Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 7 - The Great Escape

Friday 20th March - the last leg of the trip

The day started really early. Well 6 am (not that early). Had to shower, finish packing the rest of my stuff and shift out before 7 am. We had already booked an airport shuttle which was $20 (~£13) per person. After being picked up we unfortunately had several other pick ups before we got to the airport and those people were late or we were too early... Not looking good for us trying to get to the airport and aiming to have some breakfast!!

We were stuck in traffic for a good 20 minutes or so and I had this bad feeling that we would be late for the flight. We should have left at 6 am. Who booked that shuttle?! It wasn't me... Luckily I had already downloaded the United app the night before in case something like this happened or the fact that our flight was going to be cancelled because of the snow that was heading into New York that evening...

Thankfully we hit the high road and our driver sped through to the airport. He got us there just in the nick of time so I tipped the driver 5 bucks. Phew. ^_^ I'm a happy geek.

That's our plane waiting...
Got to the baggage check in area, and I had a feeling all of our luggage was over the limit. I think mine was underweight, because no way was mine over 32 kg. In Japan, I remembered mine was quite heavy at 18 kg... And this time it weighed 34 kg. Impossible!! Luckily the guy who was checking our stuff let us pass as we couldn't pack stuff into the third suitcase as he had already let it go through... In the end we didn't have to pay any extra by shifting some of Miss Pinky's / Mr Picky's luggage.The Americans are really nice... especially the airport staff (well some of them). I think this may be our lucky day throughout the whole trip.

We passed security and really in the nick of time as we had a few minutes to spare to go to the loo and grab something to eat and drink on the flight.

As soon as we bought our things it was already time to board. Wow. This has been the fastest and adventurous trip back to London I have ever been on. No waiting around. Maybe we should do this more often... but I don't think I would want to stress out everyone around me.

Our captain was a lady and this is probably the first time we've had a woman fly us on a big airplane... and we left the airport on time too!!

Lunch was ok... The chicken was very bland, rice was not cooked properly... I hate plane food...
United plane food
Spent most of the trip reading manga Ranma 1/2 which I have not read in a long time and I also listened to music on my iPad. 

The final snack was a boring cold turkey and cheese roll... it was horrible. They could've at least heated it up before serving it. I only ate a bit of it and some of the filling before turning my nose away from it... :P Disgusting.
Horrible turkey and cheese United roll
We landed safely in Heathrow Terminal 2 and Miss Pinky enjoyed the flight this time round - she thinks it's because we had a woman flying us, but I think it's because we had fewer clouds in the sky. It was a long walk to passport control... I think I like Gatwick a bit more now. I'm also getting used to the terminal staff asking where I've just flown from...

Well 3 countries in less than 5 months is a lot for a person like me. ^_^ Have to save up for the next trip although I'm now scared of flying since there's been a lot of plane crashes in the past year or so. I will find confidence again to fly! Don't you worry. The geek will fly again!

The Geek's Question and Answer Time:

Was 7 days enough to spend time in Manhattan, New York? Yes it was but I think if I had two weeks I wouldn't have stayed near the city, I would have stayed somewhere cheaper and would've walked around more places if Miss Pinky wasn't preggies. 

Was having a third person difficult to spend a holiday with...? Yes, because I didn't know what Mr Picky was like on holiday. Miss Pinky and I both agree he needs a proper lads holiday and not spend it with two ladies on the go. ^_^ Lol... maybe we'll all go to Europe instead of somewhere far...

How much money to take with you to New York? I took over £500 but had exchanged all the foreign currency I had remaining to British pounds then to US dollars. So roughly for a week about £600 (I brought roughly the same amount in Dallas and didn't overspend at all! What a difference). Just remember you need to tip at majority of the diners and restaurants you go to. Not so much at fast food joints which is a relief.

Did I survive? I managed to. ^_^

And did I have fun excluding all the emotional baggage and tantrums, lol? Yes indeed!!

End of Day 7.

Next trip: Not planned yet... Awaiting for people to contact me to go places... :D

Monday, 30 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 6 - Brooklyn Bridge and the Mad Metro

Thursday 19th March

Well the day started late... I had a good 6 hours sleep then I kept waking up and falling asleep. So tired. I could have done with an extra hours sleep. I was finally getting into the New York time zone. Before going out I had a couple of danishes - one cream cheese and one strawberries & cream. It was something weird I had to try out in New York. I think prefer the European danish. These were out of the ordinary. >,<""

We all left after 11, it was a nice sunny cool day, not as cold as the day before. Had McDonald's which consisted of two hamburgers, fries and Lime Diet Coke at $6.99 (~£4.70). I personally like the British hamburgers, they're a little sweeter. The Americans add too much salt! We then made our way to 5th Avenue to look for trainers and souvenirs.

