Friday, May 29, 2009

New York

Although I have lived my entire life in the eastern US, I have never traveled to our nations capital, New York City. I know, right? I felt so ignorant, I never got to see the Empire State Building where the president lives, the washington monument proudly holding up the torch as he crosses the Delaware, the eiffel tower, which is the tallest building in the world! All of this was practically right in my back yard and I never experienced it. Until now.

Turns out there was a lot of disappointment on the trip. George Washington looks an awful lot like a girl, turns out the president moved to washington somewhere, probably seattle, and the eiffel tower... well it looks like someone played a game of Jenga with it. No but really, I was shocked by the condition of ground zero at the WTC, there is still substantial structure from the foundation of the towers that is still standing, they block off any view of the site as best as they can, maybe because they dont want people to witness the lack of progress, it was really rather disheartening. I thought we would get the rebuilding underway as fast as possible, just to show we can bounce back, show our tenacity, our strength... but... apparently not.

Okay, well other than that, my trip to New York was pretty darn awesome. I went with Kari and her parents, who were attending a furniture convention in Manhattan, because that is her dad's business, and we were invited along, how could I pass up a furniture convention?? I know you are thinking that sounds supremely boring, but it was actually really interesting. Every booth had their one big idea, their niche in the market, some of which were... a little over the top, but some of them were really cool. I am not sure that I would be able to furnish a house with satisfaction out of the entire thousands of pieces in there, but it was pretty cool to see. Some of my favorites were a chair that was like a weeble wobble, you could swing around on it, windows that had a crystal layer inside that would be completely opaque until you ran an electric current through them, then they were crystal clear, and a chair that had arm rests that kind of went backwards behind the back, so you leaned back and out your elbows on them, kind of forcing you into a reclined position that just made you feel cool. Plus, in addition to all this excitement, we also got to visit the other convention going on at the time, and for those of you who are thinking that the furniture convention sounds like the epitome of bore, I give you: the stationary convention. Stationary. Like paper. 1000 exhibits of paper. Kari and I walked through 5 different stands and that was more birthday cards and frilly paper than anyone should ever have any interest in seeing.

But really the convention was just a small part of the trip, we did our touristy rounds. Mr. Evans had a few places he wanted to go, from previous trips to the city or advice from friends, and we spent one evening cruising the city finding these places, with a little help from Goog411. The trip getting there were usually as interesting as the destination itself, with so much to see, even just people watching would be enough to stay occupied. My favorite stop was a little bar called McSorley's that had been open for 155 years. They brew their own beer, light and dark, and thats all you can get, and thats all they need. The place was packed, we waited in a line to get in, and there was only scrunched standing room once we finally did get in. The beer was good, not great, the best part about it was the atmosphere, when you walk in, guys walking around with 6 mugs in each hand, pushing their way through the crowds, you have to fight your way to the bar, a little scared that you will order wrong and get thrown out like the soup nazi, well when you get your beer, you enjoy it. And we did. We also found a noodle place called Momofuku that was recommended and looked pretty good, but like the rest of the city... way too crowded. We went to Madame Tussaud's wax museum, which I was not expecting much out of, the idea of seeing a likeness of J-lo and george clooney was kind of lost on me, my disinterest was made apparent when, in the first big room of wax celebs, I was leaning against a counter, zoning out like I have been known to do sometimes, and a couple guys stopped to look at me, then waved their hands in my face to see if I was real, haha, I tried to keep in motion after that. Further into the museum they displayed historic figures, like Louis Armstrong, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, that was pretty cool to see, also the skyscraper that is the 7'6" Yao Ming, the rather unimposing 6'4" Michael Jordan, the tiny little jockey man Bill Shoemaker things like that were interesting, plus at the end I bought a little bag that looks exactly like a piece of pizza for a friend (Stofko, you know its you), so it was a good stop. We went to see the Blue Man Group, which was an impressive show, and really funny. And Kari and I also went to a comedy show in Times Square to escape the rain that decided to spoil our explorations. A high school prom party went to the show also, and therefore became the brunt of most of the jokes for the evening, it was a good time.
So, all in all New York was an amazing place, Mr. and Mrs. Evans, thank you for that experience. That is a whole lot of city, and I can't wait to get back there to experience more of it, I actually just bought tickets to see Jamie Cullum play Carnegie Hall on June 20th, I guess I caught the NYC fever.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have been spending the last few weeks in Philadelphia at Kari and Brooke's apartment, and have just been sitting around enjoying life, far too busy doing nothing to do anything, like updating the brog. I was not sure how I felt about getting back into the world, out of the excitement of life on the boat, I didnt know whether I would be changed somehow, unsatisfied, unstimulated by everyday life back how it used to be. I am the type of person who has always needed a bit more to keep my brain satiated, and I have been dealing with it my whole life, so sure, sitting in an apartment all day isnt quite as exciting as sailing the Bahamas, but I am back in America, a land practically made for ADD, and I am stumbling and video gaming my way through it.
As I wrote about before, I cooked up a feast for my temporary roommates a few days after I got there. After a $100 trip to Wegman's, which is a pretty awesome grocery store, I had all I needed to create my masterpiece, which I thought up while sailing one day, using my salt water spotted notes to guide me. The word of the night was sushi, and if you know the people I was cooking for, you would say I am crazy, they will never eat sushi, but just read on. I bought 2 nice cuts of strip steak, some nice colorful peppers, onions, tortillas, and of course some sushi rice. These were the main ingredients in my steak sushi roll. Instead of nori (seaweed) I used the tortilla shell, layed in the steak and veggies, and once rolled and cut the results were delicious and a good looking dish. The next dish was in the same vane, a sushi roll made with grilled chicken and steamed broccoli, with a 4 cheese sauce for dipping. I also made a steak sauce like the white sauce you always see in Japanese steak houses, and it was pretty delicious with the steak roll. I got some tuna and salmon as well and made some more traditional rolls, my favorite of which was the roll I made last with all the leftovers, consisting of salmon, tuna, red peppers, cucumbers, and avocado, though the others I made which were different combinations of the aforementioned ingredients were all pretty delicious. I am still planning on doing a write up at some point about cooking, maybe I will get into specifics there if anyone is interested.
So I have all this stuff. My stuff. The stuff I own. All of it. Most of it is in Indiana at my parents house right now, some of it scattered around at various houses of family/friends, and all of it is right where it belongs. I think I heard the definition of home as “a place to put your stuff”, which is really a joke, but I think there is some truth to it, which I suppose also defines me as “homeless”. Now that does not mean that I wouldn't have a home if I wanted one, because I know there are many places I could go to put my stuff, but that takes such a commitment to a single place, a commitment that I am really not able to make. Over the next year I will be living in California, Indiana, Pittsburgh, and New Jersey, which means that I will be living out of a suitcase again for another year, and really I am ok with that, but I have stuff somewhere, stuff that is just sitting there, and I feel like it should be being used... but that requires a home. So, I am not going to have a home for a while, and my stuff will have to deal with it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Land Ho!

