Day 3 NYC (16/8/2013)

Okay day three in New York! After my night on the beers the night before, I was forced to sleep-in just a little bit. I woke up around 11am and made my way to time square again as this was where the “greyline” bus tour began from! This tour practically consisted of all the main touristy sites of downtown New York City. I was lucky enough to get on the top level of the bus for the best view.

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The best thing about this tour is at any point during the trip I could jump off the bus and see one of the tourist attractions and then jump on the next tour bus that came past every 15 minutes. We firstly scooted past the Empire State Building and then I jumped off at the next stop which was for “Little Italy” and “China Town” (Aussie town or little Australia was yet to be seen).

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Oh mate, Little Italy pleased all my senses! It literally looked like America stole a street in Italy and had it shipped over and placed in the middle of NYC. I’d been patiently holding out for lunch expecting great things from this magical place.

After strolling the street and pretending I was in Italy like Marshal does in “how I met your mother”, I found a nice little Italian restaurant. They were advertising my favorite food in the world; home made gnocchi. Home made is the key to this food and I have only had my favorite food less than 10 times before in my life as it takes about 5 hours to make (I know this because I’ve made it with my Noona before).

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It came out and it definitely delivered, it tasted just like Noona used to make it! I listened to some Italian street music and then I was off to China Town.

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China town was as dodgy as ever, with little back street deals and stores that sold $15 NYPD (New York Police Department) hoodies which I obviously invested in. They had a few cool food market stores and lots of natural eastern medicine shops.

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Okay back to the bus and off to the 9/11 memorial (aka “ground zero”). This was a very moving place and I felt shivers down my spine as I looked at where the Twin Towers once stood, now fully appreciating the size of these buildings. The base of the buildings are now replaced with massive pools of water which are surrounded by the names of all the volunteers and fireman and other people that died in this awful tragedy.

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I found that I wasn’t able to stick around for too long so i ventured back to the bus. I finished the bus tour by visiting the Statue of Liberty. Our local tour guide Sophia met me at the South ferry and recommended I jump on the free Statten island ferry which went straight past the statue, so this I did. And as everyone said which I also can now clarify, it’s a lot smaller than expected!

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I had one more place that i had to check out before I went home! The sex museum. This place was so entertaining, they had some weird shit to say the least! They actually had a tour upstairs of all different statues and sex history and general facts so I thought that sounded right up my alley and went for it. Money well spent I’d say!

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This brought me late into the night so I went home, slammed some pizza and watched a movie that they put on in the common room of the hostel. A great day all in all 🙂

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“When things start to get interesting” – New York (15/8/2013)

Okay, so it’s day two in NYC and I’m about to leave on the hostel’s pub crawl as an underage participant. Being the first time I would use this license in NY and at an actual pub, I was a bit skeptical.

Before I go on any further, I would just love to give a special mention to Kerry Fraiser, as the rest of my time in NY become even better due to the indirect influence of this young gentleman.

Okay back to the story, so I began to wait in the lobby area of the hostel for the crowd of drinking enthusiasts to grow. As the lobby area filled up with people I recognised the sound of a familiar accent. “Hey are you guys Australian?”.

Okay I now have two Aussie companions and with any luck I’ll get into the pub! We all roll out in one big group, we walk a bit, get a 10 minute subway and walk some more and we arrive at “Jake’s Dilemma” and guess who I see at the door on security!? Not one, not two, but three bouncers at the front door, one of which happened to be the worlds leading expert in fake ID’s who was training the other two men on how to pick fake ID’s. Just my luck right? I show the man my ID and he nods his head and says this is fine… “Hang on a second mate” the bouncer says to me, “see this hologram symbol of the globe in the background lads? We definitely cannot except these.”
I politely explained to him that I can go grab my passport and return and he reluctantly gave me the license back and I ran for it!

Oh shit, first night out and I’m already heading home before 9pm. I get the subway home on my own and i can’t help but feel sorry for myself. Suddenly I remember my other fake ID, that is a look alike to me and is actually a real ID. It would be pretty stupid to go back to the same place with the same bouncers and try again. But how often am I in NYC I say to myself? I change into a different set of clothes and throw on a base ball cap to change my appearance a little and after my room mate shatters my confidence by saying my “look a like” ID doesn’t resemble me at all, I walk towards the subway for the 2nd time.

I get off the subway and approach this little pub for the second time, as you could imagine I am shitting myself. I walk up to the same bouncer and he grabs the license out of my hands and has a good 15 second pause. “See lads, this is the most common Australian license you will see. I can tell its real because….” That’s all I needed to hear!! He asked me what a major city near my place was and after I hesitated with the QLD license I answered back “Brisbane” and I was in!!

