Saturday, 6 July 2013

New York, New York

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12th October 2012
How could I travel to the US without visiting New York City? I always knew that I wanted to travel to NYC and Washington D.C on my fall break. The plan originally was to travel with a group of students, however I got invited and then un-invited (maturity as its finest). In the end, I decided to book my flights without asking anyone to join me. Timidly, Sunbear asked to join, which was a little odd as he originally had his heart set on visiting the Everglades.

We caught the bus and then the train at the crack of dawn from our apartments. I never realised until that morning (and then later reaffirmed in London) that I get motion sickness when I can't look out the window. I was feeling terrible sitting down and resorted to standing up for the 30 minute train ride to the airport, trying not to hurl. We didn't check in any luggage as we had crammed 6 days worth of clothing into our respective day packs. Quite a feat I must say. I was still feeling terrible and Sunbear bought me soup and a croissant which did settle my stomach.

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Flying over Brooklyn, we could see Manhattan and the term 'concrete jungle' came to mind. Getting to the hostel was more challenging than it should be. We caught the bus from the airport and then instead of catching the subway, Sunbear suggested that we catch a bus down to Times Square so we could see more of Manhattan. Worst. Idea. Ever. We started off at 125th street and an hour later, we were at 100th street and we needed to get to 20th street.

We stayed at the Chelsea International Hostel. One of the worst hostels I stayed in throughout my trip. The only redeeming thing was the location as it was relatively close to the lower end of Manhattan and close to the majority of the attractions. The rooms were terrible, there was no wifi and the shower facilities were half-assed. It wasn't cheap either, but then again, everything was very expensive on Manhattan. I would have stayed at the Hostelling International, which the other group of students stayed at, but it was all the way up at 103rd street. I guess it was all about trade offs in the end, but even then.

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Times square.
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A problem that we had was that whenever we were hungry, we were unable to find a decent place to eat and yet the moment we ate, all these restaurants popped up. Grr. For dinner we ate at some non descript place. Yes, it looks as though someone sat on our burgers but it tasted okay.

Overall first impressions from the first day. Manhattan was busy, crowded and loud. It was both overwhelming and also underwhelming.

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