Our next hotel was much nicer as no one had died there recently. Although curtains randomly hung on walls did show that maybe there was something to hide. Not to mention the maze (not unlike puzzling world in Lake Wanaka) of corridors that we took to find a lift.
So Simon had left us and we were in New York. Only one thing left for us to do. After a whole year of wearing the same (smelly) clothes we were going to shop! Shop and spend the scraps of money - or our emergency travellers cheques - on new things, nice, clean, unworn clothes and eat good food. Not the cheapest thing or the items on the menu we recognised, but food we wanted. We had been talking about our final few days for the whole year and now we were going to splash out!
Obviously the mentality of being poor meant that we couldn't actually splash out and we still insisted on walking everywhere to avoid expense. It was on one of our trips that we were approached by a lady with an offer. Hair and beauty treatments for a bargain price. Well you know how we love a bargain, so we booked in...when we arrived at a very posh hotel we were rather worried we'd be out of place and when they kept trying to force expensive treatments on us we knew we'd dissapoint them. But oh well we'd never see them again! We're sure the women were a bit more half hearted about the haircuts once they realised they weren't going to get to colour it as well (we just couldn't sacrifice another £200, not when we still had shopping to do).
Not content with our beauty treatments at the posh hotel we found a nice cheap pedicure salon where some very unhappy chinese women gave us lovely feet...when we were in China the women always seemed very happy so maybe it's best not to leave your own country - the grass isn't always greener!
So hair and beauty done we knew we'd arrive back in England stunning - as always. But we needed to ensure our tans were topped up and so we booked into a tanning salon for the last day before our flight.
Now when it came to eating we did eat well, we finally treated ourselves to some Bubba Gump action plus all those other restaurants we saw about and avoided until the end when we were throwing caution to the wind. Then of course there were more cocktails...hey we were in New York we had to look the part!
Aah eventually our last day came so we made lots of special plans for the day. We needed to buy ourselves holdalls to carry all our extra shopping so we found a good old dodgy man in the street and decided we could risk it - it only had to survive one flight and lets be honest we're born winners so nothing would happen to them. We chose nice bright ones so we could spot them on the conveyor belt...always thinking after all we're travellers now! Then it was off to the tanning salon...
Now we like to do 'firsts' whilst travelling and the sunbed was one of these. Now we're only on a sunbed for 10 minutes so surely nothing can go wrong, and as we came out thats what we thought - we might come to rethink this later when the effect takes hold.
Our final night had been planned for sometime. We knew how horrible it was going to be saying goodbye to our journey, after a year of amazing adventures so we were going to treat ourselves. We went for a meal at the Rockafella Centre, very posh for us and as the photos show, we tucked into some cocktails too. After our food we drowned our sorrows in glasses of champagne and returned to our final night of travelling.
Seasoned travellers always book their journey home as they arrive. So having already emailed in our request for the shuttle service to the Airport when we arrived, we sat patiently for the bus to arrive. And we waited and waited until we saw it trundling down the road. When it stopped the driver informed us that she was merely bringing people to the hotel from the airport and the bus should have already come for us. Hmmmmm. Best phone them. Luckily this occurred in an english speaking country where Emily was informed that we were booked on the bus for the next day. Not today. Hmmmm. As seasoned travellers we merely resisted the urge to panic and counted the loose change in the bag. Throwing caution to the wind we hailed a cab true New York style and made our exit with flair. It only turned out to be a dollar more expensive and much more enjoyable than the cattle shuttle express.
The only problem was that we had arrived at the airport. We had to go home. The dream was over.
On the positive side we get to bore people with our stories and photos for years to come and surely the people back home, our friends and family, would love to hear all about how we have travelled the world while they have been working hard in Blighty. Surely?!
PS Don't go on a sunbed before a long haul flight, we suffered terribly, Emily's arse was so red it glowed and sitting was very uncomfortable for Sarah who had manage to burn very delicate parts of her body - our final travel tip for you all: No sunbeds.