Thursday, October 23, 2008

nyc > providence > nyc

By Pauly
New York City

Quick trip up to Rhode Island. Very quick.

I combined a concert with seeing Senor and the family. I'm short on time and have to consolidate a lot of events these days. The hardest part was figuring out how to get up to Rhode Island. In the past, if I stayed for an extended visit, I always took the bus. It was the cheapest option but took the longest in excess of five hours sometimes longer depending on traffic. For short trips to RI, I usually rented a car and spent an extra night playing poker at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. This instance, I was pressed for time with a trip to Budapest starting on Sunday. I opted to skip a side trip to a casino since I'm slowly getting back into playing a lot of poker again but I don't want to go overboard. Moderation.

Plus, I couldn't find an ideal car rental. It's pricey to rent cars in NYC and I'd have to get one for 2 days which added to the price tag. I thought about flying. That's the fastest but also the most expensive and most restrictive. In the end, I settled on the train. Three hours each way. That's faster than driving and much faster than the bus which stops a ton of places along the way. The train ended up being the same length as a plane because of all the hassles of getting into the airport early and security checkpoints at LaGuardia airport which sucks. Plus the train is the most accessible. I took the subway downtown to Penn Station where I caught Amtrak which dropped me off in downtown Providence less than 10 minutes from Senor's house.

I purchased business class upgrade for a few more bucks at $160 total. Those sections actually have power outlets and fold down trays which caters to business people. My biggest complaint about air travel is that it kills valuable time for me because I'm away from the intertubes and that there's always a line (check in, security, boarding) or wasteful waiting time (on tarmacs or at the gate or waiting for luggae). The train gave me the opportunity to stay connected along my journey.

I arrived early at Penn Station. I grabbed a black and white cookie while I avoided the K9 unit patroling the area. My train was bound for Boston with only a few stops which included Providence. I had an empty seat next to me the entire way and spread out all my stuff over two seats which included a laptop, a book, and a notebook to jot down some ideas if inspiration struck.

A group of rowdy Norwegians were in my car headed to Boston. The rest of the passengers were all business types. A few of them were on their cellphones the entire journey wheeling and dealing.

My aircard worked without any problems. I played online poker and won enough money to pay for my ticket. I often gazed out the window at the magnificent foliage of New England. I sort of forgot what time of year it was and the multi-colored trees reminded me that it was late October. This is the pretty time when you get plenty of shades of green along with bright yellows, reds, and oranges before eventually all the leaves turn death brown and fall to the ground. You don't get to see that flying 35,000 feet up in the air.

I arrived just at the same time that Senor pulled into the train station. We headed back to his new house in Providence. I got to see the wife and 50% of his offspring. Jodd was at Grandma's but Deuce was around. He's two years old now and talking a bit. I kept my language clean and only let slip one F-bomb.

Deuce and I hung out and drew dinosaurs together as he emptied out a huge box of crayons and markers on the floor. He is in the middle of a smiley face phase so I drew lots of circles and let him add the smiles. I ran around the house with Deuce for twenty minutes. Afterwards, I was sore and tired. Two year olds have boundless energy. I asked Senor how he managed to keep up. He said he could only keep up for about thirty minutes before he was drained.

Senor and I grabbed dinner at Blake's which is a bar downtown with food that is located across the street from the place we were gonna see Trey perform. We met up with some Deadheads that Senor works with and talked music while I drank beers. I tweaked my back earlier in the morning and took a couple of painkillers throughout the day just to function. That made the beer go right to my head. After two brews, I was sloshed. It was time to go inside.

Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel used to be in a different location. The last time I saw a show in Providence it was Dark Star Orchestra several years ago at the old locale. The new one is much different and reminded me of the Beacon Theatre in NYC or a smaller version of the Wiltern in LA.

Senor and I hung upstairs for the entire show. Good crowd, a mixture of local college kids and older hardcore Phish fans. Senor chugged red bull to stay awake. I only drank water at the show and did not have a single smoke. Talk about a sober show, eh? I was still jacked up from the painkillers which allowed me to dance and groove a bit without any serious pain.

After the show, we headed back to the house. Senor crashed and I stayed up to write a quick review. I attempted sleep, but insomnia had the best of me. I tried to stay in bed in the guest room and let my back rest up but I was limited to listening to my iPod and reading. I passed out shortly before sunrise and woke up in time to catch my train back to NYC.

I hopped on a train that began in Boston and was headed for DC. It was crowded but I managed to find a seat in the Quiet Car. That was welcomed because the rules are no cell phones. I took a thirty minute nap somewhere in Eastern Connecticut. I woke up and finished up a book on Alan Watts.

I was in NYC by lunchtime... almost exactly 24 hours after I began my journey. A quick trip to Providence was complete. I got to see 50% of my nephews, hung out with Senor and his wife, caught a kick ass Trey show, and enjoyed the visual stimulation of a New England autumn.

Only a few more days until Budapest.

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