Word Count: 1027
Notes: My very late contribution to sg1_five_things, set 54.
1. The Statue of Liberty
The trip to the Statue of Liberty was all Ronon's fault. When the team had first arrived on Earth for their whirlwind vacation--the first time either Teyla or Ronon had been to the Milky Way for anything other than a funeral--John had pushed for California or Hawaii. Or maybe Italy, which at least had cool historical monuments. Rodney had vetoed Hawaii on the grounds that he was allergic to every plant there, and the SGC had decreed they couldn't leave the country, which had cut out Europe, and then Ronon, who had developed an odd fascination with Charlton Heston, said he'd like to see the statue from Planet of the Apes. John had objected to New York on the grounds that it was loud and crowded and cold in January, but it turned out to be a coordinated attack--Teyla having heard about New York shopping from Cadman--and John's perfectly reasonable objections were over-ruled.
2. Good Food
Rodney and John both agreed that they needed to take Teyla and Ronon to a good restaurant, in order to prove to them that Earth could do much, much better than what was available in the cafeteria on a daily base. They spent a long time debating between WD-50 and The River Café. John hadn't been to The River Café in years--not since he'd divorced Nancy, actually--and neither of them had been to WD-50, but John had heard about it from friends in New York. They eventually ended up deciding on Daniel, after Rodney spent several hours obsessively reading Chowhound.
John began questioning the wisdom of that decision when he saw Ronon flinch uncomfortably as the server dropped the napkin in his lap, and noticed that Teyla was studying the menu with no small degree of confusion. John and Rodney ended up ordering for them, arguing over what would best showcase Earth (or at least French) cuisine. Things settled down once the food began to arrive, and Ronon and Teyla both claimed to enjoy it, but John and Rodney privately agreed to avoid fine dining for the rest of the trip.
3. Live Music
It was Rodney who insisted on taking them to the Lincoln Center to hear the New York Philharmonic perform Bach.
"They should have the chance hear real Earth music," he argued.
"They've heard classical music before," John pointed out reasonably. "You play it whenever it's your turn to pick the music in the 'jumper."
"Bach isn't Classical, he's Baroque. And listening to it on what passes for speakers in the 'jumper isn't anywhere close to the same as hearing it live."
So they went to hear the Philharmonic, to Ronon's bemusement and Rodney's great glee. John spent the entire performance shifting uncomfortably in his seat, expecting at any moment to hear his father's voice ordering him to sit still. On their way back to the hotel, Rodney happily critiqued the interpretation and the performance until John was ready to strangle him with the seatbelt. The only thing that stopped him was the memory of Teyla's expression during the performance, wide-eyed and glowing.
Two nights later John dragged them all out to hear Trick Pony, in New York on a rare northern tour. He ended up having to step in halfway through the show to prevent a fight after a drunk patron managed to slosh Rodney with his beer and then blamed Rodney for the accident, remaining persistently aggressive even after Ronon stepped up to loom behind his teammate. They left the club after that and went out for pizza instead. A year later, Trick Pony disbanded and John never did get to hear their live cover of Johnny Cash's "Big River." Rodney was right, he decided. Recordings just weren't the same.
4. Times Square
Having reconciled himself to playing tourist in New York, John decided they might as well go all out, so on the third afternoon, he dragged his team to Times Square. The excursion started out miserably--the four of them huddled at the side of the street looking up at the flashing ads--but then Rodney herded them into Starbucks for some hot chocolate and when they came out, the sun had emerged, bringing up the temperature a few degrees. They stood on the sidewalk, sipping hot chocolate while the snow swirled around them, watching the crowds scurry around them, and John saw the same wonder on Teyla's face that he'd seen when the plane had begun to descend over New York, and she'd realized just how big the city truly was.
5. The United Nations
There were politics in the Pegasus Galaxy, of course. Serious and sometimes vicious politics, with hundreds of worlds trading and negotiating and working around each other. But rarely did more than two groups meet at once, and rarely did they negotiate anything other than which crops to exchange and whether to take in refugees from worlds culled beyond recovery. The UN was something new.
Teyla and Ronon already knew the basics of Earth's political structure, having asked early on about the flag patches expedition members wore. The idea of multiple peoples living on the same world was not new to them; the Pegasus Galaxy had a few planets where groups of people with different customs lived side-by-side. The number of countries was a bit of a surprise to them, and so was the extent of the wars between them, which they mostly learned about during the marine-driven movie nights and Elizabeth's careful explanations of those movies.
John and Rodney thought it might be interesting for them to see what it looked like when nearly two hundred countries got together to talk. Teyla, by the end, looked thoughtful.
"If we are to defeat the Wraith," she said, "we need to learn to cooperate."
"Thinking of starting up an interplanetary union?" asked John, half-joking.
"We'll need something, once the Wraith are gone," said Ronon shrewdly. "When people aren't afraid of them, they can start turning on each other."
And knowing what had happened in the Milky Way after the Goa'uld had been defeated, John and Rodney could only agree.