It was a scorching 90 degrees, Fahrenheit, on Friday evening. That was when we would have left, but there was too much traffic. So we went for a daring plan- leave before sunrise on Saturday morning. 5 am Saturday morning- much cooler. With bags packed (and Pepsi ingeniously hidden under bed), it was off to New York, at 6 am. A record 3 hours, 40 minutes travel time, including a gas stop, averaging to 59 mph. To put it in real terms, for the time we spent moving, it averaged to a barely legal 70 mph. No major traffic hold-ups. Having left at 6, we arrived at Little Brother's middle school graduation ceremony well ahead of time- 9:40am for the 11:30am event.
The ceremonies went on for an unprecedented 2 hours. By the time we got around to having lunch, it was 2:00pm. This meal was at a Peking Palace, or something near that name. 5-star Zagat restaurant in Food and Service. The restaurant seemed to be empty. Well, until you turn a corner into the main dining room. Bill for 4- $56.50 (+$8 tip), hot towels, priceless.
I then was walked from 58th to 75th street in the 93F heat to check into the room, and back downtown (my parents are such cheap-stakes!). Cocktails were served at 6:30pm, and dinner was served at 7pm. Appetizer was a fragrant green salad with a pastry topped with a tomato slice. For an entree, Fillet Mignon was served (a $45 value, says daddy), with veggies and an exotic pasta product. Dessert was chocolate soufflé, served properly with a tiny bowl of ice cream, a mango chewy, and fresh-from-East Boston macaroons. Such a lavish feast.
Sadly, I couldn't fully enjoy the Fillet, because it was too rare. I know it's supposed to be medium rare-to-rare, but mine was near raw. The fumes emanating from the "still alive" piece of meat was nauseous. To eat as much as I could, without throwing the prime steak away, I had butchered the fillet in a grotesque way. I had to make it look better, so I chop-sueyed the remaining meat, about 50% of the original, into three hunks that looked more natural. Luckily, the course finished fast. I hope the older folks at the table, who remembered rationing and the great depression, forgave me for this.
It was a hot and sweaty night, with lightning, but no rain or thunder, as we walked to the room on 75th street. I had a rough night, I later realized, due to the extreme heat, and lack of A/C.
We finally took a taxi (it was $6, $4.90+$1.10 tip) back to midtown, and had breakfast at PAX. A guy, who was obviously drunk, or on some drug, looked at my food, and slumped to sleep on the fire hydrant behind me. Disturbing.
Went to church. The Puerto Rico Day parade was blaring all throughout the mass, and even after the 2 hour liturgy finished, they were still singing about chihuahuas. Little Borther insisted on eating at Subway, and we did. The car was packed, and we took this little brother to Teaneck, NJ, for the night. He flies out to Italy this evening, with the rest of his class, on Al Italia. Getting home was a bit slower. On the NJ turnpike, I promptly fell alsleep at 4pm, which is very unusual for me to do. Notwithstanding the heavy luggage reducing the car's power, we took a 20 minute driver's break in Philadelphia's suburbs. 4 hours, 20 minutes home, and no parking spare for across Pennsylvania Avenue. A little slowdown entering DC- A dysfunctional Greyhound bus narrowed a lane on the heavily-laden parkway.