Sandpiper and her crew have made it back to port in one piece, well, a few scratches and dents (on the crew not the boat) but we made it, and dang it feels good. After Charleston we kicked it into high gear, doing at least 50 miles every day, passing through the South Carolina swamps, the fried seafood capitol of the US- Calabash, NC, the war zone that is Camp Lejeune, a night in bustling Wrightsville Beach, a final stop in the quaint little town of Swansbro, and then a magnificent sail on our last day, doing a good 7-8 knots down the Neuse River in the 25 mph winds, and now it just a matter of cleaning out the boat and getting out of here.
The Carolinas on the ICW really are beautiful, with the marshes, the gnarly trees covered in spanish moss.
We have also been seeing lots of dolphin, and of course the plethora of water fowl that lines the channel. Going through Camp Lejeune we saw in the distance a group of somethings spraying up big jets of water and couldnt figure out what was going on, until they went right past us, a group of 15 or so amphibious tank looking things, each of them spraying up 2 huge jets of water, with 3 camo clad folk poking their heads out of the hatches. Mark was of course taking pictures, and as one of the tanks passed by, one of the soldiers took out his little digital camera and started taking pictures of us too as we passed. A little further down the channel we saw a huge Splash Mountain of a spray up ahead and realized it was coming from the tanks charging into the water at 30 mph from a dirt road leading into the channel. It was pretty cool. We made the entire trip home on the ICW without a single grounding, a task which many say is impossible, though it is much easier when you are following someone with a draft 6 inches more than yours. Brian went aground every day for 5 days straight, and we just scooted by him every time.
So now we are back on land, a little more cleaning, maybe some time to get reacquainted with the real world, and I will be ready to go. Kari is coming down on Thursday to get me and I will be spending some time in Philly as I adjust to life on land again. I am pretty excited to cook in a real kitchen again, I have been dreaming up some dishes I am going to cook once I get the chance. I think I might write up something about cooking on the boat, maybe post a few of my more popular recipes. Macaroni stuffing casserole, mango salsa snapper, spam sauerkraut stew, lime in the coconut crusted grouper, maybe I will write a boat cook book.