Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 20 - New York City Tour

Woke up to pouring rain in order to have our bags out the door 6.30am instead of 7am. I rushed around trying to get everything ready in order to be down stairs by 7.30am and on the bus by 8am. 
Times Square through the Rain
I heard Remy outside the door and I didn’t have my bag ready but it turns out he was arguing with some of the other tour people next door because she has 3 bags and they are only paid for 1 which is standard. She had 3 almost vinyl small carry-on bags. She obviously didn’t read the information at the back of the tour book. She was going to be a challenging one. Got packed up and finished getting ready and had to carry on the makeup and hair straightener because I didn’t get them finished before the bag pull. 
Flatiron Building
Didn’t get time for breakfast but made my way downstairs and it was a mad house with people everywhere. So I arranged to leave my bag at the hotel since I hadn’t been able to arrange to drop the bag at the apartment which took forever because it was such a mad house.
About the Flatiron Building
I grabbed my bag that I was leaving on the bus and headed on out. I think I was one of the last ones on and got the rolled eyes from the bus driver about the extra bag but I did assure him that I wouldn’t need it off during the trip. He isn’t as friendly as Salena but seems like a quiet soul.
Flatiron Building 
Met our tour director, she is going to kill me for this! and probably won't help me to find a job as a tour director now. But initially…  to me she came across with the massive public face on and seemed very polished. Too polished almost false… but then again I found out why later, she had just been raked by the lady who had the 3 bags because her vinyl bags were getting soaked wet by the rain. So she was barely holding it together… but I have to say despite all this I did like her. She was aware of her “singles” as she called them and assured me that she would make the trip fun and she had a lovely mannerism about her. 
City Hall
I was paired up with the lovely Marie who was the lovely single lady from the central coast in NSW. She would be my bus buddy for the rest of the trip but the good thing was we were only 3 from the front.
Court Buildings
I was feeling a bit removed from beginning this tour, I was missing the friends from the previous tour and in the end it was interesting because in a lot of ways I knew these guys a lot better. Being the youngest single of the tour that was travelling by themselves, I was going to be less visible and less well annoying…hahaha I think a lot of it was nerves given that I didn’t get a chance to meet anyone the night before I was feeling very shy and vulnerable. It is nice to fade into the background and decided I needed to do this on this tour.
5th Ave heaven giggle 
I think in a lot of ways I didn’t want this tour to outshine the other one. I know that is dumb but I just loved everyone and the experience on the Rockies tour.
Needs no introduction really
Our city guide Eddie was really great and very typical New York…  Loud obnoxious and full of New Yawk. I learnt a couple of things that day was that New York is Pronounced New Yawk, and the Bronx is Da Bronx.
The Pier A complex
Some stuff to bore you with: New York is the Largest city in USA with 18.2 million living in the state and 44% are foreign born. 1.6million actually live in the city. Harlem jazz musicians named it big apple in 1920’s and in 1971 the city first adopted it.
I love this one...  the broadwalk
We saw Times Square, the garment/fashion, diamond and flower districts. We made our morning stop at the Flatiron building and I was chatting with Eddie and I asked him about what he said during the tour about staying away from the time square electronic tours. He had mentioned that you should stay away from them and never buy anything electronic from them. He wasn’t surprised about my experience. All the research that I did in terms of shopping nothing came up about shopping there. I got some advice on where to go for camera stuff because I really wanted to get a new portrait lens and camera cards. He actually suggested that B&H Photo which I suggested yesterday was the one stop shop for all things camera. Pretty much the only place I should go. 
Down town Manhattan
We saw so much of the city that day it was overwhelming but it gave me a good orientation of the city. I actually really enjoyed the city tour and Eddie being a smart arse because I was giving it back. I did feel bad for Marie that I kept on leaning over her to take photos but she wasn’t a photo taker so I didn’t feel like I was interfering in hers and I decided that tomorrow I would go back down the back and hide down there and spread out so I don’t annoy people with the photo taking.
The Wintergarden complex
We made a couple of stops…  We stopped at I can’t remember where! Christina! To see the Statue of Liberty which was so majestic and breath taking in its own way. I finally got to see it. I was so excited too bad I had left my jacket on the bus because it was too humid to wear it and it started to rain. But at least it was a toilet stop…  but ruined the nice straight hair.
I loved it shrouded in mist and the beautiful old lamp posts that I have seen in so many movies lining the boardwalk. It was beautiful in the middle of the hustle bustle with the city and there it was… the moments I have dreamed of for so long seeing the icons of New York, Statue of Liberty, Chrysler building, Empire State and Grand Central. 
The 7 teardrops 
We then made a stop at the Wintergarden in the World financial centre to go to the observation deck to overlook the WTC. The only thing I struggled with this part of the tour was the cavalier attitude. The running off the figures and the almost coldness towards what happened. I felt like my stomach turn and I just needed to walk away. I think because I always remember what I was doing the moment it happened. I was watching the 11pm news and I was studying for an exam and just watched in horror as the plane slammed into the building.
the names on the memorial
I hated to think that other human beings could treat each other like that and when Eddie was talking about it so coldly I really struggled with it. I am just too emotional of person.
it just makes me sad looking at this again 
We headed back downtown and we saw city hall, the law and order building, Wall Street, Canal Street with China Town, little Italy, and Brooklyn bridge. I was loving it all, the things I dreamed of for so long and they were right here.
7 tear drops 
I started to get to know some of my bus mates and I was sitting right near Vicki and Kim who were a lovely couple from Tasmania, the Welsh crew who were 3 couples travelling together. They were all so nice and it was hard not to like them all.
7 teardrops - Amex Memorial

We stopped for lunch at Grand Central and finished the tour there. It was such an amazing building and so massive. I loved the atmosphere that was in there but it was getting so humid. Man I thought I left that behind in Brisbane. Found some yummy but expensive food. I couldn’t believe how expensive it was to eat there. But I did find something else there in the form of the Magnolia Bakery… damm shame about that. So I picked up 2 for the road and a bag to carry some of the stuff in because I was getting sick of the backpack.
Trump Tower on 5th Avenue 
I left there and went wandering taking photos. I started chatting with David and Lis as I was taking photos of the Chrysler building and they were such a lovely couple. They were travelling with her sister, brother in law etc. While they had been to NYC before they hadn’t been further than that so they decided to do it with all of them tagging along.

We were all back on the bus by 1pm… the person that I pegged as the troublemaker this morning was the one missing. It was getting so hot on the bus with the humidity taking over. Christina went to look for her – she was not impressed and her travelling friend tried to reach her on the phone but I knew that there was no service down there. I saw that when I tried to find a wireless hotspot so we had to sit and wait while Christina found her. She turned up eventually thinking it was 1.30pm not 1pm but we all heard Christina tell us before we got off the bus tell us that it was 1pm also Eddie reminded us before the tour finished. Christina gave us another reminder to always be ontime because we were going into capital cities we had to be careful with the traffic.

p.s. sorry for the lack of colour in the pictures but due to the weather it was too hard so they are mostly black and white 

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