New York Marathon with Sarah
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Pictures to be added soon.
[Written on the flight from Heathrow to Newark]Armed with full knowledge of what time my flight left, and what terminal it left from, I left work at about midday. I had to go via the cash machine to transfer money from my usual current account to my Nationwide account. For those of you who don't know why I always use Nationwide when I'm abroad, I love you. Please carry on spending lots of money on bank charges - it makes my banking cheaper. Obviously I could have transferred the money using t'internet, but that takes about 3 days, and would have involved planning in advance.
I also had to pop home to pick up my international adaptor, and spare mobile phones (although one wasn't tri-band, so I'd be lucky to get a signal). I even thought to check whether my AC-USB converter was a decent SMPS, and coped with strange American voltages. Before leaving, I realised that one of my AC-USB converters had a strange plug on it. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember what the American socket looks like, and didn't have time to find out.
I got quite got and sweaty cycling into Heathrow (although I doubt that the 29°C that my weather sensor reported was correct), so didn't cycle that fast through the tunnel. Because my boss had told me that I'd be flying from T3, I cycled to T3, instead of T1. This involved cycling across five lanes of traffic, which wasn't fun! At least nobody shouted or honked at me (unlike some idiot on the way to the airport, who felt the need to shout, "Get off the road you c##t."). I got to the short-stay car-park, and found a little kid wearing a hi-vis jacket. I asked her where the bike park is, and she said that there wasn't one in this car park, and told me where the other two are.
I had to cross several lanes of traffic again, but got there eventually. It seemed to be aimed at motorcycles, but there was nothing to say that push-bikes shouldn't be left there, so I locked my mine. Several security people walked past while I was locking my bike up, and didn't say anything. Worrying that I wouldn't find the bike-park again, I walked to T3, and found that my boss was correct. Without a frequent flyer card, I ignored the self check-in terminals, and joined the long Economy class check-in. After about 30 minutes, I listened to what some Virgin totty was saying, and it seemed that I just needed to put my passport into the self check-in terminal. I asked the totty in front of me to hold my space, and went to investigate.
I asked the Virgin totty, and I had heard correctly. Unfortunately, the machine didn't want to check me in, but more Virgin totty came to help. She suggested joining another queue, and saying that the self check-in didn't work. I liked this queue, because I was the only one in it. The woman who checked me in had to call up to do some kind of security check, which might explain my problems checking in myself. I then went to get through security. I knew that I wasn't allowed liquids, so had only packed toothpaste and a small thing of shower gel, and was going to buy shaving foam and deodorant when I got through customs. I expected an argument about taking through my empty water bottle, but nobody complained. Fortunately, I'd remembered that my bike bag had a small CO2 cylinder inside it, so had taped the cylinder to the bike.
Once I'd got through security and emigration, I checked the departure board, and my flight was already boarding. Ignoring that, I decided I had time for a few pints and a bite to eat at O'Neil's. I found a table, went to the bar, ordered food, and then sat down. I then called Becky. Before the phone had finished ringing, my food arrived. This worried me slightly, because they can't have had time to cook my burger properly, but it seemed OK. Becky didn't answer, but, while supping my second Stella, I called Gimmer and Joanne. It was 3PM when I called Gimmer, and, while I was on the phone, my boss locked up for the day.
With 40 minutes before my flight was due to take off, I decided I ought to start walking to the departure gate. Sod's Law dictated that it would be the gate furthest from the bar. As I got closer, people were running past me, but I wasn't going to hurry. I did realise that I do walk quite fast - I overtook people who were walking along the travellator.
It didn't take long to get to the front of the queue, but the security totty wasn't impressed when she asked me how long I was staying for - my reply was, "I don't know. A few nights.". Remembering that my boss had suggested filling in the confusing immigration forms before I started drinking, I asked for the forms, and then got on the plane. Just at the last minute, I remembered to call Danny and Dindin. As I was walking onto the plane, there was totty with a great arse walking in front of me.
I found my seat (56D sounds like a strange bra size!), and was impressed to see that the nice arse was sitting on my row (with her boyfriend between her and me, unfortunately), and some nice legs were sitting to my left (with a boyfriend as well).
The service on the flight seemed really good, and I was really happy to find out that Stella was one of the lagers on offer. There was one kid crying as I tried to get to sleep, but it soon stopped. The flight seemed OK so far, but was it worth missing out on Air India's curry for? When the food arrived, I found out that curry was on offer. Excellent.
