New York, I love you

What a day. I have never been as in love with New York as I am right now. It’s my third visit in three years, but today won’t be topped.

It started with a walk through the NYU campus on West 4th Street and into the magical Washington Square Park. A park packed with locals, tourists, squirrels, dogs, wiry trees, chess masters and a grand arch. You can sit there and take it all in for hours on end, being at complete peace with the world.

Continue on West 4th Street and the West Village awaits. Walking through the West Village and its tiny, exquisite cafes, zig-zaggy staircased apartments and archway of blossoming trees made me want to live there instantly.


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Day Five

I fear that I’ve left this too late and have forgotten some of the details of the past 1.25 days, but I still think this will be one long post.

Day Five [yeh, I’ve switched the format to just days now, as @jymmysim said], well, the first half anyway, was all about museums. I’d always thought the Smithsonian was one museum or something, but I found out yesterday that it’s this gigantic complex of around 15 museums, of which I only visited two.

First up, after a bagel breakfast [did I mention that I now love cream cheese?], was the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Wow. Just. Wow. This place was absolutely amazing. I’m sitting here shaking my head just thinking about it now, actually. The amount of real life examples of everything aeronautical you can ever dream of, coupled with the interactivity and educational value that comes with each exhibit is really astounding. The highlight though, was the flight simulator!

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New York: Day Three & Washington: Day One

I knew this Day business would screw me over >.<

New York Day Three got off to a particularly lazy start and also signalled the beginning of the wedding festivities, with a crapload of people and food.

After watching Argentina whoop Mexico, I headed into the city with my cousin and his mates, specifically [well not really since I don’t know the exact name of the place] ‘The Village’.

Ah, The Village. It’s quite easy to sum up really; 5 shots for $10! I think you can extrapolate the kind of night that I had from that, but the added bonus was $1 pizza slices [yes! $1!] and fries with crazy jalapeno sauce!

I woke up today with a pretty bad hangover, and of course, it had to be a very early start to train it to Washington.

First reactions of Washington; a WiFi hotspot that actually worked at the gorgeous looking Union Station, and, HOT as hell. Like, mid 90s and extremely humid.

I played the model tourist today, and it felt like Washington was made for it. It really is a beautiful looking city, with picturesque parklands and water features surrounding historic buildings like the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and World War II Memorial. In comparison, The White House was a total disappointment, since they’ve become extremely paranoid and stringent on the procedures for getting in and getting a tour; i.e. having to book it months in advance for a relatively lame tour.

I did see a lot of people on segways and saw later that they do segway tours! That would’ve definitely been a fun way to get around, and speaking of, it didn’t seem like the kind of city that lends itself to sight seeing via public transport, and we ended up catching quite a few cabs, but most were $10 max, so, /shrug

I also finally got data access on my T-Mobile SIM! Some APN info had to be added -_- And yes, this post is being written via gmail on my phone, so I’m expecting some whacky formatting.

Also also, this bed is quite possibly the best hotel bed I’ve slept in!


New York: Day Two

If I’d have to sum up Day Two, I’d have to say it was a day filled with highs and lows.

I woke up late and watched on as a valiant South Korea fell to Uruguay, and then headed out into Manhattan to meet up with Arvind and watch the USA v Ghana game.

I found this Mexican restaurant / bar off 42nd Street, which was pretty darn packed with World Cup supporters and a fantastic atmosphere, from the initial disappointment of the first goal, to the equaliser, greeted with absolutely raucous applause [it did take a while to get drinks since most of the bar staff were fixated on the game the whole time, and occasionally turned around to serve customers], and then the final blow in extra time, after which the bar turned into a ghost town.

More drinking at a place named the Rum House [!] followed by dinner and then dessert, which was both glorious and tragic at the same time.

We went to Carnegie Deli. Now, I had no idea how popular this place was, and it looked innocuous from the outside, even with the large queue snaking around the corner, but to then wander in and see the Wall of Fame, good lord! Thousands upon thousands of photos of celebrities that have eaten at this place, and they’re famous for their cheesecakes!

So we sat down, somewhat full from dinner, but more than ready for dessert, and out it came, a New York Baked Cheesecake with blueberries. It tasted absolutely amazing. For the first 15 minutes that I was eating it. Then, Struggletown… It was the biggest slice of cheesecake I’ve had, and I know that I haven’t been in cheesecake training lately, but the sad realisation that I’m so out of cheesecake eating shape [I ate a whole Cheesecake Shop cheesecake back in the day] kicked in when I had to retire my spoon, with cheesecake still residing on the plate. Sigh.

