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Freedom Isn’t Free…

How we spent the fourth of July long weekend

Saturday was the fourth of July so, since we’ve been here, it has seemed that about 50% of people we pass in the street have this song playing on loop in their head at any given time (NSFW):

The epitome of a patriotic tattoo.

The epitome of a patriotic tattoo: A bald eagle on an USA-shaped American flag.

It is amazing how many different items can possibly have the ‘stars and bars’ printed on them. I’ve heard the phrase, “These colours don’t run!” on more than one occasion recently, but on some people here they definitely do stretch.
Anyway, let’s go back to where we left off last time…

Thursday, July 2, 2015
I spent most of Thursday checking out apartments, this time a couple in the East Village, just around the corner from where the almighty CBGB once stood. It’s a great area with the type of stuff I like, the apartments were nice and within our budget, one was even going to throw in some free furniture and a TV, but it might’ve be a little inconvenient for Anna to get to work, plus, one apartment wasn’t available until the first of August and the landlord of the other wanted to do renovations while we were living there. Scratch that.

Anna’s uncle took us out to dinner at a really good restaurant in Little Italy and after that, because Friday was a public holiday, Anna and myself decided to go out for a couple of drinks. It was raining a bit so we just went into a bar on Nassau St. near our apartment simply called Nassau Bar. I love dive bars, so this was right up my alley, but it was a different type of seedy. When we entered we thought the rather large woman serving drinks was butt-naked. It turned out our exceptionally busty barmaid was wearing a particularly small, flesh-tone bikini. Another was wearing one that had a black patch at the front, giving the illusion of a merkin. The beer was cheap, the jukebox had some great music, however, most people were just playing crap. Anna felt slightly more comfortable when she realised that there were other women drinking there, but I don’t think she will be in a hurry to return. I would happily make it my local while I’m here.

The illusion of

The illusion of “Health”

Friday, July 3, 2015
There is a Denny’s right near our apartment and on Thursday night Anna’s uncle told us to go there for the “True American breakfast experience”.We decided we had nothing to lose, so we went there for breakfast on Friday morning. This was an experience we could’ve happily gone without, one that could be summed up with one classic quote from that morning:

“Sorry, we can’t get you an iced-cappuccino, the mixture hasn’t been delivered.”

– Destiny, Denny’s waitress

No woman could stay invisible for long while eating this...

No woman could stay invisible for long while eating this…

You see, they only have a limited range of non-soda based beverages and I wanted a coffee, but I wanted something cold, leaving me with two options and this was one of them. I would’ve thought the mixture would just consist of coffee, water and milk, but I guess it’s more complex than that, so I settled for a regular iced-coffee that began to separate over the course of our meal. Not only was the food disgusting, but if you want an acquaintanceship with terror, just read their nutritional information. According to US law, all nutritional information must be made readily available, so I’d thought I snap some pictures of it, however, it’s hard to read in the photos, so here is a version I downloaded. I like how they used the metric system this time to confuse the normals:

The vie from Seaport

The view from the Seaport

After our horrifically disgusting breakfast we, walked down to the Seaport area, where we felt absolutely cheated. There were so many great restaurants and bars around there, it actually made us really annoyed that we had settled for that “True American breakfast” crap. Instead, we walked around until we were hungry and then went to grab something decent.

Anna received a call from an estate agent and before long it was time for us to leave to check out some apartments, the first being right near Times Square; It was small, but would meet our needs. He then took us to another building that had several available, all of which were nice, within our price range and a decent size. Perfect, so we decided to apply for them there and then. Just a couple of snags:

  • We don’t have social security numbers, due to Anna’s income being paid by her hospital in Singapore. There is a slight possibility she might have one from when she lived in Minnesota as a child, but it isn’t likely.
  • Due to this, we’d need to either pay 12 months in advance, despite the fact that we’ll only be here 12 months.
  • When we explained that paying the whole term in a lump sum isn’t really renting, but is definitely extortion he gave us the option of getting a guarantor.
  • The guarantor would be required to have an annual income of 80 times the monthly rental.

