[ Sorry to be late; we were playing a card game for the first time, so we spent a lot of time worrying that we were doing it wrong and not understanding the rules at all. I won, I think, by misunderstanding how one of the rules was supposed to be applied. ]
Monday was, as predicted, not rainy at all, and we took the bus up to Manhattan. It struck me that this would be either the last or the penultimate time we took this particular bus from this particular park-and-ride, since even granting that we'll come back to New Jersey and go into the city after my parents have moved away, we're not likely to stay in the same area and would use different paths into the city. I tried not to think about that lest it be too heartbreaking. Besides, we were thinking to maybe come up the following weekend too.
We had great timing going up, with the bus arriving after we'd been waiting only a few minutes, and got to the Port Authority and set out east to Bryant Park where, as in past years, we got snacks and Turkish coffee at this one shop in the little temporary mall Citibank sets up, and we joined a remarkably full crowd at the tiny carousel in the southwest corner of Bryant Park. They were doing a lot of business and it seemed to be taking an abnormally long time; I counted it as about five minutes between the end of one ride and the start of the next, and that for a ride of, I think, two minutes. It's an adorable little carousel but isn't up to Cedar Fair operations standards.
We spent more time than I remember in past years looking around the temporary shops, or maybe they were just more interesting. One in which we lingered was selling Japanese kitsch, everything from tiny animal figurines through bunny-shaped notepads all the way up to kigurumi although not of animals we couldn't resist. Another stall was selling transit maps done up as art prints, which was uncannily appealing to me.
Then we stepped into the Public Library, to warm up and to see what exhibits there might be. We were successful in warming up, but not in seeing things: the library was closing shockingly early and we got to exit without seeing much more than a children's reading room and some corridors. But it made for a decent moment to warm up before heading north along Fifth Avenue and looking at the storefronts.
There were a couple disappointments --- the storefronts at Tiffany's, particularly, didn't have the animated little carousels or other props as last year, and in fact weren't animated at all as far as we could tell --- and some delights. Bergdorf Goodman had a ``Holidays on Ice'' that was beautiful even if the selection of holidays was a bit odd. Halloween as a winter thing is striking and it kind of fit, but, the Fourth of July? Groundhog Day is already a winter thing; but then, why weren't Christmas or Easter among the set? Who can say? Also, everybody in the world was gathered around the Rockefeller Center tree, but it was a pretty good-looking tree and the occasional sparkling moments of the light helped it look all the better. And we got to the Apple Store, the great glass cube and its underground lair, where we again warmed up and saw a mob of over four hundred thousand people trying to get instruction on their iPod minis.
We had hoped to meet up with bunny_hugger's brother, and to have dinner at a vegetarian restaurant near West Fourth Street which we'd tried to go to once and accidentally missed (we went to a vegetarian restaurant a few doors down). The first goal we failed in because her brother had figured to clear up time on New Year's Eve by packing all his work onto Monday. Well, we had another weekend and perhaps we'd be able to get back into town for that. As for the restaurant, well, we found it with no trouble. We also found that the owners had gone on a two-week vacation, and we were right in the middle of it.
So we wandered around and found a Thai restaurant, which would be part of the recurring theme of Thai food for the start of this trip: I'd also have a Thai dish when visiting my other brother and his family. We were seated next to a table full of young lawyers or law students and, boy, did they look like it. We ended up closing out the restaurant, without realizing we had been there quite that late.
We had magnificent timing again getting the subway uptown (bunny_hugger had forgotten her MetroCard, and felt vaguely illicit in that I just swiped mine twice) just moments after we got to the platform, and getting to the Port Authority in exactly the right time to catch our bus. considering we set out without any attention to schedules we couldn't have scheduled any better. And, maybe, we'd get back up the next Sunday and see her brother. Maybe even ride some new carousels.
Trivia: Over 95 percent of cooked starch in plantains and bananas is digested by the time food reaches the end of the small intestine. Only about 48 percent of raw starch in such could be. Source: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Richard Wrangham.
Currently Reading: Sky Walking: An Astronaut's Memoir, Tom Jones.