TOP 5 THINGS I LEARNED ON MY TRIP:
1. the Tom-Tom GPS system is sent from heaven...
even though it sometimes makes you get off a freeway and then hop back on. the family we were staying with let us borrow their GPS system for our different excursions and let me tell you it was awesome. the first day i didn't trust the Tom-Tom when it had us going north towards providence, ri when we were heading to newport and i paid the price. our trip took us 4 hours on ridiculous country roads, when the "Tom-Tom's way" would have only taken us 2.5....i learned my lesson. which is why i followed it's directions when it had me get off the freeway in new york. i followed the roads it told me too (although roads were more like alleys), but i lost my faith again when it had me get back on the freeway i was previously on. oh Tom-Tom.
2. my mom is "challenged" when it comes to taking digital pictures.
good thing she wasn't in charge of the camera. she tried her best, bless her heart, but i think technology won this battle.
3. getting your hands on a knock-off designer bag is similar to buying crack....
first you have people slowly walking past you on the streets whispering things like "louis vitton" "coach", and when you look at them and nod you then are forced to follow them...down some very shady alleys and into a windowless building. all very secretive and i'll admit... scary. then you climb, what seemed like hundreds of stairs in a stairwell i truly believe was used on NYPD blue and into a room (directly across from a sweatshop, or what i could tell was one before an old asian man slammed the door) filled with designer bags. i took the stairwell shot as quickly as i could as to not arouse suspicion that perhaps we were undercover cops, jared did not share the same concern as he was taking pictures of purses with my camera phone to send to lindsay. nice jared!
4. covered bridges are very fascinating.
1. they are usually red cause the dye found in natural substances back then was easy to find.
2. they are covered to help stop rotting of the wood, and so the horses wouldn't get scared crossing the water. interesting right? now don't say you never learned anything useful from my blog.
5. public transportation in big cites is freakin' awesome.
A) first of all, in most big cities they usually have an on/off tour trolley that goes around town. always do this! it is amazing what you see and what you find out about the city you are in. we hit the trolley in both new york and boston and it was so fun. plus, the tour guides can be funny sometimes and they keep you entertained. just make sure that you know when the next trolley will be coming around, otherwise you may be stuck looking at the burned down site of the boston tea party for an hour and half while you wait for the trolley to come back.... with your original driver.
B) new york has a pretty sweet set-up when it comes to subways and buses. just make sure the subway train you need to use to get back to your hotel at 10:00 at night is actually running, otherwise you could be stuck at a stop 2 miles away trying to figure out how to get your tired bodies back to a hotel that may or may not exist. good thing new york, despite the reputation, has some very helpful and very funny public transportation workers that get you laughing when your body just wants to cry.
FIRST was the funny black woman who worked at the subway who looked at us like we were crazy when we told her where our hotel was and asked how we could get there from the subway stop we had taken. "you can't get there from here! you gots to take a bus! you stayin where? uh-huh there ain't no hotel there! you ain't even checked in yet?" (luckily, although we hadn't officially "checked in"--- our car and luggage were at the hotel...otherwise our fear factor would have been high at this point)
SECOND was the brooklyn italian bus driver who was also concerned with the lack of hotel at the address that we had given him "i know wheres you want to go, but i don't think theres a hotel there, but i'lls take you" then as he was "driving" he kept looking back asking all sorts of questions and helping us make the most of our "brooklyn" stay. "this right here ain't the real brooklyn, this is a sh**hole you gots to go uptown" "you like seafood? great seafood res-taur-ant up there" "you like i-talian, spaghetti, lasagna? you gots to check it out up there" "that's the good part of brooklyn, not down here, go up north...they gots clubs, restaurants, nice houses...whatever you wants" "how much is that hotel you stayin' at cause i'm lookin for some place to go tonight, cause i do not want to go home"
(this was the stairwell going up from the subway to the natural history museum...so pretty..and it gives new meaning in new york to "swimmin with the fishes")