Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Run for your lives...

To start things out, I was not effected by the NYC steam explosion. One of the offices I work between is right over at 41st and Madison, so they were almost at ground zero when it happened. Luckily, I was at the other office that day. The people there said they heard a big boom and then screaming people. They stuck their heads outside the 10th floor office to see people screaming and running down the street away from the explosion. They were hysterical (think Godzilla movie) and even ran out of their shoes/sandals (there were shoes all over the sidewalk left from people in a hurry to get outta there). I live on the other side of the island so my trains and power were just dandy. Ha ha ha east side punks!
My flight Thursday night foretold how my weekend in Nebraska would be….rushed for time! I had a 30 minute layover in Minneapolis where I had to switch planes. Those who have flown out of New York know that LaGuardia airport has never had a flight arrive or leave on time. I was bit worried about making my connection so I made it a point to stow my carry-on in the first class bins so it would be up at the front. Of course, we were delayed 45 minutes in NYC, but the pilot said he would speed up the flight so that we would only be 25 minutes late. Okay now I have 5 minutes to make my flight! I talked to the stewardess and tried to beg my way into first class so that I would be up front and ready to run! No luck. I anxiously kept an eye on my clock and once the ‘ding’ went off, I sprinted down the aisle. Surprisingly enough, there were about a dozen of us who were all headed to the same flight (who knew that many people from Nebraska would be in NYC). We all compared notes on how many gates and which way to turn (thank God they had maps of the airport in the skymall magazine) while hungrily watching the stewardess unlatch the door. By the time she got the door open, we were seven minutes past our departure time. Out first was a college age guy. He had no carry-on, kicked off his flip-flops, and took off at a dead sprint. I scooped up the flip flops and shouted after him ‘hold the plane for us’. The whole group (including an old couple) ran like hell from terminal A to terminal C (seriously long run!). I am sure it was amusing for the people waiting for their flights to see a group of people running by at full speed shouting ‘hold the plane’ and whipping their luggage behind them. Anyway, I got to the gate (after what felt like ten minutes of full sprinting) completely out of breath. The stewardesses had held the plane for us all and we were able to stumble on. If they didn’t hold the plane (come on they only had to delay it 20 minutes max…if they didn’t do that, they would be total commie Nazis!) we would all be stuck in Minneapolis for the night. That would have derailed all of my jam packed plans for fun times in Nebraska.

Surprisingly, I awoke early Friday morning even though I got into Gretna around 2am the previous night. Yes Gretna, home of the green and gold…suburb to an Omaha suburb….land of three stop lights, one Runza restaurant, and four gas stations. Yep that pretty much sums up the small town/suburb. Anyway, back to the story, I got up early so I could head out to zoo before the day got too hot. Hot weather + animals = them being lazy and just sitting around/sleeping (well I would to if I was stuck outside in the heat). The Omaha Zoo is amazing! Seriously, I think it is better than San Diego. I have seen both, and maybe I am a bit biased, but SD’s only trump card are pandas (who needs them anyway). The Omaha Zoo just finished building a new ape complex and I was looking forward to seeing it since monkeys and apes are amusing. At one point, one adolescent gorilla pressed his face against the glass and started kissing (looked more like making faces) at the human children pressed up on the other side.

I hit up my favorite exhibits from child hood like the rain forest, sea lions, bears, big cats, and koi pond, but all was dawned in comparison to the aquarium. Yes the aquarium. Those who know me, know I have a thing for sharks. Okay not a sexual thing you perverts, I just am fascinated by them (I even wrote a research paper on their mislabel of ‘man hunters’ in college and it was published, if anything should be called a ‘man hunter’ it should be me, seriously!). The aquarium was rehabbed in the last decade or so and has this ‘shark tunnel’ where you can walk through the massive tank full of sharks. Yeah, I was there for a good half hour or so. Don’t get me wrong, the jellyfish tank and coral reef tanks were pretty as well. Most of my pictures didn’t come out well since the buggers were moving, sheesh! Anyway here are some pictures for your enjoyment.

On my way home from the zoo, I was able to cross two more Nebraska things off my list….eat at Runza and shop at Walmart. Those from Nebraska know that Runza hamburgers and fries are nectar of the Gods! Those not from the area, ask a Nebraskan about Runza and they will talk your ear off about its deliciousness. Alright, since I live in a city with hardly none big-box stores, the glorious cheap prices for household products offered at Walmart is a welcomed sight. I went down the isles grabbing items like cotton balls, toothpaste, detergent, plastic storage containers….ahhh love the low low prices. In NYC, you can either hike out to BFE or pay twice the regular place at a local Bodega or corner shop. The other interesting thing about our local Walmart is that you run into a lot of town folk while there. It is like the water cooler at work where you make polite greetings and dish on town gossip. Oh well it could be worse (like back in the day it was the bowling alley).


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