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Michael’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 10 Dec 2006

Location: New York, USA

MapIn old New York, New York.... da da dada da da dada (you get the point).

Well, the diary is finallly back with something semi interesting. The last week has been absolutely madness trying to get myself sorted for the trip. Between being flat out at work trying to tie up loose ends, and getting stuff sorted at home, there wasn't much time for anything else.

Went out Cari's birthday on Tuesday night to Winchester to go ice skating, but the winds and rain had killed the ice rink, and the idea, so we all ended up at a pub for a few drinks. I actually offered to volurnteer to drive, and it was great getting back behind the wheel of nat's car again - makes you actually miss driving. Anyway, was a good night, but a late one, and I got to bed fianlly around 2am - not good when you have 6am starts to get to wrok. Oh well, you only live once ;-)

The week only got more hectic, and I had everything all keyed up for an early knock off at work on Thursday to get to the bank etc. to sort out some cash for the trip, and get to the printers to pick up the posters for the AFL UK Southampton team (an entirely different long story), an dthat whole thing got shot in the foot. I trecked over to the ferry terminal for the 415 pm ferry, and there was a sign saying that the ferries were cancelled till at least 615 due to weather - damn. I ran back to take the 430 car ferry and just made it, but the wether was so bad that it didn't get to Southampton till about 545 pm, and my plans were all shot to pieces. The water was so rough that all the empty glasses on the ferry came smashing off the bar when it got by a monster wave.

So Friday became THE day, and it was rediculously busy. Finishing everything at work, running around getting cash to get changed from pounds to USD, and getting the posters to Walkie. Finally get that done, and pack my bag, and head off to London. But the madness didn't stop there. I had to then trek to Harrod's to pick up Mum's Christmas present (a trip I never plan on ever making again - it made Chadstone at Christmas look more like walking alone through the desert - the place was PACKED). Of course, they wouldn't let me in with my backpack... grrrr. So finally find the place I have to check the bag in, wander around looking for the bear, pass the 'Egyptian Hall' which people were taking photos of (and I'm like, just got to Egypt - it's not that far from here) and the Princess Di and Dodi tribute. In true man style, I scoffed at the price of everything, find what I was looking for, get it and get out! No messing round here.

From there I finally make it to Shepherd's Bush, drop off my bags and head to Belushi's with Kristy and meet her housemates (or squatter friends) there. All of them are officially squatters now having not paid rent for two months (with reason). Anyway, a few (and a couple more) drinks later, and I crash out on the couch in the house of squatters around 1am, having to get up at 430 for my flight...

Somehow manage to get up, and all of my best train time tabling got shot to pieces when the trains departing She-Bu were going the wrong direction till 530am. So I set off and walked to Hammersmith station at 445 am, dragging my pack in the cold of London morning - thankfully it wasn't raining. Make the flight, after some more stuffing round to clarify the changed ticket dates, and kick back to relax till I get to NYC.

So everything goes swimmingly, till the plane lands late in Washington, and I am busting my ass to make a connection to JFK in 45 minutes. Not only that, I had to go through immigration in Washington, pick up my bags and re-check them in. An impossible task in 45 minutes it would seem. Being the power tourist I am, and that the flight was delayed by half an hour, I made the connection and even had time for a bite to eat - by this time I was starving. In true USA fashion I knocked back a fahjita and root beer at the airport. No junk food in how long, and I blow inside half an hour on US soil. And would blwo it again that night with Maccas - man this place kills me.

So make the short hop to NYC and stand there waiting to get out of the airport. Then the announcement that no-one wants to hear. Flight 7310, if you have not received your bags, please go to the baggage collection desk. Yep, I managed to get around the world in the dodgiest countries, and then United Airlines loose my bag between Washington and New York - seriously, what the f@#k. So they send me on my way, saying that the bag will be delivered to the hostel tonight. Cool, I don't have to drag it there myself, and I set off with just the clothes I had on the plane. A t-shirt and jacket. The minute I get outside, I am hating life - it's below freezing, people are decked out in the warmest looking clothes and II am freezing my ass off, wearing clothes I've been in since Friday morning at work!

Make it to the hostel and catch up with Richie and Ash. Have a quick shower, turn the jocks inside out and get back into the same clothes, I was already in, and borrowed a fresh pair of socks from Richie. We head straight out on the town and, being the true sports fans we are, find ourselves at Madison Square Garden, for the Knicks vs. Bucks. We are in the nose bleed, of all nose bleed sections. There will be no sightings of Jack or Spike Lee from up here without any binoluars.

Anyway, the game was a total bust - and I have no idea what happened in it. After we bought the tickets it occured to me that Bogut would be playing - the Aussie boy from Dandenong who was drafted #1 the year before last. Well, good thing we didn;t buy the tix expecting to see much of him. He had two fouls inside the first three minutes, and barely got back on the court before half time. When he finally did get a bucket (his only points for the game) we all cheered (or maybe jeered) in unision while the Knicks fans around us sat on dumb founded looking at us. Knicks won in the end, comfortably, with Eddie Curry for the Knicks and Mo Williams for the Bucks doing all the scoring (yeah, Mo played good). Sprewell hat a pretty quiet game though, which was disapointing cos I've been a fan since he decided to threaten his couch and not play 'cos I didn't want to'. What a champ. The atmosphere was non-existent, even on a Saturday night, and we spent more time drinking ($7.25 a pop) beers and catching up on the last 9 months worth of news from home and abroard.

After the game we wandered across to Time Square and had no idea where to go next. I walk straight into the police station in the middle of Times Square and ask the cop for directions to a good pub. He set us straight and told us of a local bar that we wandered to on 8th Ave. No idea what it was called, but after another three rounds, and every intention of doing a runner (I think the bar chick picked up on this as Richie hurredly stands up and puts on his jacket) we politely paid the rediculously expensive bill and headed home. I'd had 4 hours sleep in 48 hours, and was safely intoxicated, so we called it a night around 2am NYC time, or 7am London time. Think i got rid of the jet lag pretty well!

Anyway, that was the first (and expensive) night in NYC, as I watched over $100 US leave my hands in the cheapest basketball tickets we could get and beer. Day two satrts now, 1030am, with plenty of gridiron to watch!

Will put up video of the opening of the Knicks game when I get a chance, but was nothing to get excited about Mum... Bulls will be much better - I hope.

On another note, missed two monster parties in the UK last night, with Cari's birthday party - and the 9L bottle of Champagne, did it all get drunk? - and the 'Eviction Patry' at Kristy's house that was reportedly still going at 7am Sunday morning! Class...

Hope you're all well, check Richie's diary for shortened versions of this too, and a different view on the same things:

www.planetranger.com/richard

See ya'll