After another can of Stella, and a litre of water, I was gagging for a jimmy. I walked to the end of the plane, and there was somebody gimmering around trying to open the toilet door. I just pushed hard where it said open, and surprised the woman inside, who had forgotten to lock the door! Ooops.
Back at my seat, I remembered my boss's advice, and filled in the forms while supping another Stella. They didn't seem that confusing, but I'll wait to see whether the American immigration officers agree. Hopefully filling in England as my country, instead of the United Kingdom doesn't confuse them! [To be continued]
[Continued on the morning of the marathon]I spent the rest of the journey updating my Scapa trip report, and sleeping for a bit. I'm definitely going to fly with Virgin Atlantic again - the air hostesses are really friendly. At about 18:30, the captain announced that we'd be landing in 30 minutes. This confused me for a while, and I then remembered that, earlier on in the year, America had changed the weekend that daylight saving time ended. Microshaft had issued an automatic update for this, but I hadn't bothered updating the software on my PDA, because I didn't think it would affect me. Since the clocks were actually autumning back this weekend, I didn't bother changing the time. As usual, everybody turned their phones on as soon as the plane touched the runway.
By the time I got to the queue for immigration, there were lots of people already there. I joined the first queue, but the bit of totty who was walking in front of me joined the second. After a couple of minutes, I realised that I was in the queue for Americans, so changed queue to queue with the less lardy people. Unfortunately, I was nowhere near the totty. Lots of people were using their mobile phones, despite there being signs telling us not to. I'd turned my phone on before we got to the queues, and had received seven text messages (five from Nicky, one from Becky, and one from Sam), and the phone automatically updated the correct time. It's such a brilliant feature - how did we cope without! Watching people in the queue, I was amazed to see that after an eight hour flight, people were frantically filling in their forms.
We eventually got moved to the American side, and had the choice of two queues. I chose the first one, and waited, while watching the people in front of me. The immigration bloke at the other queue started shouting, "No cell phones". The person talking on his/her mobile obviously ignored him, so he walked off to make an announcement. I was glad that I hadn't chosen that queue! By the time I got to the front of the queue, I knew the procedure as well as the immigration bloke. I was putting my fingers on the scanner, and looking into the camera, before he even asked me to. I considered complaining that he didn't carry out the pledge to welcome me to America, but I had totty to meet.
Taking all my things as hand luggage didn't help much in the end, because, by the time we'd got through immigration, all the bags were already on the carousel. Getting through customs was easy, but I was annoyed to discover that the only cash machine at the airport charged a $1.50 surcharge. Oh well, I didn't have any choice, I had to pay for the taxi somehow. I joined the queue, and then got in my taxi. On the way there, he almost crashed once, but I was more worried about having to pay $60 plus $9 for the tolls. Thank God for a good exchange rate! We got to the hotel, and I handed over $80, and asked for $10 change. The taxi driver wasn't happy with a $1 tip, so started driving off with me in the taxi. He realised that I wasn't going to tip him, so stopped and let me out.
The bloke at the hotel reception seemed quite friendly, but couldn't find any record of my reservation. I showed him what I'd printed off from the EBookers website, but he'd never heard of EBookers, so that didn't help. I told him that it would be difficult to get to speak to anybody, because it was the middle of the night in England, and asked if he had any spare rooms. He told me that there were two, so I asked whether I could just book into one. Unfortunately, not, because the hotel doesn't take "walk-ins". He gave me the hotel's URL, and suggested that I use one of the PCs, and book a room online! Both PCs were being used, so I tried calling EBookers.
The person that I spoke to at EBookers told me that I was a day late - I was supposed to check in on 2nd November. It took me a while to explain that it still was 2nd November in America! After several telephone calls, the bloke at EBookers faxed details of my booking to the hotel. Unfortunately, it didn't say anything that my printout didn't say, but, hoping he wouldn't get in trouble with his boss, checked me in. It took him ages to find out how to override the computer system, but he got there eventually. Don't worry, I'll be complaining to EBookers when I get back!