Then next we went into Macy's. Everything was too expensive and we actually didn't buy anything but I enjoyed going up and down those old escalators. ^_^ I'm sure it was cheaper in Dallas when we went into Macy's...
Old escalators in Macy's NYC
In the end we went to Brooklyn Bridge because we had nothing much to do. So we took the Metro from 34th Street. Got the R train which took forever to come. Had to ask a young lady to see if the R train came on that platform... and we got off at Court St in Brooklyn. 

Brooklyn actually looks nice! Better than the city in terms of peace and quiet, plus there was hardly any beeping horns.

We had to get directions from a lady on how to get onto the Brooklyn Bridge otherwise we would've ended up on the traffic side. :P

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 5 - Open Loop Tour Bus

Wednesday 18th March

It was time to do some more touring around New York City since I don't think we would have time to go everywhere (well, we had a pregnant lady with us). We pre-booked some bus tour tickets from the hotel where there is a helpdesk for tours and whatnots. There are two tours available from the hotel the Big Bus Tour and the Open Loop Tour Bus. We chose the Open Loop Tour as there were three trips and we were able to hop on and hop off. It cost $39 (~£26) for the uptown, downtown and night tours. The ferry to see the Statue of Liberty is a separate fee, but don't know how much that costs or we could get the free ferry, however it was too cold that day so we didn't get the ferry.

Our tour started from 42nd Street in front of Bryant Park and it started snowing lightly for a few minutes. There is a bus every half an hour. Whilst we waiting I think I was hit on by a weird Asian man who started talking to me in Chinese and Japanese. Oh dear me! ¬,¬"" I started saying no in Japanese and said I spoke Cantonese... Argggh... Go away weirdo!!! Thankfully the bus arrived, I got on and the weirdo left. Phew!! ¬,¬""

I sat on top for the uptown tour but was practically frozen afterwards. Had to wrap up like a ninja! Miss Pinky said I looked like a raspberry muffin. XD

We passed by Central Park and looked at all the expensive shops. The audio wasn't working properly so I skipped that and decided to look at all the buildings and scenery.

Just keep scrolling down... lots of pictures ahead...

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 4 - Empire State Building and St Patrick's Day

Tuesday 17th March

St Paddy's Day!!!! And guess what?! There's a parade for this too!!! This was the main reason why we came to New York... But before this I went to the Empire State Building (don't worry, I consulted with Miss Pinky before going ahead - before she got mad at me again... emotions do run high during pregnancy I must say!).

I was advised to go early before the queues started growing, so I left the hotel at 7.30 am. I got there in 15 minutes! I'm a pro walker. If you're trying to the find the entrance which is currently covered with scaffolding, it's just opposite Wendy's on 5th Avenue. I asked about the tickets but you just buy them as you go up the escalator and pass the security section.

The security section actually reminded me of going up The Shard. Unfortunately they took my selfie stick away (which I hadn't used for the entire trip). You are warned, selfie sticks are banned!! So tickets cost $32 (~£21), ok, that's cheaper than going up The Shard, but that's just for the observatory deck and not further up. If you want to see more you have to pay for more... :( (I like The Shard).

There's two sets of lifts and in between the lifts there's a gallery section before you get to the second lift...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 3 - Central Park, Eating and a Day of Confessions

Monday 16th March

Since I woke up early (around 7.30 am) I thought I might as well make the most of it and since I knew Miss Pinky was going to be asleep (maybe, since we were in different rooms but I think Mr Picky would have been awake by then) I decided to go out alone. I did some food shopping in the meantime so that I could get some change. 

Then I went out walking with my heavy shopping which I added into my rucksack. I found the Empire State Building which is not far from the hotel at all. About a 15 minute walk (if you walk averagely fast)

Then I found Macy's. I thought Miss Pinky would be quite happy that I found it - and I didn't want us to get lost if I didn't.

