Croatian Company and Irish Beer

Last night, I was in New York City, where I met my lawyer friend from Croatia who's touring the East Coast with her sister. It's her second time in the States, it's her sister's first. They're staying at a hostel somewhere in the Upper West Side, and they had just fried themselves under the sun at the Statue of Liberty.

Earlier today @ Bryant Park where ppl waited for the HB0 Summer Filmfest

We met in front of the NY Public Library at a little past 7PM. On my way there, I saw Bryant Park packed with people on the grass or on the seats in front of a big screen waiting for the Summer Film Festival hosted by HBO to start. It was muggy as hell, and I didn't want to hang around with a huge crowd in that kind of weather, so I hurried on to our meeting place.

I was first to arrive, so I was proud of myself. About ten minutes later, they walked towards me, having already been advised of my attire through text. My Croatian friend, Vesna, had brought a Croatian friend, Yelena, who's from Massachusetts--her tour guide. They apologized for being all sweaty and I understood, I was too. Vesna still sported a short blonde haircut like she always did in the pictures she sent me.

I handed her my gift of a golden writing journal, a Snoopy USA fridge magnet, a J. Crew luggage tag, a Philippine keychain with an image of the Banaue Rice Terraces, and a Bath & Body Works peach shower cream. She had given me a lovely boxed stationery set, something I didn't expect since I knew she had been sight-seeing like crazy since she arrived in Boston (where she first stayed with Yelena). When she saw how I had given her a lot, she promised to send me something from Croatia.

I had asked them what they wanted to see in the city that I can help them look for, and they mentioned Strawberry Fields in Central Park because Yelena's a big Beatles fan. Easy enough, I've taken another Beatles fanatic friend from the Philippines there a couple of years ago. So we boarded the B train and got off at 72nd street, where John Lennon's apartment stood as soon as we emerged from underground. They took some pictures, then we crossed the street to Central Park's West entrance.

We had walked in circles looking for Strawberry Fields because the darkness made it hard for me to remember which path to take. Finally, we saw the sign, Yelena wasn't too happy with her washed out photo, and even a little freaked out by the "strange people" shouting cuss words hanging out near the "Imagine" plaque on the ground. She had one quick photo there then we left. I explained to them that it was better to visit Central Park at daytime.

We took the subway back to Bryant Park to meet their other companions, Vesna's sister Yvanna and their Serbian pal from St. Louis, Vesna. So all in all, there's two Vesnas, Yvanna, and Yelena. I was the only Asian in the group, and the only petite one. I was dwarfed by their towering heights, they looked down at me when speaking!

They were thirsting for beer, so we walked towards Times Square to look for the Irish Pub they had spotted a few nights ago, O' Brien's. We found it and climbed up to their upper level out by their open-air dining area. I'm not much of a beer-drinker, but being that I'm with European girls who like to end their night with a cold Irish drink, I indulged as well.

We talked about how hellish the humidity has been in the city, how Yvanna absolutely loves New York and would like to be back, how Vesna would like to devote her law practice in Croatia, how the Croatian alphabet works, how they had scored cheap hotels online in their next itinerary, Philadelphia; how they knew each other, how Americans are concerned with things like identity theft protection, how I sound American when I spoke (I remarked back that their Croatian accent sounds sexy as it is), how they think the Buffalo wings we ordered are too spicy, how they want to eat Chinese food in Chinatown and drink coffee in Little Italy tomorrow, how they have such ambitious daily itineraries and end up doing barely half of it, etc.

Yvanna, a land surveyor back in Croatia, had drilled me with questions as to how me and my family ended up here in the States all the way from the Philippines. She marveled at how my mother endured working away from her children for long periods of time, and inquired at how different New York was from New Jersey. She wanted to know how often I came back to the Philippines, how long the flight was, if the Banaue Rice Terraces on the keychain was "real" and if I've ever seen it. She was like Barbara Walters, but Croatian.

Vesna from Serbia had long, golden corn hair. She had met Yvanna in Greece where they had been exchange students. She's studying a graduate course in Chemical Engineering in St. Louis, Missouri and was raving about how she'll be spending Labor Day Weekend in Central Florida with her boyfriend.

It was my first time to actually hang out in Times Square at night for drinks with new acquaintances. We called it a night at a little past 11PM because I had to catch my bus at 11:30. We split the bill, had one last photo with Vesna from Croatia, then sprinted across Times Square to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, huffing and puffing to buy tickets and soaring up the escalators to my designated gate. The same bus driver was taking me back to New Jersey. I was relieved that I had boarded the bus 5 minutes before it left.

1 vandalized my wall:

plaridel said...

i don't think it's safe to go to central park at night especially around the straberry fields area. glad you didn't get mugged.

anyway, croatia is a beautiful country. the people are friendly and nice, too. just don't talk about the war. they're a little sensitive about it.

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