we left at around 9:30am, manny and his two sisters, to ikea down in elizabeth, new jersey. when we got there the store had just opened up but there must've been already 200 cars there. my rule for shopping at ikea is if i think i might need it, don't hesitate in getting it, as i slowly started to fill my yellow heavy duty plastic ikea tote bag. i was in my own little shopping world, and soon lost contact with my group. ever since i've been unemployed, i've always thought twice before buying anything, with the exception of food and anything interior decorating related, like a piece of furniture or something for the home. i ended up buying almost $200 worth of stuff, and i almost couldn't carry it all, my bag nearly bursting to capacity. the things i bought:
  • baren glass shelving (for the bathroom)
  • ris (paper lantern)
  • ekas shade 9" (red accordion)
  • duga coasters (using them for the bottom of indoor plants)
  • 2 risten boxes (blue plastic)
  • lans wooden table lamp
  • knavel blue comforter cover & pillowcases
  • mackis wooden paper boxes
  • mackis wooden cd-rom storage boxes
  • tindra tealights (ocean scent and lavender)
  • gro ceramic tealight holders
  • 2 green knoppe ottomans
  • green wooden round olsvik table
i checked out by myself, manny and his sisters were already waiting for me outside, eating at the ikea cafe. they waited for me while i waited for my ottomans and table to be brought out from storage. after loading everything into the trunk of manny's civic 1996 dx, we drove back to jersey city. leaving ikea, the parking was already almost filled to capacity, even though the home furnishing store had only been opened for less than 2 hours. i noticed logo for the nearby newark international airport looked remarkably like a warped peace symbol.

once we parked manny's car, we switched into his sister maricar's car and got a ride to the path station, where we took the train into 14th street, manny letting me use his path card. he pointed out the empty spot on the map where there used to be the world trade center stop. we called his friend rich on my cellphone to let him know where were coming into the city. he wasn't home so manny left a message. we got off when we reached 14th street, and called rich once again to figure out where to meet for brunch. we decided to to go the 7A cafe, on the corner of 7th street and A avenue. we walked to the east village, while rich grabbed a cab from brooklyn. the place was crowded, with a wait list time of 15-20 minutes. when a young woman came out to seat people, she made us wait some more before rich hadn't arrived yet. when we finally called rich again, he was just two blocks away enroute via taxi.

rich is manny's old friend from high school, and like myself, he'll be the only other groomsman at the wedding. so there we were, members of the wedding party, having brunch in the east village weeks from the wedding. i ordered the steak and egg combo from the $10 brunch menu. besides steak (medium), besides eggs (scrambled), there was also an english muffin, coffee, orange juice (with the option of an alcoholic drink like a screwdriver, mimosa), muffin, slice of orange, and a choice of either salad or home fries. i initially said fries but changed to salad at the last minute, which got some jeers from the guys. when rich realized i didn't drink, he told me his story of how he used to be just like me, alcohol free, then he starting drinking wine with food, and it wasn't before long he started drinking socially. tragedy struck once we started eating. having great difficulty cutting my piece of steak, i brsuehd a glass of water with my elbow, spilling ice water everywhere. the waitress and a janitor had to rush out to clean up my mess. it was only later that manny and rich pointed out that i'd been using my butter knife instead of my steak knife.

after brunch, we walked to the strand bookstore, where i was on a search for the NFT (not for tourist) guide to new york city. i used it when i stayed over at cynthia's the last time i was down in new york city, and loved it so much that i wanted to get a copy for myself. unfortunately, the NFT guide was nowhere to be seen (i did find an NFT guide to chicago and a 2002 NYC edition of the NFT guide). we browsed around the crowded store for over an hour, i ended up getting a book on mayan glyths (i discovered that rich also has a deep interested in pre-columbian civilization, perhaps something to do with the fact that he's half peruvian) and another book about insect observations. rich got a few chess books. manny, a self-professed bibliophile, ended up buying nothing. i took a cellphone call from john miller, a case of deja vu since the exact same thing happened the last time i visited new york city. when i went to go pay for my books, there by the checkout counter was the 2003 edition of the NFT guide, so i ended up getting it anyway despite what appeared to be a lengthy and futile search.

we went down to fulton street next (around 5:30pm), to j&r electronics, because manny wanted to check out some digital cameras for his honeymoon. rich and manny showed me where the world trade center used to be. at the photography wing of the store, we checked out a few cameras. we were particularly taken with the pentax optio s, a very small credit card sized camera with a 3x optical zoom. manny also liked the canon series of digital elph cameras.

we walked across the brooklyn bridge to visit rich's bachelor pad by the end of the bridge, rich pointing out the best spots to take photos from. once we got to his place, rich played some record for us, while manny surfed the web doing digital camera research (manny, tw, has no high speed access of his own back home). rich showed me a few of his pre-columbian history books (even an old one about the conquest of the incans he bought from ebay). we saw an episode of an english subtitled version of the new japanese ghost in the shell anime series on vcd before going to to dinner around 8pm.

dinner was at the iron chef house in brooklyn heights. i got the sushi & sashimi platter ($19). i thought sashimi was just slices of raw fish on rice, but turns out sashimi is just raw fish. i'm not squeamish when it comes to my sushi, but there's only so much raw fish i can eat before it becomes plainly obvious that i'm eating raw fish. let's just say there was a lot of chew-chew-chew-swallow action going on. the guy sitting next to me got some kind of raw squid roll, and i could tell he was having problems with his meal as well. also, i couldn't differentiate between the various types of raw fish, the salmon tastes just like the tuna to me, maybe with just a slightly different texture. rich kept on saying something about the meat being "buttery," but i couldn't see it. still, it wasn't too bad, very filling actually (i've always thought that you can really satisfy a hungry appetite with just sushi, but looks like i'm wrong), and not as expensive as some of the boston sushi places.

after dinner, we checked out the view of manhattan from the brooklyn heights promenade. hanging from the metal fence was a framed photo of the manhattan skyline with the old world trade center towers. walking back to the car, it wasn't hard to see the poshness of area, wide clean tree-lined streets with historical well-maintained brownstones of interesting architectural designs.

instead of dropping us off at the path station, rich was kind enough to drive us all the way back to jersey city via the holland tunnel. rich was surprised to see that we still got radio reception inside of the tunnel, and when i took out my cellphone, i was getting better reception that all the time i've been in NJ/NYC. once manny and i got back (close to 11pm), i quickly prepared for bed.