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Friday, November 16, 2007

U.S. holiday - New York day 1

Woke up at 9am, washed up, bathed for too long because hot water ran out! Checked work and personal email. Mum called after I had messaged her last night. Left home at 11am. Good thing I brought jacket, it was cold and windy, felt like less than 5 degrees Celsius. Took bus 158 to Port Authority Bus Terminal, US$3.40 fare.

Had craving for pancakes, went to look for International House of Pancakes, supposed to have a branch in New York but couldn't find it. Stopped at AT&T shop, played a bit with iPhone. Enquired about prepaid SIM card, it's US$50! Decided not to buy.

Was already in neighbourhood, so went to Penn Station to collect Amtrak tickets for Washington D.C. train. Came back out, needed to eat because I hadn't had breakfast, 12:30pm already. Didn't know what else to do, so returned to Port Authority Bus Terminal, had a Manhattan burger (burger with bacon and some sweet-and-sour sauce like mayonnaise) with fries and canned lemonade.

Walked to Coach USA through Times Square. Aha! Marveled at all of the advertising. Collected Downtown Loop tour tickets and New York Pass at Coach USA. Place was surprisingly empty. Returned to Times Square just in time to board next tour bus. Sat upstairs in spite of the cold because of better view.

Tour started around 2pm. Along the way, tour guide pointed out some sights, but we're going so fast that I missed most of them or couldn't find them. Guide focussed mostly on trivia about shopping and celebrities, not what I had expected. Took pics along the way, but in the end stopped doing so because it was too cold and I couldn't remember what I was taking. So just sat back and listened. Had planned to visit Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, but changed my mind because of security check delays.

Sky got dark and weather got colder, also traffic was even more busy due to rush hour, so I went to lower deck where it was wawrmer. Finished tour at almost 6pm, tour guide said that it's normal because ticket sellers etc. have never sat on the tour, so they think it's only 2 hours long. Also saw police drill -- police cars wait at a spot, then time themselves to get to another spot in rush hour. Drill was instituted after 9/11. Wanted to take pics but police cars had left by the time I got camera ready.

Took subway to 5th Ave/59th Street (US$2 single ride) to Apple Store at 5th Avenue. Took pic outside. Store inside was crowded and warm. Updated Facebook status on iPhone. Asked how to buy it, was told to join a very long line, decided not to.

Took subway back to Port Authority Bus Terminal to return home. Fell asleep on bus and overshot by a distance. Called cousin, he came to fetch me partway. Had dinner, watched 2 episodes of "Coupling", then Food Channel on Thanksgiving food, then "Justice League Unlimited", then second half of "That Thing You Do". Planned next day's activities, then went to sleep.


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