08 September 2007

alex was here

well he still is.

my childhood buddy and one of my best friends, has been living in boston for the last 4 years now. he left for boston just a few months after i went off to tokyo. and it really sucked because our holidays back home to singapore, never really coincided. by the time i got back, he'd have been back for months already, and we'd have probably just a week to meet and catch up.

while he's back and i'm still in tokyo, he usually meets up with bib, my sis, and stella (my sister's friend who became a friend too and is equally bitchy as me hohoho *double winks to you, stella*)

i've known alex since i was about 9 and he was 10, so we almost grew up together. i won't say we know each other inside out, but yeah we know us pretty well.

anyway his neighbor, hilton club member, had a free week's stay at the hilton club hotel on 6th avenue, over the labor day weekend. but they could only stay a couple of days, and told alex he could stay there the remainder of it.

so alex took the hilton bus from boston to manhattan, and i moved into the hotel with him on the 4th. woohoo. no commute!! always a good thing.

the first night, he took me to this yakitori place called yakitori totto [251 west 55th street, between broadway and 8th avenue; 212.245.4555]. now i've been totally missing japanese food and i love love love yakitori, so i was so pleased to have found this place. it's pricey - twice the cost compared to what i pay in japan - but hell i was diggin' in.

on wednesday the 5th, the fucking cab drivers in new york city decided they all wanted to go on a strike to oppose getting the gps system installed in their cabs. so after going to the art supplies store and buying a ton of stuff that's just impossible to carry, i decide to take a cab back to the hotel after a long day at school. it's just 15 blocks back to the hotel and the cab driver says that because of the strike, they charge by zones - and i'll have to pay $15. *gasp*

and he only told me that when we were approaching the hotel.

all that was swimming inside of my head were swear words and various curses in different languages. yes, i can swear in english, mandarin, japanese, malay and korean. i like to think of myself as multi-lingual.

we went to another great place the next day: a pizza place called lombardi's [32 spring street, at the corner of mott street; 212.941.7994]. the pizza was excellent. the small one gave us 6 slices. i was full after one, and expanded my tummy on the 2nd slice. for the quality and service, it wasn't expensive either!! i'll definitely be going back there.

(totally irrelevant, but i just realised now,
that my camera is still set on tokyo date and time! shit!)

as we walk around soho, we went past the adidas store and i spotted the cutest pairs of shoes.

i totally love them. i love checks and i love polka-dots and i wish i could get them all but i can't so since i saw them i've been thinking and thinking about which one to get!!! what do you think?? i hope they have a red and white polka-dot... whee!!

alex had been yelping (and calling and messaging his girlfriend) practically nonstop on his stupid blackberry, there were times i wanted to snatch it and stomp on it. especially when we both had this huge craving for chinese dumplings and he spent the whole afternoon finding a place for us to go, only to lead us to this major dodgy, filthy and not at all yummy place in chinatown. eeks!!! we originally wanted to go to this other place called dumpling house [118a eldridge street, near broome street; 212.625.8008]. but when we got there, it was so crowded and there wasn't anywhere to sit. we should have known that crowded=good. the prices were dirt cheap too. but we turned around and went to option number two, that should really have been option number zero. fried dumpling was a complete letdown. it might have been cheap but the only way i'd say the food was any good was if i was completely starving.

after that terrible dinner where i ate just 3 dumplings and basically dumped the rest, pun intended, we wandered around and found ourselves in little italy. damn that stupid fried dumpling; why the hell didn't we eat anywhere else in little italy?? the place looked fantastic and i actually felt like i was in italy!! (although i've never been there before so it was just make-believe.)

every single restaurant was packed and looked so good. hell, even the parking meters and fire hydrants were so cute, painted in green, white and red! i loved it. we decided to go to a cafe and console our stomachs with some great dessert but the chocolate cake i had, called fuzzy wuzzy, contained 4 zillion calories.

this picture just doesn't do little italy any justice.
i need a better camera!!

on our way back to the hilton, we walk past radio city. fashion week has started here in new york, and at radio city was the fashion rocks event. amongst other artistes, aerosmith was performing. what i'd give to get a ticket!! when am i gonna be famous enough! bah.

on friday the 7th, the day started off in times square. i went to school in the morning, and alex went to get us tickets to see a musical show on broadway. we also had to check out of the hilton. bye bye to comfy sheets, a huge bed and room service. i think the best thing about staying in a hotel is going out and coming back to a super neat and clean room.

we moved into my new place!! i've found a place, finally, that suits my budget and is overall, pretty nice and decent. it's an apartment share and my room is actually pretty big and there's decent wardrobe space, and space for me to get a work table as well. the lady i'm renting from seems pretty nice and fun, and she has a super cute pomeranian, the smallest thing ever with a real fat tummy.

we went downtown to the east village after that, where i did some cheap shopping and found a fabulous belt. and we also found these 2 brilliant japanese drinking bars on st. marks place called izakayas!! the first was called kenka, which translate into 'fight' in japanese. haha! but it also says "delicious! cheap! fast!" on it's sign, which is what most japanese izakayas would say, but it looked SO japan!

