Later in the evening we caught the last train back to Casablanca, a four hour journey that left us at the Casa Voyageurs station where we’d first arrived two weeks prior. This time however, we noticed a wifi network that we hadn’t found our first time through. It just so happened to be that of the Isis Hotel (branch mayor @claytonhauck), which uses the same network name at all of their hotels and happens to have a location literally behind the train station.
As we were without a place to stay and the train to the airport had stopped running for the night, we decided to head to the hotel bar (this time less North Korea, more South Beach) and weigh our options. When the bar closed we brought our beverages into the hotel lobby and continued to weigh our options. By 2:00 AM, the hotel had caught on to us and we moved ourselves back to the train station where we were pretty much out of options. Around 5:00 AM we boarded the first train to the airport, which according to sleepinginairports.com, is one of the worst airports in all of Africa.
After discovering that our flight would not be leaving until noon, we set up camp in a desolate corner of the ticketing area and slept until the morning crowd began to roll in. After a final Moroccan coffee and a quick trip through passport control, we were on a flight to Madrid, where my dreams of spending one night in Iberia were given life by a friendly ticketing agent only to be shattered moments later by his supervisor. Clayton and I parted ways, as he was lucky enough to have an overnight layover in Madrid and I was unfortunate enough to be spending the night in Brussels.
After a decadent meal from cafeteria in Barajas Terminal 4, I was on a flight to Brussels, where upon arrival I walked no less than two miles to passport control and proceeded to wander the arrivals area searching for an ATM from which to withdraw Euros so that I could pay for a train into the city. From the Brussels Central station, I wandered aimlessly, extra careful of my surroundings as I’ve heard that Brussels thinks it’s Chicago and some of the streets are a bit stab happy. I’d decided that I would get a cheap hotel for the night rather than spend another night in an airport or train station, and was quite excited to find an Ibis, only to discover that the rate for one night here was more than the rate for one week in Morocco. Eventually I found a decent little spot in a converted apartment building, conveniently located down the block from the Delirium Cafe, where I was able to negotiate an acceptable rate with the clerk once I convinced him that I was in fact traveling alone and only looking to stay for eight hours. After dropping my belongings in the room, I set out to find dinner, which came in the form of an hour long conversation about Morocco, the United States, and life in Belgium, as well as a shawarma sandwich and a to-go beer from a Moroccan cafe down the block from the hotel. This of course was followed by a brief stop at Delirium before retiring to the hotel for a few hours of sleep and a shower before my flight back to New York in the morning.
Upon arriving at JFK, I was flagged at passport control and sent for further inspection, where I waited for no less than forty five minutes while the customs agent fidgeted with his Dell PC, attempting fruitlessly to log into his system while asking me why they even sent me over to him in the first place. Eventually, but not before breaking a sweat and trying to pawn his job off on another agent, he gave up, told me to have a good day, and waved me through and into the arrivals area. At this point I entered the United States with my backpack full of foreign currency, black tar heroin, and illegal immigrant stem cells only to be robbed of it all by a gang of unruly teenagers in baggy pants while transferring subways trains on my way home.
I finally got around to some of these photos from the past year while hanging out in Logan Airport for five hours on my way from New York to Long Beach yesterday. Most were shot with my Leica, though some are iPhone photos and some are from my 35mm toy camera.
Interstate 70 Between Green River and Salina, Utah
On the road from Liberia to La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
Lunch at a roadside soda in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Small Town Costa Rica north of San Jose
Central Mexico City
Chapultepec Park, Mexico City
Chapultepec Park, Mexico City
Pilsen from Bridgelife
Riis Park, Queens
Memorial Day BBQ in Brooklyn
Maujer Roof, Brooklyn
Coney Island, Brooklyn
Montreal from Mount Royal
Portuguese Lunch in the Plateau, Montreal
Pollo Tropical Cat, Miami
Kogi BBQ Truck, LA
Parking Garage in Chicago that thinks it’s the 2 Train
After the Christmas Blizzard, Brooklyn.
Chinatown Fair Arcade, New York
East from the Empire State Building
I left for California yesterday with my car looking like this.
This sums up the past few months pretty well.
