Getting here was nothing less of a hassle. Sometimes, I really hate Google Maps. It likes to give me a different route every time I look at it so when I have no idea where I’m going (which is often) and it keeps changing its mind, I start to wonder if I’m being led on a wild goose chase. Are you out to get me Maps?
I think we took about three different subways just trying to get from Grand Central to the Botanical Gardens. I realized I took us on the wrong one when we started going towards Queens instead of Brooklyn. But then when we tried to go back we hit all sorts of different delays due to construction and general rush hour in the city. It’s hard to remember that subways can be delayed too, since them being underground makes me think that they can avoid most traffic.
Not knowing entirely where we were going was only part of the problem. We also got a late start that morning (thank you overnight shifts) and when we did finally get there, there was a line winding around the entire parking lot (this was a good three or four hours after the festival started, and we had bought our tickets in advance! Talk about frustrating). There weren’t a lot of people there to tell us where to go (were we supposed to be in this long line? Did everyone else buy tickets already? What if we hadn’t bought tickets already? Please tell me there is a map of this place somewhere).
The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens stretch on for dozens of acres and it would have been nice if we had a map and a program of the events to follow. We got a map pretty early on only because Richie found one on the ground as we got lost inside one of the buildings. But it was just telling us where we could see what types of plants and it was not for the festival itself. So really we just had to wander around, hoping that the people we were following knew a little bit better where they were going than we did. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t).
However, we did get to walk around the pond with Japanese architecture surrounding it before finding our way blindly to the vast stretches of cherry blossom trees. Richie even went and sat on a huge bonsai tree (which we found out later we weren’t supposed to do, so shhhh!) and I almost stepped on someone who rolled under my foot while I walked by. I’m not sure if he really didn’t notice me at first or if he was trying to look up my skirt, but either way I have to pull a Boston girl here and say “ugh, fuckin New Yorkers!”
When we finally found where we were supposed to go for the actual festival, it was kind of coming to a close. We saw the end of some pretty spectacular drumming and dancing but never found out where to go to see the sword fighting demo, which was really the main reason I wanted to go. It was only at the very end of the night when I found a stand with programs, which didn’t help me with anything except finding out that we had just missed the end of the crafts booths.
Usually, I hate to plan things out and love to just fly by the seat of my pants. I’m awful at being on time for anything (I blame my Puerto Rican boyfriend for that one, but let’s face it, I’ve been late for things far longer than I’ve known him), hate waking up more than thirty minutes before I have to be somewhere, always change my mind about things I want to do, and just basically hate having an agenda for anything. I was awful with making lesson plans when I took education classes because I just thought it would be easier to just go with the flow (professors tended to not agree with me on that one).
But this was one of those times that my inability or unwillingness to plan came and bit me in the ass. Like I said, we were late and had no idea where to go. It ended up costing us a lot of things we wanted to do. Was it still fun? Of course, I thought the park was beautiful and amazing that a huge metropolis like New York could have such a large amount of green space still. The flowers in bloom were breathtaking and it was so fun to be able to walk among bamboo and bonsai and watch the pink petals rain down on us as the winds picked up. I am so happy I did it, I just can’t help feeling a little mad that I missed other parts of the festival.
Does that mean I’ve learned my lesson and will plan my future adventures better and wake up early and actually learn the maps and routes of my travels in the future? Um, no, not gonna happen. But I can pretend to try harder if that makes you happy.