Apartment Hopping

After two nights at Lloyd’s, Justin and I headed over to Jackson Heights to meet up with Carrie and Tom. Like yesterday, we woke up pretty late in the afternoon and our first meal was around 3:00 PM.

The door to Lloyd’s building. Apparently, his is the only apartment on the block where you can’t just sit on the steps out front.

View from the sidewalk. I really liked the neighborhood. All the buildings were similar, but they each had their own unique feel. I’m used to seeing buildings like these in close proximity, but right next to each other was a new thing. But I didn’t get a sense of crowding, or encroachment. Instead, it felt more familiar, cozy.

New York Pizza pretty much rocks.

Two slices and a soda.

This is right before my very first subway ride in New York. We’re at a stop on the Q, which we’ll take to Manhattan. I think we then transferred to the 9, and made our way to Jackson Heights.

Justin, working on a coffee.

Walking from the train, we passed a closed off playground by a school. I found all these toy cars really interesting, and took a pic. For some reason, I imagined some sort of kindergarten-level demolition derby.

This is inside Carrie and Tom’s apartment (which is gorgeous, by the way). I felt awkward taking photos of their place, so here’s a shot of me in the hallway. When we arrived, we sat in the living room and got caught up a bit.

Carrie is a friend from undergrad, and Tom is her husband. Justin knows Carrie better than me (she’s more a friend of a friend), but she and Tom welcomed me with great kindness and enthusiasm nonetheless. We hung out a while in their living room, getting caught up a bit and trading stories of what we’ve done so far.

For dinner, Carrie, Justin and I headed to Little India (a neighborhood near their apartment). Tom, having plans to eat with his parents, went on his own.

On our way to dinner, we stopped by the birthplace of Scrabble. Other than the street sign, we didn’t see any other big markers. But apparently, this is where the game was invented.

Or more specifically… here. :)

Here we are at dinner. So far, I’ve been hesitant to really take out my camera much. Partly it’s because I don’t know Carrie and Tom all that well, and partly because I kept getting this desire to not appear like a tourist.

Before we arrived here, we stopped in a few Indian grocery stores where Justin went looking for a particular type of shaving cream he had used while he was in India.

Justin spent a good deal of time in India, studying a bit and travelling a lot. He’s got a ton of photographs and audio recordings, which he really needs to put online so the rest of us can enjoy it.

I think the actual name of the thing was "Spirit of Man," and he kept asking all the shopkeeps in Hindi if they carried it. I know it may sound a little silly, but Justin raved about how close a shave he got with that thing, and how great his skin felt afterwards.

I really should have taken more notes on what we all ordered, because it was absolutely fantastic. In addition to my entree, which was rolled vegetarian balls in a creamy sauce, I got to try some sweetened Lassi. I think I’m spelling/describing things correctly here. Lassi is, if memory serves, a cool drink made out of milk and yogurt? Good stuff. We all shared around and, despite my dislike of really spicy foods, I enjoyed things.

The one thing that pissed me off – there was a table behind us. Earlier, as the waiter was trying to seat us, he motioned us towards a table by this large family. One of the men stood up, waved his hands, and said "No no no no no." He then said something about more people joining, and so we were moved farther away, with one empty table buffering ours and theirs. By the end of our meal, we noticed that no one had joined their party in the hour that we were sitting there.

This is a small thing, but it pissed me off nonetheless.

After dinner, we walked around the area and looked for some stores that sold Indian Bollywood movies on DVD. Walking around, I did some browsing, but couldn’t really make much sense out of the titles I saw. A few DVD’s had brief overviews (in English), and a surprising number of them gave a complete summary of everything that happened, start to finish. No teasing, no enticing: just summary.

Justin had a few things that he wanted to try to track down, and spent some time talking with the clerks. As I wandered around, I saw one particular title that made me do a double-take. I wasn’t sure if it was a translation thing, or what. I thought briefly about taking a picture of the poster, but decided against it.

I did a search and found it. Aaaaaand THIS would be that movie.


Do you know what I had to wade through to find this? :|

Here we are, back at the apartment. We settled down to watch this documentary on that basketball player Yau. But it turned out to be a really shitty program, so we quickly turned off the television.

Everbody… meet Pooper.

Too cute!

I got the chance to hang out with Carrie a bit, talking in the kitchen. This was particularly cool, because it’s been a really long time since we’ve seen one another, and I felt a bit awkward visiting. Justin’s known her better and longer than me, so I really enjoyed the chance to converse a bit more.

The subject of old (really old) Chinese songs came up, and Carrie put in a few CD’s for us to listen to. Tom’s parents make fun of her for liking this music, as it’s all music that they used to listen to, when they were kids. Carrie explained the music as evoking a certain nostolgia she was unable to really identify… and after listening to a few
songs, I totally understood what she meant.

I wish I had some audio to share with you. :) Hm… how dangerous would it be for me to also invest in a minidisc recorder?

While in the kitchen talking, we swapped a lot of stories. I talked about growing up in a Chinese household, and Carried talked about marrying into a Chinese family. We had a lot of common ground, and I had a fantastic talk.

I’m telling you. Kitchens are absolutely fanstatic for wonderful conversations.

Tom rejoined us later in the night, and we all just sat around sipping beer and reminiscing. Carrie broke out some of her old photographs and Oh my GOD is she a great photographer.

In college, Justin, Dave, Alex and I shared one circle of friendship. But they were also involved in a huge community that I got to see glimpses of. Looking over Carrie’s pictures, I saw a lot of familiar faces and got to peek into what undergrad was like for Justin.

Even now, when I think about it – it’s funny how many Indiana University people have migrated to Chicago.

Justin, elaborating on a story.

Near the end of the night.

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