We checked in and got our boarding passes. Figured we may as well go through security and wait in the boarding area. Oddly, U.S. customs has a pre screening area in Halifax airport. This means that you actually go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Halifax, once you cleared security. That way you don't have to do it in Newark.
But this was a strange experience...
The U.S. border guard was the most congenial border guard we had ever met. I actually told him that, and he said "shhhh, we're all supposed to be a**holes. You'll ruin my image"! Too funny. It wasn't busy and we stood there and talked to him for a bit. Nice guy, and proof that you can do your job and do it in a pleasant manner.
Waiting in Halifax airport.
Our United airlines flight boarded and left ahead of schedule! They told us that there was a strong head wind and that they wanted to get a head start. It was a small regional jet, seating about 55 people. One stewardess and she did a fine job.
There were a couple of empty seats and we didn't know which route we would be flying past Manhattan, so Ruth went and took an empty window seat on the left side of the plane. She managed to get a few decent pictures with our little Olympus camera.
Tough to get good pics out of an airplane window.
Landed at about 1:39pm New York time. Nice that we didn't have to go through customs, and we hadn't checked any bags. Yes, we're traveling very light considering we're on a 4 month trip!
Made our way to the Newark Airtrain, which is a free ride to the Newark Airport rail station. Then, we paid $12.50 each to take the NJ Transit train to New York Penn Station. We could have done the ride for $5 each cheaper by taking three different public buses, but sometimes you're better off taking the easy route!
We had just missed one train, and had a half hour wait for the next one. It was actually around 3:00pm by the time we got on the train. But it was a nice day, and the temperature was 66F (19C) so we sat in the sun waiting for the train.
Ruth, with our Heys ePac17 rolling backpacks. Yes, that's our luggage for this 4 month trip!
The train was busy, and we stood for the half hour journey into Manhattan. Figured our way around the busy terminal, and found the number 1 subway line that heads uptown. The only "unlimited" transit pass that they sell is a $30 pass that's valid for one week. We decided on the pay as you go Metrocard that you fill up as you need. Hopefully we'll spend less than the $60 it would have cost for two unlimited passes!
Inside the New York City Subway!
We got off the subway at 157th St in Washington Heights, just north of Harlem. A five minute walk from there brought us to a nice old apartment building beside the Hudson River where we met our couchsurfing host Ike.
We got to know each other over a glass of wine, and then Ike suggested we go to Chinatown for dinner. We mentioned the "gluten free" thing, and we ended up at a Vietnamese restaurant.
We ate at the Nha Trang Vietnamese restaurant.
Dinner was delicious. It was a nice evening, and Ike took us for a little walking tour of the area. Lots of people out and about on a beautiful Saturday night in "the city".
Busy streets at the entrance to Little Italy.
The Christmas store is open for business!
Walked through Washington Square Park.
It was 10:30pm by the time we made it back to the apartment. Ike got us set up on the fold out bed in his living room, and we were pretty much out like a light!
It's the New York City marathon today, and 40,000 runners will take to the streets this morning. We're going to do lots of walking today, and hopefully we'll get some great pics of the city for you!
Kevin, Ruth, Cameron, Lindsey, Justin, Sadie.
Thanks for having us Lindsey! We miss you already!