i*m baaaaaaaack (from nopi)

what a crazy ass week this has been… i*ll try and re-cap as best as i can. here goes.
thursday: woke up at 8am, packed everything i own into my car, and drove two hours to philadelphia. checked into my new suite, met one of my roommates (who is awesome) and just left all my stuff in my room. i didn*t even unpack. left philadelphia around 1:15pm, and got back on the road to drive to south-western virginia.
hurricane isabel was closely moving in and i was trying to outrun the storm. i made it to south maryland when it hit full force. my car started making this horrible horrible noise that continued all the way to virginia and i still don*t know what it was all i know is it was probably caused by the extreme humidity. i drove as far as i could in the hurricane but somewhere in backwards-hick-ass-town-virginia i pulled over because it was tornado*ing around me the sky was green and the clouds were black and swirling and i was in the mountains and yes i*ll admit scared as hell. so i got a hotel room thinking i was gonna have to stay whereever i was for the night (i still don*t know the name of the town%2
9 but after an hour i decided to keep going and drive through the storm because there was no way in hell i was gonna let some fucking hurricane stop me from getting to nopi. so i checked out of the hotel, and got back on the road.
the weather was horrid, there must have been at least two inches of water on the highways, literally. i was flying i was doing 70-80mph the whole way there (300miles from the hotel i stopped at) trying to beat the storm. it didn*t work. visibility was absolutely zero, i was going on blind faith and insanely good reaction time from following the road only two feet in front of my car. amazingly, i made it to wythville virginia (where i was staying) at about 10pm. and my plan didn*t work, i didn*t beat the hurricane, i barely outran it.
i found jason*s house very easily (JGY Customs, his shop, that*s who i was going to NOPI with) and after meeting some other guys who were coming, we went out to dinner. the guys were all really really cool, and i had a really good time, i convinced myself that driving like i did was worth it
i also saw my first fat southern people.
friday: woke up early. ugh i hate that word. we got back on the road (and by we i mean a caravan of five cars, and two cars being trailered) to drive to atlanta georgia. i was supposed to get some stuff to borrow for my car for the show but because of the hurricane, we couldn*t get to the shop to get
it, so i had to go with my car as is. no big deal.
drove down to georgia, stopped off and got food, the accents these people have are crazy! they*re SO southern! and everyone has confederate flags on their liscence plates. gas stations are weird, you actually pump your gas before you pay! in new york you have to pay first. it*s weiiiiird. more and more and more driving, and 7 hours later, we were just south of atlanta georgia staying at the days inn in jonesboro georgia, just 20 minutes from the atlanta motor speedway.
so we all drop our stuff off at the hotel and we drive to the track so we can get the cars set up for the Nopi Nationals. (read: anyone who doesn*t know what NOPI is it*s the biggest import car show in the country) so we set up the cars, prepped, etc. i washed my baby, i*ve never seen her so clean. she looked incredible.
then they opened up the track. one of those huge tracks with the insanely banked turns that the nascar*s run the winston cup on… and they let us take our cars out and drive on it. lemme tell you that was definitly an incredible experience. that alone i would have been completely satisfied with the trip.
but it gets better.
so we left the cars there overnight and went out to dinner. seven guys and me + hooters = waaay too much fun. jason was being really shy so i got together with this awesome guy anthony and plotted something devious. ha. jason*s a r
eally quiet, introverted person… we told the waitress it was his birthday.about 45 minutes later, all of hooters was singing and clapping and he was so embarassed it was hysterical. he wasn*t mad though, he kinda enjoyed the attention.
so jonny wong called me and asked if i wanted to go to dinner with him and the guys from Volk Racing and omg that would have been the most incredible experience ever but i was already with my guys and i didn*t want to disrespect on the first night so i had to pass. what a shame.
back to the hotel. it was one of those really really shitty hotels where the hallway is outside and overlooks the parking lot. but it was definitly chill. we pulled chairs outside and enjoyed the georiga night air. and it was a lot of fun because we were on the fourth floor (penthouse baby!) and our balcony (ha, i mean hallway) was a perfect viewing spot for the hundreds of kids below and the dozens of cars doing burnouts all night. every time someone drove by they*d all scream “light em up!!!” until a burnout was attempted or actually done. it was really cool to watch however. i had a great time. it was like spring break for cars. and that was only the first night.
we went walking to the other hotels next door to check out the cars in the parking lots… an R33 skyline was just sitting there… a real one too, and a GT-R not a gt-s. some $120,000 supra got towed and impounded because t
he guy driving it was drunk. oh well. sucks for him. went to bed not too late…
saturday: woke up early, first day of nopi! we drove down to atlanta motor speedway, got our credentials, and walked into the infield. granted it had been empty the night before when we dropped off the cars, and now there were over 8,000 show cars (not including the spectators cars in the parking lots outside) and over 150,000 people. it was huge. i was in shock. so we went and finished prepping the cars, the display looked great. i walked around all day with jason and anthony and caleb and javier. we watched the hydraulic competition and the burnout competition and so much more. the track was HUGE. it took me literally five pictures to get the whole thing in, and that*s from me sitting in the very very top of the grandstand… walked around to a bunch of vendor booths, got a lot of free stuff, got so badly sunburned it*s not even funny (but it*s worth it cause it*ll fade to a tan) and so many people were looking at my car and taking pictures or video*ing.
