Yesterday we went to Jersey City "to return to my basic self," as Mama put it, meaning "to eat oily, fatty, delicious Filipino foods" at Max's of Manila. According to the menu, Max's was started right after WWII, when this dude Maximo served coffee, steak, and fried chicken to his American serviceman friends. Truly, friendship is the mother of innovation, because urban myth has it that Max's fried chicken is deep fried in pork fat. Doesn't that sound awesome? Excuse me while I quiet down my heart palpitations. We also had pinakbet, lumpia, and halo-halo, which is like the Holy Grail if the Holy Grail were filled to the brim with crushed ice, ube ice cream, coconut shavings, and sweet beans. Then we went to Red Ribbon, and at my repeated chanting of "discipline, discipline!" Mama only got two slices of cake (ube and mango) instead of two entire cakes, which was her impulse.
Then we hustled to make it to the trains before rush hour hit. From Journal Square we hopped into a PATH train to Newark Penn Station, where I had time to go to the bathroom. A lovely double-decker NJ Transit train pulled up and we zoomed into double seats, but were distracted by the conductor screaming, "This is the local, local, LOCAL train! It will make all local stops! The express is right behind us!" Mama insisted that we get on the express, so we trooped out. I saw a butt-ugly train on Track 3, opposite us, and checked the monitor, which said, "5:02 pm NJ Transit to Trenton, Track 3," so we got on. Haha, fail. It was an express, yes -- but heading to Jersey Ave., which if you check out this map is barely past halfway to Trenton, where our car was parked. Mama was giggling about the irony of it all -- we'd have to get off at Metropark, and then wait for the same train we'd gotten into in the first place before ditching it for an express. My iPhone died at Metropark station, so I amused myself by playing all the ring tones on Mama's phone so she could choose which one she liked best. She ended up with the default Nokia tone (tanaNAna-tanaNAna-tanaNANANAAAAA), probably because it wasn't an obnoxious techno one.
We made it home and turned in early. Birthdays are fun. And exhausting.