I have to admit whilst I admired the spectacle of New York I didn’t much care for the fast paced city. The consent hard sell from street merchants, the inattentive people on the streets that would make no attempt to give way to anyone else and the constant unpleasant smells hadn’t really endeared it to me. Couple that with constant pain and I had a rather grim view of the city, slowing my rise from slumber this morning. Still I’m not about to waste my time over here so after spending way too much time getting ready we headed out for a really late breakfast at a nice french restaurant with an art deco finish.
We were still without a proper internet connection in our hotel room even after I had found a good plan on T-Mobile that would solve all our problems. For some reason it was refusing to tether to my laptop meaning that the lovely unlimited Internet connection I had acquired was trapped inside the confines of my iPhone. One solution was to get a wireless broadband modem that I could put my SIM card into and I saw that Office Depot stocked them. We headed over there to see if they had one but all I could find were the contract ones, leaving me to try and track one down somewhere else. We hopped over to a Radioshack to see if they had one but it was pretty much the same deal so I decided to leave it for now.
Wanting to tick off a couple of the attractions we’d bought into we had set our sites on the statue of liberty. Not wanting to trek the entire way down there on foot we tried to figure out the maze that is the New York subway system. After plotting the route on Google maps I noticed that it had a train option which did both the train transfer as well as the departure times. 20 minutes later we were at our destination and heading towards the dock that would take us out to the island. Before we could board we had to go through an airport style security scan where they announced we’d be the final boat for the day. We knew we’d taken our time getting here but we thought we’d still have some time up our sleeves, obviously not. The trip over and the island itself were pretty uneventful but it’s still immensely popular with the island teaming with people even this late in the afternoon. I got some choice photos of the monument before sitting down to enjoy the sunset on our boat ride back to Manhattan island.
By the time we got back it was almost night time so we decided to go to the Empire State Building so we could see New York City lit up at night time and get some good pictures while we were at it. It didn’t take us long to find it after exiting the metro station we came out of with the building tower over everything with its electric blue luminescence. The book had told us to come back after 9pm to beat the crowds but no less than 20 minutes later we were up at the top level. From every side of the building we could see city lights stretching out to the horizon, providing a stunning canvas for me to work my camera on.
With that out of the way we set about looking for a place to have dinner. I had found a korean barbecue place on Yelp that we started walking to but no less than 2 minutes into the walk did we find a microbrewery with an attached restaurant. The prices were good and the food sounded amazing so the estimated 15 minute wait was well within our limit. Whilst we waited I grabbed us some drinks from the bar with Rebecca selecting a long island iced tea and I grabbed one of their oatmeal stouts. It was a nice thick beer with a distinctly coffee aftertaste providing an ample distraction whilst we waited for our table. The dinner that followed was well worth it too with Rebecca getting exactly what she expected (doesn’t happen often) and I enjoying a 12 oz new york strip steak with a blue cheese dressing. Our walk back to the hotel was one of satisfaction and happiness without the pain I had suffered the day before.
I opened this post saying how I hadn’t really cared much for this city but that all changed today. Whilst anything mired in pain will always have a grim look to it today proved that there were many redeeming features for all the small bothers that got to me. Once I solve the small problem of tethering my iPhone I will have worked out all those little problems that have been gnawing at me since I landed here and hopefully I can get that done early tomorrow morning. With us mastering the subway system (thanks to Google) so much more of the city has opened up for us and I can’t wait to take advantage of it.
I was on a high from my trip yesterday having lucked out into the air show I wasn’t able to track down and narrowly escaping any sunburn despite my late and hastily applied sunscreen. The morning however started slow as my in room air conditioner had flipped itself from the previous night choosing to bake me in the Florida heat rather than trying to freeze my head as it did the night before. I first checked my email to see if there had been any word from my travel agent so I could go about planning (or not) the extra day that I would spend here so I could see Discovery’s last launch.
