Hokay, I'm officially back from New York and I've completed my epic mission of seeing Rammstein perform at Madison Square Garden. This post, however, will not be about Rammstein. After some debate, I've decided to separate my adventure in New York from my adventure at Rammstein. Sorry for the delay, but I think the blogs will go more smoothly this way.
So yeah, once again, THE RAMMSTEIN POST WILL BE AFTER THIS ONE. THIS POST IS NEW YORK ONLY. This one probably won't be as interesting or well-written, hahaha.
So anyways, this trip to New York was planned awhile back. As soon as I was assured a set of Rammstein tickets, my parents - who are also huge Rammstein fans - arranged plane and hotel reservations for the three of us to go to New York. However, not much later, my mother became sick and we decided it was best if she didn't go. If she didn't go, however, my father was unlikely to go. So where did that leave me? Well, I was going to go no matter what, because Rammstein have been #1 on my bucket list for years. But I didn't want to go alone. In the end, it was decided that one of the Rammstein tickets would be transferred to my friend and housemate Melissa. We also wanted to transfer the plane ticket to her, but it was against FDA regulations. My mom called and pleaded her case, and they agreed to at least refund her ticket so we could get Melissa a new one. Because of this, Melissa and I wound up taking the same flight to New York, but were stuck taking different flights back. Not ideal, but better than nothing.
On Friday, I had to do a fifteen minute presentation entirely in Japanese about school violence (yes, my group members and I picked the topic, lol). After that nastiness was over, I ran down to Madison's Memorial Union to pick up bus tickets. Melissa met up with me not much later and we hitched a bus down to Chicago, where my parents let us stay the night. Bailey was kind of afraid of Melissa, lol. He doesn't like strangers. Anyways, because our flight was at 7 am, we had to wake up at a miserable 4:00 in the morning. We were running on virtually no sleep, but we dragged ourselves up and took a taxi to O'hare airport. We got on the plane and it turned out to be an incredibly small one. Only four seats across. Not gonna lie, I felt really claustrophobic. Melissa and I were across the aisle from each other with an old, sneezing woman in between us. I spent most of the two hour flight trying to wish away my claustrophobia. Not fun. And embarrassing, when you consider my love of ultra-squished concerts. But it made me that much happier to finally land in New York city!
First thing's first, we had to get to our hotel. Just our luck, the hotel was directly across the street from Madison Square Gardens! And it was a damn fancy hotel. I asked my mom about it later and she said this hotel was actually cheaper than the other hotels that were farther away from the venue. Huh.
This was our hotel room:
(Lol, messy beds)
Our room even had a kitchen!
So then it was time to explore! First, while getting lost, we found a cute little puffball doggy! Look how fat and fluffy it is!
Now, one of the big things on our agenda was to go to the Chrome Hearts store in New York. Yeah, yeah, we're JRock fans, whatever, lol. Lotsa JRockers wear Chrome Hearts fashion and jewelry, and there are hardly any Chrome Hearts store in America. Plus, they have no online store, so if you wanna see their stuff, you've gotta go to the store. This is their display window:
The store had a butler and everything. Some dude in gloves let us in and then locked us in! Inside, lots of people were making very expensive-looking transactions. There was tons of jewelry on display, all of it super gaudy and super expensive. Most of the items didn't even bother to list their price, and when it did, it was scary. Melissa picked up a really cute hat, only to be met with a price tag of over $350. Ugh... no. I also recognized a lot of the stuff that JRockers have worn in the past. Lol, I'm so lame. I fell in love with this one leather bracelet with a sparkly buckle, but I didn't even want to find out how much it was. Melissa and I really just went to Chrome Hearts to say we went, but we never really intended to buy anything.
Next up, we went to Central Park. It was a surprisingly nice day for New York in December:
A parade of horse-drawn carriages went by...