I met the two other Aussie lads that were very much surprised to see me and then the beer buckets started flowing. This place had beer pong playing inside the pub and a very cool mix of people ranging from the local New Yorkers to all the foreigners from my hostel.

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It didn’t take long for me and my buddies to strike up a conversation with this very nice local New Yorker called Sophia. After many beers had been had, this local New Yorker promised to show me and the lads around the city from a locals perspective and the tour began that very night. Why do Americans like Aussies so much?

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She assured us of the wonders of Central Park’s views at night. At this time it was pretty early in the morning but we decided to trust this nice young lass and give this sight a visit.

Within 15 minutes of leaving the pub we had been pulled over by the police as apparently Central Park was “out of bounds” at night and only the Aussie charm found us escaping arrest. After the police were gone from sight we continued with Sophia to view this sight from the heart of Central Park. After many wrong turns and strange noises, we all found an open space and just sat down to enjoy the lights of NY. We all decided to walk it home after chilling there for a while and by the time we got back to the Hostel the sun was shinning, my phone was saying 7am and thus began day 3…

NEW YORK (14-15/08/2013)

Okay wow, where do I even begin with this place! It’s my favorite place so far (even though I’ve only been to Boston), there is so much to do here its impossible to feel bored or not entertained.

I’ll continue from where I left off last, the bus trip was very long to NY with many delays but it become bearable through the interesting characters I met along the way! This one old lady on my first leg of the bus trip was hilarious, she said things like “I says to her Asher, I says” and was very much a country women. The next connecting bus I befriended this really cool Buddhist girl from Ohio, she owned a pet rat and had a lot of interesting things to say.

When I arrived in NY I become an instant pest and asked every second person how to get to my hostel, but as I only knew the street it was on and not the cross street (which turns out to be the all most important street in NY) no one was too helpful. I struggled with my huge bag and decided to just get a taxi when I couldn’t find my hostel and it was starting to get dark. I was so unbelievably tired when I got to the hostel but I gathered my energy because I had tickets to the NY Yankees game!!

I dumped my stuff and jumped on the subway. I was soon met by the lovely Nicki (my friend from Connecticut that recently did an exchange program in Wollongong) and her two friends. Nicki was nice enough to buy my ticket for the game. The game was great! So much energy from the crowd, and everyone really takes their baseball seriously! I was pressured into eating some dirty stadium hotdogs and “fries”, washed down with my newly discovered favorite beer “bud light”.

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I managed to get home safely and crashed for the night, thus ending day one.

Day two was partly organized by the hostel as they have a schedule of cheap or free events they put on everyday! I started the day with a free tour of Central Park with “Bob” the tour guide. Met a cool lad from my hostel named Shane on this tour, he was doing a summer camp and came over from Wales.

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I bailed early from this tour as I had to get my Aussie fix, so I met up with Jack O’grady, Danni Merlino and Christie, which are a few of my friends from back in Wollongong. We met up at grand central station which was a pretty impressive site. We smashed through some sushi, had some good old Aussie banter and continued on our different ways.

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I decided it was time to check out the famous time square!

Time square was easily recognisable from many movies and tv shows. I checked out all the stores including the M&M’s store with every flavor ever made of M&M’S and the massive toys R us (yes I did spend the majority of my time in kid shops). I took some snaps and then I was on my way again. After time square I dashed off to the the Rockefeller Centre.

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This place was incredible, for all those that didn’t know already, the Rockefeller Centre is the 2nd tallest building in all of NY. Why the second tallest building you ask? I chose the 2nd tallest building because I wanted to have a good view of the tallest building (the Empire State Building), and that I did! I spent at least an hour just sitting on the top of the building and enjoying the beautiful sight, appreciating how lucky I was to be doing what I am doing.

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“Okay it’s only day two and I’ve already done so much but shit what is that massive building I’m walking past!!?”. The NYC public library was amazing, i am no architect by any description but damn that was an impressive building! I spent an hour wondering the halls and stealing some free wifi and then I was finally on my way back to the hostel.

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After such a crazy day I was so exhausted and I get home and I’m ready to crash out. But hang on, the hostel is hosting a pub crawl tonight? Anyone that knows me half well can vouch that I’m not one to say no to a pub crawl! I smash down the BBQ dinner provided at the hostel and begin to get ready to roll out to the pub, and this is when things start to get interesting….

HOPKINTON, Boston, MA

Today marks the end of my travels to Boston. I am currently sitting on a platform waiting for the Peter Pan bus to pick me up for the 4 hour trip to NYC!

