Birthday trip recap

Hey look, I’m blogging for a change!

I realize I’ve been sort of terrible about keeping up here. There’s no way I can blog even once a week, but I figure at least I should be better about documenting my travels. I’ve gone as far as to go back in time and add a much more detailed entry about my trip to Paris and London last year based on some diary entries.

My latest trip was to New Jersey and New York last week for my birthday. Here’s a recap in excruciating detail.


My flight was supposed to leave at two, but it ended up not leaving until 5. While the weather was perfect in San Francisco, back in New Jersey it was apparently raining and very windy.

At one point they thought we’d leave at 3:30 and got everyone on the plane. Then the captain came on the intercom and said we weren’t leaving until five. At least they let us off the plane.

I was worried because I thought I’d miss the last train to my parents. My dad was the one who alerted me that the trains stop running after 1:45 and don’t pick up again until about 5 AM. I arranged it with YP that if I missed the 1:45, I’d cab it to his place. Then I checked the schedule myself and saw that the trains ran all night.

Assuming my father was mistaken, I told both my mom and YP.

Then I realized I was the one who was wrong.

I was looking at the afternoon trains instead of night. Duh.

I texted YP that oops, I got it wrong, and 1:45 was the last train.

Are you drunk? he texted back.

Anyway, I ended up making the 1:45 in plenty of time.


I got in a little work in the morning and then met up with an old college pal.

SN and I first met freshman year in Latin. We also lived on the same floor. After freshman year, we were always friendly but never hung out. And then after graduation, we totally last touch.

Then after I moved to San Francisco, SN found me on Facebook, and we’ve been in contact ever since. We always see each other when I return to New Jersey (she happens to live near my parents) and we even traveled to Orlando together in February.

Anyway, that’s a really long way of saying while I was home, we hit the gym together and had a yummy Indian lunch afterward.

I spent the rest of the day working, had a great homecooked meal with my parents, and then crashed with iPad and Hulu+.

I was pretty exhausted from having gotten in so late the night before and wasn’t affected by jetlag at all.


After working for a few hours, I went out to lunch with the parents at what is now my favorite Chinese restaurant in the area. It specializes in little juicy buns, or xiao long bao, of which we had two servings. I also made sure to have noodles (long noodles for a long life) since it was almost my birthday. (Pork with mustard greens, in case you were wondering.)

Lunch was pleasant. Then I made the mistake of telling my parents that SN tried to set me up with her mother’s doctor, who is Chinese, 38, and “nervous around women.”

Deal breaker for me. Not so for my mother.

As usual, she was like a dog with a bone. “I have a sixth sense about these things,” she said. And, “If he’s nervous around women, that means you can trust him.” Finally just to shut her up, I said fine I’d exchange emails with him, which I have no intention of doing.

Later, she tried to get me to give her SN’s phone number. “Why?” I asked.

“For things,” she said.

“What things?”


The conversation wasn’t exactly like that but it might as well have been. Needless to say I didn’t give my mother my friend’s number.

After lunch we did a little shopping, and then at home I did a bit more work before my high school pal AY picked me up for dinner.

We went to happy hour at this steak place — food and drinks for $7 each! — and had a great time chatting and catching up.


Finally, I was off to the city.

I took a late morning train and still felt jetlagged and groggy so I got a coffee for the ride. There is something so lovely about drinking a coffee on an almost empty train – that is until the coffee went through me and I had to pee in the worst way.

First stop was SB’s, who was kind enough to treat me to a yummy Japanese birthday lunch. Next was coffee and writerly-talk with a librarian/writer friend, and finally YP’s.

That night we saw The Cripple of Inishmaan with Daniel Radcliffe. It was good in an old-fashioned way although some of the dialogues seemed to go on for much longer than necessary, and the audience’s laughter was disproportionate to the only mildly amusing jokes.

