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Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Welcome to New York. We do crazy shit..."

In February, I was going through a particularly hard time.  I remember I was working on the annual marine oil spill exercise.  It was an awful day; the rain was cold and unrelenting and I had a week of particularly bad news. I was sitting in one of the work trucks just staring out the window.  Evan, a wise (well he would probably laugh at that!) workmate was in the truck with me, sort of uncertain about how to help me through what was going on.

"Evan, look, I have no husband anymore, no family here and my career is just...well...yeah not going the way I had planned.  In every area of my life, everything seems like its turned to shit and I just don't know what to do. I have nothing."  In that moment, I wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear forever.

He looked at me with sad eyes and said, "Sara, sometimes all you have is your life."

His words pump through my brain as rain and wet confetti pour over me, Brazilian music thumps loudly.  People are screaming and dancing. My heart pounds, I'm soaked to the bone and suddenly a bell goes off in my head.   He is right, sometimes all you have is your life.

New York.  What can I say about this place that hasn't already been written?  Its a crazy place.  There are 12 million people in the city; three times the population size of New Zealand, in such a small space.

Katie and I slept in and headed out in the city midday to soak up the city.  We head to Time Square, which is packed with tourists.  The streets are lined with walls of glass and steel; a testament to man's ambition, greed and innovation.  Its warm and the sights start to all meld together.

The Plaza Hotel, Central was all a bit of a blur and rather overwhelming.  We witness what can only be described as a mob wedding at St. Patrick's Cathedral, complete with men dressed in renaissance costumes and trumpets.  We head off to find a little hole in the wall to eat and we find Prime Burger.

The place is like an old 1950s dinner, with booth like chairs.  Let me break this place down for you.  The seats are comfortable with tray tables that swivel in and out.  The food is good, basic dinner food and we eat burgers, of course.

After walking the city, it was time to go to a show.  Katie had purchased tickets to see Fuerza Bruta; a Brazilian performance art thingy.

The show was in a theatre without any seats, just a large black room.  As we are herded into the room, the lights go dark.  Loud bangs, lights and wind machines start the show.  A gigantic treadmill appears at the centre of the room with a man in a suit walking alone.  He starts running.  The show progressing to adding more people who fall off the treadmill repeatedly.  Suddenly, a wall of boxes appear and the man crashes through them; a cloud of confetti and dust fly into the air.

Katie leans over and says "Welcome to New York.  We do crazy shit."

The show is... indescribable.  There is no singing, just dancing.  Different set pieces come out including a  movable stage, gigantic sheets of shiny fabric, and an overhead swimming pool.  The pool is used to good effect; we all look up at the four women who are dashed about by the water, which is almost tidal.  The pool comes down to just above our heads and we can touch its plastic; at times almost able to touch the performers.  I relate to the woman's experience in the water...I feel like I am being tossed to and fro right now by the tides of my life, without anything grounding me.  But it feels wonderfully nothing can stop me from floating through life right now.

The real stars of the show are the technical crew, who move at lightning speed to move sets, herd people away from the set pieces and manage the wires.  Its an amazing feat.

The show ends with a gigantic dance party.  In the centre, water pours out of the ceiling like rain.  I look at Katie and we both know we will get soaked if we go in the centre.  We do anyway, dancing in the rain like mad women.

Nicole (one of Katie's friends from Chicago), Katie and I proceed to the Blind Pig for a platter of fried food.  Nicole leaves us to the night and we end up in a place called the Beauty Bar.  Someone was really thinking when they created this bar; we sipped on Cosmopolitans while getting a manicure.  This is, quite possibly, the best concept for a bar ever.  Katie and I rock our new green sparkly and purple nails (I'm sparkly green, Katie know, the Joker colours!)

We wandered home but stopped at a palm reader, who was somewhat accurate but tried to swindle three hundred dollars from me to get a cursed removed.  I politely declined.

The night ends with a conversation with Katie's neighbours on their doorstep. The night is warm and people just hang out on their porches talking with neighbours.

The city so far has been a lesson on survival and enjoying the moment, living in the now.  Sometimes, all you have is your life...and what a life it is.