From my early teens and into my 20’s I had a single dream, to live in America.
In hindsight I can see now that this dream was based on a mix of indoctrination by Hollywood films, music and TV, that’s not to forget all of the media stories and historic moments we are reminded of every day. I later discovered this feeling had a whole ethos behind it, experienced by millions around the world, commonly referred to as ‘the American dream’. Although mine wasn’t driven by the ‘better life’, opportunity or prosperity elements, I was simply driven by the glitz and glamour of what I saw in the movies and heard through the music. I’ll be completely honest and admit that when I lived in America, during a University exchange program, I felt more popular, I felt unique, I felt different, and I actually felt like I belonged… This was where my American addiction really started; I remember waking up and only craving one thing, another adventure in the land of opportunity! It hit me I was anaddict and America was my drug of choice (visiting 3-4 times a year just wasn’t enough).
I will be sharing many of my stories and experiences from the land of opportunity but as a start one such adventure springs to mind, during a visit to New York in late 2004. The city itself, I had already experienced on a number of occasions, however the awe inspiring landscape of the place never failed to inspire me. This visit was going to be different, this visit was going to pose the unanswered question (still unanswered even to this day)…
I had already been I the country for a week, partying with some University friends in Colorado, and had one night in the Big Apple before heading to Boston for another University reunion before heading home. Arriving at the hostel, I checked in as usual and headed to my shared dorm room. Before I had even placed my bag on the allocated bunk, an Australian guy introduced himself and had invited me on a night out. Don’t worry, this is a very normal experience when hanging out in dormitories, especially if you travel alone. I had learnt previously that these nights could go one of two ways, really well or really badly. But what the hell, I had nothing else to do, so I grabbed my passport, wallet and headed out in the same clothes I had worn whilst travelling – Classy!
Having been to New York many times prior we skipped all the tourist spots, such as the Emp
ire State, Rockefeller, Times Square, Liberty Island etc… and headed straight out to the Village and started drinking. We soon heard rumors of a crazy bar that had opened a few streets down from where we were currently drinking, and it was based on the film Coyote Ugly, where barmaids dance on the bar. Well, to 2 young drunk lads that just sounded too good to be true! So an investigation was launched that minute and we soon found it and headed in… Just to put a finer point on it, this wasn’t a lap dancing bar or strip bar of any sort, it was what Americans refer to as a ‘dive bar’. It’s a dingy, dark, cheap, rowdy cowboy bar renowned for a very lively atmosphere, with old school rock and country music blaring out.
Anyhow as you can imagine as we walked into the bar, immediately my blurry eyes locked onto the most beautiful waitress I had ever seen. She was dancing on the bar to Deaf Leopard at the time, and it was just – WOW!. Jade and I huddled together and came up with the greatest strategy ever, get closer, fortify our position and order/drink more and just maybe, these girls would all notice us (especially as we had English and Australian accents). What an excellent idea! As if we weren’t already unattractive and inhibited enough.
Unbelievably the plan seemed to work, as Jade and I powered through the crowd to the very busy bar, we were met with a devilish intoxicating smile on a coyotes face, followed by the immortal line of ‘Can I get you cuties anything’ (in a Southern American accent). That’s it, she had us right where she
wanted us, I was transfixed and as I removed my mouth from the floor, Jade ordered 2 beers and she swiped her finger across my face and said ‘Sure thing’.
A few beers soon turned into shots, shots turned into cocktails, cocktails turned into more shots and being seen an ‘easy target’ and waving my credit card around – I soon had the attention of all of the staff and of course my dream girl.
- Could I tell you what her name was? Not a chance.
- Could I tell you what we spoke about? – Nope!
- Could I give you any more details about that night? Very few.
- Did I get her number? – HA! Really? do you really need to ask that question!!!
I do however have a picture of us together, on old film camera, and yes I look a complete state – highly inebriated and grinning like a school boy. Funnily enough she also wasn’t as attractive as I remembered but anyhow she had us both eating out of her hand…
We partied, drank and admired the gorgeous barmaids from the bar and I can confirm that that devilish smile reappeared as she came to swipe my credit card for $250 dollars. Did I really drink that much? Can I really drink that much? I did find out afterwards that I was slightly luckier than Jade who had been enamored by his own cowgirl and had a matching bill for $350, it was probably the body shots that made the difference.
I have had many crazy nights while visiting America and this one was not the craziest by far; however the question that still remains unanswered came to me the following morning.
I awoke the next afternoon a little hazy and looked at my watch and to my utter shock I discovered that I had a single hour until my bus for Boston left. What was even worse was that the bus left from Chinatown which was about a 30-40 minute subway ride from where I currently lay. It was a rush, but I distinctively remember checking under the bed and all around the room for anything I may have left behind. I made it by the skin of my teeth.
As the Boston skyline came into view, I had a moment of panic. You know where you tap all over making sure you have everything – wallet… phone… keys… watch… passport… Oh shit… Where is my Passport?
I checked everywhere, my bag, the bus, all of my clothes – I still had my wallet and money so where the hell could it be Then it dawned on me, being only 23, I had made the schoolboy error of taking my passport out with me to the bar, for ID purposes.
So overall New York City had cost over nearly more than the entire holiday, over $250 in drinks, a new passport, four days unpaid leave from work, a reorganised flight and a big pink embarrassed face!
The question raised is, was I pick-pocketed? and are my details now on the FBI database as a terrorist? Or did I willingly throw it to my American cowgirl, declare my undying love for her, and say ‘Take it – I never want to go home…‘
This question remains unanswered…