Friday, July 2, 4:51am – Bad planning has got me at the Greyhound station already with only two fifties in my wallet. No small bills for a bottle of water or cab fare once I get there. The place is utterly dead, except for three dudes waiting for their buses in the smoking section around back. I opt to loiter up front in solitude until the station opens.
But then just like that, three buses pull in and the station is a zoo. And as it appears, so is my bus.
7:40am – Full boat indeed on the bus. Emerged from the Land of Nod somewhere past Anita with my left leg trying to fall asleep.
Inexplicably, the Greyhound driver pulls the bus into a primitive rest area on I-80, 35 miles shy of Omaha, for a smoke break. Then after sating the need, she went through the bus handing out re-boarding passes for passengers continuing on past Omaha. WTF?!?! This is the kind of shit the driver is supposed to handle at the station, or the very least at a schedule stop. Now twenty minutes late.
With the B.O. coming forth around me, I tucked my face under my T-shirt to inhale cleansing puffs of Calvin Klein. Obsession... ah, the smell of it.
8:20am – Driver holds us up further at the Omaha station by not allowing us to debark until she figured out the status of passengers continuing on to Denver. Ended being stuck in the aisle waiting to get off for five minutes. Once free of her clutches I make a beeline to the Old Market in hopes of breakfast.
10:37am – Checked into the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Omaha shortly after nine in the morning. And I got a balcony, bitches!
Flushing the toilet here is like opening a vortex into another dimension. I'm afraid to be near it.
And so the time comes to walk this land and partake of its urban charms. Alas, there's a price. There's douches afoot.
2:03pm – A nice roomy Scooter's Coffeehouse I used to frequent on the corner of 12th & Howard is now a Scooter's coffee kiosk with seating, AND a bank! Ordered an iced tea and checked up on my social media.
Oh, I was in cheese country. And, baby, it was open for business!
Sated, I retired to my room for an afternoon's rest.
6:16pm – So nice to check into my room right after breakfast. So nice to return after a wine and cheese lunch and sleep through World Cup coverage. Also, so nice to be secure and comfy in my room when my insides decided to get a little rumbly. Interestingly I feel like Mexican tonight.
The spires of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge call out to me, but I should save that for a morning walk the next day before the heat kicks in.
8:45pm – Laying off the eight dollar glasses of wine like I swilled for lunch I opt for a reasonably priced pitcher of Sam Adams at DC's Saloon, a gay Country Western leather bar on the south side of the Old Market neighborhood. And they got wireless! DC's does it up right!
MTV Jams on the tube, new country on the jukebox. Neither float my boat. Would they kill me if I play some Merle? That said, the juke starts kicking in the occasional Hank Jr. tune.
Ah, drunk enough to feel the desire for female or transgender companionship. Best to bury those desires in something with lots of melted cheese. To eat, that is.
10:37pm – Holding off on drowning my desires in queso, I walked over to the 13th Street Coffee Company, and savored a couple of double espressos outside. The gelato called to me, but I remained resolute in my choice of milk-fat to end the evening with.
Like a baby in a candy store I ventured into the humidor of the Havana Garage, an Old Market bar with legalized smoking. A helpful gentleman of the establishment steered me to a full-bodied smoke. I enjoyed my cigar with a cool glass of ice water. The nicotine morphia leapt through my veins, leaving me lightheaded as usual. Half a cigar is about as much I can smoke before the rush becomes too intense. The time came to seek out sustenance.
Woke up three hours later wondering why I do this to myself? No, not the wine for lunch or the pitcher early in the evening. I'm talkin' about the cigar bar. Flavor country has a toll for entering.
8:38am – Figuring it would be cheaper than going out I opted for the hotel's breakfast buffet. Moist potatoes, tough sausage, strands of oily bacon. It was sub par.
Also where I was seated would be best described as a narrow traffic island in the middle of S.E. 14th, with the brats of the Perryman Family Reunion and tattooed inbreds zipping about.
The self-preparation of waffles appeared to tax the mental faculties of one Perryman matriarch while nearby, one stoic, non-professionally tatted inbred opted to watch his family chow on their food, but finally relented, stealing the odd bite.
1:50pm – After a shower and a brief rest I took the time to wander the earth.
Heading north along the river, I walked past booths set up for Nebraska Pride activities, took a few pics of the Monument to Labor [see blog post], and walked across the recently built Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge [see blog post], linking the riverfronts of Omaha and Council Bluffs along the rain-swollen waters of the Missouri.
A small, white cross in the park caught my attention. I found it planted next to a memorial stone for what I assumed to be a local youth. Drunk driver, gang shooting, suicide? I did not know.
On the return trip I had the luck of stumbling on a procession of Dykes on Bikes [see blog post] and watched the Nebraska Pride parade for awhile before retiring to my hotel room for a respite after my 3.25 mile tour.
3:52pm – In need of an ATM I ventured ten blocks up Douglas to find a Wells Fargo, and took some photos of the Nebraska Centennial Glass Mosaic [see blog post], before making a pilgrimage to Hollywood Candy on 13th for some obscure treats [see blog post] and a tasty bottle of Sprecher Cherry Cola.
Curiosity compelled me to look for an old dive I frequented a few times back in the nineties. Alas, the Olympic Lounge, is no more. In a mirror image of downtown Des Moines, it appears the diviest place to drink in downtown Omaha is a gay bar as well. Cheers to Buddy's Corral and the DC Saloon.
And another 2.25 miles walked in the sweltering heat. Very tired.
Now the triangle of Omaha food porn is complete: Runza, La Buvette and Orsi's.
10:43pm – Full day, full belly. After seven miles of hoofing around Omaha and a sliver of Council Bluffs, I opt to stay home.
And considering the sea of pubescentry that issued forth after the Justin Bieber concert at the Qwest Center nearby, I'm glad I stayed in. Also I was chafed.
Sunday, July 4, 8:30 - Rain pours down in Omaha. So much for walking to a decent breakfast today. Golf-ball sized hail reported elsewhere in Nebraska. Gave the hotel breakfast another try, made better choices for what to eat, and beat the masses still slumbering in their beds.
Quick cab ride to the Greyhound station, then a quiet, rainy ride home abroad the "dog" with plenty of elbow room.
|Photos from the Picasa Web Album: Weekend in Omaha|