I found three nights + a roundtrip flight from JFK to SJO for $300 per person and went to Costa Rica on a few days notice back in September. It became a four night trip when we were forced to spend an additional night in San Jose after missing the three hour cutoff for our flight. It became a five night trip because we had a 10pm-8am layover in Miami and enjoyed a traditional Wednesday night at LIV with Sir Juan Herrera.
Crocodiles and Cows
I’d definitely recommend Vista Los Sueños
Hillside outside of Manuel Antonio
While wandering around the lower east side earlier this week, shopping around for candy cigarettes and mexican voodoo candles, I came upon a sweet little toy camera at reed space. It’s called the Black Slim Devil, and it shoots 35mm film with a fixed 22mm f/11 lens and sells for just barely more than three sandwiches at Hana Food, so naturally I bought it.
I had an old roll of Fujichrome Velvia slide film buried in my camera bag, so I figured I’d try it out. I didn’t take into account that it’s almost impossible to have slide film processed without sending it out. However, I found a sweet spot in Greenpoint that is half photo lab and half Hello Kitty dealer. The guy who runs it will do C-41 Processing for two dollars per roll and scan negatives to a CD for five more. Nonetheless, I had my slide film cross processed in C-41 chemicals and got these super contrasty photos with some really inconsistent color shifts.
These photos are from the past four days.
Williamsburg Bridge while riding
Suffolk and Delancey
Houston and Suffolk
Looking out the living room window
The release of my car from Brooklyn Navy Yard Impound
Tunnel under Rockaway Beach Blvd
Beach at Riis Park, Queens
Headed back to Brooklyn
Rooftop view of the southside and downtown Manhattan
Northside and midtown Manhattan
After picking up these photos from the lab in Greenpoint this afternoon, I rode my bike to Jackson Park, Queens and located what may be the best (only?) pastor tacos in New York. Good as they were, they’ve got nothing on the grilled lobster tacos I’ll be preparing on the roof on Monday.
I’ve got regular color negative film in the camera now, so more soon.
I’ve been in New York since Saturday evening.
I dropped Juan off at MIA last Friday afternoon and immediately headed north on I-95, stopping only for waffle fries and regular unleaded until RIchmond, VA, where I retired for a night’s rest around 5:00 AM Saturday. After leaving Richmond at 2:00, fighting DC traffic, almost running out of gas in Baltimore, and spilling cherry limeade all over the dashboard, I crossed the Verrazano Narrows Bridge into Brooklyn around 8:00 PM Saturday night. I’ve been posted up in the top floor of a loft in Williamsburg ever since (how ruthlessly absurd).
Here are some more photographs of questionable quality:
This is Slick Rick rapping at his own birthday party in South Beach. Not sure why I was there, but it was fun.
This is a liquor store on the way to Versailles- a castle that is also the best Cuban spot in Miami.
This is what I ate at Versailles.
These are our bikes at the beach.
This is what a Central Florida sunset looks like.
This is the Brooklyn side of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
This is the Brooklyn Bridge as seen from the northbound BQE.
This is the view from the rooftop where I’m currently residing.
I saw these in a thrift store in NoHo yesterday.
Their subtle way of saying “you have a free roundtrip on jetblue, now use it to go to Bogotá or else.”
These are from a Kodak disposable that I bought in Long Beach:
This is the view from my flight from LGB-ORD earlier this month.
The transition from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Mojave Desert is sweet.
This is the approach over Chicago, complete with a u-turn over Lake Michigan.
In other news, a great lunch was enjoyed today at the Boston Market in Ridgewood, Queens. Starting tomorrow morning (Friday) I have to go to three airports in four days and I’m not even flying anywhere. Saturday, however, I will be driving upstate for the day. No idea what I’m doing next week.
Also, I promise that effective immediately there will be no more hipstamatic photos on this blog.
The past few times I’ve been in New York, I’ve been tempted by the idea of jumping on the southbound New Jersey Turnpike and driving Interstate 95 to its southern terminus in Miami. Though the drive to Miami is only marginally shorter from New York than it is from Chicago, New York and Miami share the same highway (I-95) and ocean (Atlantic). This is the same (gratuitously flawed) logic that gave birth to a road trip from LA to Vancouver the weekend following the 2004 presidential election.
