Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NYC - Part 1 of ???

I figured I'd better do this in instalments or it would end up being WAAAAAY too long.

So without further ado, Day 1.

Once again I'm reminded that I by far prefer to travel west than to travel east. My jetlag going to NYC was practically non-existent. Lovely :)

The flight to NYC went pretty smoothly - it lasted from 12:30pm - 15:20pm - both times local, so in reality it took about 9 hours, the last of which was spent circling over NYC as traffic going into Newark was too heavy so we had to wait in line. I can understand this happening in events of bad weather etc., but usually it just seems like really bad planning. Ah well, we had no connections to catch, so it was just a minor frustration, and pretty soon we had landed and were standing in line at customs.

Here a kind officer noticed my crutch and directed us towards the booth for diplomats and invalids, so we wouldn't have to stand in line for so long... and were immediately directed back again by the officer in that booth because "it was only for people in wheelchairs"! The first officer was just as puzzled by this as we were, because as he said "You need to get through faster than a person in a wheelchair does! They're sitting down already!" Yeah, I didn't get it either. No harm done though, I would have been fine waiting, but he still insisted on sending Lars and me ahead to the very next booth that opened. Very nice :)

We had our pictures and finger prints taken, got our suitcases and found the train station without problems. And Lars immediately proceeded to take the first photos of the trip ;)

The train took us to Penn Station which is on 8th and 34th. As the weather was nice, and we lived on 8th and 48th, we decided just to walk the 14 blocks, as it would give us a good introduction to NYC. It definitely did that, but not entirely the introduction I was expecting.

Okay, I'll be honest, I had vastly underestimated the size of NYC. I've been to European capitals so many times, and had somehow fooled myself into thinking that NYC wouldn't be all that far different from London. My first impression of NYC - experienced as it was on 8th Avenue during afternoon rush hour - cleared me of that misconception. A lot more people on much narrower sidewalks with a lot more traffic... and most of all, the buildings were HUGE, making me feel more "fenced in" in the streets than I ever have in Europe (sky scrapers are not all that common here. The average building will have around 8-10 floors). So there you have my first culture shock ;)

My second came when we went into a supermarket to buy microwave popcorn (our hotel room had a microwave - yay :) ) and discovered that it is absolutely impossible to get just plain popcorn. What's up with that? They all either had butter added or were artificially flavoured with splenda. We just wanted plain ones with salt and nothing else! During our 10 days we didn't see them anywhere... so that was pretty much the first thing I had when I came back to Denmark - hey, don't blame me - I'd had an unsatisfied craving for ten days!!! ;-)

Anyway, we found the hotel with no problems whatsoever, checked in and were taken to our rooms - on the 17th floor! (well, 16th actually, seeing as there was no 13th. I forgot to check if there were no rooms 13 either, but probably not). Lars was NOT happy about that, and even less so when he discovered the bed was just next to the window. We solved that by keeping that curtain closed all the time so he could "pretend" the curtain was just a fancy tapestry, but didn't sleep well at all the first night. Poor him :( (For those who don't know - he has a really bad case of vertigo. He knows it's not rational, but can't help it).

After we'd unpacked it was around 7pm NYC-time, meaning 1am DK-time, so we were absolutely knackered and just wanted to get something to eat and then go to bed. Fortunately on our walk to the hotel I'd noticed a Mexican restaurant just three houses down. As we both LOVE Mexican, we figured this was as good a place as any ;) Excuse the "deer-in-headlights" eyes - at this time I was desperately trying just to keep them open for long enough to get through the meal!

The food was delicious though, and I made the first acquaintance with my new addiction - home made (or what tasted like it anyway) lemonade. YUMMY!!! In Denmark, if you order lemonade, you get a soda - either 7up, Sprite or something similar, depending on what they have. Here, I got real lemonade :-D After my initial surprise I discovered I LOVED it, and ordered it for every meal after that.

The food gave us our 'second wind', so we decided to go for a walk up to Times Square for a "sneak peak". I'm really glad we did. Fewer people were out, and I LOVED the atmosphere of Times Square. I think that actually remained my favourite part of NYC - as tacky as that sounds ;) This left me with a much better impression of NYC and I couldn't wait to go out and get properly acquainted with the city the next day.

... 10pm still saw us both in bed and fast asleep though ;)

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