When I studied abroad in Thailand in 2008, I made best buddies with the coolest local, Sugar. We dramatically parted ways at a train stop in Bangkok in Jan 2009, never knowing when we’d see each other again.
Three years later, Sugar is working for L’Oreal and they decided to send her to NYC for Fashion Week!
I booked my plane ticket to NYC, excited for the epic reunion. Some highlights from the trip:
-Losing Sugar in Central Park. We were running a 1.5 mi loop around around the Jacqueline Kennedy Oasis Reservoir.
I ran ahead, feeling confident I would catch her bright green sweatshirt on my second lap. Every time I caught a glimpse of a brightly colored top, I raced ahead to find Sugar. I got pretty close with an Asian in a teal Lululemmon sweatshirt; albeit, no Sugar. On my third lap, I decide to reverse direction to be sure I catch this stealthy creature. No luck. After three laps, I’m feeling like something has gone horribly wrong. Someone has snatched Sugar! I head back to Cora’s (our gracious hostess for the weekend), to re-group and grab money in case I can get Sugar to meet me via taxi.
I race up to the apartment, red-faced and winded, and am greeted by a very relaxed looking Sugar.
Me: “What happened?!”
Sugar: “I got tired, so I came back”.
Me: “Oh, well….that makes sense”.
Relaxed now that Sugar is safe and sound, we shower and Sugar does my makeup. I remove the bright green makeup Sugar has put on and she instead does a stellar job with a more subtle glitter bombed brown. We head to lunch, and then to meet her Thai friends who came in from Philly. The one request her Thai friend has is to see the Museum of Sex while in NYC. My friend Alissa hails all the way from Boston to meet up with us, and into the Museum of Sex we go (or, as I will tell my coworkers who will ask what I did in NYC, just “The Museum”).
In typical Tracey fashion, I sneak in for free but then feel bad (I must be growing up!) and go back outside to join my friends and pay like the responsible citizen I am.
In the Museum of Sex, we learn that dolphins sometimes have sex through the blowhole, “Youth” is the #1 searched type of pornography (anyone else a bit bothered by this?), there are a lot of gay monkeys, and there is a species of fish that can change gender, based upon the social situation.
Post museum, we head to the NYC LGBT center, where we gladly welcome a place to sit, and learn about the gay things to do in NYC. None of it is happening this weekend, so we move on to begin the arduous task of coordinating a place to meet a bunch of different people for dinner. The conversation goes something like this:
Me, calling Monica: “Hey! Want to go to dinner?! We are going to Ippudo, for Japanese udon!”
Monica: “Ohh god. No way. There will be a 4 hour wait. Trust me.”
Me: “Ohh…well, that puts a crinkle in our plans. Wherever (of the 2 million restaurants in the city) will we eat now?!”
Monica then lists out a few places, and we agree on a sushi place in East Village.
As we head there, Sugar suddenly exclaims “How about Taisho? My friend suggested it a while ago”.
It begins to rain.
Me, calling Monica: “Change of plans, we are going to Tai Chow.”
Monica: “Thai…. what? Chow? How do you spell that?”
Sugar, gets on phone with her friend we are meeting for dinner, to get full name of the restaurant.
Monica: “No, that is not a restaurant in NYC”
Me: “Sugar, how do you spell Thai Cho?”
Sugar, on phone with her friend, Kin :”How do you spell it? T….a? h?”
Me, to Monica: “T-A….what comes after A, Sugar?!”
This goes on for a few more minutes before our college degrees kick in, we learn that Thai Cho is Taisho, and you must look up Yakitori Taisho to find directions. Satisfied we have figured out the hardest part, we then all get on the subway and head to the restaurant.
Once we find the restaurant, we are transported to a China where the one child policy does not exist, and you literally a) cannot get into the restaurant and b) 15 minutes later, when you have clawed your way in, you cannot stretch without hitting the person next to you. As every person in the place is Asian, we decide this place is legit and sit down to eat.
Alissa, Monica and I have our backs to the wall, when Alissa suddenly has a spasm, with an intense look of fear in her eyes. I know that look. It’s the look of someone who has seen NYC’s most prevalent resident…the roach. I immediately jump 5 feet in the air, make a large scene, and sprint to the other side of the restaurant, taking Monica down with me. The waiter quickly clears away the roach, while I skittishly brush imaginary insects off my shoulder, and make the others switch sides of the table with me.
Monica suggests we switch restaurants, b/c we just saw a filthy vile creature, which we all quickly dismiss as a ludicrous idea, as we have successfully been seated in a NYC restaurant on a Saturday night and there is no way we are going anywhere.
We eat the most delicious meal of things I cannot pronounce and did not take pictures of, but please enjoy these pictures from the internet:
After our eating adventure, we head to Monica’s to listen to records and smoke hookah (we’re so retro). At 1:30am, we head to Empire Hotel to get the night started. At a time I am normally deep in REM cycle 3, we begin dancing the night away. 3 hours later, we’re eating chicken and rice from a street vendor and 5 hours after that, we are at brunch.
We meet a fellow UT grad and Christie Yang at Alice’s Tea Cup, the most darling little place in the Upper East Side, modeled after Alice in Wonderland (although both bathroom doors are the same size = disappointing).
After a delicious meal of scones and tea, Christie heads downtown for brunch #2 (it’s a hard life), and Cora, Sugar and I head to Brooklyn where we briefly meet another UT alum, and generally marvel over how cute and hipster Brooklyn is. I take my only picture from the trip; Sugar takes one of many:
Sugar & I next head to Grand Central Station to visit the Apple store. I book a 2:45am shuttle to Newark airport (ugh, what was I thinking getting a 6am flight out of Newark) and then head to Korea town in Midtown to eat dinner…at 5pm. Grandmas! We eat a bunch of different soups that make my lips burn, and we head home to complete the journey.
48 hour trip to the Big Apple – done and done! Time to get home, where I can drive a car, walk right into a restaurant (stomp angrily out when I see a roach) and ….sleeeeeeep like a normal human being!!!