The hotel was pretty basic, but did the job. I dropped my bags off, and called Sarah. After several calls and text messages (she discovered that she couldn't make calls abroad), she told me where to meet her. All I wanted from the bloke at the subway station was subway map, and advice about what ticket to get. It took a while, but I eventually got what I wanted, and found my way to the station that Sarah asked me to meet her at. After another fairly long call (that'll cost when I get back home), we eventually met up. The only place that looked promising was an Irish bar. Wanting something local, I had a pint of Bud, instead of Stella. After that, we called it a night, and arranged to meet at 09:30 for breakfast. It was after 01:00 when I got to sleep, having been up for over 23 hours.[To be continued]
[Updated while having a cuppa before getting the subway into the centre to watch Sarah]I woke up at 07:00, which gave me plenty of time to get to Sarah's hotel by 09:30. One of the shared "restrooms" was vacant, so I went in, and was amused to see an empty brandy bottle on the side. Busting for a dump the first thing I did was sit down. It was a pretty good one, but it wasn't until afterwards that I realised that there was no toilet paper. Oh well, back to the left hand method that I used when working in Nepal in 1989-1990. Not only that, but the shower head was worryingly lose. Gagging for a cuppa, I caught the subway to meet Sarah. Despite being an "express" service, it took ages, it was a good job that I'd left plenty of time. I actually got to her hotel at 09:15, and waited in reception.
Her parents walked past at about half-nine. I'd met her mother once before, but had never met her father before. It seemed that they were making the most of their time in New York. Sarah and Lucy arrived at about 09:45, and we went to have breakfast. Sarah's other mates turned up soon afterwards. They had been out on the raz big time, and were suffering slightly. She introduced me to them, but I knew it would take ages to remember their names.
Realising that I hadn't eaten since 2PM yesterday, I ordered the big breakfast, which certainly did the job. Obviously, I had to have at least two cups of tea as well. We then split into two groups - some of us went to Madison Square Gardens, and the others hired bikes to ride around Central Park. The tour around "The Garden" was very good, but I was quite scared when we sat right near the edge in one of the high-up exclusive boxes. The girls were disappointed not to get to see the changing rooms, but they were shown on the video that we saw. Some interesting facts that I remember about The Garden are:
[Continued at a Starbucks by Sarah's hotel]We then met the others at Central Park, and had a quick cuppa. I also ended up ordering some little cake things for the girls, and accidentally picked up a cheese sandwich instead. Sarah and I were up for taking it back, but Will had other ideas, and ate into it. Talking about Will, the cheeky bugger said, "You must be Sarah's father", when introduced to me! We then walked through Central Park, stopping at a merry-go-round and some Alice in Wonderland statues on the way to the museum. Tom and I had the traditional hot dog while we were waiting at the Merry-go-round, and Tom almost got eaten by a squirrel when lying down by the statues.
We got to the museum in good time, because Will was beginning to suffer, and desperately needed the toilet. Unfortunately for Will, we decided not to go in, because it looked too big, and too expensive. We then found a café, and settled down for a bite to eat (leaving Will to dash off in search of a toilet!). I wasn't hungry, but couldn't resist the chocolate cake (and a few cups of tea, of course). Tom and Will found the slight flaw in my plan for a mini-USB to Bluetooth converter (Bluetooth is too slow to transfer the size of pictures that most digital cameras take). I also remember Michelle saying that she's never met anybody who drinks as much tea as I do. I couldn't believe it - I thought I was being quite restrained!
We then went to the smaller Googenhower museum, but it was closing in 30 minutes, so we went back to the Girls' hotel for a snooze (and some tea, of course). I was surprised to find that Michelle's battery charger didn't work on 110V-AC, but was also surprised that it still managed to charge the batteries enough to power her digital camera. I knew I should have brought my USB battery charger with me.
We then popped out for a bite to eat. We couldn't find the Chinese restaurant that we were looking for, but ended up at the Heartland Brewery and Restaurant instead. I wasn't sure whether Americans cook their steaks more or less than we do. I thought it was less, but Sarah's mate said it was more. To be on the safe side, I ordered well-done, which turned out to be a good idea, because it came out medium-well. We couldn't get a table for eight, so split into two groups of four (I got a totty table!).
It was then time to go up the Empire State building (we hadn't actually realised that the restaurant was on the ground floor of the Empire State Building). The security there seemed to be the same as airport security, so I put everything metal into my fleece pockets, and put my fleece on the scanning machine. The woman there told me to wear my fleece, so I had to empty all my pockets into a tray. I tried to explain to her that this was stupid, but she wouldn't listen. I also had to take my belt off (which I've never had to do at airports before), which was slightly worrying. Not only were my trousers very lose because I've lost weight, but the elastic had gone on my Tesco pants, so I was in danger of flashing to everybody! Fortunately, this didn't happen.
