A state visit without a race…but lots of food, wine, laughs…and a giant Buddha!

This post pretty much will have zero talk about running, because I just had a weekend of pure debauchery in…

I was lucky to have a very close group of friends in high school with whom I am still very close with today. They are the ones I turn to first when I want to celebrate and also when I need support. Back in February, a couple of the girls and I decided to go on a girls trip. Because one of them, Jen, lives in London, England, NYC was chosen as the destination as it is “easy” for her to find a direct flight from London to there.  For me and Erin, it was also an easy destination ’cause it’s a short jaunt from Ottawa (for me) and Toronto (for Erin).

Thursday morning I was out of the house by 6:30am to catch my 8am flight. I don’t know if I smelled really bad (I swear I showered and put on deodorant that morning!), but whatever the reason, my taxi driver had his seat pulled so far forward that, if we got into an accident, the deployment of the air bags would have killed him for sure!

I arrived at the airport at 6:48 and when I went to check in, the agent told me that my flight was going to be delayed until 11:00am which would mean I would miss my connecting flight in Toronto (on which I was meeting up with Erin!). Thankfully, because I’m so insistent on arriving early to the airport, she was able to get me (and my bag!!) on the 7:15 flight. I was given priority status through security and was in my seat on the place by 6:58! Pretty impressive, no?

A quick flight to Toronto (in the air for 37 minutes) and then I met up with Erin and we got on our 90 minute flight to Newark where we then took the train to Penn Station in NYC!!

We then made our way to our hotel – the W Hotel.

Yup. Right in Times Square. This was our view from our room on the 27th floor. I wish I had audio but since I don’t, just imagine a chorus of every siren and horn possible…24/7. LOL.

Jen had already arrived and taken a quick nap from her overseas flight and after cracking open a bottle of champagne to kick start our weekend, we headed out to wander amidst the amazing chaos of this city!

To me, we look exactly the same as we did when we met over 20 years ago!!

After an hour of wandering, we went back to the hotel and got dressed more appropriately for our dinner at the ABC Kitchen…where the front makes it look like a hole in the wall……and then you walk in and see that it’s super nice! Here are the three of us after stuffing our faces full of good food and wine!
After dinner, knowing that the next 2 days it was going to rain, we made our way to the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar which we had heard had a great view of the city…and that was certainly true!!

Because all of us had been to NYC before, we didn’t really feel the need to check off all the traditional toursity sites because we had done them all before, but the last time I had been there was exactly 9 days before the Twin Towers fell. I took this from the top of the World Trade Centre on September 2, 2001.

So we went and toured around the 9/11 Memorial Site. Impossible to do it justice with my iPhone camera, but here are a few shots. There are two of these reflecting pools that sit within the footprints of the Towers. They are each nearly an acre in size and are the largest manmade waterfalls in the world. The name of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed all along the perimeter.

After the memorial (and a bit of window shopping) we went to Central Park and wandered around there for a while.

Then it was time to return to the hotel, enjoy some more champagne and head out for dinner…to an amazing restaurant: TAO Downtown.

Because I could never do it justice with a pic from my phone, this pic was taken from the website.

That Buddha has a 3D projector aimed at it which animates the statue..it’s so cool! Here are two pics I took to try and show it.

We had the best waitress and I can’t say enough about the food. We ordered a whole bunch of different dishes and bottles of wine and just were the happiest we could be!

We finished off the night at a bar called Employees Only. Tiny little place, but GREAT fun bartenders (although this pic makes him look silly!).

We didn’t get back to our hotel room until almost 3am. So Sunday morning we were forced to take things slowly. Apparently we’re not in high school anymore and do have limits!

Among our stops on Sunday was Grand Central Station

IMG_6214And then, a highlight for me, the M&M store. Have I told you how much I LOVE M&Ms?? This was like heaven for me!! Seriously. This store has 3 levels. THREE!! And it was JAM PACKED with people.

Mid-afternoon is when the magic had to end. We retrieved our luggage from the hotel and after big hugs goodbye, Jen got into a taxi headed towards JFK airport (so she could fly home to the UK, get off the plane and head straight into work for Monday morning!!) and Erin and I started our trek back to the Newark airport and eventually on to Toronto and, finally for me, Ottawa.

I had an incredible weekend hanging with people who I am so lucky to be able to call my friends. After 20 years, I know I’ll have them for the rest of my life.

But there was another highlight to my weekend. Last summer, through twitter, I met Earl. He has become one of my best friends – you have heard me talk about him before as he is the one I play the Emoji Game with. Yes, that’s what we can be like together. TOTALLY RIDICULOUS. While it feels like I have known him forever, it wasn’t until this weekend that we were able to meet in person! It was so exciting…but at the same time, nothing crazy at all because it literally felt like I was just seeing an old friend! So awesome.

Tonight is Hellish Rolling Hills Tuesday with my team but there are threats of a thunderstorm happening at the same time. Part of me is praying for one because, after almost 72 hours in NYC, my body hates me right now! lol

Happy Tuesday!

7 thoughts on “A state visit without a race…but lots of food, wine, laughs…and a giant Buddha!

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