I couldn’t move for the next half hour, and it took an hour walking around Central Park [Arvind summed it up nicely, calling it “Centennial Park on steroids”] to somewhat reduce the bloatedness, but I am damn well going back to Carnegie Deli and finishing that cheesecake, dammit! And this time, without so much food beforehand >.<

On a totally unrelated note, checking the scales when I get back home should be fun…


New York: Day One

I know I’m setting a terrible precedent with “Day One”, because more than likely, “Day Two” might not be tomorrow, or if it is, “Day Three” won’t be the day after, but anyway, enough of my sequential insecurities, just go with it.

Day One, and I went into Manhattan with the parents [I thought I’d go with them ONE day at least], and about 15 minutes in, told them that as much as I enjoy their version of being tourists [carrying around a giant map and strictly and speedily visiting tourist attractions that they’ve marked while taking a token photo [it was almost like the Amazing Race]], I’ll meet them back home in the night. I then proceeded to wander the streets of Manhattan in no particular order, with no map and no plan, and I kinda really enjoyed it!

I’m not quite sure where my wandering took me exactly, but I remember walking past Wall Street, then it was a blur until I got to Seaport, which seemed like a little hub for the World Cup, with quite a few peeps knockin’ about Puma City. They had Human Fusbal [Google keeps telling me that it’s Foosball, but it lies I tell you] there!

It’s like, a netted, outdoor, smallish indoor soccer field, and the horizontal bars are there like there are in a normal Fusbal table, spread out evenly across the field [2-3-3] and everyone is tied quite tightly to the horizontal bars, and yeh, fun ensues! It was perfect because it was ridiculously hot, and the coolish breeze near Seaport coupled with some kind of 2000 calorie milkshake [it really did feel like that] and cheering onlookers made for a fun experience.

More wandering, and I eventually jumped back on the ferry to Staten Island [an awesome way to travel in this heat] and then the train home.

Oh, I also ended up getting a T-Mobile “plan” that gives me data access [although it’s still not activated…] and a crapload of calls for $60 that I can cancel at any time. @laurenbugeja mentioned Boingo in her post, in her comment in response to my post yesterday, but I’ll stick with this for now, and hope the data kicks in.

Did I mention how overly nice the people are here?! Doubly surprising considering my sole taste of New York before this was @zander1979.

And to directly contradict that statement, hi American Airlines; you suck. So, the luggage has been found apparently, and they left a message early this morning saying that it’ll be picked up around 6am by some delivery company and sent to us by noon. We got up late anyway, waited around, no one arrived by 1pm, gave them another call and they said the luggage was picked up at 9am, and that it’ll be there shortly. We decided not to wait since there were others at home anyway, and I arrive home at night to see that it STILL hasn’t arrived. Call ’em, and they tell us that no more deliveries are being made today, and that we can expect it tomorrow… assholes.


The long commute to New York

25+ hours of travelling and no luggage later, oh hai, New York!

LAX sucks! I’m assuming that’s where the luggage went missing, amidst the rest of the chaos we encountered there. The arrival was delayed by a bit, and by the time we got through the TSA checkpoint that extended outside the doors of the airport, we barely made boarding time, to then find out that the flight had been delayed by an hour.

Speaking of the TSA security check, I got through unscaved [not quite sure how [damn my racial prejudices failing me]], but just as I was putting my shoes back on and some other dude went through the scanner gate thingi, the guards just started shouting “EVERYBODY STAND STILL! NOBODY MOVE!”. Three minutes later with no one knowing what the hell was going on, through the scrambled walkie talkie comes “Bravo, you’re all clear”, and then everyone just started cheering and moved on o_O

Then we get to New York after being put on some other flight that stood still on the runway for an hour, and then waited another hour to find our luggage is MIA -_- Oh, and no one got headsets on the American Airlines flight from LAX to JFK either! Do you have to pay for ’em or something? Then again, watching Old Dogs on a communal screen minus the sound probably made for a more enjoyable experience anyway.

In comparison, god bless Qantas [unless they were the ones that misplaced said luggage] and the A380! I got through a Lady Gaga concert and four movies; The Ghost Writer, Five Minutes of Heaven, The Silence of the Lambs and The Godfather: Part I. Yes, I know, I really should have seen the last two, but, the former, I was always too scared to watch during high school, and the latter, I have no idea why… suffice it to say, they were both pretty frakn fantastic, and I’m looking forward to watching Part II on the way back. The first two weren’t too shabby either.

One thing that did annoy me about the inflight entertainment system was, anytime there was an announcement from the cabin crew or pilots, it wouldn’t pause what was currently playing >.< You just get this overlay you can’t do anything about and you’re forced to jump back using the terribly laggy rewind function. It makes no sense, is plain silly, and should be corrected.

And the thing I am most saddened about at the moment is the lack of free WiFi; I haven’t been able to check in anywhere on Foursquare! *cry* I need a SIM and data plan, STAT!

Signing out at 4am with a very messed up sleep clock and looking forward to some exploring tomorrow.