Wednesday - Arriving in New York
I took the cheapest flight to New York which unfortunately meant leaving denver at 1am and arriving in New York at 6am. This got me to new York just in time for rush hour. It was disorientating and scary but I got to my hotel OK at 9 30am. To compound my miseries the room wouldn't be ready until 2 pm so I walked around New York trying to stay awake. I fell asleep in Starbucks and the hotel lobby in quick succession, I looked like a hobo.
I went to ground zero in the evening hoping for some kind of spectacle and a sense of grief. Almost all the pavements are closed and there is a lot of construction work so I was a bit disappointed. Also it rained all evening causing me to impulsively by an umbrella.
Thursday - First full day in NY
A friend arrived early in the morning and we immediately boarded a ferry to Liberty Island. A constant theme throughout this trip would be annoying tourists, they were all jockeying for position at the end approaching the statue. Another theme for this few days would be the security checks. Not only was all my stuff scanned. I was selected for an 'extra precautionary screening process' which involved me stepping into a full body scanner while air was shot at me to search me for drugs. Either I looked suspiciously druggy-like or they heard my accent and I was being treated like a 'dirty foreigner'. I got the standard picture in front of the statue and enjoyed the view before we got the ferry to Ellis island. Ellis island is where immigrants used to be shipped before entry into the US and so there is a lot of history there. I am certainly not the first Price to be there.
After ellis island we went to Times Square, it was incredibly busy and a bit claustrophobic but interesting. We went in some of the shops including a Toys R Us complete with working ferris wheel; the M & M store among others.
After a bit of shopping we went out to dinner at Max brenners - a restaurant priding itself on good chocolate, naturally I was at home here. The desserts were mind blowing and I'm salivating just thinking about it. After dinner we walked across the Brooklyn bridge and looked back at a lit up manhattan, it was spectacular. My friend then left and I returned to the hotel to watch some south park and go to bed.
After a late start I took the subway to central park to see the John Lennon memorial and walk around for a bit. It rained pretty much all day and New York is miserable when it rains, there is poor drainage and the crowded sidewalks are now made more difficult to traverse because of the umbrellas. Tourists like me are ducking and diving and avoiding other umbrellas (locals don't seem to do this - they don't care if they hit you or not). I then went up the empire state building and saw... clouds. It wasn't very clear at all so I got some pictures but they weren't great. It was a nice experience though, it makes you realise how big New York really is.
I went back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then subwayed to the blackfield gig. It was a great performance that was slightly marred by the crap audience. Rather than dance or sing when their favourite song came on they would get out their mobiles and video it. These people were completely missing the point of live music and meant the atmosphere in the venue wasn't as good as I hoped it'd be.
Saturday - Travelling to Philly
After getting up early I took the greyhound bus to Philadelphia where I was picked up by Trevor. We went and saw the Liberty Bell - the most anti-climactic tourist attraction ever. A small bell with a crack in it that used to be in Freedom Hall or something. Fascinating.
There was much jamming and gaming in these few days, it was great to relax with mates and see somewhere new. The house I stayed in was in the countryside which was a welcome change after overwhelming busy-ness of New York. I liked visiting New York but a country bumpkin like myself could never live there. No one cares about anyone else and everyone is so highly strung, a stark contrast to the relaxed attitude of Boulder.
Wednesday - Washington DC
A day spent in DC was very interesting. We started off at the Capitol building and the house of representatives. We then saw a few museums (natural history/air and space) and carried on walking to the Washington monument. We then saw in order; war memorials (Vietnam, Korea, WWII), Lincoln momument, Jefferson monument, FDR monument and the White House. It was an awful lot of walking but a lot of patriotism from Trevor made for a good day, I got a few essential tourist photos as well.
Trevor and his parents are studying population genetics in bats and so on a Thursday evening I was persuaded to help them catch bats and collect tissue samples for their research. We put up huge nets over a river and collected bats from dusk till midnight. We caught 4 bats which I'm told is a fairly reasonable haul for this time of year. I couldn't actually handle the bats as I don't have the necessary rabies jabs but it was interesting taking part in the captures.
One thing I will not miss about the East coast is the insufferable humidity. Spending a minute outside will cause you to sweat buckets and it's hard to cool off. It seems I'm now adjusted to Boulder weather, this will not be good when I go back to the UK, it's going to be quite a shock.
We went to a local music event where Trevor's friend was playing, it was an enjoyable gig and it makes me look forward even more to getting home and jamming with the band.
Saturday - The day I travelled
Today was an incredibly long journey, it started by being driven for an hour to Philadelphia, I then caught a greyhound bus to New York (a woman vommed near the front causing a mass exodus towards the back of the bus and a terrible smell), I then caught the subway across New York, took the air train to JFK airport and got on a flight to Denver. It was an exhausting day but on arriving in Boulder at 10pm I went straight to a friend's house and chilled with mates.
And here I am at Denver airport about to travel home. I catch a flight to Minneapolis and then change to get on a flight to London Heathrow. I'm very excited about going home but am sad to leave Boulder, it has become like a second home and I will miss many of the great friends I've made here. Do not worry Yanks I will definitely come back one day to snowboard and catch up with friends, hopefully in a couple of years or so.
So I think that's the end of the blogs then folks, it's been a great year and thanks for reading, I'm glad I could keep people in the loop and I enjoyed writing these entries. I can only hope that people aren't too sad to see my blogs come to a close ;)