When we left we saw a line of people waiting for Daniel Radcliffe to come out. There were some kids, and one grown man clutching a Harry Potter book.


I love Harry Potter too but not that much. 


Saturday was activity-packed. First, YP and I went to the Met and checked out this exhibit, this one, and all the butts of the Greek and Roman statues.

We also walked around Central Park and met AY at the Houdini Museum.

“Museum” is actually stretching it. While there were some very cool artifacts, it was basically 2/3’s of a magic shop. At least it was free.

Then because for me it’s now a New York tradition, I wanted to go to the High Line, which turned out to be the worst idea ever.

The time to go is when it’s about to close, not right around lunch time on a gorgeous Saturday on Easter Weekend. It was wall to wall people, and while it wasn’t hot, the sun was very strong. Plus I was hungry. About to go insane, I kept darting around and speeding ahead of slow people, not even caring if YP and AY were keeping up.

Finally reaching covered food area was such a relief — sustenance and shade, hooray! I got some barbecue — pulled pork, beets, pickled cucumbers, potato salad — while AY and YP opted for Mexican.

For dessert I got a decadent ice cream sandwich. The cookie part was red velvet was the inside was cream cheese flavored ice cream. I ate two-thirds of it and then thought I couldn’t eat anymore. I gave it to AY, but before she could get at it, I finished it anyway.

After we got off the High Line, YP said he was pooped and begged off. AY and I started to walk along the water — but the sun was killing me again. We ended up just going to YP’s place, chatting, and drinking up his delicious grapefruit soda while waiting for him to finish at the gym.

Eventually we met up with him at this coffee place, where he gave me a tarot card reading. I won’t go into details except to say that overall it was hopeful and positive.

For dinner we ate at Cafe Blossom, which is vegan. It was very good. I always think vegan places aren’t going to fill me up, but my pasta and brussel sprouts was more than enough. In fact I couldn’t even finish them. I was glad when YP and AY ate my leftovers.


Another activity-filled day! First up was the Easter Parade. YP dressed up as, guess what, a rabbit. It was less mortifying than in Paris. At first people barely gave us a second glass, but as we got closer to the parade, that changed. I heard one woman exclaim to her kids, “Monsieur Lapin!” and it was as though we were back in France.

At the parade itself — which I had pictured with floats, but really it’s people just walking in the street dressed up or not dressed up — people couldn’t get enough of YP-as-rabbit, and kept asking to take his picture.

That picture, by the way, has gotten over 70 likes and 30 comments on Facebook, mostly YP’s friends.

Next up was a reunion lunch with a few college buddies. I saw one friend recently when I was in Seattle but I hadn’t seen the others since before I moved to San Francisco. It was lovely catching up with everyone and eating yummy Chinese food.

That night YP, his sister, and I had a ramen noodle dinner. Yay, more birthday luck!

Then it was an early night in. I was pretty pooped from the whole weekend, and we both had to get up early the next morning, YP to go to work and me to catch an early train so I could go back to my parents’ and work.

We watched Bob’s Burgers, which was super-fun since we both love that show, and a couple of episodes of the new season of The Americans. HOW HAVE I NEVER WATCHED THIS SHOW BEFORE?!? A new addiction.


Then I was heading back to New Jersey. While the station was crowded, the train was pretty empty since it was a week day and going in the opposite direction.

It was a leisurely day: some work, a nap, some working out, and a delicious dumpling dinner with my parents.


I got in a little work before leaving at one to head to the airport. For some reason the train was packed. What the hell? Why weren’t people at work? Anyway, I got to the airport super-early like I always do, but luckily my flight was not delayed this time. In fact, we left a little early and landed about 45 minutes ahead of schedule. And since I hadn’t checked anything, I was lickety split to the BART, where I had just a one-minute wait.

The travel gods were indeed on my side that day.

I got back to my apartment before 10, and while I missed the east coast and my friends and family there, I was very glad to be back in my own place.

Comments are closed.