The Big Apple, the Capital, and the 757
My flight from Bergen to New York City was rather uneventful. I played Solitaire and watched three movies. I finally arrived in NYC at 8:30 PM completely and absolutely exhausted. While it was only 8:30 PM in NYC, in Bergen it was 2:30 AM. I didn’t get much jet lag my entire trip, but for some reason I was having a tough time with this leg.
Anyway, after a slow departure off the aircraft, I made my way through customs and then onto the NYC subway system. I took the one and half hour ride to my friends’ house in lower Manhattan and arrived to their neighborhood around 10 PM. I was starving and exhausted. However, because it was getting late, I decided to go to McDonald’s (shocking isn’t it?) and purchase twenty chicken nuggets and one massively large french fry (of course not too large because that would be illegal in NYC).
Following this poor health choice, I made my way to Stefan and Ed’s apartment, buzzed myself in, and took the elevator up to the 8th floor. I got off and slowly proceeded to make my way to my friend’s door not knowing what I would expect. But before this, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed an electrician working on the power box at the end of the hall. I was exhausted and the only thought that went through my head was, “Well this is an interesting time for an electrician to be working.” I continued walking to the door, and it wasn’t even five seconds later before I realized that it was not an electrician. Instead it was my friend Ed, commonly referred to as Eggward. Seconds after seeing him I was greeted by a stiff kick in the rear end. Here I am dead tired, carrying all my gear, and getting kicked in the ass by a freak wearing a hardhat and a bright yellow caution vest. How I have missed my friends….
Following this, I made my way to the door and opened it. I have seen a lot of foul things on my trip especially during my time in Thailand, but the scene that lay before me might have outdone them all. That is all I am going to say about that. After the ‘introductions’ were complete and I had put my belongings down, I was immediately bombarded by a barrage of gin shots chased by the very McDonald’s I was carrying. In between these delicious treats, I chatted with some familiar faces which had become a foreign concept for me. I was happy to see my friends.
After a brief pregame, we decided to head out on the town. Unfortunately the rest of the night is a blur. My friends were feeling generous and with that generosity came strings attached; copious amounts of free shots. The free shots soon turned into wild dancing, fueled conversations, and eventually ended in relative stupor. The next morning I awoke fully dressed sitting upright on Eggward’s couch. It was 12:30 PM. My bus was to leave at 2:00. I felt horrid and reeked of hell.
With the little time I had, I took a quick shower, headed down the stairs, hailed a cab, and made my way to the bus. The bus ride was horrendous. The bus itself was actuality quite nice. It had big seats with a cold and strong AC. It even had Wifi. Though no amounts of amenities could cure the way I was feeling. For six hours the bus lurched towards DC stopping and going in the traffic around it.
Finally it arrived, and despite feeling like I was on death’s format, I had to get my act together. For weeks I have had my parents and my sister in one big hoax about when I was arriving home. I had kept my real intentions a secret this far and didn’t want to mess it up now by carelessly letting some important detail slip.
So unbeknownst to my sister, I arrived into DC around 8:30, but unfortunately my sister wasn’t home. Typical of a DC Sunday afternoon, she was stuck in traffic on her way back from Virginia Beach. In the meantime I hung out with Alia, went to Ragtime, and tried to rebuild my body. After what seemed like hours, my sister texted me to tell me that she was about home. This whole time I was telling her (via text) that I was up late because I was out drinking. Remember she thought I was still in Norway. When I thought she was close, I left Alia’s and made my way to the entrance of my sister’s parking garage. I was wrong in my estimate and sat there for about forty-five minutes before I saw my sister drive by. I was confused that she didn’t pull in the garage so I sent her another odd text, and she responded by saying that she was going to go to Wendy’s. Later I learned that she did notice me on her initial drive by the garage but thought I was some homeless man.
Ten minutes later my sister finally drove back, and as I saw her coming up the the road, I jumped out in front of her car as she was pulling into her garage. By the look on her face, I could see how she thought I was homeless. But once she realized it was her brother, she got out of her car and gave me a big hug.
After a restless sleep on my sister’s couch, I got up and headed to lunch with my friend Alia. Keeping old traditions alive, we decided to go to Chipolte. Usually I ask for extra beans and rice. This time I could barely finish an entire chicken bowl. American sizes are ridiculous. After lunch I made my way to my sister’s work. Thankfully she gave me a ride to the Amtrak station where I boarded a train at 4:30 bound for Norfolk, Virginia.
Now if you recall my parents thought I was still abroad so to get from the train station to my house I had to rely on my old friend Jimmy. And of course, I also had a surprise in store for my parents. In talking with fellow backpackers in some hostel somewhere, I was told a story of brother surprising his sister by making a slideshow of all his travels with the end of the slideshow ending at her front door. Once the slideshow was over, the brother rang the doorbell surprising his sister inside who was watching the slideshow. I like fun projects and thought it was both a cheesy and fun way to surprise my parents. So following suite, I made a slideshow on the train ride home and uploaded it to YouTube.
When I arrived to Norfolk Jimmy picked me up, we drove the outskirts of my house, and I called my parents. I made up this hoax that I had been up all night working on a slideshow that I wanted my parents to watch. Being the loving parents that they are, they proceeded to the computer room to watch the video. Not wanting to wait on the phone while they watched the video, I told them I would call them back once it was done. However, in reality, I used the three minutes and twelve seconds to make a run for my front door. The fates aligned, and precisely at the end of their show, I hit the doorbell.
Here are the results:
With that I had made it home all in one piece… sort of. My four month adventure was over. While I am not off gallivanting around SE Asia anymore, I will not be ending my blog. There are still some loose ends, and as such, I still have several more posts to write including my final thoughts regarding my trip, the Top Ten Things I Learned About Myself While Traveling Alone, some surprises, and my edited GoPro videos. I am working as fast as I can and hope to have these out within the coming weeks!
Keep chugging people and thank you everyone for reading!