There was a sound at the edge of my hearing, familiar yet I couldn’t quite place it. The harder I concentrated on it the more I realised it was my alarm going off which sounded like one of those alarms they use in movies for when there’s an emergency. We had an early start today as we had a plane to catch at 11:20 and didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Still it was slow going getting everything ready for our short trip over the border to the United states, our bodies not wanting to leave the sanctuary that we’d become accustomed to. We made our way there, returning the rental car and making our way to the check-in desk.
The airport was strangely deserted with only a handful of other passengers milling around. Still it took us well over an hour to get ourselves through all the checkpoints leaving us only 5 minutes to spare before the plane was scheduled to board. The plane was an interesting one being quite small (I couldn’t fully stand up in it) with only 2 rows of 2 seats but it was also a jet. Anyone who’s flown from Canberra to Sydney would know that most of the time you’re going to be flying on a turboprop plane like a Dash-8 but this was a CRJ 900. With only 80 or so seats in the craft I figured that they could be taking in, at most, $8,000 per flight which wouldn’t leave a lot of room for profit on these short hop flights. Still when we landed I saw at least another 2 of these craft decked out in the Delta colours so there must be something I’m missing here. The flight was impressively quick and smooth so I’m definitely not complaining.
Arrival at JFK brought back memories of returning home to Canberra as we were lead out onto the tarmac into a makeshift shelter. I’m guessing it was just for the short hop flights as I could see a flock of aircraft off in the distance. Finding our luggage was painless, as was getting transport into the city. No sooner had we been standing idly by the nearest road than we were offered a taxi with a flat fare into Manhattan Island. The taxi itself was pretty impressive too as it had a monitor embedded in the front seat showing the fare, live map as well as other information. We had a good fiddle with it until we hit the city line, after which we just stared slack jawed out the window at what was surrounding us.
Block by block it wasn’t really that much different than any other big city I’ve been in, with stores at the street level and high rise buildings closing around you. What impressed me though was the sheer scale of the city itself where most would have just a few blocks of high rise New York’s stretches almost as far as you can see in each direction. It took us a good 15 minutes to get to our hotel but thankfully we were able to pull up right out the front. We’d arrived early for our check-in but the room was ready for us anyway so we dumped our things and set about wandering around the nearby area. We saw shops of all kinds, street peddlers hocking all sorts of random items and being accosted no less than 10 times by people trying to get us to go to a comedy club or some other event. Rebecca wanted to check out the central park so we headed over there. It was a remarkable place to have in one of the biggest cities in the world but with my foot playing up again we cut our jaunt there short and headed back to find some dinner.
After scouring Yelp for some place cheap and delicious I came across the Tri Tip Grill, a little food joint inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza. After getting lost trying to find it we eventually tracked it down and ordered ourselves a couple sandwiches. What got me was the glass coke bottles with non-twist tops on them, which I just had to try. The food was great, even more so considering the price. Satisfied we started to amble our way back to the hotel picking up a cup of pretzel pieces to snack on. Once we were back home I started looking for places for us to visit tomorrow and was instantly overwhelmed with possibilities. Needless to say we’ll be more than able fill 7 days with just shopping if we wanted to but there’s so much more for us to see than just the inside of the stores.