Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

A different experience by night

So I've always wanted to do a Hop On / Hop Off tour -- they seem to exist in many major cities (incl Toronto) and yet never quite the *top* option for things to do.  Partially cause they tend to be prohibitively expensive; partially cause part of the fun is the top of the bus but that has a very limited weather range that is truly enjoyably; and partially because I'm not sure waiting for people to hop on and off would appeal to me -- most tourists aren't known for being fast moving or decisive ;).  So the end result is I've never done one.

However, tonight gave me the perfect storm to experience a "close enough" tour ;).  The Hop On / Hop Off buses do a night tour that is NOT an on/off tour (nicely solving the last issue) lol.   They use the same buses and the same general concept, but being night and NYC, perhaps dropping tourists in strange locations isn't the *safest* idea.   So they do a route - about 2h give or take a bit.   The cost was not expensive (comparatively!  It is still NYC), the weather was perfect for it (lovely summer night - dark so no beating sun, not too hot, not too cool, no rain), we'd hiked a LOT over the next few days so a passive activity was welcome, and lastly - there was nothing else we particularly wanted to do that was an option at 11ish at night (I aged out of clubbing in my early 20s lol).

Buying the tickets was quick and painless - buses come ever 15 mins or so.   The LINE we found AFTER buying the tickets was less fun, but still not horrible.  Given the perfect weather they were being smart and only loading the top of each bus (I mean, unless somebody *wanted* to be inside of course, but not trying to fill the inside).  We got on the second bus to arrive after we got in line.   They were well organised but not particularly efficient and the people manning the lines were super snarky.

Loved the effect of this image

Fortunately, once we got ON the bus, the guide was lovely, positive, and energetic.  It can't be fun to give the same spiel over and over and over multiple times a night, every night (up / down anybody?), but she made it seem like she was enjoying her life, she interacted well with the crowd, and she gained engagement by handing out candy for participation ;-P.  😂   Maybe not MY engagement given my take on US candy (and Chris used his entire bank of engagement participating with the buskers our first afternoon), but enough other engagement to make the trip fun to listen to.  Little things in life.  She also made a bit point about warning her if she was going to be killed by a tree -- hard to imagine in Times Square, but once we were farther away from the chaos, it was a very real risk and a job-hazard that would never have occurred to me.   

On the bus, waiting for the tour to start;
Red ear buds were incl so we could hear our guide.

Where we actually went - 🤷‍♀️ - I have a list but it's in my bag that's very far away on the other side of this tiny room.   Lol may scan it later (*edited after to add - I still have the list, it's now in my home office - on the other side of my house.  Spoiler alert, it still hasn't been scanned*).   But we DID get to go across the Brooklyn bridge; we got to "sing on Broadway" - ie while driving down the street Broadway; it was 100% the closest we got to the Statue of Liberty - as in we could see it in the distance ;); we got a LOT of information, about a lot of different buildings.  Some of which was interesting, very little of which I actually absorbed.  Other than the *only* washroom available to the public anywhere near Times Square is in Bryant Park.  AND apparently it's super-swanky (lol think classical music and snacks?!?!).    But seriously - lack of washrooms is a pretty serious issue there.

This was one of my favourite shots of the night
with both our driver and an iconic NYC street and building

I'm a big fan of night, esp summer nights, and I'm a big fan of lights, so I really enjoyed just being with Chris, outside, at night, being driven around to see some stuff.   To give an idea of traffic - we were on the upper portion of an open-top bus, my hair was down, and it wasn't in 8-million knots at the end lol.   Suffice to say, NYC traffic is its own adventure.   However, it was perfect for a tour!   The only "down side" was my complete inability to take consistently good pictures given moving vehicle and archaic iPhone was frustrating to me (lol I'm pretty sure I'll use the only ones I liked in this blog.  However, since I wasn't in a position to take great photos (moving bus and archaic iPhone), I just settled in to enjoy the night and the ride.   And when it was over, I was ready for it to be over, and am happy that I no longer feel I've missed out in not having done one of those upper-deck bus tours before ;)

Lovely way to close out the night :)

OTOH, sometimes "errors" actually better reflect reality;
This whole trip has been a bright, brilliant, blur.


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