A pretty statue:
A cool building:
Aaaaand a giant-ass menorah, lol:
We wound up on one of New York's big, fancy shopping streets where they had some really cool window displays. Unfortunately, the glare on the windows made the photos complete and utter shit. Buuuut, I figured I'd post them anyways. You can squint and try to see what made them cool, lol:
Melissa wanted to pose in front of Louis Vuitton, lol:
We went to the Diesel store... where little people dressed as elves handed us candy canes. Hmm...
And we found a really beautiful building:
The intricate details are amazing:
We also stopped off at a sushi place for lunch and got some taro bubble tea.
Not much later, Melissa decided she wanted to try authentic New York hot dogs. I hate hot dogs, but decided to go along with it anyways. Don't I look thrilled?
Melissa's very happy about her hot dog:
Me... not so much, lol...
Btw, I thought the hot dog was disgusting, lol. I barely finished it DX
We also took turns posing in front of that weird LOVE thing, or whatever. I'm a lousy tourist, lol:
We saw the Radio City music hall...
Giant Christmas baubles...
And the Wiener Mobile, lol XD
Soon we wound up in Times Square, where I took an ass-load of pictures of some shit, lol:
I'm proud of myself for capturing this image with a well-placed shadow, lol:
Speaking of which, Melissa and I totally went into the Lindt store. We bought about ten truffles each, lol.
M&M store with a long line to get in (which is why we didn't go in, lol):
And it looks much better at night:
My general feeling towards New York was fine, but Times Square pissed me off. I'm sure it's just cuz it was a Saturday before the holidays, but I found Times Square to be crowded, smelly, rude, and annoying. I couldn't wait to get away from it. There are no bathrooms anywhere in Times Square (including inside places like Starbucks) and there are long lines to get into everything. I started to get a very terrible urge to start slamming and pushing people. Ya know, Tokyo's crowded, but it isn't suffering from the horrible disorganization that New York is. I was really irritated with Times Square, seriously.
After escaping Times Square Hell, Melissa and I returned to our hotel area to find some food before Rammstein. We couldn't find anything close to the hotel that was fast enough, so we wound up at another sushi place, lol! But salmon over rice was very satisfying for me, so I couldn't complain. Then we ran over to Madison Square Garden!
[Insert completely epic fucking awesome Rammstein concert here]
After Rammstein, Melissa and I made our way back to the hotel (which was just across the street, derp). We picked up a soft pretzel to share and inhaled all our Lindt truffles, lol. Then we went to sleep.
Trouble started the following morning, while we were showering. I noticed I had a voice mail on my phone, so I listened to it, trying to figure out why my phone didn't ring during the night. The message turned out to be from United Airlines... saying my flight was canceled and was rescheduled to the next available flight... which was the following day. Well isn't that nice. When Melissa was out of the shower, I told her what happened. Of course, we had no idea if her flight was going either. For me, it wasn't the worst thing in the world if I couldn't get back to Madison till tomorrow. For Melissa, however... she had a final exam the next day (aren't we such wonderful students?). So it was kind of an emergency. So instead of going to Korea Town like we'd originally planned, we spent over an hour on hold with American and United Airlines trying to find out if Melissa's flight was canceled and if we could somehow get a goddamn flight back to Chicago ASAP.
Well, it turned out all flights to Chicago were canceled because it was windy (for fuck's sake). Hmm... okay, now what? Well, American Airlines finally found a flight for Melissa going to Chicago. She asked if they could switch me over to that flight somehow and they said there was one more seat, and reserved it for me with a confirmation code and everything. All I'd have to do is ask United Airlines to switch me over at the airport. Also, the plane would be leaving in less than two hours. We grabbed our shit and ran for it. We caught a taxi and rushed to the airport. When we got there, however, we discovered a massive line of people trying to get up to the United Airlines ticket counter - most of them waiting to reschedule a flight to Chicago. I explained to a staff member that I needed to get up there because I'd reserved a flight for another airline and it was leaving soon. And get this... he basically told me to fuck myself. Even though my transaction would take less than a minute, he told me he couldn't get me up there to do the switch because there'd be a "riot" if someone jumped the line. He said this, despite the fact that most people in line were looking at me sympathetically and shaking their heads at the staff member. I ran to American Airlines and they told me to go back to United Airlines. I went back to United and they, once again, told me to fuck myself and get in line. I said it was just take a moment and my plane was about to leave. He said "too bad."
