23 Dec - Today was our very first day exploring Manhattan and it was a once in a life time experience. The first thing I ate was a famous New York pretzel, which was seriosly dry and my tongue actually stuck to the top of my mouth. So I am not sure if this is the reason why they are so famous or is it just because they are sold on nearly every corner of every street. The first major thing we saw was time square. The lights are amazing it actually looks like daytime at night time just because of all the massive light up screens. Another thing which is really hard to miss is the amount of people. There were people every where and living in a country with a population of 4million and now visiting a city with 26million people, was a serious adjustment. We went to M&M world which are 3 floors of M&M stuff including M&Ms available in all the colours you can imagine, even pink (pink of all shades I may add). I managed to spot Hello Kitty amongst the crowd, ok she does stand out a bit, and she let me take a photo with her for $1. We went into Toys 'R' us which was huge and they even had a ferris wheel inside We walked home via Central park and felt like we were in a romantic movie for a second. The grounds were covered in snow and the lakes were all frozen. The park is really big and has 2 ice skating rinks where you need to take out a second morgage on your home to be able to afford the skate hire and rink entry.
24 Dec - Today we took the ferry to Staten Island because, it is FREE. We arrived at Staten Island and discovered that there is very close to nothing to see and do there, so we had lunch at Popeye's (which is like KFC) and took the ferry back to Manhattan. The views from the ferry are worth the trip. Back in Manhattan we went exploring. We walked down the famous Wall street , saw Tiffany's and Co which is in the movie breakfast at Tiffanys and visited Ground Zero (the site where the Twin Towers use to be). It is just a massive construction zone at this stage as they are busy building a structure which will totally dwarf the other buildings. Standing there looking at the big empty space made you realise how big those buildings were and what an impact the destruction of them must have had on the people of New York.
25 Dec – Today was Christmas as you all know so we did not get up to much as it was very cold outside. We slept in a bit and then went for a walk in Central park. We thought of going ice skating but the rink was so full that you could hardly see the ice. So we decided to watch the people fall all over the show instead.
26 Dec – The streets / Times square was packed with people again today and they were all shopping like crazy. It is the day after Christmas and it still looked like they were all doing Christmas shopping. People were carrying heaps of those paper shopping bags that you always see in shows like ‘Sex in the City’ when Sarah Jessica Parker goes shopping. It actually looked like some of them were losing blood circulation to their arms from all the bags packed on them. In New York you do not wait for the pedestrian crossing to turn green you just take a gap when available. Ps. This we learned from the locals so we just wanted to fit in. Anyway tonight we wanted to cross the street without the permission of the pedestrian crossing man and as we stepped into the road we saw a yellow cab driving up so we stopped. O I forgot to add that it was raining so when the taxi drove past us it totally splashed us with water from the side of the road. Just like in the movies – it was so funny and really cool to be a part of the whole ‘movie’ scene.
27 Dec – Today we caught the early train downtown to go and visit the Statue of Liberty. It is around a 15min boat ride to the Statue. Once you are close up and personal you realise that the statue is actually not that big and that it seems way larger in movies. From the Liberty island the boat takes you to Ellis Island, which is the island the first people that came to New York stopped at. In order to get on the boat to go to the statue we had to stand in a queue for about 40mins. Once we returned the queue tripled and people were standing in a queue which stretched for hundreds of meters. For lunch we went to an Indian restaurant which just opened so they had a 50% discount on all their food so we ordered away. I had a vegetarian dish which was the most amazing vegetarian Indian I have had. We then walked over the Brooklyn bridge and walked around in Brooklyn for a little bit. We walked over the Manhattan bridge on the way back and had some awesome views of the sun setting behind the Brooklyn bridge. There is a very popular cupcake store in downtown Manhattan called Magnolia’s bakery. Once there we had to stand in another queue in order to get into the bakery. We then bought 6 cupcakes of various flavours. They were really yummy and feshly baked.
28 Dec – Today Dan wanted to try the Pastrami sandwhich Mike recommended from a Jewish deli. The sandwich cost $22 (Just to give you an idea of how crazy it is to pay $22 for a sandwich, you can buy a pair of jeans at Walmart for less) anyway once he received his sandwich made of gold we could not believe its size and the amount of meat / pastrami it was filled with. He got some stretch marks around his mouth when he took his first bite. He said it was really delicious and the pastrami was excellent but maybe just a bit on the expensive side. I also wanted to be as adventurous as Dan so I had a spicy peanut butter with pineapple jam and grilled chicken sandwich for dinner from the Peanut Butter company. They advertise the flavour of the sandwich as a chicken satay skewer from a Thai restaurant. In all honesty, it tasted nothing like it and it was actually quite disguisting but still interesting.
We also visted the public library today, which is absolutely huge. There are hallways and stairs everywhere and the roofs are covered in art. It would be a really cool place to study. Along the way we bumped into a $ store. Everything was so cheap and obviously full of stuff no one needs but it was still pretty exciting.