tea party

Visiting New York

Ah, the unexpected part of our trip. I’ve covered why we were there in previous posts, and I’m still unable to even think of that airline without getting angry. (The return trip home didn’t help matters – after the luxury of economy on British Airways, economy on American Airlines was dismal. I’m trying not to remember the food, which lived up to the stereotype that airline food is revolting, and actually made me sick. Which doesn’t usually happen – I have an iron stomach. Or something.)

We managed to get a hotel sorted out, and got a taxi from JFK into Manhattan. I was still pretty upset when we got into the cab, but when we passed the graveyard that you see at the start of Cruel Intentions (oh yes, I’m a 90’s teen), I started to cheer up slightly. The view of the island was amazing. Once we had been through the tunnel, we were suddenly in the city, and I couldn’t help but stare upwards.

We got into the hotel (Westin New York at Times Square – it even has its own iPhone/iPad app. No, I don’t know why either.

We were staying on the 28th floor, which gave us an incredible view of New Jersey, and down below, West 43rd Street. Because the room was booked via Alex’s company, we had a “deluxe” room, with another epic “heavenly” bed (I really like the Westin chains now.) and a “heavenly” shower which is two shower heads instead of one. Pointless, but kinda cool. (Lets not talk about the bath, another American disappointment.)


Around the corner was Times Square. Such a crazy place!

Monday, we got to the hotel, went out to get some snacks, etc, and went to bed. I had had very little sleep (only managing an hour or so on the plane) so was grumpy from that as well. We had to send our clothes to the laundry service in the hotel, as obviously, we’d only packed for one week! It was pretty funny having to give someone 4 sacks worth of clothes – the bill was crazy, but it was probably cheaper (and definitely easier!) than buying new clothes (and the excess baggage costs – I was almost up to my limit anyway).

When packing to go, I packed for the weather we had been having in the UK at that time – temperatures of -5C. I got to California to find it was about 20 degrees warmer! Thankfully they were mostly layers, so I was OK. Alex, having been to Las Vegas the month before, knew what sort of weather to expect in Palo Alto, so packed for that. Unfortunately this meant that when we were in New York, he hadn’t brought a coat! It was seriously cold there, bitter winds but thankfully no snow! So on Tuesday, we went to Macy’s, apparently the largest store in the world. You’d expect me to be delighted by that, but honestly, a giant shop 3 days before Christmas? Hell on earth. We found a coat (Alex doing his usual “take an hour to debate different items, then settle for the first one seen” (he is like a girl)) and went up to the 7th floor for some Maccy D’s filth. I just couldn’t find any enthusiasm for shopping – maybe it was because I had no money, or maybe it was just that I was tired of shopping, but it meant that the most exciting part of that trip was the wooden escalators that have been there since the beginning!

On Wednesday, we took a walk up Fifth Avenue, passing the tree in Rockafeller Centre (still so pretty)

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Trump Tower

And er…the Apple store on Fifth. Oh come on, how could we not go? Look at it! Its a flipping cube of nothingness! Its all underground! Thats a queue of people waiting to get in (partly to get out of the cold tbh)

We didn’t actually buy anything, but we did get some very late lunch in Trump Tower. That place is so insanely decorated, pink marble and gold everywhere.

On Thursday, Alex stayed in bed all day, after staying up till 7am trying to catch up with the work he was missing at home, so I caught the Metro down to Battery Park and hopped on a ferry to Liberty Island to visit a blue lady.

Lulz, Statue of Liberty’s bum. (I don’t think I’ve seen a photo from this side.)

Unless you book really early enough to get “crown” tickets (which I obviously didn’t), there isn’t really that much to do when you go to Liberty Island besides take photos of Lady Liberty. Yawn. So I caught the ferry back to Manhattan, and set off to try and find a subway station. Well, that was the aim, until I saw this:

This sculpture, called The Sphere used to reside in the plaza between the Word Trade Center towers. After 9/11, the Sphere was moved from there to Battery Park, and currently acts as a temporary memorial while work is underway to build a permanent memorial.

