Thursday, July 03, 2008

Trip down memory lane

Back in 1998/1999/2000 I went and worked in Camden, New Jersey with an organization called Urban Promise. We worked with Inner City kids at an After school Program. It was eye opening, rewarding, frustrating, amazing, rough, inspirational and just all in all incredible. I made some amazing friends while working there. One of them (Linda) lives only 45 minutes from me. We've taken a road trip across the southern US in July in a car that didn't have air conditioning, I was privileged to be in her wedding 7 years ago and I've watcher her become an amazing Mom. I'm so glad we're still friends. Last fall, Linda asked me if I wanted to go back to Camden for a visit. A trip? I'm ALWAYS up for a trip. :)

Luckily we still know a few people there, but another one of my good friends from my time there is a wee, Irish, lass named Lisa. Lisa was there when I went in 1998 and SHE'S STILL THERE!!! 10 years and going strong (well, waiting to hear about her Green Card). Way to go, Lisa.

So back in May, Linda and I took this wonderful trip down memory lane. We started in Philadelphia (for those who know not of the Eastern coast, Philly is just across the Delaware River from Camden). After being picked up at the airport, we went straight for breakfast. I had been travelling all night (red eye is NOT fun) and therefore did not get pics of the food or our friends. :( Silly me. But I did get a few pics of Philly.

Since Linda was only able to get away for 4 1/2 days (I got away for 8), we had to do as much as possible in a short amount of time. What would any normal girls do? Head to New York City, of course! Here's me patiently waiting at the bus depot. I hadn't even been to Camden yet.

Straight from an overnight flight to a 3 hour bus ride (driving should only take an hour and a half). Doesn't sound like a lot of fun, but when you have NYC in your sites, it's all goooooood! Let me tell you, sleeping on the bus was WAY more comfortable than sleeping on the plane.
My first glimpse of NYC. It had been 8 years since I had been there. Way too long, my old friend.
Here's the downtown view without the World Trade Center. Very bland looking now.

Linda has a friend who lives in NYC and she graciously let us crash on her floor. We thought the fastest way from the bus depot to her place would be a taxi. WRONG!!! We waited in the line up for a taxi for almost an hour and 45 minutes. Is that right, Linda? It doesn't happen like in the movies when you walk outside, throw your arm in the air and yell, "TAXI!" It was a loooooong wait, but once we'd been standing there for an hour, we felt committed and think, "It HAS to be soon!"

Needless to say, we were very happy when we finally got in and on our way.

Our wonderful hosts - Deana and Yoo Shin - thanks, you guys!

Their apartment is on the Upper East side and is blocks from Central Park. Not a bad location at all. The green trees you can see is the start of Central Park.

Isn't that a gorgeous view?

As I was taking pics of the view, I noticed a children's playground on the top of a building. Crazy, hey? I wonder who's going to the get the ball when it goes over the fence. NOT ME!!!

We had so much great food while I was there that I had to make a collage of it. First 2 pics - Apple Tart (mmmm), 2nd - 6th pics - Lupa Restaurant, owned by Mario Batali - I completely did not understand the menu (they had a glossary and everything), but everything was very yummy, last 2 pics - Cafe Habana - great Cuban food.

We decided to take the subway to get around after our taxi experience. The subway was much better, but there were parts I was glad that Deana was with us because it's like a maze down there. So many connectors and different lines you can take.

My usual stance. :)

If you ever go to New York, you have to get one of these pop up maps. They're so great and they tell you exactly what you need to know. Linda still had hers from when we lived in New Jersey (I know I have mine ... somewhere).

Wall Street and Lady Liberty herself. Since we've both been to Liberty Island before, we decided to just get a glimpse from Battery Park.

Then we went to the World Trade Center site. I was amazed that after almost 7 years there's still so much left to clean up. The atmosphere was very somber and there was someone there playing Amazing Grace on the flute. I wish I could get my old pictures to show you just how majestic they were.

"Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on."

Very sad. I think this is a good place to leave off for now. I'll be back soon with more of this trip.


Unknown said...

What an amazing trip! You sure packed alot of fun into a short time. I can't say that I would have waited that long for a taxi though. :)

cayman77 said...

The pictures say it all, they are truly remarkable. I am amazed at all the vivid detailing in the photos. What a sad- profund day in history- that we still never forgot or those that were lost.
The rest of your trip looks fab!!!