I spent the first week of this month in New York: ADC Review, studio tours, friends, bike riding and non-ironic dining. My car even got to play victim in a hit-and-run on a deserted side street in Queens. A good time, sans the fact that it rained for 90 percent of the week.
This is us on the Williamsburg Bridge.
When school gives you a free hotel room in Chelsea, you invite not only your teacher to the party, but all your friends in Brooklyn.
On Friday May 8th, I ate my traditional leaving New York meal (number 6 at Wendy’s plus an extra hamburger) in Maryland instead of New Jersey. Later that night I ate a Banana and some cereal bars in the humid-subtropical parking lot of a southern North Carolina twenty four hour supermarket. Noon on Saturday I ate a Cuban sandwich 100 yards from the beach at Bal Harbour Shops in Miami.
Stuck in traffic on the Williamsburg bridge on our way to the Holland Tunnel on our way to the NJT on our way to Miami.
Sometimes Jerome drives.
This is on the border of North and South Carolina.
As always, Miami was ridiculous: Beach, hot tub, pool, Chicago, The Standard, The White Room, and Pollo Tropical. Juan played host and played it well.
The drive back to Chicago was non-stop and to the point, short of an hour break in Atlanta to indulge in some twenty four hour diner food with a few friends.
I made it back to Chicago less than twenty four hours before Industry Night, which went really well. I talked to quite a few people and got a lot more feedback than at the ADC Review. I woke up sick on Friday, but still made it to Manifest and the graduation party at the Hilton that night. Slept in on Saturday instead of walking at graduation, but that was pretty much the plan anyways.
Downtown Miami is so strange.
Beach, then hot tub, then pool. Everyday.
Juan bought a three hundred dollar moped that occasionally runs long enough to make it to South Beach.
Rick Ross couldn’t make it to the photo shoot.
Reststop on Alligator Alley.
Tonight I’m sending in an application to take part in a paid NYC-LA bike ride from June-August. $3000 plus $25/day and $800 for transportation to NYC and from LA to ride my bike across the country with 41 other people and blog about it (it’s part of an ad campaign for a vodka company). Sign me up.
I got into Brooklyn around six yesterday evening.
Ate some delicious pizza with my dad, played some Mario Kart, showered, and made way to the Richardson to meet up with numerous derelicts. Four in the morning came around quick.
Most of this afternoon was spent in Manhattan. The L train, responsible for transporting the residents of north Brooklyn to and from lower Manhattan, was not functioning properly. Needless to say, the Bedford Ave station- always a total shitshow- was over capacity with confounded Williamsburgers just trying to get to Whole Foods at Union Square. Alas, a shuttle arrived and all was well.
After visiting five different AT&T stores, trying to add international data and roaming to my plan, I’m convinced the end of the world is near. Finally a nice lady at a call center did what everyone in Manhattan could not, and now my phone will work in SA. Back in Brooklyn, we ordered in from a Mexican spot on Metropolitan Ave, and it was actually good. The lack of Mexicans and proper Mexican food has, until today, been the single most influential factor in my not residing in New York permanently. Now that I know where to acquire a proper chorizo taco, chicken and mole tamale, and horchata, I have decided that this may infact be an acceptable place to call home.
As for tonight- a Saturday night in north Brooklyn and my last night in the north hemisphere for the next two months- I am at a loss. Perhaps a visit to Barcade, quite possibly the only establishment in the world in which one can enjoy a fine IPA while playing Marble Madness, should be in order. On the slightly less civilized end of the spectrum, perhaps a visit to the fabled McKibben lofts would be more appropriate.
In such uncertain times as tonight, atleast one thing is for certain- dinner at the Sizzler in Queens on the way to my flight out of JFK. As a very wise man once said, “when in Queens, you eat at the Sizzler.” By logical extension of this simple rule, a stop at the Sizzler is now the prerequisite for any arrival or departure in New York, as both airports reside in the great borough of Queens.
Apparently I’m going to Brazil tomorrow. Time for Barcade!