As a bicycle lover, I was really pleased and a little surprise to see a long bicycle lanes and greenway in NYC on my trip to the city last month. After we checked in at our hotel on E. 28th. Street in Midtown, we freshened up a bit and left the hotel around 5;00 PM.
We walked and window-shopped along E28th. Street until we got to a junction where E28th. Street meets Broadway. And I think strolling along Broadway was the fun part. We stopped a few times, snapped some photos, got us a cup of coffee in green-way space where the cyclists, runners, strollers and walkers are safe from motorists.
Another part that surprised me was the visible presence of Bangladeshi. Once we got to Uptown around Broadway, almost every store we passed by or we walked into employed or managed by Bangladeshi.
On Saturday morning after we had breakfast, we stopped at Taz Aroma on Broadway. I wanted to get some body oils fragrance and Rohana was looking for a sport watch. Standing on the sidewalk outside the stores, it seemed Taz Aroma had both items we were looking for. Three of six sales clerks greeted us as we stepped into the store, even they were serving the customers. Two of them seated cash registers.
The ones behind the cash registers were older than the rest. Those two behind the cash registers reminded me of the "taukeh" figures in any Indian stores in Malaysia. When you see them, you know right away they either own or manager the store. They way they dress, they way they carry themselves - full of confident. The air of authority air float around them you can almost smell it.
One of the sales person asked Rohana where she came from.
As soon as they heard Malaysia, I heard the word, "Selamat Datang." I spun around, "Who said that?" Without us asking him, the man told us he was in Kuala Lumpur for about a year. Small world. Back int Pokok Asam, my niece and Adik teased me when I said I missed riding my bicycle.
They said, "Kat sini Bangla dengan orang tua saja naik basikal." Hah.....
And in Manhattan, they are visible in many electronic stores, fabric stores and what surprised me most when they are about a dozen stores in Canal Street (Chinatown) that used to be strictly owned by Chinese are now run by Bangladeshis.
I only know her through reading her blog. I love her writing style. And I've always marveled and amazed the way she writes her blog. Even a short entry about her attempt to bake a cake left me a question, how did she do it?. The piece came out like a precious pearl. (I love pearls).
The wonderful thing was I felt like I've known her for years when the first time we hugged outside Times Square subway stop.
Two weeks ago after Mama Z dropped her daughter, Rose at her campus UMass Amherst, we decided to drive up to New Hampshire to watch the foliage. I know Vermont is the best place, but we had a wonderful time watching blazing colors and shades of yellow, orange and red bursting in one tree. That was enough to stimulate some cells in my brain for a week.
We stopped at an intersection of Jaffrey , a town in New Hamshire and saw scarecrows lined up ahead and a couple of dozens more on the common. We were told they had 308 scarecrows this year scatterred around downtown Jaffrey.
One of the scarecrows caught my attention was dressed in half man and half woman. We don't dress up like this scarecrow: half woman and half man, but we are all the balance of woman and man, egg and sperm , mother and father, that makes us as whole.
Mama Z bought a couple of gorgeous mums for $2 a pot.
When I was a kid taking a ferry ride was half of the fun of getting to a destination. Sometimes I didn't really care where we were going as long as ferry was included in a plan. Before the Penang Bridge was built in 1985, ferries were the only transportation from George Town,Penang Island to the mainland.
I was on the other ferry heading toward Penang when I took this picture during my trip to Malaysia in 2006.
The end of platform of Penn Subway Station on 34th St.
I've always been perplexed when I hear a remark, "I'm a retard..." until I got out of shower on Friday evening at the hotel. I came out from a sparkling bathroom complained to Noor the shower wasn't working. Damn these people. Why did they turn off the shower?
Fifteen minutes later Noor told me the same thing. Besides the faucet, there were only saw the lever for hot and cold water above the faucet and way up above the lever was the shower head. There was not extra button or tiny handle visible. Later we found out by sticking your forefinger and thumb into the part where the water came out , there was a tiny ring. You pulled the ring, and walla......you got a shower.
As we were getting ready to go out, we had a good laugh at at ourselves. Here we were, sharing our working and traveling experiences before we moved to US. We landed in a strange and amazing cities due to the nature of our jobs, slept in three stars, four stars or five stars hotels and we couldn't figure it out how to get the shower worked. "I am a retard" was exctly how I felt after I found out about the hidden ring.
First, let me tell you I had a swell time this weekend in Noo Yawk City. We walked miles and miles from one street to another. We hopped on subways from uptown, mid-town, got off in-between to downtown. We crossed Upper West Side to Upper East Side.
Noor and I met two years ago during Hari Raya gathering at Encik Wan Hashim's house in Newton. Noor is a Singaporean woman married to an American. We clicked right away for the first time, but due to our busy schedules we only be able to keep in touch by phone calls and e-mails.
Finally we materialized our plan on the last week of April. We left Boston on Friday morning on Greyhound bus and reached NYC before noon. We had three hours to on our hands before the check in time at 3.00pm.
When we checked in into our hotel on West 94th Street at 3.00 pm, we'd probably have walked seven or eight miles around Manhattan before we took a # 3 train to upper west side.
I almost picked up the phone and called the office to ask a director for another two days off. It was Wednesday noon in Brooklyn, New York and I had such a wonderful time away from work. If it wasn't for a word I gave to one of my clients to accompany her to a district court this morning, I would've had proceed with the plan.
We left Boston on Friday night to Pocono, Pennsylvania for a short trip. The next morning we had a huge and delicious breakfast at Chew N Chat Diner in Blakeslee.
I had veggies omelet loaded with spinach, onions wild mushrooms, two slices of tomatoes and dry wheat toast. B had spinach omelet, rye toast and home fries. We also shared a super duper Belgian melt-in-a-mouth waffle. I was positive the waffle was tastier than any waffle I had before. I wonder if away-from-work air did the trick.
As I was sipping my coffee I asked B if he had noticed anything difference in a diner. He looked around - at the walls, floors, patrons, waitress, interior decorations.
"They have too many cabbage dolls and wooden little men on the wall."
Our sweet waitress zoomed from the counter and eficiently placed three plates in front of us. She poured more coffee and moved to the next booth.
"Look at our plates Buu, what you don't see?"
B's fork stopped halfway from stabbing his omelet. "Buu, I'm so hungry, tell me your observation while I eat."
As I attacked of my toast I shared with B my observation:
The edge of our plates were wiped clean- no grease, no bread crumbs, no tiny pieces of dark-foreign objects-from-the grill.
Half of his omelet was gone when B's hit a jackpot.
"The cook is a woman.....hmmm... this is all women diner."
B slapped his forehead.
"I should have known the moment I saw how clean our plates are. You always wipe the edge of the plates, Buu."
About an hour later we left Chew N Chat, full and happy. We drove back to New York in the evening on the same day. The traffic turtled as we approached Holland Tunnel, a tunnel built under Hudson River connecting Jersey City, New Jersey to lower Manhattan. Holland Tunnel is named after Clifford Holland a pioneer in tunnel construction. The sun was setting when we hit Canal Street, in China Town.
The next day we crossed Manhattan Bridge and drove around the Village for three times looking for a small recording studio owned by B's old friend that no longer exist (we learned about it on a third round).