We’ve spent the past week in New Jersey. The headquarters for Lee’s new company are in Red Bank and he needs to visit them occasionally to get some “face time” with his new coworkers. Harper and I were happy to come along. Harper is always up to GO whatever that might entail, and I was ready for a break. There are so many things that need to be done around the house right now. By being somewhere else I could put them aside for a couple of days. They’ll still be there when I return.
Harper and I spent a couple of days exploring the Jersey Shore. It’s a very pretty area, very green, with cute small towns. The first day we drove to Monmouth State Park, because it was a beach that allowed dogs. I stopped to eat lunch at a place called Jersey Joes, http://www.jjoes.com/, which sold genuine New Jersey hotdogs. That’s a hotdog or sausage on a large bun with peppers, onions and potatoes. Crazy! It was greasy and delicious, probably the unhealthiest thing I’ve eaten in years. The owner was eager to find out what I thought of their concoction. I could honestly tell him it was delicious, but I didn’t let him know that I felt very guilty eating it. I felt like I was probably clogging my arteries with every bite.
After lunch Harper and I tried to go for a walk on the beach. There was a long pier where people were fishing and you could see the New York City skyline far away in the distance. The beach itself was nasty, full of trash and seaweed. Harper of course thought it was great, but it starting raining so we headed back to the hotel.
The following day I had a day in New York City planned. I didn’t want to take Harper with me; I wanted to be free to do whatever I wanted to do, dog-friendly or not. So before we left I hunted for a doggy daycare or other pet-sitting service in the area. I found a really unique business, Buddy’s Sleepovers and Playdates, http://buddys-sleepovers.com/. They match you with an individual that will watch your dog for a day or even board it, if that’s what you want. They found a really wonderful match for Harper and I. Kathy was delighted to watch Harper for the day, and Harper had a blast playing with her neighbor’s dog and running around her backyard all day long.
I decided to take the ferry to the city. Although more expensive than the train, it took 40 minutes instead of an hour and a half. And it was fun, and beautiful.
The ferry let me out at Pier 11, close to Greenwich Village. From there I needed to get to the Malaysian Consulate to hand in some paperwork for Lee. The Consulate is on East 43rd Street, up and across town from where I was, so I decided to take a taxi. I had a limited amount of time before I was supposed to meet a friend. Being stuck in New York City traffic always makes me anxious. Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Sex in the City, but I’m always afraid I’m going to be late….this was true in Hong Kong too, but I guess since I lived there I learned the best routes to take and what times to avoid. I don’t feel as competent in New York.
But the taxi driver got me to the Consulate without too much delay. Once inside, however, I felt like I was back in Asia. I knew, from the minute Lee asked me to perform this task for him, that the chances that something would go wrong were high. It seems to be impossible to do something related to bureaucracy with an Asian government in anything resembling an efficient manner. The first official I talked to insisted that they didn’t do what Lee needed done. This is after Lee talked to someone at this very Consulate twice to confirm the process! He finally went to find his supervisor, and after some discussion I was able to get half of what Lee needed accomplished. Lee had a copy of a verification form for his University degree that needed to be certified by the Consulate but this they refused to do. They want a copy of his actual diploma to certify. Oh well. Fortunately none of this will prevent Lee from working in Malaysia, at least for the time being.
From the Consulate I headed downtown to my friend’s apartment on Park Avenue near 34th Street. It was a beautiful day in the city so I walked along, enjoying the sunshine and the people watching. I met my friend Katie in Hong Kong. We were in the needle arts group together, and left Hong Kong within a year of one another. We’ve shared the challenges of repatriation. Even living in New York, Katie still misses Hong Kong. I think we’ll always miss Hong Kong. It’s the price we have to pay for the gift of having the chance to live in such an amazing city.
We walked a short distance from Katie’s apartment to a rare musical instrument shop that holds lunchtime concerts. These concerts allow their rare instruments to be played regularly, and give young musicians a chance to play instruments to which they otherwise would not have access. You can learn more about these concerts at their website: www.wmpconcerthall.com.
They played a couple of Brahms violin sonatas, a short piece by a Polish composer, Henryk Wieniawski, and then a couple of pieces by a contemporary tango composer, A. Piazzolla. The final piece by Piazzolla, called Le Grand Tango, was downright thrilling! I wouldn’t mind finding a recording of some of his music.
After the concert it was time for lunch. We went around the corner, to Lexington Avenue, and found ourselves in an area that Katie informed me is known as Curry Hill. Indian food seemed to be the order of the day. We stopped at a place called Dhaba that had an excellent Indian buffet lunch. It was delicious; now I have to take Lee there sometime.
After lunch it was time for me to head back to the ferry. I wanted to get back to New Jersey fairly early, since I had to pick up Harper, take her back to the hotel, walk and feed her, and then pick up Lee and a coworker in time for dinner. Katie helped me figure out the best subway route to take to get me back down to the Village in time for the 3:35 ferry. My biggest problem when emerging from a subway system in an unfamiliar area is getting properly oriented. I started off walking in what I hoped was the right direction. Fortunately I happened to glance down a cross street and noticed that I was walking parallel to a large body of water. After I corrected my direction accordingly I made it back to the ferry with plenty of time to spare.
I sat down to wait for the ferry. The sign said the Belford Ferry would be leaving from slip 4. At 3:30 a ferry pulled up to slip 3. The sign said this was the ferry for Paulus Hook. So I watched calmly as the ferry arrived. As it started to pull away from the slip there was a garbled announcement that sounded like maybe the Belford Ferry was departing from slip 3!
I hurried up to the ticket counter and asked from which slip the Belford Ferry would depart. “The Belford Ferry just departed from slip 3,” the small man behind the counter said. “It’s a big ferry, so it always departs from slip 3”.
“But the sign says that it departs from slip 4,” I cried! I was furious. Of course it was stupid to lose my temper. It’s not like that little man was going to call the ferry back to pick up me and several other passengers that had just missed our boat. But when I lose my temper sometimes it takes me awhile before I can regain my equilibrium. I’d like to say that I was speechless with indignation. It would certainly have been more dignified. But no, I gave that smug little man a piece of my mind, but he just shrugged. I think he was used to that kind of abuse.
The next ferry wasn’t until 4:15. Now it was going to be even later before I could pick up Lee. When I calmed down enough to call him, we decided that it was best if he and his co-worker went to the restaurant without me and that I would join them when I could.
Once I finally got to New Jersey and picked up Harper, it turned out that she was so tired from playing all day that she didn’t really need a walk, so that saved me a little time. I got to the restaurant not too late after all, so everything worked out. I’d like to say that this experience taught me the fruitlessness of losing my temper, but I know it’s bound to happen again. I’m just a hot-blooded girl sometimes, even in my old age.
I have more New Jersey adventures to relate, but this post is long enough. Stay tuned!