Howdy folks.....

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Well howdy folks, here I am amongst those sunny Americans soaking up the sun!  Following a very very long journey to NY on Tuesday (8.5 hours after we had to fly North of some bad weather and then circle JFK for an hour before getting a landing space) I nipped into central Manhattan where Rebecca met me outside her work on 7th Ave.  Things really could not have been much more simple in NY, as opposed to the surly staff at Gatwick (where I witnessed one staff member telling a passenger that he could "just bugger off") I touched down in NY to a friendly bunch of customs officials that had me processed and out the door as fast as fast can be.  Admittedly passengers were a little slim on the ground, perhaps due to it being September 11, but none the less it was a friendly and uneventful arrival. 

Rebecca dazzled me a tad on the way back to her place - for a start I was just so excited to see Rebecca but with in 5 minutes of meeting we had walked down the road to the bus and past Times Square. I couldn't really believe that I was in America, let a lone NY.  If I am completely honest, as a very very little kid I wanted to go to NY - this was soon shunted by the side with other exotic destinations, but arriving here seemed to have rekindled my very first thoughts of travel (probably aged 5!).

Arriving at Rebecca's house in New Jersey (Hoboken) I was greeted with exactly what I imagined an American flat to look like from the outside - a huge brick red frontage with steps leading up to the front door. I was really tired, and despite having my very own room at Rebecca's and a very warm welcome I was too excited to stop.  We went out for dinner where I was initiated to the humongous American serving sizes and then wandered along the Hudson river to see the lights of NY city.  By the time we made it back to the apartment I was incapable of operating the supposedly self explanatory shower (when I did finally get it turned on I ended up with the bath half full of water) and the jet lag was kicking in.  I crawled into bed at around 10pm with very dreary eye's and an even more dreary mind!

The weather has been outstanding, absolutely stunning.  In order to make the most of the situation I spent my first day padding the hoof and seeing everything that involved large vista's - I went up the Empire State building, out to the Statue of Liberty, across Brooklyn Bridge, down Wall St and to ground zero.  Not shy of a little exercise and keen to see a whole lot more Rebecca joined me on day 2 and we continued the exploration together with a mammoth walk through Central Park and a wander through the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). At Strawberry Fields (in Central Park) we spent more time trying to figure out it was a guy or a girl laying flowers around John Lennon's 'Imagine' tribute than what we did thinking of the work of one of our treasured musicians and to that end we never actually reached any agreement.  

Ok,  I guess there's a little more to NY than just the key tourist sights and on that front I've decided that this city has a very very cool atmosphere!  The city is such a hive of activity that I find it hard to believe that you couldn't like this place - yellow taxis, all sorts of different people, massive high rises, beautiful parks - you name it and this place has got it!

On Thursday night we picked up Rebecca's car from her Mum's place (and a great laugh that Mum is - she's a right royal hoot) before heading up to New Haven to visit Tasha and Jonathan. Tasha has just started her PhD at Yale and with that had plenty of stories of even her first days of education at Yale. Given that I'd struggled to figure out the self explanatory shower at Rebeccas, I left the talk of American academia to those that no best and settled in for a good old fashioned weekend of eating with Jonathan - we are kindred spirits and experts in the sector of sweet delicacies!  However, after one too many sweet things I was nearly toppled completely over the edge and spent most of yesterday afternoon feeling a tad rough - never in my life has a trip to Krispy Kreme's (Doughnut store) seemed less appealing.  My over indulgence was also beginning to make me feel a tad guilty - whilst I'd clocked up a healthy sleep in yesterday morning, Jonathan had clocked up 100km on his bike. 

Ok, so enough about food (yes the serving sizes are massive and yes you can buy nearly anything that you could ever dream of in the way of food) - lets talk about Yale!  Tasha took us (Rebecca, Chris, Alex, Jonathan and of course myself) on a grand tour of campus so that we could see her delightful environment.  First there was the gym, which could easily mascaraed as a cathedral (like the library... which is infact a literary cathedral) with its 3 rowing pools, indoor running track, start of the art weight room, gymnasium, squash courts...  the list goes on.  The library was another beauty, but my favourite wasn't the normal library.....       no favourite was definitely the Rare Books Library!  Constructed out of marble, the inside of the library is absolutely beautiful with light glinting at different angles into a multistorey center of rare books.  The rare books are encased within the library in their own perspex (maybe glass) house, where they have special fire control measures.  It's really is beautiful. I think that Tasha's working environment for the next 5 years is more stately and beautiful than most of us will ever dream off - big ups to Tasha!

After visiting Ikea this morning and Trader Joe's (where, much to my amusement, we experienced my first "Howdy Folks" from a friendly sales staff member). Rebecca and I came back to NY today and whilst she is back at work tomorrow I will take a visit to the Guggenheim and to the UN in between having a little look at a few shops!  Tuesday I'm off to Michigan, more on that later!
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