The irony of this situation is that we qualify to be a guarantor for someone else, but it’s difficult for us to get a our own place. Go figure. Anyway, the agent is trying to pull some strings, because he only earns commission, not a wage, so it should all be fine.

We had plans to meet one of Anna’s friends at a great Venezuelan restaurant and we did make it – granted, this all made us both very late, but we had a really fun time and Anna definitely needed the drinks that closed out the night.

Saturday, July 4, 2015
Fourth of July was here and it looked like it was going to be a washout, it was only supposed to be about 22°C (75°F) and raining most of the day. In the Seaport area again there was a flea market and live music, as well as food and beer tents. We stopped by a biker bar called Iron Horse to grab a hotdog and then wandered around the flea market. While I was checking out some old wrestling figures, the owner of the stall commented on my Mr. Bungle t-shirt and then noticed my Ween tattoo and we bonded instantly. He then gave me a business card and said to come down to his shop in Brooklyn some time and just hang out. Afterwards, when Anna and myself were having lunch, I decided to email him to see if there was any work going. Later, he saw me outside and said he’d pay me to help set up and pack down stuff like this. Rarely do my interests result in making money.

That night we went to a party that Anna’s cousins, Emilie and Jamie, were invited to. We had an amazing view of everything from their apartment, great food and plenty of beer There were also a lot of cool people there, the type that I’d hang out with in my own time. Sure, I might not be able to drag them down to Nassau Bar, but I’m sure we could come to an agreement on somewhere we all like.

More photos:

They really don’t mess around with the fireworks, the whole thing lasted about half an hour! Seriously! Also, from where we were, we could also see the fireworks in New Jersey! I filmed the finale, so for those who like loud explosions, here it is:

Saturday was definitely a blast, but, I have to say, I don’t think I’ve heard the word “Freedom” used so much in one day! It was getting thrown around gratuitously in the same way Disney uses “Classic.” A typical TV interview:

Reporter: “I’m down here in Times Square getting the word on the street. Excuse me sir, what does the fourth of July mean to you?”
Random Joe on the Street: “Well, I guess I’d have to say, uhhh… ‘freedom’.”
Reporter: “Back to you in the studio”

Sunday, July 5, 2015
Sunday was just a quiet day, a barbecue and some beers at Emilie’s parents house and then we met up with one of Anna’s old high school friends for dinner.

All in all we had a great long weekend, the apartment part is a bit stressful and annoying, but hopefully that will be sorted soon. A few other things we’ve seen and done over the last couple of days:

  • Saw two large women with excessive facial hair get into a fight on the subway. One woman was acting like she had gathered everyone there for a meeting and then started asking for money. The other then started swearing at her, calling her a crack-whore, and telling her she just wants the money to buy crack.
  • Saw a one-legged man on a rollerblade.
  • I walked past  Steve Nash on our way to dinner last night and he gave a look that said “Please don’t ask for a photo…”. I was wondering what he was doing in New York dressed in sporting gear; He was born in South Africa, was raised in Canada and played for Dallas, Phoenix, and the Lakers, but is retired now. Then I saw this. I guess it makes sense now.
  • I thought I saw Detective Sipowicz from NYPD Blue, but roughly 5% of all men over the age of 50 look like that here, so it could’ve been anyone, really.
  • I’ve been meeting so many people here – Mainly random guys coming up and complimenting me on my t-shirts.
  • I’ve noticed that people here are excited about everything. I keep having conversations that are similar to this:

Random Stranger: “So, what have you been up to today?”
Me: “Nothing much, I just woke up and now I’m getting something for lunch.”
Random Stranger: [In wide-eyed amazement] “That’s AMAZING!”

Anyhow, it’s a nice day so I might go for a walk, see what bizarre random events I’ll witness today.

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