We then got into the first lift of two. We had to walk past lots of pushy gimmers trying to sell us things as we walked from one lift to the next. We'd lost Sarah by this point, because she had her express card to use, and would hopefully meet us at the top. Fortunately, Michelle was paying attention, and checking that I was OK. When we got to the top, Michelle took my arm, and kept me company, making sure that I was OK. I surprised how at ease I felt, compared with other towers that I've been up. I don't know whether it was because I didn't really have a sense of height because it was dark, or because Michelle was really good at looking after me. I'm not a big fan of light pollution, but it was very impressive. Michelle looked up at the top, and took a picture, but I decided against it.
We had a look around the shop, but I resisted the temptation to buy Bird a "Somebody a Love Went to the Empire State Building" T-shirt. Just before we left, I decided that I'd regret not looking up at the top, so went back outside. Thanks again to Michelle for looking after me.
With the others still suffering a bit from last night, and Sarah running the marathon tomorrow, we didn't have a particularly late night. We did have time to buy a permanent marker to write Sarah's name on her T-shirt, and some shaving foam for me, so that I would feel more presentable tomorrow.
On the subway on the way back, I saw a sign in German that I was sure had bad grammar, but couldn't take a picture because somebody was in the way. Walking up the stairs of the subway station, there were four very sexy girls in front of me, once had great legs, and quite a short skirt. What an excellent end to the day.
I got back to the hotel, took off my shoes, and then laid down on the bed. I'd had a lovely day, and, when I thought about going up the
Statue of Liberty, I had tears in my eyes. What a big girl's blouse!
I woke up at 07:00, and went for a shower. Fortunately, this time, I remembered to check for toilet paper first. There wasn't any (although the empty rum bottle was in the bin now), so I used another bathroom. Being a gimmer, I'd left my shower gel in the hotel room. Then it was time for breakfast. While walking to find somewhere for breakfast, I saw some totty ahead of me with something written on her arse, I got closer, and found that it said "Juicy". That definitely made my morning!
The only place that I could find that served breakfast was MacDonald's, so I went in there, and took my breakfast bag to my hotel room. I was not impressed to find that not only had the sever put the milk in already, but that she hadn't put the tea bag in. Possibly the worse cup of tea I've had since I left India in 1990.
After breakfast, I went off in search of a decent cuppa, and went to the Starbucks next to the MacDonald's, but there were no tables free. I then walked towards the centre, and was annoyed to find lots of nice breakfast places. I stopped at one for a cuppa, and a bagel, before getting the subway into town. The 6-trip ticket that I'd bought on Friday had expired, so I bought another, because Sarah said that they weren't refillable. I went onto the uptown platform, only to discover that there was no way of getting to the downtown platform. Fortunately, the ticket totty on the downtown side could check my ticket, and let me through.
It was another so-called "express service", which was a little quicker than yesterday's service. There were some amusing adverts (1-800-INNOCENT and 1-800-DIVORCE for two legal services, and "The weight is over" for a weight loss programme) on the subway. Lucy had said to meet sometime between 11:00 and 12:00. It was 10:20, so I had time for a quick cuppa before meeting the others. I sat down at a table at Starbucks. The bloke sitting opposite me swore lots when talking to his mate, and then fell asleep for ages. I got a text message from Lucy telling me they'd meet me at Bloomingdales at 12:30. Excellent, time for more tea! [To be continued]
[Continued while having a cuppa before meeting Sarah and her mates]It took about 45 minutes to walk from the Starbucks to Bloomingdales. It was quite a nice walk just dawdling along, minding my own business, taking pictures of signs that amused me (does anybody know what an Egyptian bikini waxing is?). Bloomingdale's turned out to be on 3rd Avenue, not 2nd Avenue, but at least it had toilets in. I had woken up feeling quite dehydrated, but had drunk enough tea to rectify that. Lucy send me a text message saying that they were running late, and I should find somewhere to stand. Just checking that I was walking in the right direction, I asked a couple, "What way do I go to see the runners?". The woman looked at me, and asked, "The marathon runners?". I was almost lost for words. Realising that I was unlikely to get a front-row vantage point, I positioned myself behind two little Chinese people, and watched out for Sarah.
