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  • Writer's pictureClaire

25/04/24 New York

So the bed and business class travel  was a resounding success and I slept solidly for 8 hour. I did wake feeling a little parched, congested and generally as delightful as the bottom of a budgie cage. However after a lazy stretch and putting in a request for some orange juice I began to feel less budgie cage and more Claire. The juice was Proper stuff, with the bits in and ice cold. Soooo good! The sinuses and ears are a bit painful but I’m hoping they’ll ease up after swallowing down some pain killers. Opening up the goodie bag and locating the toothbrush and toothpaste I cleaned my teeth and was delighted to discover on my return that my bed had been put away, and my blankie was neatly folded on top of my pillow.  The crew member who did it for me was chatting to Si, she’d identified our Welshness, and is from Gloucester, so they had a chin wag and Si mentioned his neighbour to the left having family in Coleford, so she went and had a chat with him too. 

The blankie went up into the locker, and I kept the pillow incase I wanted a little nap before breakfast.  I’m loving the fact that the wifi is available onboard and it’s really strong  considering it’s available to all passengers. Satellite wifi is the way to go, and I’m swapping out our crap and very expensive (considering the crap service we get) BT one for it as soon as we get home. The speed is incredible, no buffering and I’m able to have several tabs open at once with no issues. I love this!  

We’ve had our breakfast orders taken, and been bought fruit smoothie ‘to wake us up’ served in a heavy glass and chilled to perfection. It was mango heavy, but I couldn’t tell you what other fruit was in it if I tried! The cabin is run with Military precision, and the crew glide up and down the two rows so efficiently it’s mightily impressive.  The glasses were quickly cleared and that was immediately followed by hot towels on a silver tray being given out to us. That was blimin lovely, scrubbed the sleep out of my eyes and really freshened me up. The same lady did another lap and collected them in with her tongs before vanishing behind the curtain with them. 

The trolley bearing breakfast came through the magic curtain, and started with Simon and I, pastries jam butter and cutlery were placed on our linen covered tables quickly followed by our overnight oats with mango puree and puffed buckwheat. It has to be said that it was blimin delicious! So too the rich coffee that followed.  Once that had seen its way down the hatch, they cleared the table bought more drinks and my hot banana waffles with boysenberry Yoghrt honey and cinnamon butter. I have to admit to being a little bit full, but I’m no quitter and managed to get it down me.  

In danger of slipping into a food coma, I continued watching the expendables 4 which prevented me from nodding off. We landed 15 mins ahead of schedule and this is where I was actually mildly impressed. Given they wanted to know the ins and outs of a ducks arse as Auntie Evelyn would say, I was expecting the security to be a nightmare. If there hadn’t been so many people in wheelchairs we would have been through there the fastest of any country we’ve visited. They took our fingerprints and asked when we were leaving after confirmed the hotel address. Stamped the passports and we were away to go. The bags whizzed around in front of our noses as we got to the carousel and Mildred was waiting for us. In under an hour we were off the plane cleared through security and outside waiting for our Uber. That’s pretty good going in my opinion.  What’s not so good is the temperature, currently an Arctic 8 degrees and dropping, this is not big and it’s not clever! My knees are freezing and I’m very grateful I purchased winter clothes in New Zealand. My single working brain cell is officially fried once more, we left New Zealand on the 25th April at 1900hrs and landed in New York at 1900hoyrs on the 25th April. That’s not a typo, we’ve time travelled, and I can’t get my cotton wool filled brain around it. My body clock is going to go into a meltdown if I’m not careful!

Our driver, George, was 3 minutes away, and an absolute delight.. The hotel was a good hour from the airport as we’re staying in New Jersey so he took us through the city to have a view of it at night. We passed the World Trade Centre and Battery Park before driving through the Holland Tunnel and to the hotel. During the journey, Si asked George if he knew anyone who would do a car tour of the city for us, take us to the sights, hot dog and pretzel stands, you know the usual touristy stuff, and he was throwing in suggestions of things to see, and we were thinking excellent, it sounds like he knows someone who could do that. Right up until Si said to him,so, do you know anyone who could do it? and he replied No! which made us both laugh.  

We’ve a rough idea of where we want to go, but walking it is going to take hours, and neither of us are 100%  and we have no desire or even fancy taking a bus tour, too peopley! We’d much rather give a local the money over a big company.  George then asked how long we would want to do on a trip and how much we’d pay. I’d already looked up private city tours and they start at $350 per person per hour, which is ridiculous. So we decided that $400 for the two of us is acceptable, still ridiculous but not quite so much!  George then said he’d drive us. So he’s picking us up at 1000hrs and he’s at our disposal for 4-5 hours, which is great. He and his wife are having a baby so I’m guessing the extra cash will be welcome. 

He’s been in America for 7 years, and came here from Georgia. Although he knows New York like the back of his hand he lives in New Jersey which he prefers. So not only do we have a driver to take us around NYC he can take us around NJ too! Result. 

The hotel is Doubletree by Hilton and by the time we arrived it was practically bed time. The lobby was quiet, and the reception guy was pleasant enough, handing over the key cards and directing us to the lifts. We couldn’t see the actual button to call the lift but a very helpful concierge assisted, it was right there in front of our noses, the fact there was a key slot in it threw us completely, the button just needed to be pressed ! Idiots! 

The ‘suite’ is quite big, with a desk, comfy chairs, fridge, coffee machine wardrobes ann huge tv. It’s perfect for what we want it for. We're only here for 3 nights and it’s 3km from the Port which is handy for catching the boat on Sunday morning. 

When we got settled we realised we have no power adapter for the USA, our worldwide one came to a sticky end in Mumbai in a flash of blue light, a puff of smoke followed by a pungent burning smell! So we are in need of a power source which is first in the list of things to get tomorrow. I never gave it a thought, and they had them in the shop I got my fluffy pink bag near the airport. They probably had them in the airport too! (Eye rolls to excess) 

We haven’t bothered to unpack tonight, just had a wash, cleaned our teeth and decided to get some sleep ahead of our tourist day tomorrow. 

Much Love


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