Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 32 - Washington to Philadelphia and finally home to NYC

Well today is a sad day as this is my last official day on tour… I have to say goodbye to some genuinely awesome people on the Cosmos Grand Canadian Vacation and Eastern Cities.  
Downtown Philly 
Also I had to finish my evaluation and I spent a rare morning at breakfast with everyone in the dining room but madly trying to write and fair and concise evaluation.  Vicki mentioned that I was all business that morning otherwise they would have sat with me…  haha sorry vick I would have loved it but apparently I had my business serious face on.
the Heritage Walk
I had a bit of dilemma going on…  I wanted to sit with Marie and the Rif Raf and if we had a seat close to the front I wanted to see us arriving into New York and also spend my last few hours with the beautiful Christina.  So when I found out we had the front row I sat at the front. Although I did feel a bit guilty only sitting there for the front seat but I did want to enjoy a different possie for once.
All about the liberty Bell  
We arrived in Philly for a quick 2 hour stop and toilet break as well.  We got dropped off at the information centre which allowed for a toilet break and I could finally download my emails from the past 3 days and saw the call for action for the Global Illumination Ball which I obviously couldn’t make. I did feel sad for all the volunteering opportunities I was missing but obviously there was nothing I could do given that I was away for the whole of pink month.
All about the liberty Bell 
We wandered through the Liberty bell exhibit after the obligatory security check.  The liberty bell has special significance because it was rang out at the reading of the declaration of independence and it also first cracked for the first time shortly after it arrived in Philly in 1752. It was recast but it actually crack again but they decided not to fix it this time.
Liberty Bell  
I was going to visit independence hall but the line was a little long and since the line at the liberty bell took so long I wanted to go to old town Philly which was a bit of a walk away. But I wandered through the park area at the back of the hall.
Independence Hall 
Some weirdo decided to offer me pot… are you serious?  Really you have to be kidding me! And then started hassling me and a security guy came up to make sure I was ok and then a cop…  my god that was fast… but they moved the guy on pretty fast so I decided not to hang around and head to old town.
In front of the Independence Hall 
The cop did give me a warning not to talk to anyone just walk … while the walk was ok the area apparently isn’t that great just near it.  The beautiful old buildings and the cobblestones made for a very pretty walk and I loved the old buildings but I wasn’t hassled by anyone. 
Independence Hall  
Also I did walk past Penns Landing which is where William Penn first landed in 1652 which was a pretty area and if I had more time I would have investigated and explored more. Then I finally made it to the old city, which is where they have maintained some of the old buildings and homes in Elfrerths Alley. This little alley is the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the USA.  It was a large blue collar neighbourhood originally and then a lot of the Irish moved in the late 1800’s which some of the generations still live in the houses today.
Penns Landing 
It was so quaint but I do feel for any owners that live there because of the continual flow of tourism in the area. There were these cute little off shoots off the lane covered with ivy and so quaint and pretty. Even in some of these alleys there are signs warning of preserving the privacy of the resident’s right near a beautiful old water fountain. I loved it and wished I could have stayed longer but I had to get back for the bus.
in the Old City  
Although I did see Linda and Roy on the way there … I was surprised given that we only had 15mins until we had to be at the bus.  
Scarlet Bride 
While I was walking back I stumbled across this store called the Scarlet bride which was a seriously cute and I just wish I had more time otherwise I would have spent ages in there.  
Scarlet Bride 
It was a bridal favour store and the wants and needs of the bride.
Scarlet Bride  
Made it back to the bus just in time… and a quick photo stop with Steve..  Have to have a memory of the ole flirt especially since the bus drivers are so important to all of the trips. Needed one of him since I had one of Salena only seemed fair.  Haha … although he made a comment that my back was all wet .  Christina stood up for me and said well it was hot and humid no wonder along with the fact I had just power walked through the city.  Pfftt how rude…
We wound our way back to NYC and me trying to text Judah so I could make sure he was aware that we were coming home a bit earlier than planned … almost 2 hours earlier.  But I figured I would just dump the bags and go off and explore.
Elfreth's Alley
First stop though was the airport…  I wish I had gone down the back to make time say goodbye to the girls but spent most of the time organising email addresses etc so I could email the photo to everyone.  Because before we knew it we were at Newark to offload the ones leaving that day.  I had to say a quick goodbye to everyone which stopped me from getting too teary which was good.  I did not want to be a sobbing mess inside the bus especially with a goodbye to the Rif Raf and Vicki and Kim.
Elfreth's Alley
We entered the city via the Holland tunnel and it is amazing to watch the madness of the driving.  But before I knew it we were pulling up in front of the hotel and it was all over too soon.  I didn’t want to say my final goodbyes but time was up and we had to.
Elfreth's Alley
Last minute checks to make sure I didn’t forget anything and I gave Steve  a hug and peck on the cheek.  A reminder from him not to forget him…
Elfreth's Alley 
Waited a little while so Judah had some more to prepare the apartment for me. Arranged with the welsh crew to catch up with them all tomorrow night so I could join them at the top of the Empire State. 
Elfreth's Alley
Took one last photo with the beautiful Christina and did my final goodbyes.  Then made it into the taxi and headed uptown to the upper west side. I was officially on my own in the big bad city. 
Elfreth's Alley
It hadn’t really hit me until I was in the taxi flying past all the landmarks and heading further into the suburbs of New York City.  It truly is an amazing city that it changes from block to block.  
Elfreth's Alley
I just couldn’t believe it was actually time for me to be by myself in the big city.  It felt strange and hard to take in that I was going to live in the city for the next 2 weeks by myself.
Leaving and heading towards NYC 
So I got to the address which was crowded with the school mums and a big fire engine.  But I couldn’t believe the fact that we had travelled about 40 blocks and it was only $8 cab fare.  That wouldn’t happen here.  
Central Park about the playground near the apt 
I got to the address but I couldn’t find the apt because it was brownstone so sent a text to Judah but I wasn’t getting really worried that the apt didn’t exist which was the one thing I was concerned about booking through airbnb.  But he was out within seconds and helped with all my bags and we did all the introductions. But he wanted more time to finish cleaning etc but it was nice to finally meet him and sort out everything so I could be there uninterrupted for the next 2 weeks. 
Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir
I went off to explore central park and let mum and dad know the usa apt number by text but I have to admit I felt like a novice using a normal phone instead of the iphone as it felt plain weird.  I loved central park it was so pretty.  But I got cold fast which meant I went back to the apartment and also meant I hit the brick wall I had been avoiding because I was tried.
Central Park West looking downtown 
So I eventually talked myself into heading back out and rugged up and wandered along the shops and eateries along Amsterdam ave.  It was so cool and amazing to think I was in the USA and in NYC. It felt very surreal. So I eventually grabbed a burger from a burger place and it was a bit blah because they didn’t offer BBQ sauce which was a little weird.
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
Then I headed back to the apartment and unloaded the photos chatted with my sister then headed off to bed.  Where I slept for 12 hours straight…  I must have needed it.  What a day.
my hood for the next 2 weeks  
I have to say now the tour life is over the Cosmos Tours were fantastic and the people I met on the tours were sensational and still regularly keep in touch with some of them.  
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
The trips changed me … gave me more confidence and gave me a chance to be the real me and let me shine again after being lost for so long. So thank you everyone for helping me grow and rediscover myself again.  
my hood for the next 2 weeks 
Also the cogs were turning about the conversation that I had with Christina the night before about changing my career and in turn my life.  This was also 2 weeks to see if I can live and exist in a city like NYC.  

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