Quite a long time later, I still hadn't seen Sarah running past, and the quality of the other totty had dropped quite a bit, so I decided to give up, and get myself a hot dog and a cup of tea. Still getting over the shock of paying $4 for a hot dog, and then seeing one costing $2, I made sure that I only paid $2. Minutes later, I saw one for $1! I walked a bit further, and saw an Indian restaurant on one side of the road, and a Starbucks on the other. What a decision - curry or tea? I decided not to eat, in case the others would be eating, but the Starbucks was too busy to sit down, so I ended up in a more skanky version that did the job. [To be continued]
[Continued on Monday morning, with a bit of a sore head]I walked to where Sarah had said we were meeting at 3PM, but couldn't find the museum. I walked around all the surrounding streets, and asked a few people, but had no luck. Looking at my map, I didn't seem to be very close to Central Park, so walked towards the park. On my way, I asked a hotel bouncer. He didn't know, but he asked somebody using his microphone and earpiece, and told me that it was on "53rd between 5th and 6th". Lucy still hadn't called me back, but I headed off to find the museum. I found it, but there was no sign of anybody there. It was now 4PM, so I just sat down to wait. I looked at my phone, and there was a text message from Lucy - it said to meet on the junction of 64th Street and Columbus Avenue!
I eventually met up with them by a fountain, but there was no sign of Sarah. Her parents turned up soon afterwards, and she wasn't with them either. The confusion was that the museum had moved to the MoMA (where the bouncer had directed me to), but we didn't know where Sarah would be. As we were deciding what to do, Sarah called me. Fortunately, she knew my mobile number off the top of her head. She was at the MOMA, so I told her to wait there, and we'd come to meet her. I was up for walking, but Sarah's parents wanted to use the subway. We got onto the subway station (using up all the credits I'd bought this morning), only to find that the downtown trains didn't stop at the station. We left Sarah's parents to try the subway, and walked to MOMA.
We found Sarah standing outside the MOMA, and were really impressed to find out that she'd finished in 4 hours and 6 minutes. Her parents turned up soon afterwards, and we went to get a taxi to the hotel. In the end, we didn't manage to get a taxi, and walked all the way. I was amazed that Sarah managed all the walking after having run the marathon. She's not just a pretty face.[To be continued]
[Continued while having a cuppa in Starbucks before going up the Rockefeller Center]The girls wanted to freshen up before we went out for dinner. They'd found a vegan restaurant, which they thought would be nice for Sarah. While the girls and Sarah's parents were getting ready, I persuaded the boys to come for a sneaky pint. To be honest, it didn't take too much persuading! Sarah's parents suggested going to an Irish pub up the road, so that's what we did. I stuck with drinking the local brew, and had a Budweiser. After a pint, we decided that it would be a good place to eat. I did suggest checking for vegetarian options, but the boys just reckoned we should assume it would be OK. Tom sent a text message suggesting a change of venue, and the girls agreed. Apparently they wondered about vegetarian options, and came to the conclusion that Tom and Will wouldn't have checked, but that I would have done. It's nice that people have faith in me.
Despite Tom getting confused about which waitress he'd spoken to, we managed to blag two tables. After three pints, the others arrived, and we continued drinking. There was only one vegetarian option, but there were only about five normal options anyway. The service and the food was pretty good, but the waitress wasn't wearing a low enough top (with Sarah sitting at the other end of the table, I couldn't only have eyes for her, so had to look elsewhere).
People gradually disappeared to bed throughout the evening, but I do remember Will making inappropriate advances to Sarah to try to get her to stay for another drink. The boys were both staying north of town, so we shared a taxi back. I was glad of this, because I'd had a bit too much to drink, and didn't fancy trusting my homing instinct in a town that I still wasn't that familiar with. Leaving my phone turned on in case Tom had problems checking into his hotel at 2AM, I fell asleep.[To be continued
[Continued while waiting for my delayed flight to London]My alarm went off at 08:00 this morning. Last night, it had made sense to make the most of my last day in New York. This morning, however, it made less sense. I turned the alarm off, and went back to sleep. I dozed until about 09:30, when I went downstairs to confirm that the check-out time was actually midday. Unfortunately, the bathroom that I chose to use today had no plug in the washbasin, but at least it had toilet paper, and no rum bottle. I went to the closest non-MacDonald's place for breakfast. It was a bit pants, but did the job.