just a few doors down was another place serving yakitori! it is called yakitori taisho, which turned out to be a branch of a chain that my friends and i actually used to frequent when i was staying in tokyo. i was soooo stoked!!! i didn't think i'd find it here in new york! i thought i'd died and gone to heaven. i have to email all my friends and send them this picture! it even has the same tattered and torn "taisho" lantern!!! i definitely have to come back here asap. it's quite up there in my to-do list!

later that night, we went off to broadway. it was alex's first musical and my third. avenue q wasn't what i expected it to be. the guy at the ticket booth did say that "it's sesame street, but for adults." but i honestly did not expect muppets to appear. it was an amazing 2 hours and i think every last penny was well spent!! i think it was one of the funniest things i've watched in a while. it touches on many taboo subjects, like racism, sex, drinking, porn, and hmm, even politics. we were definitely glad to have gone to see it, and if you're in new york i definitely recommend it!! the cast that night was amazing and it was wonderful being in the presence of people with such talent.

after the show, we took a cab to la bonne soupe [48 west 55th street, between 5th and 6th avenues; 212.586.7650], a cosy french restaurant. it was fantastic. we ordered the set and i had the french onion soup, rib eye steak and chocolate mousse.

i swear, i have never ever had french onion soup that good. it was rich in flavor and you could actually taste the onions - a far cry to the watered down clear soup with 3 stringy onion slices that i'm used to. the steak was also perfect, not overcooked, and was tender too. then came the chocolate mousse.

i am a (self-proclaimed) chocoholic and if i could eat chocolate for a living, i would. the chocolate mousse i had there was ab.so.lute.ly fabulous!!! i was so full after the steak, i thought i wouldn't be able to finish it, but no, i cleaned it up and licked my spoon in 2 minutes flat.

it was a great meal and all for just $24!!! super value for money!! definitely worth heaps more, but dear monsieur picot, please don't ever raise the prices!!

after spending all saturday morning cursing at paypal and amazon.com while i ordered my school textbooks, i joined alex in soho, where he had been shopping. my cab went by the armani exchange store and i told the driver to let me off there. there was a huge crowd outside, but what caught my eye were the models in the window.

there was a new underwear launch but i don't think anyone was buying underwear. i think everyone was snapping pictures, licking their lips and thinking how tight those white things were. by everyone, i mean women, gays, and jealous men.

there was more eye-candy inside the store, and too many turned-on people ogling at the male models. the security guard kept trying to get people to clear the doorway and was shouting, "you're either in, or out!! in or out! in, out, in, out!!"

then this woman shouted back, "give me some of that in-and-out!!"

i totally burst out laughing.

now, don't get me wrong, i really behaved myself, unlike several women and two gays, who couldn't stop shrieking, and went up to the models countless of times to take photos together, and to take close-ups. one woman pointed her camera at a model's you-know-what, another couldn't stop touching this model's pecs, and one gay man just stood in the corner, smiling and salivating.

besides, i had a new assignment for school and we have to do a shopping report on underwear and swim suits. so hello, this was totally not my idea to snap like 10 photographs. it was all for the sake of research!!!

saturday was also art parade day in soho. i missed part of it but did manage to see some glorious things.

as the parade trickled off, alex and i were both sweating buckets in this stupid heat, and decided to escape into any cafe that had bloody cold a/c. across the street, however, i notice this guy in a fabulous hat and even better hotpants. or is that just underwear. i love how he catwalked down the street but i wish he was wearing nicer shoes. i wanted to walk over to ask for a picture but he just hurried on too fast.

psst. i seem to be seeing a lot of close-to-naked people today. must be my lucky day.

inside the cafe, i also notice these 2 guys, who dressed and looked exactly the same!! they spent the whole time standing up and talking to their two friends, i couldn't interrupt and ask for a photo either. i couldn't figure out if they were twins, or if they were a couple, taking the couple-look to new extremes. it's not a good paparazzi shot but they had the same hair, the same white glasses, the same red scarf tied around their necks, the same white shirt and pants!! it was amazing!! they looked amazing! i was very amazed!

later, we walked towards bleeker street and guess what i found???

a gilda radner way! how cool is that!!! i wish i could climb up the street sign and scratch the "radner" out, but i was pretty stoked with it.

it was alex's and my last dinner together in the island of manhattan, and guess where we decided to go?? yep, we loved la bonne soupe so much, we headed back there. haha!! we ordered the cream of vegetable soup, ham, egg and cheese crepe, and smoked salmon with cream cheese crepe. it was gorgeous. you can tell i'm totally hooked and plan on making myself a regular.

alex leaves for boston tomorrow. i'm a little sad, although i know i'll be seeing him soon again. but i'm also a little relieved, because i have 2 million assignments due in a couple of days and i need to get rid of him! hahahah! just kidding alex, you know i love you.

i end this post with something i found scribbled in one of my notebooks. that nincompoop must have written it when i wasn't looking. it's something he used to do: sign his stupid name all over my books, back when we were kids having classes together. every page i turned, i'd see a "alex was here" sign. so i did a "tsk" just like i always used to do, whenever i found one of those scribbles.

boys will always be boys.

but it seems that years apart from good friends, can make them just slightly wiser. his "alex was here" scribbles have upgraded to a version 2.0.