My trip to Boston has been great! My first proper day in Boston, I managed to sleep into 3pm due to the absolute mind jumble that is jet lag! The Prall family didn’t want to wake me up, but at 3pm Greg finally decided to sort me out! Greg had successfully passed one of his final exams that same day, so naturally as soon as I woke up we got stuck into the beers. We were soon accompanied by his mates Matty, Erick and Jenna.

As we got further into the evening, the Prall family put on a feast for me and Greg’s mates! This included mrs Prall’s famous chicken rice dish which had me going up for a second plate full (and thirds for lunch the next day). After dinner Greg made me look foolish as we played off in a few games of pool.

That night me and the lads went to Matty’s house and sunk a few beers in front of the massive wood fire we had cranking outside, till early hours of the morning. Ps. My fake ID totally worked when I got a six pack of budweisers at the bottle shop! Only set me back $6.75 as well!

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The next day I woke up and Greg took me into Boston. Along the way we sorted out my phone with a simcard. We got into Boston and went on the duck tour which is basically a tour around Boston on a bus that transforms into a boat so we also saw the seaview of the city! That was good fun, and the tour guide was a crackup! We then went to Harvard university in Cambridge but only had a 30 minute parking ticket so unfortunately only saw the front gate of the school.

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By the time we got home I was so pooped! We had the traditional hamburger and fries for dinner at the Prall household and I crashed at 9.30pm! I think I have now finally adjusted to the new time zone.

All in all I liked the state of MA in my short time here and Boston was fantastic! The accommodation at the Prall inn gained a five out of five star rating and I wished I could have stuck around for a little longer. It was pretty sad saying good bye to Greg again, but we’ll catch up again one day I’m sure, thanks for looking after me the last few days mate! His family was my family away from home and they made me feel so welcome and even packed a little lunch box of food for my bus trip!

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Next time I check in, I’ll be talking about the crazy city of NYC.

Oh I just remembered, on the wait for the bus, I stuffed up my combination for the lock to my main bag and I couldn’t get into it. The lock was so crappy I managed to snap it with my bare hands (I guess it helped that I am super buff and all that). I did have a momentary panic attack but the situation resolved itself pretty quickly! Lets see what NY has for me!!

Peace out xo

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Arrival

In retrospect i shouldn’t have got so excited with my whiskey and coke as after 10 minutes into the trip I managed to spill it all down my jeans and shirt. With all my change of clothes in my luggage (not my carry on), I was forced to smell like a homeless drunk with alcohol stains down my shirt and jeans for the next 24 hours!

But finally after a 13 hour international flight, a five hour domestic flight and a car ride, I have safely arrived at the Prall household and jeez was I happy to see a familiar face! Greg mate, you live like an absolute boss, this house is a mansion, I have an entire floor to myself!!

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The Boston folk seam really nice after the lady I sat next to on the plane gave me $20 to enjoy my trip just after giving me a verbal tour of the city, followed by another kind soul who let me borrow her “cell” phone to contact Greg and I didn’t even have to ask!

Key difference I noticed include:
– yellow school buses (like on the Simpsons)
– cop cars like you see on all those America cop shows
– a lack of volume control by some locals when speaking in public places

I realise that my posts will get fewer and further between as I continue on my trip so whilst I have the energy and time now I thought I’d start off strong!

Night Australia!

Pilot blog

So I’ve decided to join the bloggers world. The main reason being I have a shocking memory and would love to look back on this trip and remember everything. I’m well aware that my audience will be my eyes and possibly my parents, however this was originally going to be a private blog so count your self lucky rentals!

So I have just taken off to America for a 13 hour flight!! I feel that rush of true independence flowing through my veins, I now can do exactly what I want to do with no comments or questions (this should be trouble). I think I’ll start my flight with a whiskey and ice just because I can haha. I’m yet to make any conversation on the plane but to be honest the average age is 45+ so I’ll just see how I’ll go!

My flight stops in LA and then I will grab a connecting flight to Boston where I’ll hopefully find Greg waiting for me (if you’re reading this Greg I want to see a massive sign with my name and your classic Asian face with the peace sign).

At this stage I am staying two nights in Boston at Greg’s house and then I’m off to NYC where I have booked one night of accommodation at the “international hostel” in upper manhattan, I’m winging it after that. I plan on staying in NY until I fly back to LA on the 19th of August (approx. 7 days). My schedule consists of doing all things touristy and catching up with Nikki and possibly Marissa for a NY Yankees game!

That’s all from me at this stage, hopefully my blogs will become more interesting as I enter a foreign world and interact with the locals, hopefully they love Aussies as much as I’ve been promised!!

Peace xo

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