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Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Jun 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
New York Hostel 99

Flag of United States  , New York
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Up early for an uneventful flight back to NY LaGuardia via Chicago and then arrived at my hostel in lovely Harlem and had a quiet night.

The next day I met Ana (a friend and ex-colleague from Citi) for lunch in Jersey City at a great Cuban restaurant where we had crispy plaintains in a savoury sauce and soft sweet plaintains for starters and a delicious beef stew with rice and beans. Very tasty and very filling! Afterwards I rolled along to Staples (office supplies & computer equipment etc..) and checked out their smallest netbooks and started to consider getting one cause all the hostels have free WIFI but charge you to use their PC's. That afternoon I wandered around the city some more and went to the Rockafeller building and went to the Top Of The Rock where I saw and photographed some amazing views of New York! I decided after some advice from a friend not to go up the Empire state building since the Rockafeller building is as high plus you get views of the Empire State building.

That night I met Cate & James at their hotel which ended up working out well cause O2 (mine & Cate's phone provider) was having issues so all roaming customers couldn't use their phones. Anyway I had just come out for a cigi when they arrived.

We had a few drinks then went for a burger in the best New York diner in Greenwich village - as voted by New Yorkers. We then headed to a local nightlife hotspot and tried to get into a few nightclubs. However having never experienced what New York clubs could be like we were promptly turned away. You either have to get in early, be on the guestlist, be a celebrity or be willing to spend upwards of $400 to buy a bottle of liquor, $800 will secure you a bottle and a table. So we headed for a cheap and sleazy bar where we had several drinks and watched the pissed and down and outs (ourselves included) cavort. However saying that we had a brilliant night and I didn't get back to my crib in Harlem until about 6am.

Let me say that sleeping in a hostel dorm in new york is interesting, mostly because the main residents are young students who are in new york to do courses and internships. Needless to say they are all up early and don't know how to work the air-con (or the "air" as Americans call it) in the rooms which resulted in only a few hours sleep. Anyway I met up with Cate & James at around 1pm and we went for a wander and a bit of shopping. We ended up in Macy's where I was surprised to find foreigners can get 10% off everything (including sale items) simply by showing your passport at the visitor centre and getting a special discount card. This would have been awesome if I wasn't backpacking. After a lovely lunch this time in Chelsea, we went our separate ways.

At this point I'd like to add that until Cate and James had arrived I had not been in a New York cab, but obviously as their time was short we didn't want to waste time in the subway. I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap they were - even for a tight-arsed aussie backpacker such as myself. However you do run the gamit with driving abilities as all the cabbies I met were from the Asian sub-continent and all had worked in New York for less than 2 years, as such all trips involved much cursing and horn blasting!

That evening Cate & James were having a special dinner paid for by friends as a wedding gift. I arranged to meet them when they finished at a local bar, however I was promptly requested to attend them as they were having extreme difficulty finishing their meal. So I promptly joined them at Sushi Samba and helped them finish off generous portions of amazing meats and sushi. That night again we had trouble with clubs (hence my earlier observation) and found that we were in the same area as the previous night - the meatpacker district. A few drinks later and I had to retire due to an early bus to Philadelphia.
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