Went back to hotel after my morning walk (it was more of a burnout energy session). spotted Mr Picky outside the lifts and went to see Miss Pinky. Unfortunately Miss Pinky was upset I went out alone (my confession and sin for the day) and she that our friends would assume she abandoned me as I would desert the two and do my own thing... She thought I didn't tell her but I did! She never responded to my text (because she didn't connect to the Wi-Fi!!). :P

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 2 - Times Square, Chinatown and Little Italy

Sunday 15th March

Sunday started early. Mr Picky and Miss Pinky were already awake and they seemed to have a good nights sleep. Not fair.

Anyway. We all got ready and were out of the hotel by 9. That's early for a Sunday and lots of people were up already eating breakfast...

We were looking around on Lexington Avenue and trying to find a diner with decent food... This meant we kept walking and asking the locals... One lady just ignored me and Miss Pinky >.<"" ! D'oh! We think she thought we were going to attack her... But one nice gentleman stopped and acknowledged us. Heheh.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Survival in New York 2015: Day 1 - The Journey Begins

Saturday 14th March

¬,¬" Whaaat! Another trip you say! Being spontaneous (but planned really after the Japan trip) in my life. ^_^

Yep that's what we did, Miss Pinky, Mr Picky and I went to New York and it was Mr Picky's idea to go around this time - actually I don't really know whose idea it was really...  But I really, really wanted to go and so we went on the week of St Patrick's Day. A spontaneous trip within less than 5 months apart (and this is my third international holiday... Oops). I've always wanted to go to New York and compare it with Tokyo and now I can tick this off my list of places to go to. Yippee!!

Our trip started after 12 pm and we all met at Waterloo Station and made our way via the Jubilee Line, then changed at Green Park for the Piccadilly line heading towards Heathrow Terminal 2.

We flew with United Airlines (which I had vowed not to take again since the bad experience we had when Miss Pinky and I went to Dallas but we were all on a tight budget) and so basically it was all self check in and do everything yourself with your luggage labels - but I needed assistance in sticking my labels on. 

After checking in Mr Picky went back outside to have his last cigarette, we passed through security (Mr Picky and I got checked... My bag seems to be checked all the time - I think it was the lip balm that I forgot to add to my plastic bag - but they didn't even see it!)...
Fascinating taxi art work in Heathrow Terminal 2 by Benedict Radcliffe
Then it was time to eat. I had a jerk chicken burger, which I found a bit too dry and needed more spice. Mr Picky had a cheeseburger and Miss Pinky went to Yo! Sushi and had chicken miso ramen.
Chicken Teriyaki Burger
It was Duty Free shopping time then one more drink, toilet and snack shopping. Our gate was 15 minutes away from where we were so we had to walk fast... By the time we got there it seemed that everyone had boarded and I was out of breath! So quick! But it meant we were lucky not to have to queue. Phew.

Our flight was ok. Take off felt terrible and there was a lot of turbulence. The flight attendant even said one of us could move to the back... Miss Pinky decided to leave us and sit by herself for a while - but she regretted it as she should have sat at the back after take off. Food was a little off. I had the pasta dish and it was a bit too salty. The only thing I liked was the brownie.
UNITED plane food

Pasta dish
Before landing I had a cheese roll which was nicely warmed up... I liked it!
Cheese roll
Finally after 8 hours on the flight, we landed but unfortunately we landed too early so we had to wait on board for what seemed like forever... So here's a few more pictures from the flight...
Flying over Canada

Then it was queuing time at passport control. We thought one of the officers looked quite mean, but he was really funny! They sit in a booth all day long so I guess they look mean and serious. Those type of people I like - people who can really make you laugh by looking serious at the same time. ^_^ Good for that New Yorker!

It was then time to get a taxi to our hotel. I think our taxi driver heard me say 9th street but we were supposed to be on 39th... It cost us $100 (~£67) to get there (an extra 20 bucks)! Expensive trip already!

Finally we checked in, unpacked and then Miss Pinky and I went out to have a quick meal at a nearby diner called Sarge's. Looked popular from all the pictures that were hanging on the wall. I had a pizza burger, medium rare and no fries.

Sweet coleslaw and pickles
Miss Pinky had a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. So much food!

My pizza burger looked so big and I was able to add my own salad... all the burger needed was a bit of salt otherwise it would have been a perfect burger. I should have also asked for it to be well done... never mind...
Pizza burger

Medium rare
The bill came to around $36 (~£24). So we gave $40 (~£26). Need to remember to tip. It was an expensive sandwich/burger meal but it was the only place we could find at night. If we had went up towards another street we would've found a McDonald's!!

Address: 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016, United States

I think I had too much food so I had trouble getting to sleep... Had only 4 hours that night! :(