The Grande Finale'

Trip Start Aug 29, 2006
Trip End Sep 19, 2006

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Grand Finale' ..... New York City!!!

Our final stop but not in the least our last trip to this city, we return to new York City for 5 days. It was a very stormy drive back to New York from Atlantic City (thanks again Hurricane Gordan), it absolutely poured with rain all the way. You could tell when we were getting closer to New York because the other drivers become less patient with you and show you colorful gestures whenever you make a wrong turn.

We were rushing back to return the car to the car hire at 4pm and hit the rush hour on the head. Sat in traffic for at least an hour and eventually got to the return the car at 6pm. Played dumb and got away with the late return and a free tank of fuel. By the time we got back to the hotel we were drenched. The scene was just like the movies - a colorful array of black umbrellas where-ever you looked. We stayed the night in, needless to say, it rained cats and doggies.

Been lucky since as it hadn't rained for the rest of the days. Well started the next day off bright and early. Not!, just missed the 10am breakfast cut off but hit the road non the less. We're staying close to Times Square so we decided to start the sight seeing in the surrounding area. Started off at Madison Square Garden, a big, no huge, arena with facilities for all sporting occasions. Everything. No games on at the time so we left it at that. Took a walk past Penn Station, a big train station and past the empire state building (see later for report) toward the United Nations (UN) Buildings. These premises were designed to house the UN meetings and have got some pretty cool decor. The building is pretty cool (as you can imagine, considering there's competitiveness between building designs in this town). I actually learned that the UN was actually organized to ensure world peace between all nations. World peace ... hmmm imagine that.

Next we saw Rockefeller Center, a type of complex thats made up a huge 67 story building, a shopping complex, and a music hall "Radio City" staging big concerts. We went up to the observation deck, with beautiful views of the city. Took lots of pics, the city views is breath-taking.

Next up Grand Central Station - the largest train station in USA ?(dont quote me on this cos I'm not sure about that). Seen it in several movies so we were looking forward to sitting on one of the benches and watch the rush go by..... What bench....What rush .... no bench in sight, we had to sit on the stairs. Not very busy by London standards either. But fun non the less.

Visited a cathedral, St Peters Cathedral, next. Us indians can never resist going to a wedding, so there was a wedding taking place at the time and we decided to watch. The cathedral itself is the biggest one on this side of the States (i'm sure of this), think biggest in eastern states. It was pretty, and so was the bride :)

Took a walk up 5th Ave (shops shops and more), and finished off the touring with a visit to our favourite supermarket around - Whole Foods - the most delicious food that can be bought. Tip: if anyone ever decides to visit the states do your self a favour and find a Whole Foods supermarket. Its an amazing shopping experience. The freshest, tastiest, juiciest.....nothing comparatively close in both the UK and SA.

Saturday night it was, and we wanted to paint the town red. Went to a night club called China Town near Times SQ. Had good ratings on the internet, so we thought it'd be fun. The music - Hip hop R n B, the crowd - very cultured; lots of different types of people - from whites, blacks, Hispanic, Latinos's, you name it ... intimidating at first but a very lively crowd once you get into the swing. Was fun.

After a late Saturday night, Sunday was a rest day and we had a late start. We left the hotel at around 1ish and decided to get Broadway tickets for The show 'Chicago' starring Usher as the lead role. It was really brilliant; smooth, classy, sassy. And Usher did make the show, very talented dude. We then could a ferry to go and see lady Liberty.. we managed to get there just as the sun was setting and she certainly is amazing. It's huge and to give you an idea of just how big it is, the length of her index finger is about 8 Feet. Thereafter we got off at the South Street Seaport which is in the Financial District and took a walk to ground zero. "Ground zero" is a very sad place. As we approached the former WTC it felt like we were walking toward a grave... the sadness in the air was almost tangible. The entire ground zero is enclosed by a fence and people have left flowers along with notes to there loved ones telling them that they love and miss them, that was enough to give anyone a heavy heart. Ground zero looks like a flattened construction site... there is nothing except building materials and workmen. They will be a memorial by 11 September 2009, if you wanna check out what it may look like then click on the link
after that we headed uptown and had some delicious thai food.

So today was our last full day and we started by having a look at the City Hall, the New York Stock Exchange which is on the ever famous Wall street, and thereafter we strolled through the enormous Central Park. It's like a little piece of heaven tucked into one of the busiest cities in the world. We spent the rest of our afternoon walking along the winding pathways and exploring all that the park had to offer. Once we finished there we decided to "hit the shops"... NY is so famous for it's shopping spots so we just had to check it out for ourselves. We walked along 5th Ave which is lined with shops like Versace, Gucci, Prada, Tiffany & Co, Armani.. ok I think that you get the idea, we then planned on going to the ever famous "Macy's" but on the way there we found some amazing shoe shops and since I have a weakness for smart shoes we never got to Macy's; thereafter our feet were crying out for our mercy and so we went back to our hotel.

Our first stop was Macy's ... well that was the plan but the shoe shops seemed to grab us yet again lol... we finally got to Macy's and this department store is kind of like Selfridges (our fellow expats will know what I mean), it is 8 stories high and the store spans an entire block. They sell everything- womans casuals, smart, plus-sized, petites, Mens casual, smart, Juniors clothes, Kids clothes, furniture, jewellery, things for a home, Linen... they even have their own post office- it's just huge. We tried to see as much of it as we could but after seeing the first floor we decided to take the escalator to each floor, spend about 5 minutes on each and then move on- so now we can say, "been there and done that"!

It was almost time to go back to hotel and get our bags for the final leg of our journey... everything seemed to be going to plan. We managed to get the correct trains and we were at the airport 3 and a half hours prior to check-in... this was all just too good to be true...... and then IT HAPPENED..... we but our bags on the scales and surprise surprise.... the 1 bag was overweight, so we had to open both bags and repack them at the counter.. and we did and weighed it again. She gave us the green light and things were looking better or so we thought because the zip had broken on the 2nd bag so now we had to run around JFK airport to buy another bag and repack all our stuff again- this was such a mission and definitely not fun. Eventually we got a bag and checked both of them in and our stress levels began to simmer down as we made our way to the departure gates. After that it was time to say goodbye to the USA... we sadly boarded the flight and as they say," all good things have to come to an end" and it was time to go home...(our 2nd home- that is).

From Bhavs and Me... thanks for sharing our holiday with us. We hope that you found our entries entertaining and we will talk to you all soon.


Bhavesh and Jyoti
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