I couldn't have checked out of the hotel earlier, because I had to leave my mobile phone charging. I'd left my PDA charging overnight, and, without a USB hub, I could only charge one thing at a time. Back at the hotel, I packed my bags, and then went to check out. Nothing had been said about my booking since Friday night, but I was a bit worried about checking out. Fortunately it had all been sorted out, because the bloke just took my keycard, and that was it. Not wanting to put any more credit on my metrocard, I walked into town.
I was still feeling a little rough, but was pleased to see a small shop that sold freshly squeezed fruit juices. It seemed quite reasonably priced, so I bought one to drink while I was walking into town. There were quite a few mobile phone shops on the way, which could have proved quite dangerous. I went into a few, but didn't actually buy anything. I did consider buying a video iPod, but decided against it. I also considered buying a hacked iPhone, but, knowing that Apple would disable it if I upgraded the firmware, decided it would be silly. I also wanted to buy an iTunes voucher for Michelle to say thank-you for looking after me on Saturday, but they were only valid in the US.
I got into town, and went for a cuppa at one of the numerous Starbursts. There wasn't an empty table, but I sat at a table that a bloke was already sitting at. He opened up his laptop, and I opened up my PDA, and we both started typing away. We chatted on and off while we were typing, and I mentioned that I'd be working tomorrow, but it wasn't too bad, because my work is only a 50-minute cycle-ride away from Heathrow. It turned out that he worked for a New York paper, and was writing an article about how bad cycle provision is in New York. He wrote down what I'd said, and said he'd include it in his on-line article, which would be published in a few weeks.[To be continued].
It was then time to go to look at the view from the top of the Rockefeller Center. Sarah and the others were shopping, so there was nobody to look after me. Remembering what the security at the Empire State Building was like, I took everything out of my pockets, and put it in my bag. The security guys at the Rockefeller Center were much more friendly and professional than the ones at the Empire State Building. Walking straight past the woman trying to take people's pictures, I then stopped to have a look at the three videos about the Rockefeller Center. The one that caught my eye was the one about being a Rockette - it reminded me about the Christmas play that Bird took me to last year (see Blog - Spirit of Christmas), but I have to say that the Scottish Rockettes are worth a look!
After the perving, it was time to get the lift up to the 67th floor. An announcement said to look up, and I did. I really didn't like the view out of the top of the lift, so just looked down. It didn't take the lift long to get up to the 67th floor, and I walked out. Everybody else walked quite fast, but I took my time. As I got closer to the windows, I got more and more scared. As I got close to the edge, my phone bleeped, indicating the arrival of a text message. It was from Gimmer, saying, "Top totty in the mad bishop-i dont no where to look.". This cheered me up, and I got close to the window. Feeling brave, I continued towards the doors. I looked out of the doors, and saw a barrier that was lower than waist height. There was no way I'd be able to get near that, but I then realised that there were tall perspex barriers this side of the waist-high barrier. I walked through the doors, and stayed close to the inside edge. Somebody then walked out, and said, "I pity the poor window cleaner". I almost lost it there and then, but managed to stay with it, and eventually edged towards the edge. I had tears in my eyes, but kept it together long enough to ask somebody to take my picture. I then walked around to the other side, where there were two sexy girls taking their pictures. Perving at them kept my mind off the height for a while, and I walked inside to catch the escalator up to the 69th floor.
I waited at the bottom of the escalator for a few minutes, composing myself for the view at the top. As I got off the top of the escalator, I was brought out right next to similar barriers to the previous level. I obviously hadn't composed myself well enough, because I immediately pushed myself up against the inside wall, and didn't want to move. After a while, a tour guide came up to ask whether I was OK, and helped me to a bench. I was doing my best not to burst into tears, but I wasn't doing a very good job. She chatted to me for a bit, and then stayed with me as I walked to the edge. I remember holding onto one of the telescopes for support, and almost losing it when the telescope moved. After checking out the view for a bit, the tour guide said that she was going to the 70th floor with her colleague, but that she didn't think it was a good idea for me to go up there. I agreed, and she walked me to the bench, and told me to wait there.
After a minute or two, two security guards came up, and asked whether I was OK. I was hardly able to speak, so couldn't really explain that I was already being looked after. One of them stayed with me, and said that he would help me down when I was ready. I managed to say that I wanted to go to the edge again, and he walked with me. The tour totty came down again, and, realising that I was in safe hands, said goodbye. They were going to be in London on Friday - if only I'd managed to get their telephone numbers!
