Friday: Got up bright and early to catch the train to NYC to spend Canadian Thanksgiving with my Fletcher brethren, Rock, Slim and Linda. Packed entirely too much stuff to occupy myself on what ended up being another 12 and a half hour ride through purgatory (actually, Upstate New York) and ended up mostly listening to Broken Social Scene, knitting and reading The Atrocity Exhibition.
Got to Penn Station at 10 PM where I met up with Phil and Tina and jumped on the train to their place in Astoria. Got to meet their doggy, Trixie, drank wine and ate greasy food at Mike's, then passed out on the couch.
Saturday: After a suitably late start, Phil and I headed out to the East Village to price tattoo places on St. Marks Place. Met up with his friend Amber in the park and ate stupidly delicious hummus with sauteed mushrooms at a restaurant called, appropriately enough, Hummus Place. Hung out for a bit and then called my old UBC drinking buddy Andy to arrange a meeting place in Williamsburg.
Met up with Andy and got some cheap and delicious tacos and frozen margaritas, then headed out to Greenpoint to catch his buddy's show. I felt super bad because I ended up nodding off during the set, but it turned out my brief siesta was much needed because the evening ended up turning into quite the adventure.
After leaving the Red Star bar we went back to Manhattan for someone's birthday at the eleventh street bar. Unbeknownst to us it was actually a costume party, although only about half the bar seemed to be participating. Costume highlights include the woman dressed as Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, complete with a stuffed rabbit in a pot, a guy dressed as Alex my droog from Clockwork Orange and no less than 3 Sarah Palins.
After several cocktails we moved on to someone's loft in the area, but while everyone else was at the convenience store buying more beer I opted for an extra large bottle of mineral water. Partied on the roof to a DJ spinning tunes and managed to sticker one of the Sarah Palins with an Obama/Biden sticker. At about 4 AM I was ready to pack 'er in, but Andy talked me into sticking around to enjoy potato latkes and perogies at some 24 hour dinner in the neighborhood.
Got back to Phil & Tina's at around 6 AM and promptly passed out on the couch.
Sunday: After waking briefly to grab some breakfast with P & T, I passed out again until 3 PM when Bess called to organize meeting up that evening. Ended up choosing to attend an evening of indie/experimental music at the Issue Project Room at the Spiegeltent on Pier 17, which was an eclectic mix to be sure. First up was a noise-rock band from Boston called Neptune who make all of their instruments out of scrap metal and other various things. Next was Tony Conrad, who worked with the Dream Syndicate and krautrock bank Faust, who basically played a modified violin with reverb for about 45 straight minutes. After that was 5 piece blues band.
Being that we were both starving, we ventured up to the lower East side to grab cheap and delicious Chinese food at the Congee Village, where I also enjoyed my first ever apple martini (I know). After catching up over congee and yummy tofu and veggies we both conceded defeat and went our separate ways to sleep.
Back in Astoria I opted to give Louie a call since his plane from Vancouver should have landed by then. Chatted briefly as he was in a cab back to his apartment and once he was settled he came by Phil and Tina's to hang out. Ended up at Mike's again and stayed up until about 1 AM talking.
Monday: Slept a decent amount for the first time my whole trip, then set about helping Phil with his preparations for Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner that evening. I was in charge of desert, so whipped up an old fashioned Quebecois sugar pie & a yummy & spicy sweet potato pie. Other yummy things we prepped included samosa stuffed twice baked potatoes, and a stuffed pumpkin.
At about 2:30 PM Louie came by and he and I made our way to St. Marks Place to arrange for our group tattoos. Luckily they were able to accommodate all four of us and the quote was slightly less than we had originally been told. While we were waiting for the artist to get ready, Louie went up to The Onion offices to grab a copy of the issue with the Sukiyaki Western Django review with my pull quote in it while I waited for Phil. Snuck into Search and Destroy to grab a thank you gift for MC for making sure my cat didn't starve.
Around 4:30 PM Tina showed up and the artist did up sketches of our tattoos. Mine was a little bigger than the others because I opted to get a banner under the house. They were very sweet at the tattoo shop, letting us all take a million photos like the bunch of nerds we are. Phil and Louie left after getting their tattoos to finish the preparations for dinner, so us girls had to tough it out on our own.
Once we were all down we headed back up to Astoria and went straight to Louie's place because we were starving. As soon as we got to the door I was accosted by Louie's friend Heidi, who I hadn't seen in years. Once inside, I proceeded to drink much wine and mingle. Before dinner I helped Louie and his friend Carson from Sarnia put together a YouTube playlist of Canadian Heritage Minutes and Hinterland Who's Whos.
After dinner I chatted outside with a French girl who commented on my Quebecois accent, probably the best compliment I've gotten since I moved out here. I didn't really think about my accent until she mentioned it, but as I was speaking to her I suddenly really noticed the difference between my lazy, low, Canadian French and her more lyric, refined, continental French.
Back inside, things had degenerated into a Rock Band Party, as do most parties I go to these days. Once that started to wind down and people started to go home, Louie got out his Uke for the traditional post dinner Ukulele concert, which went very well, right up until the guy from upstairs came down to ask us to keep it down.
I had started to nod off on the couch when Louie suggested we make a conference call to his parents to tell them about our tattoos, which was funny and lovely. Finally, at around 2 AM, Phil, Tina and I stumbled back to their apartment so I could crash on their couch one last time before scrambling to catch my train home.
Tuesday: Got up at 6 AM and scrambled out the door with my little suitcase in tow and set about getting the supplies I'd need to survive the trip home: food, water, etc. Got on the subway and suddenly realized I didn't have my cellphone. Got off the subway, went back to Phil and Tina's, woke them up, searched the couch cushions and then realized that the damn thing had been in my purse the whole time. Went back out on the street to hail a cab. Forty minutes and $40 later, turned up at Penn Station in time to realize that I'd missed the boarding call for my train by half an hour. After briefly waiting in the Amtrak customer service line, decided to play it safe and asked an elderly police officer where the nearest Greyhound station was. Walked the six blocks to the Greyhound station and bought a ticket for the next bus, which conveniently was leaving in two hours. Put myself directly in the line-up for the bus, since I would be damned if I missed that too, and accepted my bus going fate.
As it turns out, the bus was quite pleasant, and despite leaving two hours after the train, actually got me back to Montreal at the same time the train would have, if not sooner. I even enjoyed our rest stop in Albany. Fuck the train.