Lexi and Hiro's Round The World Journey 2008-2009 travel blog

Times Square

Lexi at M&M's mega store

Waiting in line to buy our delicious hotdogs

Central Park

In Central Park watching people row on the lake

Great street performer playing drums out of odd objects

Walking along Broadway

On top of Empire State Building looking Downtown

Looking towards Uptown, Central park and Hudson River

Walking through the cool villages of east and west, soho, chelsea, greenwich.

Paper cranes sent from Japanese people to New York for the 9/11...

Wall st stock exchange

Statue of Liberty photo taken from the Staten Island ferry

Lexi on the back of the ferry with Manhatten in the background

Eating cupcakes on the Sex and the city tour. Same shop Miranda...

And having a Cosmo at Steve and Aidans bar

Grand Central Station

7hour flight over the Atlantic Ocean brought us to New York, and we are so excited to be in this cultural hotspot of the world. Funny thing was that we felt like having been here before. We figured out that it is just because we very often watch American movies or TV shows that staged in NYC such as CSI, Sex and the City, Friends, Law & Order, Seinfeld and many more. So everywhere we visited, it looked kind of familiar even if we’ve never been here.

We didn’t feel that NYC is that big compared to other cities we’ve visited, but it is very condensed on the small island of Manhattan. We enjoyed walking along Broadway, had a great time in the beautiful Central Park, and paid a quick visit to John Lennon’s apartment. We bought a famous NY hot dog and sandwich from a street vendor and had them in the park. They were massive but delicious. Lexi’s sandwich had just-cooked chicken, shitake-mushroom, spinach and cheese, oh it was so good. We also climbed up the Empire State Building to enjoy the panoramic view of Manhattan.

The former World Trade Centre site is now being re-constructed. It is located right in the middle of the tall-building jungle and I just can’t imagine how shocking it was for New Yorkers to see it collapsing down. Nearby the site there was the Sep 11th Memorial centre showing the devastating photos and stories of what happened there on that terrible day. After visiting so many war-related places throughout our trip, this was again a heartbreaking experience and we just can’t stop thinking why we do this to each other. It is always innocent people to be sacrificed.

One day we joined “Sex and the City” tour, as Alexis is crazy about this NY-based TV drama. She has all the DVDs, and she has probably watched them a hundred times (seriously, I’m not exaggerating it!). We thought there would be 5-6 people on the tour and we were going in a van or something, but we were wrong, big time. There were more than 80 people with 2 big buses, and this tour runs daily. The tour took us to more than 40 restaurants, bars and shops that were used in the scenes. On the bus each scene was shown on the TV, and it was definitely a dream tour for fans. Needless to say Lexi loved the tour, but Hiro also enjoyed it even though he doesn’t watch Sex and the City, as we visited cool spots in NYC where tourists wouldn’t even know these places exist, and we can catch a glimpse of New Yorker’s life. It was fun.

New Yorkers are probably most opinionated people in the world. In a good way they are straight forward, in bad way they are self-centred. They don’t hesitate to tell you what is on their minds. If we are in their way they tell you to move, if they have a question, they ask you. It is great that they aren’t two-faced, but NYC isn’t easy to survive if you are nice and courtesy person, like Alexis. She had a few encounters with New Yorkers already. Don’t get us wrong though, they are very friendly and funny. They are also very helpful if you ask for help.

One thing that disappointed us was its public transportation. A city like NY, we thought they would have convenient, latest and easy-to-use transportation, but they don’t. Trains, subways or buses are very difficult for tourists to understand and use, there wasn’t much information available, and the systems they use for trains are very poor. They don’t even show which platform the train is coming into until a few minutes prior. Ticket systems are nightmare, they don’t have integrated ticket for different train lines, subways and buses like other cities in the world. We stayed in New Jersey as we couldn’t afford accommodation inside NYC. But it was fine as its only 7mins train ride to get to the city. However one night we caught a wrong train (took an express one so it skipped our station). It did not say anywhere that it was an express one and not stopping our station. So we had to go back to NYC and start all over again, it was late at night and took us 3 hours to go home with bad connection between train and bus. Even in non-English speaking countries it was much easier and convenient, and we just can’t believe NYC transportation is so behind other major cities. Only one thing good about the transportation in NY was free ferries between Manhattan and Staten Island. We didn’t need to go to the island, but took this ferry just to enjoy the view of Manhattan from a distance and the statue of liberty.

Anyway apart from transportation, we really enjoyed NY, and we needed more time to explore this cool city. We’d love to come back in the future. Now we are heading down south to Miami, a party beach city is waiting for us!!

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