Monday, December 20, 2004

You would think that after the tour, I'd have learned my lesson....

Julie and I went to New York yesterday via the Chinatown bus.

As soon as I see the doctor this morning and make sure I'm still alive, I'll report back.

I'm serious.

I thought I'd write a whole diatribe now but it appears I can barely type.

But other than the bus and ensuing insanity, we had an awesome time.

...more text to follow (assuming I'm not admitted to the hospital later)


Okay, I'm back. The doctor did in fact give me bad news - I've gained weight (arghhh) and my blood pressure is really elevated and he's so concerned he wants to see me every four weeks now because he's afraid I'm going to blimp out and I don't blame him because I'm headed in that direction. I was honest, I said look, I work at a stressful job and since Thanksgiving, we've been getting gift baskets of chocolate and cookies every day and that's basically what I've been eating for lunch and dinner. Also, I told him about my bus trip yesterday, which I will now relate here below, but after I told him all this, he laughed and didn't increase my meds but made me promise I'd start eating salads again and exercise (my son is conveniently dating a girl now whose mother is the top personal trainer in Philadelphia so I asked him to put in a word for me but oh god, there are few things I hate worse than exercise. But if it's a choice between that and being dead, I guess I'll do crunchs and use words like abs and gluts and oh god, I'm gonna vomit just thinking about it).

Okay, my bus trip.

Part I

As anyone who knows me is aware, I love to spend money and have no problem taking Amtrak to New York; in fact, my daughter will have a heart attack when she reads this, but I even take Acela which is $50.00 (or $200 round trip) more because I like to be comfortable and not take public transportation with the common man. In fact, the less I have to do with said common man, the better. But it is Christmas and my daughter found out about bus services which run from Philadelphia Chinatown to NYC Chinatown, and if you book them on line, it's only $20.00 round trip. There are a few different companies, and everyone talks about Century Bus Lines because they run every 20 minutes, but for some unknown reason, my daughter chose a company called Apex.

Here's the first clue that something isn't right. Our tickets say 8:00 a.m. Philly to NYC but please get there one half hour early to insure your seat. So we get to the bus stop at 7:30 a.m. yesterday and there is a tiny storefront with a woman behind a glass window with bars who says "You miss bus. You late."

"Huh? It says 8:00 a.m. on our ticket," I say, incensed.

"We just change schedule yesterday."

Julie and I look at each other, pissed as hell. Like, you obviously have our email address, why didn't you write to us?

"Well, when is the next bus?" I ask.

"You stay here. Bus at 9:00, 9:30."

Um, I don't think so. We have reservations for brunch at 10:00 a.m. at this supposed fantastic place in the Village.

"Julie, that's it. We're taking Amtrak," I say.

"No, Mom, I know, let's walk to the Greyhound bus terminal (2 blocks away). Their tickets are the same price. I'll get a refund of these (even though I notice right on the ticket it says no refund, I stay quiet) and Greyhound has an 8:00 a.m. bus."

Okay, fine. It will take a half hour to get to the Amtrak station anyway and I don't know what time the trains are running. So we walk to the bus station, and unbelievably enough, there is an 8:00 a.m. bus, we get on, and of course the first thing that happens is that the guy in front of me eats a giant hoagie with onions and the guy behind me has a chronic cough which I just know is going to end up killing both Julie and me...we're gonna get TB for sure. Two seats behind another fellow is already snoring. And..sigh...of course we have the cell phone people who feel the need to share their personal lives with the world by screaming into those things non stop. Ah, if shooting people with a high powered rifle were legal...

Anyway, we do in fact make it to NYC despite the discomfort in time for our brunch, which was incredible, though when I got the tab and saw $43.00, I was stunned, until I realized they charge $4.50 per cup of coffee and $6.00 for Julie's fresh squeezed juice. Sorry, even I got annoyed at that one. That kind of money for scrambled eggs?

At this point it is important to the rest of the story...and oh what a story it let you know that I had $100.00 in cash in my pocket when I left home and my debit card with approximately $5,000.00 in my checking account. I had no credit cards or checks - I didn't see any need.

So I've now paid for the Greyhound bus and breakfast with cash, which left me with around $18.00, but I didn't care, I had the debit card and ugh, the return bus tickets home.