I headed up Trinity Place, and knew where I was when the towers all around gave way like this.

Its pretty incredible when you think only 10 years ago, this was a built up block. They’re currently building the permanent memorial on this spot, which I’d like to visit one day.

Over the road from the building site is Trinity Church

I had always wanted to go to New York, but I didn’t really enjoy our trip as much as I should have done because it was so unplanned, and I just wanted to be home. I’m so grateful to everyone on Twitter who kept me sane those two weeks I was away – I think I would have gone crazy if I couldn’t vent somewhere! I’d like to go again some day, but maybe around my birthday so its a bit warmer!

More photos (of course!) over on Facebook.

Visiting San Francisco

Click to see this one a lot bigger, its a great photo (well, I think so!)

We got to San Francisco about 8pm on the Friday of our “holiday” (Its weird to refer to it as a holiday, since Alex was working most of the time, but from this point, it was a holiday. Ish.) We were staying at the Hilton Financial District and after checking in, we went up to our 23rd floor room to find this view:

I think I had my face pressed up against that glass for a good 5 – 10 mins just looking at everything. First thing I pointed out to Alex was a bright pink place, which turned out to be a strip club. I do not have some sort of strange attraction to strip clubs.

This was the view in the morning. The island to the left of the tall tower in the centre is Alcatraz.

Look! There it is a lot closer!

On Saturday, we went to Pier 39 for a wander. Pier 39 is a pretty touristy attraction, with quite a few shops. Unfortunately it was raining quite badly on Saturday, so we went to Aquarium of the Bay. I had to move the photos of the aquarium into their own album on Facebook as Alex was quite snap happy.

That is a look of pure concentration on my face. This was pretty awesome, just full of these fish (I can’t remember what sort they were, I want to say pilchards) swimming about in a circle, opening and closing their mouths every so often.

We ended up walking back to the hotel from the pier – not through choice, but because we couldn’t find a taxi in the rain! Somehow we didn’t take any wrong turnings, and got back quite quickly without resorting to our phones. I call that a win.

Saturday night we went to see Tron Legacy in super uber ZOMG 3D (theres probably a brand name for the 3D thingy we saw, but I prefer mine). The film was pretty good, despite me never seeing the original! American cinemas are crazy with the fast food as well, massive buckets of Coke and just sweets EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, I’ve already covered in my previous blog post about why we ended up stuck in New York – we just stayed around the hotel, frantically refreshing the American Airlines webpages on our phones!

You can see the rest of our San Francisco and fishy photos on Facebook.

Visiting Palo Alto

Wow, it seems like ages ago that we were in America, and yet, it seems really recent. Does that make sense? Does anything I say make sense? Hmm.

Anyway, I blogged about our trip from London to San Francisco, but didn’t actually write about the rest of what went on. This was partly because I was so busy with my hectic lifestyle of er… a bit of shopping then American daytime TV. Its not as good as UK telly btw. No Jezza. (Everyone loves a bit of Jezza)

We were in Palo Alto while the boyfriend was meeting lots of work people (including his new boss) While he was in meetings, I wandered about the little city.

I visited Stanfords campus:

I got a train to Mountain View (and was incredibly grateful when I found that Google provides free wifi all over the town. Waiting for a train was much more entertaining when I could talk to people on Twitter)

I found a roundabout! (My dad has always said that they don’t really do roundabouts in America, so this one amused me with its helpful diagrams!)

I went to a diner!

(Man that place was awesome. I had a cherry soda and a Philly cheese steak. Yum. I was tempted to have an egg cream like Harriet the Spy but then I found out what its made of. Eugh. Fizzy milk? Weird.)

I saw other random things!

A really creepy looking mansion!

The house where HP started in the garage and is said to be the birthplace of Silicon Valley. (I know, crazy times)

A giant egg decorated in circuit boards.

If you’d like to see the rest of my Palo Alto photos, I uploaded everything to Facebook – because I can. So there.

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