Navigating New York, bartering basics, and a bit of a rant for the kids

Yeah, I know I promised this last week, but life gets in the way, yeah? So, moving on!

New York!

Since I had been there before, I did not take my camera this time. Why? Because I’m a shutterbug once I have a camera in hand and get too busy snapping to actually LOOK at things. So, I’ll share some older photos of NY with you while relating my new experiences.

We stayed in the shadow of the Empire State Building:

Fun fact, it looks taller during the day than at night. And when I say we were in the shadow of it, we were staying a block away. We passed it so many times on our way to other things, and we ate pizza across the street from it! You can tell who the tourists are just walking near it. We’re the ones who look up. ^_^

We went into Grand Central Station:

Where, apart from trains, they have a ton of little shops, and a whole lotta cheese:

That pic was from 2007, but the cheese shop it still there, and the prices have gone way up. Some of the rarer cheeses were $50 a pound. Cheese so good you want to off yourself afterward because you’ll never have anything as good again. (I’m guessing that’s the only reason it’s so expensive. Right?)

Erin and I walked through Central Park, but since my husband and I didn’t go there in 2007, I have no pics of the inside. Here’s one I took from the car in ’07, just so you can get an idea of how leafy and green it is in the middle of Manhattan:

It’s big, folks, bigger than you expect. And my map didn’t come near explaining all the many trails and paths. A few words of advice, when you do encounter a restroom (and there aren’t many) use it. I don’t care if you have to go or not, do what you can. If (like we did), you come out of the park on the 5th Ave side, there is NOWHERE to go between the Met and the zoo. It’s a longer walk than you think. Speaking of the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

It’s enormous inside, and just like last time, we didn’t finish it. It’s too big to do in one day, just like the British Museum. Once you get the map in hand, it really is a matter of picking what you really really want to see and heading to those first before even attempting the rest. Museum fatigue sets in pretty quickly and the wonderful artifacts in their cases lose their appeal after about the third or fourth hour.

In Chinatown, I got to see the bargaining skills of my friends Pattie and Erica in action. Now, the only time I’ve ever had to barter was in Mexico about fifty-thousand years ago (1995), and I was very nervous about doing it then. My parents had told me I had to be firm, bordering on mean, and counter every offer with the lowest I could think of. It went something like this:

Mexican Souvenir Merchant: You like, Miss? Ten dollars.
Me (eyes narrowing and my best sneer): How about nothing?
Mexican Souvenir Merchant: …?
Me (utterly embarrassed because I’d just said the stupidest thing ever): *flees*

Smooooooth. My bartering was beyond elite. It was…nonexistent. So, when told I had to barter in Chinatown, I was pretty petrified. When the Chinese woman selling purses quoted me a price that was too high, I just put the purse back. Erica and Pattie, however, were cool as cucumbers and wound up getting two purses (one for me, one for Erin) for the price the woman originally quoted.


This is mine. Note to the police: it’s not actually trying to pass itself off as Coach bag. If you look closely, you’ll notice the signature Coach C is mostly an E here. It’s a Eoach. So cheesy. I love it. ^_^ I didn’t always have a thing for purses. A few years ago, I had to do some character research and wound up diving online into the world of ridiculous purses, discovering that some high-class bags retail for 20K. Yeah, you heard right. You can either have a black-market kidney or a handbag, what do you say? Note to the FBI: I don’t know anything about black-market organs. That was a guess. Needless to say, my limit for handbags is usually around $25.

Also from Chinatown:

Sparkly scarf! Hanging from my closet door so you can better see it. No natural fibers were harmed in the making of this scarf, but I love a shiny thing.

Now, for a bit of a rant. And I lied, it’s not for kids. As you may know, I’m moving to Austin, and one of the reasons why is because College Station is overrun by college kids. Yesterday, I had to shop at the store closest to the college.

Parents, teach your children about bread. The wall of bread in the store confuses them. I can tell by their wide-eyed, panicky faces, by the sweat on their brows. I can read their thoughts. “OMFG, so many choices of bread? White or wheat? What the fuck did Mom buy? This one has a coupon, but cute girl picked up that one! Now, that dude is looking at me funny because I picked up the girl bread! HOLY SHIT is there actual girl bread!?! Did I just pick up bread for girls!?!?!? Fuck, fuck, FUCK, people will judge my bread, and I will never get laid ever again. WHAT THE FUCK IS SPLIT-TOP!?!?!”

That could be your child or your nephew or just some random kid you know. Step up to the plate; teach them about their personal bread options. Whatever you do, teach them to get the hell out of the center of the aisle so pissed off people like me can get past their flagrant douchebaggery. I don’t have time for their crises.

And college kids, if you’re reading this, no one cares about your bread. This isn’t high school. If some other kid were to give you static, you don’t have to take it anymore. Say, “We’re not in high school, and if you don’t like my bread, go fuck yourself.” You’re an adult now; you’re allowed.

Some links for you:

I’ll be posting later today on Fansci. Come hang out.
K.S. Augustin has some awesome posts on Killer Clauses in contracts including, Out of Print & Bankruptcy, Length of Rights, Right of First Refusal and Subsidiary Rights Some very interesting info.

What’s goin on in the non-moving world?


12 thoughts on “Navigating New York, bartering basics, and a bit of a rant for the kids

  1. Wow, and to think, we had a chance to move and work in Texas and turned it down! (Albeit Dallas.) If only we’d known! 🙂 I hear Austin has an awesome theatre that throws people out if they text or make/answer phone calls during a movie. Here’s a link:

    Best of luck with the move, Barbara! And thanks for the shout-out with my series. Happy to help any way I can.

    And your inner monologue on kids choosing bread was seriously too funny for words!

  2. I’m still a tourist – I look up every time.

    Bread rant approved. Parents – teach your kids how to make beds,do laundry, choose towels and bread. Your -in-law with thank you.

  3. I read that college rant to the family. It made us all laugh.

    We live in a college town too, but our biggest worry is college football. We have to watch the schedule to keep from getting caught in two hour traffic or unable to check out of the grocery store without standing in an hour line — or finding them sold out of bread and sandwich meats.

  4. I grocery shop in a college town, too, but having 2 college kids of my own makes me more tolerant of the kids in our store. Mine are health nuts, and it’s usually me analyzing the bread to make sure it’s the “right” kind. 😦

    I’m doing my spring cleaning with the goal of moving in a couple of years. I don’t want the pressure of having to sort things at the last minute, so I’m getting ready for retirement now.Just can’t figure out what to do with all my cats…

  5. Mmm… bread. Now I’m starving. I wish I could move — my town has few writers and is full of little community cliques. Everyone sticks together in their own little groups, and the few times I’ve tried to run larger community events, it’s been a bit of a crapshoot. Ah well.

    And I love the Met. LOVE IT. I’ve also never finished going through it, but I love NY and want to get back there soonish.

    As for bartering? All I can say is… don’t go to the Middle East. You’ll spend hours haggling over prices, and it’s kinda fun once you get into the swing of it…

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