Monday, September 7, 2015

Day 1: New York

At 6:15am myself and my fiancé were well prepared for our chauffeur-driven trip to Sydney International Airport. We checked in by scanning our passports and amused ourselves by watching a woman who somehow went over the 23kg luggage limit by 4kg. Her significant other was a broken record of “I told you so”s.

Then we went through customs - my occupation was “freelance writer”, a change for me - and had breakfast buried amidst construction work which made the wait less appetising than usual.

Gate 8 required yet another security check because we were bound for the US. Then we stood around in yet another construction zone until at last we were called to board. Once everything was stowed, I heard a flight attendant say it was not a full flight and free seats could be snaffled.

We waited. Waited some more. Left late when our last passenger deigned to show. Our plane joined an ever lengthening queue of others waiting to tear up tar.

Finally, we were airborne. Sleep proved elusive so I watched Interstellar which was very good. Darren and I lost the only other passenger in our set of four seats (he left us for greener pastures - a tempting exit row seat) so I stretched out on 3 out of 4 chairs, enjoying the space. Finished my book later.

Overcast and steamy, LA greeted us as we trundled off the A380 designed for long hauls and lurked in the quagmire of US customs. It was hell. I sweated in line, irritable and cranky by our late plane, the short transfer time and US customs being so damn slow. Eventually, we were rescued and transferred our bags then walked sockless through scanning machines. Noting how we laid out our jackets, laptops and liquids, a guard said we were well prepared.

More waiting. The Melbourne international flight was also late so we were hanging around for them. Then we were all shunted onto a smaller domestic plane. Feeling ill, I slept more of the trip away.

New York. Also warm. More waiting for bags. Then we grabbed a taxi. Our driver listened to a Colombian radio station and honked ferociously as he bore down on cars, passengers and horses. He was a bit of a hoon. We made it to our hotel, buried in the urban jungle that is Manhattan - so crowded, each building larger than the last.

We walked the streets before deciding on dinner in an Irish pub. It was strangely obvious that all the patrons in there were white - something I'd never have noticed back in Australia. My rare beef sliders were tasty. Could not finish!

We roamed in the dark, all the way to Times Square. The lights were amazing, turned night into day. Startling. Very cool to see the Square which has featured in many movies. Many people dressed as movie characters floated around.

9pm at night - Time Square is still tourist moshpit!

While it looks fascinating, New York smells of smog and garbage - there are bags of trash everywhere, rotting in the heat. We saw people digging through the bags as steam left the grate beneath them.

At one point I was amused to witness some typical New York roadrage - someone yelled “you fucking asshole!” out of their car at another driver.

Forget the smell, the sights are amazing!

Back to hotel. Tea was made by sourcing hot water in cups from downstairs. Managed to burn ourselves on our way into the room. Ouch.

Now clean and tired.


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