New York, New York

Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

There cannot be anyway else in the world quite like New York. Everything is huge, busy, crowded and in a rush and it is literally a jungle of skyscrapers. Our hostel was on Broadway and more like a hotel than a hostel, especially once we were upgraded to a better room. We did a lot of walking around the city and around Central Park which was lovely as the flowers and greenery were beginning to appear after winter. All the locals seemed to think the same and there were hundreds of people out running and walking in the park. The one Sunday morning it seemed as if every New Yorker and his dog was out to get some sun while relaxing on the grass, which was really cool.

We visited the zoo, natural history museum and as many of the famous sites around the city as we could – Fifth Avenue, Times Square, Grand Central Station, Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street. Times Square is just absolutely crazy with so many people and lights and colour absolutely everywhere. We went up the Empire State Building in the evening which was fantastic. The view was amazing and the lights stretched off into the distance for what seemed like forever. Instead of waiting in the huge line to go to the Statue of Liberty we caught the Staten Island ferry, for free, which goes just past the statue and you get a good view of the Manhattan Skyline. We walked around China Town and Little Italy, which were almost like stepping into a different country and we had a delicious lunch/supper at a little Italian restaurant involving a jug of Sangria which Kate in particular enjoyed.

Using the public transport to get to La Guardia airport was also almost like steeping into a different country, and a good preparation for the rest of our trip. Whichever suburb it was that we had to wait for the bus in could have easily been in any Latin American city and I’m pretty sure there was a lot more Spanish being spoken than English. We spent our last night in America in the airport and unfortunately I think La Guardia must be the worse of New York’s airports - it was not a particularly comfortable night. And that is how we ended the 'civilised’ part of our trip before really venturing into the unknown.

Impressions of America

-       The country and the people really beat our expectations and a lot of things changed our previous views on the country
-       We barely saw any fat people
-       The country is so huge and there is such a variety of landscapes that you can see why so many Americas don’t think about leaving the country
-       I was really impressed to see how many people had visited SA
-       The mountains and the ski slopes are fantastic
-       The trains are awesome
-       A lot of it is exactly like in the movies
-       The cellphone set up is ridiculous, you pay for outgoing and incoming calls and smses
-       Fast food and ready-made meals are so cheap and easy it isn’t hard to see why many Americans eat badly
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