We managed to get all our luggage in a taxi and in to Manhattan we went. We were taken to the UN Plaza Hotel right opposite the UN Building and up 32 floors! It was such a great room with the most wonderful view of the Manhattan skyline in glorious sunshine. We were lucky enough to get our room straight away, instead of the afternoon as we had been told. Just before we left to 'attack' New York we saw on the N.B.C. Today show that Cathy Freeman was to be interviewed on the show that morning. We then set out through the streets, gazing up at the buildings of course. On the way we saw Saks, Fifth Avenue with Christmas decorations. When we got to our destination, Rockefeller Centre, we watched Today through the glass windows. After a while our Cathy came on and we could see her being interviewed on TV. The cameras came on the crowd and David said he saw me as he was standing back further. I was pretty chuffed to see Cathy live on telly in New York. We then crossed over to the Rockefeller Plaza to watch the skaters, but had to wait a long time while a zamboni scrape the ice. There was a group of older skaters who took to the ice and boy did they know what they were doing. Lois Thorpe's twin was amongst them.
We were frozen by this time so we went down to the subway where we had coffee and delicious
garlic bread 'thingies' and then set out to go on the Staten Island ferry.
After changing trains a few times, we arrived at Battery Park and wandered along
to the ferry terminal. This ferry gives you a wonderful FREE look at the
Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. The queues for
the Statue of Liberty ferry were humungous as it was Thanksgiving holiday.
We'd been out there before, so decided to skip it this time. We rode out
on the ferry to Staten Island and thought we could go straight back but that
ferry went out of service, so we had to wait for another one. While we
waited we bought some big pretzels which were awful and some donuts which
weren't much better. David ate most of them though! When
we docked we caught the subway to the Empire State Building but the queues were
terrible - a two hour wait - so we skipped that too - been there, done that.
On the way there we saw Macy's, surrounded by so many people as the Thanksgiving sales were on.
We caught the subway to see the huge toy shop FAO Schwarz but the
queues (to spend money!) were too much there as well. Then Tracy and I had
delicious pizza for lunch, but David wasn't hungry - I wonder why. After the pizzas we walked over to Central Park and waited for a hansom cab ride
through the park. David didn't want to go but enjoyed it when Tracy
paid, once again and off we went. The driver was great - so was the horse.
It was so peaceful riding through this lovely park in the middle of this huge
city. The carriages are all decorated and the horses just plod there way on,
whether their drivers are on the carriage or not. Our driver got off
at one stage to take our photos and on went the horse. I gave him a pat
when we got off - the horse of course. I then needed a New
York hot dog, so of course... It was only a little
one! We got on the subway once again, to Central Station this
time. This is magnificent, so old fashioned looking, then we walked back to our hotel where we had a snooze. If the view form
our room was good in the daylight, it was magic with the lights on. It
couldn't have been more beautiful.
We woke up to realise that the fairy tale was almost over. Dull grey
skies were over the city in complete contrast to the day before when we flew in.
We'd booked a station sedan for all our luggage, but they must have heard about
our luggage and sent a van! This cost more of course so we did
wonder if they had done in deliberately, but we didn't argue. Why bother? We drove out to the airport to say goodbye to New York, goodbye to a dream
holiday, goodbye to the USA, and more importantly goodbye to Tracy.
Tracy was wonderful to us and I can't thank her enough. She made the trip
so much more fantastic. It was awfully hard, as usual, to say
goodbye to our girl. We had four wonderful weeks with her, but I think I
heard big sigh of relief when she walked off to a few hours of 'peace' in New
York. Her life would be back to normal at last - well, as
normal as that ever is!! We flew out of New York at
midday on Saturday (me with tears of course) and it was an uneventful, long,
long flight to Tokyo. We had individual TV screens so we could watch what
we wanted to. I chose Meryl Streep in "Music of the
Heart", an entertaining little film about a violin teacher in a tough
school in Harlem, so quite topical. David watched "The
Gladiator" and "X Men." I managed to doze a bit but
David didn't get much sleep. We crossed the International Date Line into Sunday. My legs cramped up
dreadfully, so much so that when we finally arrived in Tokyo, I could hardly
walk. Also I felt dreadful - faint, tight chest - panic, panic.
David was great. He had to do all the carrying etc. It felt just as
though my blood pressure had suddenly dropped. David went and got me
a bit bottle of water and I sat and sipped this until I felt better.
We both sat and dozed for the four hours or so we were there. Then
we took off for Sydney at 9.10 p.m. Sunday. Luckily, the plane was not
very full so we both had three seats each and could sprawl out to have a sleep.
We arrived in Sydney on Monday morning, both tired, confused and a bit flat.
Collected our luggage, quickly through customs and when we had booked our
luggage through to Adelaide, we caught the bus to the domestic terminal where we
boarded the plane for home. As we took off we had a good view of
Sydney. The countryside looked so dry as we flew o!
Our heartfelt thanks go to Tracy for her kindness and generosity. Without this we could not have had anywhere near as good a trip. We had a wonderful time and it has left us with such happy memories through our photos and this diary.
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