Location: Sanata Monica , USA
Day 8 -Travel to LA
Today we have to leave NYC to fly 6 hours to LA. We are both super sad to be leaving we didnt speak most of the way to the airport. And we almost missed our flight (note US flights depart half an hour before the time on the ticket). It was mostly because I was in a shop buying suit cases but also because Luke was having another allergy attack and we had to make the call if it was going down or not and if we should risk getting on a plane without medical supplies. In the end we ran to the flight and they let us on (Just).
We go tot LA and after an incident with a rude cab driver got to our hotel Cal Mar Hotel Suites in Santa Monica. There is a time difference of three hours back so we arrived and went for a walk around had an early diner at a Greek restaurant and went down to the Santa Monica Pier thats just a few blocks away. We are in a great spot just two bocks from the ocean and although the décor of the hotel is old its a full one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and everything so that was a nice surprise. We have stocked up from wholefoods and had a early night.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 7 Last night in NYC
Woke up very hung over to say the least and have vowed to start my recovery. Spent most of the day in bed, it has been snowing quite heavily all day with much bigger snow flakes than the other day.
We have booked tickets to a Broadway show called Avenue Q on very high recommendations from Katherine Samiec (its her fav show) she told us to go when it was in Sydney be we were a little busy planning weddings and such.
It was a great show, super funny, our favorite thing is that the actors would pull the same faces as the puppets, I did however notice a slightly middle class keep em down negative tone to the show. Not in a way that most people would think about but for example one of the main songs is it sucks to be me and they sell you badges that say it (which Luke bought because it was for charity) and I just think that on an unconscious level that gets in your head and helps hold you back.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 6 Rock Bottom
Today we had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant! Which was great. Then went to the Highline. The Highline is an old railway track that has been converted to a raised park in the meatpacking district. It was used to transport meat and milk between the factorys and warehouses. The original idea was stolen from a project implemented in Paris, it appears to me that NY and Paris have a bit of a Melbourne Sydney rivalry going on. I have seen a few signs that say f--k Paris we love NYC and alike. So in that respect Paris is probably the Sydney that doesnt even know that NYC is competing LOL.
Its a very pleasant walk, shorter that it looks on the map and if you do it both ways you notice different things, at one point you can see glimpses of the statue of liberty which we didnt get to go to as it is closed due to damage from hurricane Katrina. There is also a really nice market place just down from it that has designer cute shops and lovely gourmet type food.
After the highline we meet up with Michael Samiec who just happened to be in NYC after a friends wedding in New Orleans. We looked for a while before we round the trifecta restaurant (a restaurant that could serve Mike gluten free as he has recently been diagnosed a celiac, Dairy Garlic and onion free for Luke and vegetarian for me). What a trio we make, it was looking a bit dairy for a while then we found a cute Italian place that did gluten free for mike, stake for Luke and Pasta for me. It was great to catch up with Mike it had been two years since we last saw him, earlier that day he had been watching a busker in the park and saw Alec Ballwin walking his three fluffy dogs.
After diner we went to a beer bar, which was quite nice, last thing I remember was playing with mikes Samsung gallery phone. Luke tells me I needed some help walking home.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 5 let it snow let it snow let it snow
Today when I woke up I looked out the window and snow flakes were falling from the sky!
We didnt quite know if you carry an umbrella in the snow or what? The answer is yes because when the snow falls you it melts and becomes water.
We went back to Macys because it was closing last night when we where there. Then later we meet up with Greg and Edita to have diner and watch the UFC. It was a Saturday and the day before stain Patricks day so the bars are busy. It was great to catch up on their holiday and compare experiences.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 4 Empire state kind of mind
Luke wasnt feeling well so we stayed in the apartment until later than usual, we havent been leaving particularly early anyway because its so cold. But at about 3pm he decided he was okay to go out. We went to Union Square to have a look around we got some hot apple cider there was dogs everywhere and we finally got to go to a whole foods supermarket.
Whole food market is a health food super market that puts about life to shame, it makes me sad that we dont have anything like this in Sydney its the only American chain I want to come to Australia. There is so much health food here its really about choice you can either eat super healthy or super bad but its your choice because its all here. There are multiple Komcucha brands in every corner store as well as raw juices. Its quite humbling. Last night I searched for delivery and there are 75 vegetarian restaurants in NYC and 35 could have delivered to me! In Sydney we have 3 and 1 delvers I guess this is why people live here, so much stuff is open 24 hours a day anything you want for can be delivered its just super convenient.
After that I got a bite to eat at a place called cosi, it was a weird mix of toasted marshmallows and stone backed oven pizza and headed over to the empire state building. The line wasnt long at all which was nice and they sold popcorn! I havent seen the movies that feature the empire state building so I wasnt really prepared for the fact that its all outdoors like the Eifel tower and therefore very cold. Great view though and after that we went for a walk around the block to see what was around.
