Not long ago, Owlee told the group about his exciting trip to Canada. Naturally Alphie felt more than a little bit jealous. Like all elephants, Alphie wanted to see more of the world, meet new people, and perhaps even a few more animals. Much as he enjoys Java development, he could not help but think there must be more out there. One late night when it was just the two of us left in the lab, both suffering from too much coding and too much coffee, Alphie confided with me his dreams of travel.
I already had a short getaway scheduled: I was supposed to spend a weekend in New York City and its suburbs (aka New Jersey) for a family birthday celebration. I offered to take him with me to New York. Alphie jumped at the chance, so he squeezed into my laptop bag and off we went.
Our first stop was my house, to visit my cats. Alphie was very pleased to meet another animal! He likes humans all right, but eventaully an elephant just needs the company of other four-legged creatures, you know? I'm not sure that the cats knew what to make of him though, to be honest.
After some time making friends with the kitties, it was time to pack our bags and hit the road.
We took I-94 to the airport, because Alphie was interested in seeing the giant tire. The poor guy has spent all this time near Detroit, but he's seen almost none of its sights or landmarks. He was fascinated, and wanted to go inside, but we didn't have time. After all, we had a plane to catch!
When we got to the airport and through security (Alphie received some suspicious looks, but luckily elephants aren't on the Suspected Terrorists list. He had been smart enough to leave his Weapons of Mass Destruction at home, so we got through okay), we stopped for a quick bite to eat. Alphie and I were both startled and more than a little disturbed by the mutant siamese twin onion rings we found.
It was there in the airport foodcourt that Alphie met his first real life airplane pilots! They were eating ice cream, just like regular people. I approached them and explained, "This is my elephant's first airplane ride. Can he pose for a picture with you?" They were gracious enough to agree.
Then it was time to board the airplane. We looked out the windows while the plane was still on the ground, and I pointed out the other airplanes and various things to see. Alphie was speechless.
When it was time to take off, we made sure that Alphie was buckled in tight. Nice and safe.
Once the plane reached cruising altitude, there wasn't much more to see -- especially since the sun had set. Alphie used the time to catch up on some of his reading.
When we landed in New York, we took a taxi to my aunt's apartment in the Upper West Side. Alphie enjoyed looking at the map and keeping track of where we were going.
The next day, Alphie got to meet my nephew Will! They played with trains together. This is Will's favorite game, so we all got to do a LOT of playing with trains over the course of the weekend.
Alphie wanted to play more interactively, so he volunteered to act as a bridge for the trains to drive underneath. At first Will thought it was a strange idea. "That's not a bridge, that's a elephant!" But eventually he warmed up to the idea, once he saw how well it worked. "Through the el'phant bridge!"
During his stay, I got Alphie a little gift: a New York t-shirt! It's a little big on him, but he looks adorable in it anyway. He helped me compose a thank-you card for our hostess in New Jersey.
Before we left, Alphie spent some time making friends with my grandmother's dog Bill. Alphie likes animals of all kinds, so he was eager to climb up on the couch and play with Bill.
Bill was also eager to play, but it seems he thought that Alphie was more of a toy than a playmate! Eventually I stepped in and rescued him. Don't worry: he was fine except for a little dog slobber.
All good things must eventually come to an end though, and on sunday we said fond farewells to all of my relatives and started our journey home. While waiting in the airport, we played a rousing game of hide-and-go-seek.
It turns out that Alphie is incredibly good at hiding!
Since our trip was primarily to see family, Alphie didn't get to see a lot of the actual City. Alas, I wasn't able to take him to see the Statue of Liberty -- but at least I got to show him what it looks like. I also showed him a snowglobe of the skyline. That's practically as good as being there, right?
Eventually, our flight was boarding. It was time to go back to Michigan. Alphie spent a quiet flight home, staring at the clouds, lost in memories of his exciting weekend. Goodbye New York!