and our GPS gave us stupid directions. Almost got some Cinnabon. I still want to try that place. I always see it at the mall, but never really want to waste money there. One question though: when your grandma takes off her socks in the car and her feet smell horrible, do you say something or just suck it up and deal with it? I battled this question for much time all the while sucking it up. Dinner consisted of some more fake Chipotle type of stuff yet again. Mexican gumbo to be exact. At Dairy Queen, I got a banana split which turned out to pack more a punch of then I thought it would, but it was delicious! These restaurants were actually found in no place other than a food court at a mall, which actually turns out to be a great place to find food during a vacation. We stopped at a few other places in the area, but since the area was super rich and upscale most of what we found focused solely on meat/seafood or was super expensive. On the other hand, the food court had everything and for cheap. All of the people we passed by, except in the food court, seemed to be talking politics too. Figures. We stayed at the Hare Krishna temple in Potomac, Maryland, where I started regaining my voice. That night we spotted deer, lightning, a rainbow and tons and tons of bugs, flies and the like. It was kind of weird how the temple is randomly located in the middle of a residential area. But they own a cow and tons of land so hopefully they can actually build a real temple someday. That night while my parents were scavenging for food, we met some crazy lady who speaks Hindi. She stressed to me never to drive fast and never drink from another person’s cup or eat off another person’s plate. But she did say it is ok to marry white people–something to do with integration. I want to learn Hindi now. Sounds so cool when she talks it.

Day 10

Everyone I talked with during my early morning run in the rich neighborhood smiled at me or waved. Much better than here in San Diego. Then again, everyone there was Caucasian.

I never ate any breakfast, which as I had learned from past experience really kills. My dad did not want to pay $25 for parking so we followed signs to free parking at nearby RFK stadium. But, apparently we choose the worst day to use the free shuttle buses from RFK to Nationals Park because according to one of the attendants the two-hour line we had to stand in to get back to our car was the worst he had seen all season. Note that the temperatures were in the 90s and we had no water. FML. The bus fiasco illustrates though how hard it is to tell when spending big money is worth it and when it’s not? Sometimes you can get away being cheap, sometimes it backfires. So hard to know!

At the game, I searched around for a veggie burger because I had been having a burger craving for a couple days. Only problem was that only one place in the entire stadium sold them and by the time I arrived there  in the fifth inning they were sold out. I settled for a veggie dog, which was kind of nasty. Veggie burgers are definitely the better buy.

Day 11

We hit the road at 5:55 am. For breakfast, I consumed some Trader Joes bite-sized frosted shredded wheats. Pretty damn good, just hard to chew on. Did not understand the whole bite-sized moniker. The Museum of Modern Art was kind of small and boring compared to the Met, but at least the layout was slightly better. We had dinner at my brother’s house. The tomato soup and risotto was rather delicious. I found risotto to be like mac and cheese–and I would like some more of it. While waiting for him to finish cooking dinner, we strolled around Chinatown. That was an incredibly scary experience because we were the only non-squinty-eyed people on the streets. I feared for my life. But we got out safely.

The Mets stadium(s) is/will be kind of cool because the planes traveling to and from nearby LaGuardia offer something to always look at. Just tilt your head up and you are bound to see a plane. New York subways, by the way, are confusing. Our travel time to get home from the game (two hours) matched the actual time we spent watching the game.

Day 12

I woke up pretty late. Even though it was 9 o’clock, I should have still gone for a run, but I failed to. My parents decided to go to an Indian grocery store, but it was not very exciting. My only gripes of the day were that AirTran could not get XM working on the Newark to Atlanta flight and that Atlanta’s airport allows smoking in certain areas. It just happened to be that the gate we were waiting at was directly across from one of those areas. It made it hard for me to enjoy my Burger King veggie burger and strawberry frozen yogurt, both of which were tasty.

Concluding thoughts

Despite the rainout in Cooperstown, I would consider the trip a success. It was easily the weirdest one I have been on because we never watched a single game from start to finish. We either arrived late or had to leave early. And 12 days of precipitation and 11 days of lightning was something new for me.