Thats when we found Macys. the first thing I like about macys is their logo, its a red star. They we went it
. OMG so we originally went looking for LAMB shoes which we found a very small selection of. One of my other shopping goals was to get a new trench coat to make me feel a little bit better about coming home to winter in Sydney, lets just say mission accomplished times three. Brands like Kelvin Client and DKNY are just moderate brands in the states, at home they are high end. It doesnt make sense really.
That evening we decided to go on a dumpling hunt to China Town. We found a place that was okay but nothing so far has compared to Din Thai fun.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 3 Shopping in SOHO
Today was a better temperature (ether that or we got acclimatized) about 5 degrees. We rugged up in our thermals and explored our local area. We are staying in Greenwich village which is right near Soho. On the way I got a snack from Bens famous pizza it was just a plain Sicilian style mozzarella but it was the best pizza I have ever had apart from in Rome! Luke could also eat it as the cheese was just one big piece that could be picked off.
The neighborhood is full of organic and vegetarian restaurants its uber trendy and there is a little tea house 5 doors down from our street. On the way through Soho we also came across a shop called house of horology, it was a little shop full of art and vintage watches started by the Son of jewelry who thought vintage watches shouldnt cost the earth. Luke found this great blue world watch, which was instantly his.
As we headed up the main street of Soho towards UNI QLO we bumped into Edita! She had just had here hair cut and was looking fabulous decked out in her new items. She headed off to meet Greg and we found Uni Qlo, a shop which put cotton on to shame, lots of awesome basics singlets cardigans etc. Luke went mad and spent about $300 I also went made and spent about $250 but I got 14 items so it averaged out to about $20 a piece. We have been wearing the clothes as layers on the trip ever since because its so cold, great clothes.
After that we spent the day looking around shopping grabbing lunch at a café, most notable shops were a designer chocolate Easter bunny shop, and a shop that had crystals and skeletons of animals, it was really weird.
Later we went back to the apartment and ordered bens pizza, which was followed with Luke being very sick all night long.
Location: NYC, USA
Day 2 First impressions
on first impressions NYC is one gritty dirty city. The trash lays on the side walk in bags (no wheelie bins here). The subway literally has stalicmights growing of rust from the roof of some stations. Its definitely a concrete jungle with hardly a tree or grass in site.
Space is such a valuable asset in this city, I feel like a giant because I keep bumping into stuff because the isles I the shops are so tight. It might be because we just came from the honeymoon site but our apartment is tiny! Its a studio but it cant be anymore than 10m squared and that might be generous.
We started our day by walking through Washington park to the metro, we went to 30 rock and times square. Its was drizzling rain and very cold -1 degrees.
To be honest I wasnt having a particularly great time I dont take the cold very well and all the activity seemed to be outdoors in the cold rain. We bought two umbrellas which broke about 20mins later in the wind.
We went to Barnys and a few other very expensive department stores and Lukes watch shop in the upper east side it seems you need to be a billionaire to live up here. We pocked our head into central park and saw a squirrel but it was super cold so we didnt last long.
We walked along Broadway to see if we could get tickets to any of the shows they were all sold out. So we headed back to the village area we are staying and found somewhere to eat.
Location: NYC, USA
Lets hear it for New York!
We checked out of Secrets and got a cab to Cancun Airport, its a rather disappointing airport, there are no airline lounges and they had sold out of the tequila I was looking for. But we did find a DOTD dyno so that was cool.
After a 4 hour flight we landed in NY it was 9pm local time, we had arranged pick up from a car by the apartment and headed straight there. We got settled in and decided to test this city that never sleeps thing and see if we could still get diner. We walked through the streets surrounding our neighborhood and found a Italian place that had eggplant parmesans for me and steak for Luke. It was awesome great meal good wine and best of all we sat down at 10.30pm and still got served!
Location: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Player Del Carman
We used cancun transfers (very good service that can be booked online and very reasonable prices) to get to Secrets at Maroma beach. We got there quite early check in was 3pm and I think we arrived at 11am. We upgraded ourselves to the honeymoon sweet. It wasnt cheap 800 for the four days. The resort is all inclusive but there is only so much you an eat and drink. I think generally people go hard on the first day then dial it back. We went had had lunch by the pool and explored the resort. It was very spread out. They have a lovely jewelry store which was an outlet of the lapis factory. They had these lovely chain necklaces that are made from titanium, I got a blue one for me and red one for mum. Our room was finally ready at 3pm. It had a spa on the balcony it overlooked the beach, it was a massive one bed room with two bathrooms, a kitchen, and another spa bath inside as well as dual showers and basins. It was lovely, so big and importantly had our own rooms wifi port.
