Its Up to You ......
Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
332Trip End Jan 19, 2007
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In NY we got the bus into town and then the train to Hoboken where we were staying with another ex P and G friend, Steve, and his wife, Sarah and baby Donovan (and cat too). Hoboken is in New Jersey literally just over the water from Manhattan Island and is a great place. Was great to see Steve again (been a long time since saw him last) and we had a catch up before Dave and I went on an explore of the area. Our main mission was to spot anything from The Sopranos and also to buy some canoli (Sp?) which we had no idea what it was! First off walked to the viewpoint of Manhattan which had fab views but it was too damn cold to appreciate it really (but of course still had the obligatory stand in cold for photos!) then down the main street where I have never seen so many dry cleaners and restaurants within such a small concentrated area. Surely a sign of an upcoming place? We duly bought some canoli (very sweet biscuity things filled with cream) from a great bakery and went home for a lovely dinner and catch up. Donovan, again, is a very well behaved baby, it is making me very broody.
Very cold but clear day went out to the hustle and bustle and got the train to the World Trade Centre. It is obviously currently a huge building site. We walked around the site and I was shocked by my reaction. Literally just looking at the site moved me to tears. We looked at the photos and descriptions of 9/11 and future plans which looks pretty exciting stuff. Then into St Peters Church just over the road and miraculously untouched we watched videos of people's experiences when volunteering etc in the aftermath and saw exhibits and donations from people across the world. The unity and strength shown by everyone really moved me again, there are some truly incredible people in this world.
To cheer ourselves up we clearly had to go shopping and in the absence of Primark we went to Century 21 which is pretty close. Dave stocked up in clothes in child sizes (as he so damn thin) and I stocked up on cheaper slightly smaller clothes. Onto Wall Street, walked up through China town where we bargained for a cheap great lunch and Little Italy before looking in more shops (Old Navy was great too) and then meeting Steve in a very swanky hotel in Soho. We were surprised we got let in.
Shortly after met Sarah and Donovan in Bubbies, a real American restaurant nearby. Dave and I have nearly learnt to only order 1 portion of anything here but not quite!
Steve, in particular, has been great at asking us questions about our trip which has really focused our minds and made us think back. We also went through some of our old photos on the blog with him which was weird for us but also really nice to look back as we haven't done it at all so far.
Packed up again and said goodbye to more people. Has been great to see people we know and make new friends which will hopefully also reintegrate us into normal society. I have to say the weirdest thing for me to get used to so far is actually putting toilet paper down the toilet.
Anyway! Was sad to say goodbye to them as we ventured into Manhattan to our last hostel in Upper Westside. Why did we move you may ask? Because we had more visitors coming today and would be going out in Manhattan with them tonight! After dumping our bags we headed down to Grand Central Station and our friends, somewhat posher, hotel, The Roosevelt. Joe (Dave's best man) and wife Angela met us in the hall way where we again caught up (has been a couple of years for me to see them at least as they now live in Cincinnati). Off to trash their posh room before out to do a bit of looking around shops to start drinking at a reasonable hour.
Had lunch, waited in a pub, in the hotel etc for Dave and Heather to arrive (more UK friends currently residing in Budapest courtesy of P and G). Their flight a bit late so met up with them with champers in the hotel before out for dinner in Greenwich Village and a few vodka red bulls (for old times sake purely) in the Slaughtered Lamb Pub. Great to see everyone again but a bit weird to talk about things in the real world, not just stuff from our trip plus all with people that lead normal lives!
Our last day of the trip. I wake up and pack feeling a bit tearful all day. Am obviously a tad hungover but think I am more just sad this amazing adventure is coming to an end. Is a real rollercoaster of emotions as next minute am so excited about seeing family tomorrow and then next minute don't want to waste time when we have our great friends here with us. Is really hard to explain though just how odd you feel.
We spend the day together out for brekkie then onto the Staten Island Ferry as its such a clear day, although pretty cold. Then walk up to Chinatown where we are treated to a great lunch with fortune cookies. Angela vows to put the numbers on our cookies in the lottery at home (sadly we didn't win). Then after a stroll through Little Italy managing not to buy several more lunches on the way we then go to Time Square to wander around and onto a bar near Grand Central Station and all have a Manhattan. Our last drink of the trip! Shame it didn't taste fantastic, think thats the mixtures fault though!
Back to the hotel to pick up our bags we say our say goodbyes on the way to the bus station where it has started to snow. Feels like a perfect way to end our trip and again get really sad saying goodbye to them all, especially as they are spending another couple of days here (sadly would go over our year limit on our tickets). On the bus we are both pretty pensive thinking back over our trip and about what next?
We arrive at the airport with loads of time to spare and buy a McDonalds (the first in AGES) and I try and calm myself down as by now I just want to be on our way. Get on our flight having taken sleeping tablets and have a fitful nights sleep, probably due to our brains overworking.
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