the one thing that sucks is me and jonny were trying to find eachother all day, but because nopi was so big, it was next to impossible. he*d call me and say where he was and i*d try to give him directions to where i was, but by the time he got unlost he had to do work for the magazine, and when he was free i*d be off doing something else with my guys… we were li
ke thisclose every time but we just couldn*t catch eachother. oh well. there*s always englishtown on october 4th
so saturday was a ton of fun. i saw some incredible cars. we went out to dinner again that night and i was in so much pain from the sunburn i could barely eat, which is very unlike me =/ but nonetheless i had a fantastic day and i was absolutely exhausted. bedtime about 2am… early night.
sunday: woke up about 10am. not too early. headed down to the track for the second day of nopi. we hung outside and watched the drift event for a while, the driver of this orange 180sx was just incredible. some really sweet southern boy from louisiana and i had a great talk about drift and initial d and whatnot. he was cool. silly accents.
went back into the infield to check up and re-setup the cars. baby of course got a shitload of attention. hung out most of the day looking at other cars i didn*t get to see the day before (the place is so huge you*d need literally a week to see everything) so i was walking around with hamid*s digital camera taking pictures and i stopped at the Falken Tires booth to check out their drift car… and one of the guys on the team asked me if i wanted a poster but it was a poster of some half-naked chick so i was like no thanks… then i said i*d take it but only if the entire team signed it, and they did. so one of them started talking to me about my car and i showed them
pictures since i had some on the digicam and they were really interested and this one guy mickey gave me his number and told me to put together a proposal for sponsorship and if i need any help to call him. i doubt i*ll actually get sponsored but hey it*s worth a shot, and he was really sweet.
so after a loooong-ass day, we packed up everything and left nopi around 7pm, just before the awards ceremony. i wanted to stay and see if my baby won anything, because i knew if i left she would, but it was getting late and we had a 7.5hour drive ahead of us… so we left.
stopped off to get some food and continue the long drive back to wythville. what*s cool is we all had walkie-talkies in every car and the whole ride down to atlanta and back we were talking and joking and just fuckin around with them. it was pretty cool and made the ride a lot less boring.
got back to jason*s place around 3am, and i went to sleep immediately. i was *exhausted*.
monday: woke up about 11am, said my goodbyes, and started the long drive back to philly. here*s what sucks: i know not to speed in the south. they hate new yorkers and will pull me over for no reason because of my liscence plates. i was doing 70 in a 65. some guy comes flying past me. the cop radar*ed him, but pulled me over instead. he said i was doing 91mph in a 65. that*s fucking bullshit. he tickets me. it can be up to $2,500 and i have to appear in cour
t but if i don*t i plead guilty automatically. i can*t take off from work to drive 350 miles to virginia. i*m screwed. so he asks me to step out of the car and i do thinking he just wanted to tell me about the ticket… he fucking searched me. he fucking confiscated my knife. he fucking searched through my entire car including my bags of clothes from nopi which contained personal items and dirty underwear. i was so fucking angry it*s a good thing he had my knife. he had no fucking right to do that. god i feel so fucking violated.
anyway, asshole fucking southern bastard cops aside, i made it back to philly about 730pm in one piece… that*s all that really matters in the end.
got back to the dorm, unpacked a little, then lex came over and we went to get some food. back to his place for a bit, then i came back here to unpack. around midnight, pat calls me and asks how far philly is from new york. he and billy roadtripped down and got here around 2am. i ❤ my patrick. i miss him so much. so we went driving around the city and i showed them all the neat stuff and i had a really good time with mah boy. they left about 4am and i finally got some much needed sleep.
tuesday: i woke up to some prickly stuff on my face. i opened my eyes slowly, and saw shaft, monica*s baby iguana, crawling up my nose. hahaha. what a wake up call. i ❤ shaft. so i finished unpacking, chilled with the roomies a bit (monica i
knew from last year i love her more than life itself, this other girl maddy is fucking awesome i*m really glad she*s living here cause she*s chill, and this other girl lu she*s kinda weird she hasn*t spoken to anyone yet) but our apartment//suite is huge it rocks i*m really happy.
me mon and maddy went grocery shopping and wound up running into tuan on the way down, so he and another phispsi brother came with us. we got so much food it*s ridiculous. i spent $237 on myself alone. monica spent some similar amount. stocking up, i won*t go hungry for a while. good thing we ran into tuan b/c we filled up both my car and his with groceries.
so we unpacked the groceries then cooked a huge dinner with tuan and adam and everyone. jenny and taj called and they stopped by for a bit, it was sooooo good to see them, i love jen to death. dinner was a lot of fun, the potato-incident was classic.. i had a great time.
stayed up with monica and grant and greenshirt and watched a movie, then i took a shower and fell asleep. i*m still not caught up on all of my rest….
wednesday (today): woke up about an hour ago, drift event at englishtown today! i*m pretty excited. signal auto is gonna be there. but i have to start my coop job tomorrow and that*s not gonna be fun at all =(
so a nopi update: i mentioned earlier that i knew if i left before the awards ceremony, i*d win something.%0
D
i was right.
i took second place in my class… “Other Asian Luxury – mild”
my huge-ass trophy is on it*s way.

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