Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Trip Report

Now, finally, that trip report!

First of all, I had the best flight ever on the way to New York because I had the whole rear of the plane to myself. Not just a single row, but four empty rows behind me and four empty rows ahead of me. The flight attendant teased me about having been bad so I was sent to the back of the plane. I assured her that I had taken a shower and used deodorant, and I decided that I must have been very, very good to get that much space. She said it was okay if I wanted to move up, but I couldn't think of why I'd want to do that. Those poor slobs up in first class were crammed in, with every seat full, while I had a total personal space bubble. I later told the flight attendant that I was actually a celebrity and I'd bought the rear of the plane to have privacy.

Once I got into the city and checked into my hotel, I headed uptown to The Cloisters and the park that surrounds it. The Cloisters is the medieval collection for the Met, housed in a re-created cloister-like building using architechtural elements from the ruins of actual cloisters. It was too late in the day to go into the museum, and I've seen it before, so I focused on wandering the park. It will likely end up as a setting in book five. I love that area because you can almost feel like you're in the wilderness, even though you're in Manhattan. It's also kind of steep and involves a lot of climbing. When I was tired of walking, I took the subway back to the Upper West Side, which may be a setting for a future non-series book. There's a restaurant I like there, but I forgot the exact cross street and missed it by four blocks, but along the way I found another restaurant to check out for breakfast the next morning. Then I found the Italian place I was looking for and inhaled some pasta, along with a goldfish bowl of wine. Seriously, I ordered a glass of wine and they brought me something I could have gone swimming in. My roommate had gone out to dinner when I got back to the hotel, so I collapsed and watched Friday Night Lights and Mythbusters.

The next morning, I went back to that restaurant I'd discovered, a tea shop called Alice's Tea Cup. I had a yummy scone complete with clotted cream and jam, along with a pot of tea. They also have a multi-course breakfast that comes on the tiered stands they use for afternoon tea, but I didn't have the appetite for that. Someday, though, I'll have to try it. Then I took a bus up to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, on a quest for gargoyles. I had to figure out who might live there. After that, I barely had time to rush back to the hotel and change into nice clothes for my lunch with my editor and publicist.

Lunch was lovely, but alas, I have no book 5 news to report. Afterward, I changed clothes (again!) and went wandering, this time to see what gargoyles live at St. Patrick's (none that I could find). There was a side excursion to discover that there is one copy of Enchanted, Inc. at the B&N near Rockefeller Center, and some brief playing in a nearby Sephora. I then went down to SoHo for a little shopping, after which I rushed back to the hotel to change (yet again!) for the opening reception for the conference I was in New York for. That was a real madhouse, very crowded with tons of editors and agents. I'm not really a cocktail party person. I don't handle crowds well. So I usually found a quiet spot and hid. After the reception, a group of us headed over to a jazz club called Swing 46 for a big-band show with the band Felix and the Cats, which was fabulous. The only bad thing was that there was nobody there to dance with, but that was probably for the best because my knees and hips were killing me by that time. I just sat and listened to the music. I'm so going back there next time I'm in town.

Friday was spent doing conferencey things. That night, a huge group of us went to see The Pirate Queen, which is still in previews. It's the new show by the people who wrote the music for Les Miserables, and since the show is set in Ireland, they teamed up with the dance people behind Riverdance, so the music has a bit of an Irish flavor to it, and when there's dancing, it's traditional Irish dance. All very cool, plus a good love story (little did they know, they had 55 romance authors in the audience). The lead guy was very cute, had a fabulous voice, and, thanks to my opera glasses, I could see he had pretty blue eyes. Plus, he's been on Doctor Who! In the next-to-last episode last season, he was the Torchwood guy who asks his co-worker to sneak off, and then he was the first to be killed by the Cybermen. (And, no, I didn't just know that. I figured it out through a combination of IMDB and TWOP, and I think I still have that episode on tape, so now I must watch it again.) Saturday was more conferencey stuff, after which I was exhausted. I ended up going on a quest for takeout pizza and then crashing in my hotel room and watching Robin Hood on BBC America (which the hotel got).

Sunday, I got a wee bit crazy, but it all worked out. I checked out of the hotel early and dropped off my bags, then took the subway over to Grand Central, where I caught the Hudson River Line train up to Irvington. There, I hiked uphill to the Croton Aqueduct trail and then hiked that about a mile or so to Lyndhurst, one of those manors/castles overlooking the Hudson. And then, since it turned out to be a quiet day, I got a private tour of the house. This is also book research, for yet another non-series project, though I think it may also show up in book 5 or other books in that universe. The place was so gorgeous. I could totally live there. :-) Then I got a cup of tea from the visitor's center and hiked back to the train station, where I caught a train back to the city, subway back across town, got my bags, took the subway to Penn Station, got there just in time to catch a train to Newark Airport, and then flew home. In a miraculous event, the flight got in half an hour early.

So, that was my trip. Looking at that, I can see why I tend to come home exhausted. This time, I was pretty good about being reasonably sane. Getting unlimited MetroCard passes helps because it encourages me to ride as often as possible instead of insisting on walking everywhere. I still get plenty of walking time. I also ditched my purse for a lot of this exploring, just shoving some money, an ID, my hotel key and my MetroCard in my pockets. That kept my back from getting tired. Plus, spending two evenings in, just relaxing, helped.

And now I have a ton and a half of stuff to catch up on, like e-mail going back for months, web site updates, some promo work, and oh yeah, maybe some writing. And, yikes, my taxes. Whimper.

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