Well, then there was only one thing I could do... I told Melissa to go. I told her to just catch the plane and leave. I mean, she had a final exam, how could I hold her back?
Now completely alone in New York, I got in line. The woman in front of me, who saw what happened to me, shook her head and called the airline "heartless." Yeah, seriously... I was on hold for an hour to reserve a ticket, and they wouldn't even let me have it. So now I was all alone in New York with no way of getting home. I waited in line for over an hour. When I got up to the ticket counter, the woman said everything was sold out. I asked about the other airlines and she said they were sold out too. I told her what had happened with the ticket reservation. She looked furious and asked who the hell wouldn't let me cut the line. I waved my arm vaguely and said "the staff." She scowled and told me she'd put me on standby, even though they weren't putting many people on standby anymore.
So now, with my standby ticket. I went through security and waited miserably at the ticket gate. Hours went by. I called my parents to tell them what had happened, especially since I might need another night at the hotel. After that, I was feeling lonely and called up Ashley. She kept me amused for awhile, but then they started calling standby names and I had to hang up. Every name they called was a disappointment. I knew I'd never make the list. And, sure enough, I failed. They said the ones who didn't make the list would be transferred to the list for another flight to Chicago. I sighed and moved myself over to another gate to wait. I got a text from Melissa saying she was back in Chicago. But there was a problem: if planes aren't flying into O'hare, our buses to Madison stop running. So we'd either be trapped in New York, or trapped in Chicago. But I knew it would still be better for me to get to Chicago cuz it's easier to be stranded with company than to be stranded alone.
Around that time, I got a text from Ashley. So here I was, trapped all alone in New York unsure of how to get home, and what do I find out from this text? Shou from UnsraW suffered a collapsed lung. I almost hit the ceiling. Ashley assured me he was okay, but all I could think was, "Shou, nooo!!!" I texted Ashley back telling her I'd call her as soon as I could. But now they were calling out standby names again. And, sure enough, my name wasn't called. I was running out of options.
I sat there, watching the plane board, feeling morbidly depressed. There was a group of Orthodox Jews sitting off to the side praying and bowing their heads and I was really tempted to go over there and ask them what their take was on "comeuppance." I mean, did I do something to deserve this? It had been the worst year of my life and I'd finally tried to go do something fun and look what happened. Did I do something wrong? Before I got the chance to go talk to the Jews, however, a furious-looking employee suddenly stormed out from behind the ticket counter and yelled, "who here is on standby?!"
I basically lunged at him. I mean... there's no other way to put it. I pounced. He ripped my standby ticket out of my hand and slammed it on the counter. "Transfer it," he growled. The woman behind the counter shrugged and put my ticket through the machine. And out popped a shiny new boarding pass. If I'd had less reserve, I would've burst out singing "I'VE GOT A GOLDEN TICKET!!!" I nearly ran onto the plane. Oh, what joy! A plane back to Chicago! Except our wheels broke, leaving us with a thirty minute delay. Sigh... I used that time to call up Ashley and find out what happened to Shou. I'm sure the UnsraW fans already know all about it, but I guess it was just a random thing and he's totally fine. Phew. Also, our flight had terrible turbulence. When the plane finally landed, everyone burst into applause, lol.
At O'hare, I managed to find Melissa. I grabbed some food (I hadn't eaten all day) and she told me she'd found an alternate way home. There was a Coach bus to Milwaukee, where we could transfer to a Badger Bus to Madison. Perfect. And that's just what we did. By 12:30 am we were back in Madison. It was a full 11 hours of traveling. What should have been a quick 6 hour trip was nearly doubled in time and quadrupled in effort.
But we made it back! And it was through such trials that our Rammstein experience felt that much more triumphant!
So now I shall begin to work on the Rammstein post, which should be a lot less annoying than my New York post! Brb!