i woke up at 5:30 in the morning to get ready so i could catch the 7:00 fung wah bus leaving south station for new york city. the sky was still dark as i made a quick visit at an ATM machine to get some money before taking the subway into boston. immediately after i got on the bus (which was less than half full) i tilted back my chair and went to sleep. we stopped once for a bathroom break at some small roy rogers restaurant in the middle of nowhere. everyone crowded into the bathrooms, each person a tired look on their face. i thought about maybe getting some breakfast but figured i'd get some lunch in chinatown when i arrived.
once we arrived in new york city (11:00), i gave john a call letting him know my itinerary for the day. we tentatively decided to meet up around 7pm at his work place. in the meantime, i had to get some food. i walked around chinatown, trying to find some cheap eats, and came across the excellent pork chop house. the place seemed like it'd just opened so it was empty. the waitress spoke mandarin and i ordered a bowl of hot noodle soup with pork chop ($4.25). it felt like a test run of what i'll be doing in southeast asia, visiting foreign cities, finding cheap restaurants, eating by myself, thinking about what i'll be doing next. the food was pretty good and i left after using their bathroom.
before i arrived in NYC i'd already checked the map so i didn't have to look like a tourist trying to find directions. i found the canal street MTA station and took the subway up to 86th street, to the guggenheim museum. the whole point of my visit was to see the special aztec exhibit (closing mid-february). renata's father had lent me his membership card so i was able to get in for free (although i paid an extra $5 for the audio guide). i'd never been to the guggenheim before, so the novelty of a continously spiralling ascending exhibit hall was new to me. unfortunately no photography was allowed on any of the floors, so all i could take were memories. after checking my coat, i started my guggenheim experience. the museum seemed to be filled with two kinds of people: students on field trips and old society ladies taking in some afternoon culture.
i first heard about the exhibit from toby, who said how gory it was. maybe in my mind i was expecting buckets of blood and graphic depictions of human sacrifice, with disclaimers warning that no one under a certain age could view certain pieces. the reality was much more subdued. it was nowhere near that level of bloodthirstiness, and many of the pieces were actually quite plain until you heard the stories behind it. my favorite is xipe totec, god of spring and agriculture. because he represents rebirth, he's depicted as wearing the skin of sacrificial victims.
after about 3 hours in the guggenehim i was all tapped out. i had some hours to kill so i decided to go down to union square and hang out at the strand bookstore. since my last visit, they've renovated the place, adding a second floor and opening up the stairwells. i ended up buying a silk road book (which i'd find out days later that i actually already own, just a different cover). i left for time square, where john's office is located. i decided to walk, but accidently went in the wrong direction several blocks before realizing my mistake. from 3rd street i made it all the way to 42nd by foot. after some more navigating glitches i finally found the office.
originally we wanted to try this burmese restaurant, but changed our plans and headed back to brooklyn heights so we could have dinner with deanna as well, who was already waiting at home. we ended up going to the iron chef sushi restaurant nearby, i ordered the spicy combo. later we came home. after deanna went to bed, john and i were reminiscing about the good old days through the help of past weblog entries, all the while, the sounds of his upstairs neighbor having loud sex could be heard for several hours. i slept in the living room, didn't even bother to open up the sleeper sofa.