Monday, February 7, 2011

flying, new york and the start of my adventures

Sorry I haven't blogged for sooo long. After my last post I was caught up in the flurry of getting work finished, presents wrapped and distributed, planning and preparing for my trip away (all by mid December). It was a whirl of activity and sadly I just didn't have time to post anything!! Then I was off on a big adventure to New York and Pennsylvania. I left on the 16th of December and returned exactly four weeks later. So much happened on my trip and I have so many things I want to share..... so to make it more manageable I am going to post things in small bites..... the things that I saw, that captivated and inspired that me, the experiences and great times that I had with family, friends and my adopted American family (I'll explain that relationship in a later post!)

I flew to LA via Tahiti. It was a very long flight (with no sleep) so I was very happy to land in LA. I had a three and half hour gap between landing and flying on to New York, which seemed ample in the planning stages. LAX was mad.... it took us half an hour to taxi in as there was no space for us to disembark. When we finally did, the queues for immigration and customs looped their way all around the terminal. I was sleep deprived and trying not to panic as the time kept ticking by and I was still in the queue!! Finally exactly 30 minutes before my New York flight took off, I was free and running to the Delta terminal. Phew! I made it with 15 minutes to spare!! Yay! The relief of getting on the flight was only slightly marred by a very unhappy baby and the barking/whining dog on our flight. Yes, a dog!! Never mind, at least I was on my way!!

People talk about the excitement and romance of travel. I had forgotten that long distance flights are a marathon that you have to endure the best way that you can under trying circumstances, often with severe sleep deprivation!! It's funny though, how this all fades when you arrive at your destination and the excitement truly kicks in! It was night when we flew into New York and the city lights were spectacular. Even from the height we were flying at, you could clearly see houses, buildings and whole streets fully decked out in Christmas lights! We landed and there were no queues and dramas. I just had to pick up my bags, grab a yellow cab and head into Manhattan. I was in NEW YORK!!! I was soooo excited. The last time I visited New York was in summer, three and a half years ago. Now I was seeing it in winter, all decked out for Christmas. I was so happy to arrive, eat some dinner, have a shower and get some sleep. Bed! Yay!!

It's amazing what a good night's sleep does for you. I spent the next two days exploring, shopping, eating and generally walking around being completely stunned by the energy, excitement, beauty, grit and the appearance of the unexpected that is New York. It was cold. The brisk kind of cold that takes your breath away. I loved wrapping up in my coat, boots, hat, scarf and gloves.

I loved the Christmas tree stands that were everywhere. At first I thought the trees were artificial as they look so perfect and symmetrical. They have branches that are perfectly shaped for hanging ornaments on. But no, after touching one I found out that they were real (and very prickly)! They smell so gorgeous too. The scent of Christmas on every street corner!!

Another unique American Christmas treat.... giant chocolate chip "holiday" cookies. Yes that's right, a pizza-sized cookie ready in 15 minutes!! The perfect gift for the person who has everything!

I also caught up with New Zealand friends Max and Jess. Jess is completing her doctorate at NYU so has made New York her home. The last time I saw them was in Auckland and yet it seemed so natural to be walking the streets of New York with them. You never know what you will find in New York, it's full of surprises. We walked around the corner straight into a multi-cultural festive street parade!

So this is the beginning of my adventures..... Next post - New York Christmas lights.

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