Well, where to start?
We arrived, and checked into the place we were going to live. NYC-JC, in New Jersey. I woke up on 9.11, lifted my head off the pillow and saw the Manhattan skyline through my window. The view was priceless.
Our first order of business was to sing on the memorial that was taking place that morning in New Jersey. A moving experience, and a great honor to participate.
Then there was a 5 hour sightseeing with a bus through Manhattan. The weather was really bad though, so many of the scheduled stops were cancelled. We did go for a walk through chinatown, where people were prodding at frogs in buckets to see which ones were best for eating...
During that tour we saw most of the sights from a distance.
The Empire state building with it's peak disappearing into the low clouds was quite an amazing sight.
We visited a great cathedral that I am sorry to say I don't recall the name of right now. I'm not a particularly religious person, but places of worship has always facinated me. Walking into a great building made soley for the purpose of human spirituality is almost magic. Like walking into a giant heart. In one of the wings the floor was decorated with quotes from great american writers, something that only enhanced this feeling.
A few days of shopping and walking at random through the streets followed. I found myself breathless at times just because of the immense energy of the place. Tranquil in some ways, but always on the verge of bursting into a great explosion. There was a parade on 5th avenue. I crossed the avenue right before it came, so I was separated from the rest of our group. Lucky break if you ask me.
That's when I met a sweet elderly woman outside the jazzclub Birdland. She was there for the cast party, and her only hope was to be allowed to perform on that stage. I also met a producer who introduced himself as Alan Action, gave me his card and stabbed a finger at me saying "call me" before he hurried along. Later that evening we went to Birdland and performed on the stage there with our choir. As much fun as that was, I found it to be a much more rewarding experience to just sit there at my table, listening to all the other performers who entered the stage.
I made my way to the museum of natural history, a cab ride that was worth it just for the ride alone. But when I got there it was closed.
But we did get to see another museum that was quite out of the ordinairy.
It's called Bodies, and inside you find on display authentic human bodies and parts of bodies. A bit eerie at first, but facinating to get a first hand look at what we all are made up of inside and how it all fits together.
I've actually held a real human brain in my hand...
And we were going to take a ride on a boat from NJ to Manhattan past the statue of liberty. But the president was coming to town that day, so the trip was cut short so the boat could dock before the whole harbor was sealed off. We went ashore in Manhattan and stood there watching as the helicopter carrying the president landed and he vanished into a limo. Armed police was everywhere. Snipers were on the roofs and boats with heavy machineguns mounted on their decks were everywhere on the river.
And fancy that the squirrels in NY are actually tame. I held my hand out to one and it ran up to me and let me pat it on the head. It was disappointed though, since I had nothing for it in my hand. So it ran off again.
Our last day in New York we went to Broadway and saw "In the heights". Now I know what all the fuzz about Broadway is about.
This is just a brief summary of it all. Lunch in central park probably isn't a big tourist attraction in itself, but I found it to be a great experience. But I wanted to see the jazzclubs of Harlem, and to do more than just walk through the Village. But we were 24 people traveling together and we had five days in New York, so alot of things went unseen.
I am going back. And then I'm going to see the museum of natural history, the guggenheim museum and alot more. I'm gonna have a night out in the Village and just roam around alot more to meet random people all over the city.
After NY we got on a plane for Florida. We went to Disney World for a performance, and after we'd done it they came to us and asked if we wanted to do another show. We were told that that never happens, that no artist ever gets asked to perform twice there in one day. But we were asked, and we did.
Then there was Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, MGM and Epcot. You can't see it all in two days, but we were able to see a good selection of the sights there, and to try out most of the rides that are interesting to adults.
But I found myself drawn back to Epcot again and again. Just to walk around. I tried to have a drink in each of the 12 countries represented there, but that's alot of drinks
After all this we were pretty tired, so the ending of the trip on the beach in Fort Lauderdal was just perfect. Two days of baking in the sun, a concert in a fund raising for a norwegian seaman's church, and then some more beachlife and a big barbeque party to cap it all off.
When I got home I did nothing but sleep for the first 36 hours, waking just long enough to feel just how tired I still was before falling asleep again.
I've had the time of my life, and next year's vacation is probably gonna be across the atlantic again, to see and experience all the things we didn't have time for on this trip.