Posted by livefastpartyhard on 12/04/2009
I arrived in Minneapolis and walked into a freezer.
Well, not really, but as our plane slowly pulled into the airport there was snow dancing on the wind going in all directions. Even though I’m not accustomed to snow, I could tell it was only a light storm but it still brought a smile to my lips. The sight of it and the apparent weightlessness it had against the wind was truly beautiful.
When I stepped out onto the air bridge though I was struck by a wall of freezing air. Even though the bridge was covered the cold still managed to seep in somewhere. For the minute that I was exposed to it, it really did remind me of being stuck in one of those huge walk-in freezers where grocery or liquor stores keep their stock.
The thermometer at the gate said it was 23F, translated to Celsius that’s a freezing -5 degrees. Pretty sure that apart from the day I spent snowboarding at Mt. Baker just outside of Seattle almost three years ago, that that is the coldest temperature I’ve ever experienced.
Luckily Minneapolis is only a transit stop for me. It seems like Minneapolis is a midway point for most of the people milling about the airport. I can’t really imagine living in a place like this, a place where (the lady next to me informed me) the snow starts in November and doesn’t let up until April. Here I was thinking I was deprieved of nice weather in New York because the temperature had been hovering in the early 50’s for the last few weeks. Next time I complain about the New York weather I’ll just remember the people that live in Minneapolis!
pretty pretty snow outside my airplane window.
Posted in Life, Travel | Tagged: Minneapolis, snow, wintertime | Leave a Comment »
Posted by livefastpartyhard on 12/04/2009
Tonight I saw New York as I had never seen it before. Unlike the two previous times when I arrived in the New York; once by train and the other by bus; this time I left by air and was able to see the city in all its glory at night.
My plane took off from La Guardia airport at about 6.30 in the evening. Due to the winter season it was already full darkness outside. I had hoped to get a window seat and I did, I also hoped that we would fly out over the city but because I was unsure of the route the plane would take on its way to Sacramento (via Minneapolis St Paul) I didn’t hold my breath. After take off it took me a few seconds to discern exactly which way we were headed and then to take in all the lights that I was seeing. The plane flew horizontal to the Bronx and my seat offered a prime view of the island of Manhattan, all the way from the top right down to the bottom. What amazed me the most was the way the numbered avenues run in perfectly straight lines all the way up the city. As we flew directly over each one and our plane aligned with them it was as if each one had become a red hued corridor stretching for the 10 or 11 miles of the island (apparently every 20 city blocks equals a mile). It was truly an amazing sight. In the distance I could make out all the usual suspects, – the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, even the steady pulse of the blinding lights at Times Square.
Now after our plane has been in the air for less than 15 minutes, the lights of the city are just a distant glow on the horizon. Below me now only darkness stretches out, punctuated by the lights of a small town every few minutes. Maybe we’re over New Jersey now, maybe its Pennsylvania, my knowledge of the geography of the East Coast states is not as good as it should be. The distance between me and my home of the last six months is steadily growing as the plane moves forward but even though I followed the in-flight rules and did not take out any electronic devices during take off (namely, my digital camera), the sight I saw tonight will stay fresh in my mind for years to come.
flying lights that my camera cannot do justice to.
Passing out over the countryside, the one thing that I desire right now is to see the stars. It’s been more than five months since I have seen a star-lit sky. It is not something I even fathomed missing when I arrived, there were too many other things that spring to my mind first, – friends, family, personal items left on the other side of the world, but it has been something I have found myself longing for. Maybe it’s because unlike seeing family and friends who are separated from me by thousands of miles of land and oceans, I know that seeing the stars is within my grasp. Already, as the plane pulled higher and higher into the sky I spotted a star rising above the horizon. In just a few hours I will be able to look up and see a sky full of them.
I have a memory of standing in a paddock at my Aunt’s property in the Hunter Valley a few weeks before I left Australia and looking up at a clear night sky scattered with too many stars to even count, – a sky so full that sometimes you had to look slightly away from a patch of stars just so it didn’t seem like one big blob of lights. The sky is different here in America, when I look up at it it doesn’t feel like its open and stretches forever, here the sky is capped between the skyscrapers and at night there is the illusion that you live within a dome, the city at the center of it, continually giving off a dull orange glow, like a warning that beyond the glow where darkness finally penetrates is a place you don’t want to go.
For me the darkness beyond the city glow is not unwelcome; it represents freedom and adventure and a chance to cast off and forget, even just for a weekend, the last five months and the love/hate relationship that I have had with the living and breathing entity that is New York city. Looking out of my cabin window now, all I see is blackness.
I welcome the darkness of tonight and the unknown of what this trip will bring.
Posted in Life, Travel | Tagged: darkness, New York City, planes, Sacramento, stars, Travel | Leave a Comment »