We spent a few days hanging out at the resort, the weather was amazing, I got my first tan in years.
The resort has 5 restaurants for diner and number of cafes and buffets for lunch. There is a French, Mexican, world, Italian and Asian. At first we were a little skeptical because there are not many non Mexican / America staff but I must say the training must be magnificent because the quality of the food is unbelievable. The French was our favorite, we went twice (the second time was a little disappointing because it wasnt as good as the first) but the food was all fresh and healthy which was surprising because we had been expecting them to cater to the American taste but it was uber fancy instead. Every meal we had in the restaurants was top notch.
Every morning we had breakfast delivered to our room, eggs cooked anyway, with fruit platters, fresh juice and pastries. It was so nice to wake up pick up the phone and half an hour later be having breakfast overlooking the ocean it was probably one of my favorite things about the stay.
Also in the resort are multiple bars, a theater spa, etc. one of the bars on the beach had swing chairs that was fun. We spent a bit of time in the spa at the spa with the sauna etc and had one massage.
Lots of wild life also called the resort home, many massive iguanas one which liked to sit on the sun chairs and drink cocktails when no one was around. Also Raccoons! Which we chased around until we got photos. The sign said monkeys are also around but we didnt see any. And the eagles as well, they sometimes circled.
We played a lot of games (pool, darts, batgamon, put put golf, jenga) all of which I won. Luke was getting pretty upset at that point after losing everything we played, so I offered to play ping pong knowing that I would lose that one, then that sparked his wining streak on the last day and he beat me at pool and darts.
It would be easy to spend the whole time at player del Carmen in the resort with a private beach and everything you need but one day we decided to go into town. The township is the oldest in the yukitan and a very lovely Spanish style. It was lovely to stroll down 5th avenue and look at the shops and bars and restaurants. We saw two monkeys that guys were using to exploit for tourism on leashes offering photos, they were so tiny and cute a lime green colour. We went to look at the main beach and it was packed full. So we had a lovely afternoon souvenir shopping and wondering the streets.
Location: Cancun, Mexico
Rest of Cancun:
The last couple of days have been spent shopping swimming, eating drinking. Of note is Madonnas which is a restaurant in the la isla shopping center, it was amazing Italian food and they have a cocktail list of over 200 martinis. I tried the apple and rose, and Luke had the lychee or as the Mexicans pronounce its leachy. Excellent all round! We didnt buy much at the shopping center just a few souvenirs and then watched the sun set over the river next to a very popular boat to get a photograph with.
We also visited the Myan museum which was right outside our hotel and was quite good they have small myan pyramids and lots and lots of scary lizards. One which Luke made me walk over! I didnt realized that the scary lizard attack of 2006 had given me a fear of big lizards but there we go, it came out, I had a lot of trouble walking past it but I did it.
Location: Chitzen Itza, Mexico
Today we went on a all day bus tour to Chitzen Itza , it started at 7am hotel pick up and a two hour drive out to the site. It was a pleasant drive with Luke and I scoring a back seat of four to ourselves with a table in the middle. Out the widow was plenty of eagles to watch as they fly around looking for prey.
We got the area about 10am and realized how huge it is! It would take days to cover it all so we only covered a small portion of the area. I think it was about 200 acres but dont quote me on that. The most important was a huge pyramid with another pyramid inside it. Apparently until the late 90s you could climb them and go inside but they realized that was destroying them so they stopped.
Our guide Filipay was very knowledgeable and likable. It was a very interesting experience. At a certain spot on the main pyramid you can clap your hands and it makes sound wave vibrations back to you that sound like a bird from south America.
The chitzen itza sight was just so magical, its about 10 degrees hotter than Cancun which put it at about 37 degrees that day. Clear skys in the jungle. We saw a lot of massive lizards again as well as some blue parrots.
After the site we went to lunch in the town then went through and got some handicrafts, we got our names in silver using the myan letters to help fun the preservation of the language.
After that the tour took us to a Cenote. Under most of the yucktan area are underground rivers. A Cenote is a hole that provides access to the water that the people drink from but in more recent times let tourist swim in.
This particular one had stairs going down to the water and black blind fish in it. Vines hung down into the water that was 70meters deep. It was absolutely beautiful to swim in about 24 degrees (which was cold for Americans) but lovely for us and the view up through the cave hole to the sky was awesome. It was like swimming in a rainforest pool I really felt like I was connecting with nature while there.
Then for the drive back aided by the Coronas being handed out the trip didnt take very long to get back. Later that night we went back across the road to the captains table restaurant (I failed to spot the crocodiles again). That night I had crazy psychedelic dreams about the pyramid.
The visit to Chitzen Itza was a goal ticked off my bucket list, its a very special place that I can only hope I am lucky enough to get to visit again.