Whilst I hadn’t heard from my original travel agent one of her colleagues was watching her inbox and got back to me. The flight changes would set me back a cool $150, just $2 over the limit I had given them to take action without first confirming it with me. I sent her a reply back saying to go ahead and then hit up Hotwire to secure myself a room for the night. Hoping to luck out and get a room in the airport again (saving me a few headaches) I found that there were only 3 star hotels available in the airport area, knowing this meant the airport was out of the question. Checking with the hotel directly also proved fruitless all their rooms were booked out. The room I got was extremely cheap though and only a short drive to the airport so I figured that it wasn’t too bad, plus I’d need to book the car for 2 days in order to cover tomorrow afternoon after I returned the corvette and the trip out to the Kennedy Space Centre.
Getting a car also proved to be slightly difficult. There were a few with an extremely good rate however their return point wasn’t in the airport. Not wanting to have to chance getting a cab from there to the airport I decided that I’d pay the premium to get one I could return to the terminal. This also increased the range of vehicles that were available to me, including a convertible Ford Mustang (or similar, but here’s hoping). With that booked I was all set to go to the KSC on launch day, provided nothing else made the schedule slip again.
After perusing my usual sites I thought a grand tour of Orlando would be a good way to spend the day. I had a couple markets sussed out as well as a couple of the local parks which would have provided some great photographic opportunities. I began at the Orlando Prime Outlets, basically an overgrown strip mall with factory outlets from all the major brands. A couple shops caught my attention but there wasn’t anything really unique there, I could get all of this at home for pretty similar prices. When I’m overseas I like to get things that I just can’t get at home like the hand made turtle lamp we got whilst on Turtle Island. After about an hour of walking around I noticed that it was getting harder to walk normally thanks to a pain in the middle of my left foot. I sat down to give it some time to rest.
Upon resuming walking however the pain hadn’t quelled as much as I had expected it to. Fearing the worst I went back to my hotel room and let it rest for a couple hours, devouring a couple chapters of Pandora’s Star in the process. Getting up and walking around I felt I a little better so I decided to visit one of the parks I had tracked down. By the time I reached the car I knew that walking on this foot wasn’t doing it any good but I decided to go for the drive anyway, wanting to get the most out of this last full day I had with my yellow beauty. I didn’t end up getting out of the car since the area I wanted to go to was sectioned off for a concert they were holding tonight. If it wasn’t for my foot I’d probably be there right now, blast it all.
Coming back to the hotel room feeling defeated I had resigned myself to shamefully calling room service again (3rd time at this hotel) and resting the foot up whilst wasting away to American TV. About an hour into this pit of self loathing I felt inspired to not let the last night of my time with the corvette go idly by and hobbled my way down to it for one last night of shenanigans. I drove around randomly for a good 15 minutes until a thought struck me, why don’t I do a night shoot of the car? The auto HDR on the camera would make for some impressive shots, so I looked around for somewhere with some light (and absent of people) to do my shoot, and I found the perfect place.
It was the front of a truck depot just off the highway, lit by dozens of lights with nary a skerrick of people to be found. I snapped quite a few shots and will endeavour to get them all online sometime (along with the numerous other pictures) but this one is probably the best of the lot. The yellow just seems so much more vibrant than in the other pictures I’ve got.
I had still resigned to going back to the hotel for dinner since my initial attempt to get into Olive Garden had been thwarted again by the massive late night dining crowd there. However on the way back from the photo shoot I noticed a burger joint I had read about before, Five Guys Burger and Fries. I pulled in to find I was the only customer there but was instantly greeted and served. About 10 minutes later I had my dinner and was off back to the hotel where I spent the next half hour consuming the mad burger and only a handful of the half kilo of fries they had given me.
Today has the overwhelming feeling of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Had I not been spurned on by Brett’s words in the comments and Dave’s recent posts about his China trip I would’ve spent the entire time sitting in the hotel room feeling sorry for myself. Whilst my foot may not recover as quickly for this I still believe it was worth it as the pictures I got on the last night with my lovely yellow beast will bring back fond memories of ignoring my self preservation instincts and just having a good time larking around. That’s something I can’t really put a price tag on.