I Only Like NY As A Friend - Part 1
April 18, 2011
I'm back! Yes, last week I went to New York City with 100 high school marching band students. Leanne and I chaperoned and our group was typically about 12 or 13 people, two of them our own kids. All boys until we picked up a girl on the last day. This was my first extended trip to NYC - I'd been there once in 1987 with friends, so I was long overdue. I don't love NYC. In fact, I was rather hoping to find a T-shirt that had the heart crossed out and LIKE scrawled across it. If I loved it, I'd move there. I just like it and hope to visit again soon (without a group of high school students).
I'll spend the next couple days covering our adventures in NYC. It was fun, the sort of fun that grows larger in your memory, partly because we cram so much in that you're totally exhausted by the time you get home.
Day 1 (Wednesday, April 13th).
Get up at 4:30 in the morning, shower, try to gag down some cereal, the four of us tidy our packing, load up the truck and leave. Only to return a minute later because Leanne forgot something. I don't even remember what it was. Hit Tim Horton's for some donuts and coffee (and they managed to screw up our order).
Get to the high school band room at 7:00 AM, check in, get the official luggage tag, our lanyards and ID card. I wander around getting the phone numbers of all the kids in my group, then we stand around a while. Finally we load the buses and we leave a little after 8:00 AM.
Traffic sucked, it took a couple hours just to get south of Detroit. No rush, though, because if you get to a hotel too early with 100 teenagers, only headaches follow.
We were in a brand new bus, only about 6 months old, so it had electrical, wi-fi, and DVD players. Kids had brought movies. The first one we watched was RUSH HOUR 1. I like Jackie Chan fine, but the band director asked me if it was appropriate and I sort of mumbled, "Um, sort of." And Chris Tucker is just about as annoying as an actor can get.
We stopped somewhere in Ohio to trade drivers, picking up Ivan, who would be our driver for the entire time we were in NYC. Did the bathroom break thing, then loaded back on the bus and continued the trip. I had been sitting with one of the other chaperones during the first leg, then Leanne and I switched places and I sat next to Sean. I read magazines and books on my Kindle and chatted with people. I did watch the 3rd episode of THE KILLING on my phone somewhere along the line.
Around noon we stopped at a town for lunch and everyone pretty much scattered. Leanne, Sean and I and one of the band directors walked down to a Pizza Hut that had a lunch buffet, had lunch, then back on the bus. Drove for a couple more hours, bathroom break, couple more hours, then lunch at a mall area in New Jersey (I think), although it could have been Pennsylvania. During this time we watched RUSH HOUR1, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, and STAR TREK. A cadre of loudmouths in the back of the bus continually pushed to see RUSH HOUR 2 and 3, but were constantly shot down by the band director.
We got into Secaucus, New Jersey, where our hotel (Hyatt, a very nice hotel, actually) was, around 9:45 or so, unloaded, checked in, then did bed checks to make sure everyone was where they were supposed to be and to remind the kids what time to get up the next morning and what type of clothes to wear (I'll get into that tomorrow).
Having accomplished that, Leanne and I and another couple of chaperones visited the hotel lounge for a drink, chatted for a while, then back to our rooms around midnight to go to sleep, the alarms set for 6:00 AM.