The security guard said that they had special stairs that were less scary than the escalator, but I said that I'd be OK with the escalator. He also said that he would get me a lift to myself, but I said that I would be OK. We walked through the shop, and he stole me a map showing me the views of New York, and then got me right to the front of the lift queue. He made sure that the lift wasn't full, and down we went. I made the mistake of looking up again. I looked down at my feet, and tears fell onto the floor all the time I was in the lift. The security bloke escorted me out of the building, making sure that I wasn't harassed by gimmers trying to sell me things. Thank-you to everybody who helped me while I was up there.
I really fancied a pint after my experience, but Sarah and the others were in Bloomingdales, and I really wanted to see a friendly face. I walked to the other side of town, only to get to Bloomingdales as they were leaving to go to the MoMA, because it's closed on Tuesdays. If only I'd known about their change of plan, I would have stayed near the Rockefeller Center, had a pint, and seen Sarah. Oh well! I really didn't fancy going round a museum, so Sarah said that she'd join me for a pint. I really wanted her to, but I also didn't want her to miss out on the museum just because I'd been a stupid old fool. I told her that I'd have a burger and beer at Hooters, while they were looking round the museum. They were getting a taxi to the MoMA, but it turned out there there wasn't room for me as well, so I walked. After about 10 minutes, I looked up to see where I was, and realised that I'd walked in totally the wrong direction. I must have been in a bad way if I was walking away from Hooters!
I eventually got to Hooters, and went inside. A seat at the bar perving at Hooters girls bending over all the time sounded tempting, but I didn't feel up to talking to people, so asked for a table. I then discovered that it serves Stella. I almost felt better - Stella, totty, and food. If only it did curry! I was going to update my trip report while in Hooters, but decided that it was a better use of my time to drink Stella, and stare. While I was there, I replied to Gimmer's text message, saying, "I'm in Hooters, and know exactly where to look!". Thinking that I was in the MoMA, I got a text message from Lucy saying, "I'm here. Where are you?". I replied, saying, "I'm in Hooters at a table near the back.". Apparently, she'd sent me a text message, because I was the most reliable person to try!
Once I'd finished my "more than a mouthful burger", and two pints of Stella, it was time to leave. I discovered that 5PM is an excellent time to visit, because that's the time that they change shifts. Unfortunately, neither shift's totty compared with the Sarasota Hooters totty. I met the others at MoMA, and then we went to the pub we'd been into last night. I suggested this, because the journalist that I'd met earlier on had said that the best way to get to Newark station is to get a train from Penn Station. We had a quick drink in the pub, and I then left to get a train. Penn Station was quite busy, and all the people started making me scared again. I quickly composed myself, bought a ticket, and got on the train. The train wasn't too packed, so I felt better. There was some Polish totty struggling with her bags, so I offered her a hand. She was flying from the same terminal as I was, so we caught the airport shuttle together. I wasn't sure whether she was single, but got her phone number and e-mail address anyway.
There was no Virgin self check-in available at Newark Airport, but the queue wasn't too long. There were no aisle seats left, so I had to sit in the middle. Because of this, I was able to get a seat right near the front, so would be able to get out quickly at Heathrow. I then had to get through security. It's nice to see that American security has improved, and is now at the level that Heathrow's was a few years ago. Unfortunately, people flying from American airports don't seem used to the increased security, and always get confused. I had time for a quick pint after getting through security, because getting onto the plane.
When we were in the air, I turned on my PDA to continue writing up this trip report. Before doing so, I changed the time to UK time, and realised that it was 3AM GMT. I decided to get some sleep, because I was going to arrive at 9AM GMT, and cycle straight to work. I tried to sleep before the food arrived, but couldn't get to sleep because whenever I shut my eyes, I had visions of being a window cleaner on the Rockefeller Center, and falling off. I wanted to have a few Stellas to help me sleep, but also wanted to be sober when I got into work, so had none. I managed to doze off once I'd eaten, and even managed to sleep through being offered tea.
The queues at the immigration at Heathrow were far shorter than at Newark, with only 2 or 3 people in front of me. Having only hand luggage with me definitely helped this time. As I expected, it took me a while to find the car park that I'd parked my bike in, and even thought that it had been stolen, before I realised that I was looking in the wrong bike park! I then got on my bike, and cycled into work.
Thank-you everybody for an excellent weekend.
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Created on: 02 Nov 2007. Modified on: 31 Dec 2007.
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