OR Tambo was fine once through security, just very warm as I was dressed for NY autumn. Sat at a restaurant type place and had a beer before heading to the gate. It was like the “economy class lounge”. There was another security check there for water etc and we had to remove our shoes and get re-searched.
Boarded the plane and was lucky to have an empty seat next to me. Watched a movie but fell asleep straight after supper.
New york is 7 hrs behind ZA in winter. So landed at 6am, not 5am as originally thought. Hope the transport is around.
Flight on SAA 203 was great. Average airline food. They ran out of the chicken supper, so had lamb curry.
Water was in 250ml bottles, as much as you can drink. I only had a Pinotage as the Shiraz was running short.
Breakfast was some sort of egg thing. (Frutata) Not bad, with fresh fruit, yoghurt and a small croissant.
Passport control could have been anywhere in the world. There were many people shepparding passengers and helping.
Temp was 2 Celsius when we landed.
Picked up by Louis in a Lincoln Town Car. He was Mexican, so struggled to understand the accent. He was full of info that I hardly understood.
Drove past Flushing Meadows and Citifield. Le Guardia airport was next.
Radio station on the drive was 1010 Wins. “Give us 22 minutes and we will give you the world.”
The hotel, W on Union Square, is quite cool. The rooms are larger than I thought they would be. My credit card didn’t work for the $100 deposit, so they took cash. Good news, I guess, as I can buy some cool duty-free stuff on the way home.
The hotel is ‘pet-friendly’ so people bring their dogs into the hotel. It’s hysterical to be in a lift with people and a dog or two. No idea how the rooms cope with a dog.
The streets are quiet. People don’t talk to each other. When they talk about the vibrancy of Africa, that’s what they mean.
Okay, I was on the streets early, they get busy. Heard one SA accent from people walking by. Manhattan is walkable. Been to Time Square and another square. Shopping mall underground. NBC is there. Need to look it up.
Was tourist trapped at Time Square. Mickey Mouse forced himself into a picture then demanded money. Didn’t do my SA trick and tell him to get stuffed.
Highlight was the Public Library. Amazing!
Stopped for a beer at Heartland Brewery. $7.50 a pint of Empire Premium Beer. Didn’t want to do the conversion.
Struggling to find Empire State Building. Eventually found it but $25 to the top was out of my league.
Two highlights: farmers market and TGI Friday’s. There were apples the size of my head! Then drank a Bud, out of the bottle! $7
Baby Back Ribs, full rack – $23.59
Half rack – $12.29
Sirloin steak; 6oz – $20.29
10oz – $21.79
Evening function was in a Lounge Club in the hotel basement. Dark but cool, interesting little venue.
People from all over the globe are here including Romania and Japan.
The Ferrari guy spoke a little at the function and I noticed a SA accent. When I asked him, he said that he was born there. Strange to hear an Italian / SA accent like his. One can’t lose the SA sound.
Sleep was good but still woke up at 5am, which is midday ZA time. Watched some morning news TV. Some good ideas to take home.
Breakfast was interesting: 2 eggs with bacon and sweet potato. Cereal with milk. Fresh fruit and yoghurt. Bagel and cream cheese.
Not sure if breakfast is normally included. Will find out.
Chilled a bit before 9:45 meet then off to the venue for the day. In the lift down, Fernando Alonso got in along with his body guard. I shook his hand but I don’t think he knew who I was. Strange. He is shorter than I am but not as short as I thought.
Arrived at the New York Science Institute, the event was held on the 40th floor, above Ground Zero. Struggling with the cold then heat. Wore a jersey but that is too much inside. There is no middle ground.
The press conference was very informal. There were some interesting questions but I am VERY worried about my audio. From what I hear on the camera, things are not looking good. I could write stuff, but that isn’t the point. We wait and see. I just hope that I justify the trip.
Lunch was chicken and broccoli. Very nice. The broccoli was cold with spinach. The Americans don’t seem to eat salt with their food.
Back on the bus now to take us to the hotel, then to go shopping. I have some free time before evening function at 7:30.
Sign in NYC. “Stop praying…God is too busy to find you a parking spot.”
Found a cool t-shirt shop on Monday then went to find it on Tuesday afternoon. Took 2 wrong roads, then walked up and down 5th ave three times before finding it. Bought Jason and Gareth their presents.
Went back to TGI Friday’s for beer during happy hour.
$3.50 for a Bud Light, so had two! Hehe
Dark at 5pm.
Missed the hotel’s happy hour by 3 minutes, so still have $6 in my pocket.
The New York fashion trend is shorts with stockings and boots. Most girls are wearing them, some shouldn’t.
Final night event at the Classic Car Club of Manhattan. Fantastic classic cars that people pay plenty of money to be able to drive. Loving Manfred’s Sony camera, remind me to write something about it somewhere.
Used the Go Pro in the classic cars that were being driven. Ferrari, Aston Martin and a Lamborghini. Hope the footage works.
It’s not often that English is the minority, but it is this week. Russians, Czechs, Romanians, Spaniards. Okay, there is an Australian, but she doesn’t count.
It’s 11pm now, 6am ZA time, and about to go to bed for a 6am wake up. Time makes no sense right now.
Early wake up on the final morning. The breakfast restaurant wasn’t open yet, so popped into the local Dunkin Donuts and did the American thing. 2 old fashioned.
The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year in the US, so this morning should be fun.
Picked up in a BIG Mercedes for the trip back to the airport. Driven down Broadway in a Merc…anything better?
Airport was NOT busy, if anything, it was almost deserted. Walked through the shopping but struggled to find something for Wife. Bought her a magazine. Hope she likes it.
Chilled in a “Buffalo Wild Wings” sports bar. Ordered a Blue Moon beer. Not clear. See pic. Had a second beer. Hey, why not? I set my watch ahead, so, in theory, it was 4pm in ZA, so beers at this time is fine. Must have water on plane.
After changing my watch to ZA time, the flight made sense. Watched a movie, then fell asleep. Up and down sleep but woke up at 6am for breakfast.
Passports was fast and I was out of the airport 30 minutes after touchdown.
Over and out.