At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Purcari Winery, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist! Arrive December 8th.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Back in the Big Apple!

Seems we brought some South African weather back to New York City. Well, almost. Yesterday was probably the nicest day New York has seen since last December!

But what a long trip to get here. When you include the hour and a half stop in Dakar, Senegal, we were on the plane for eighteen and a half hours!

And I don't sleep well on an airplane. Simply can't get comfortable. Some day, wouldn't you like to try those big comfortable fully reclining seats they have in first class? I know I would!

Good thing they have great onboard entertainment systems now though. Each seat has a screen in front of it with a huge personal selection of movies, TV series, special shows and documentaries, and even video games. I watched three movies and a few series shows. It does make the time pass a little better.

And watching the "security" circus doing what they do is entertaining, although frustrating. So here we were in the departure lounge, already having gone through the metal detectors and scanners and x ray machines and pat downs. Figured we were ready to get on the plane, right? Nope.

They set up this impromptu looking table and made everyone go into the walkway and line up. Yep, 300 people or so. Where they made everyone take their shoes off and patted everyone down and opened carry on luggage. Sort of. They kind of half heartedly opened a zipper or two and peeked inside. It was a joke and a waste of time. I asked why they had to do this when we had already gone through security. They said "oh, this is the American security check". Never seen anything like it in all our days of flying.

Then, when we arrived in Dakar, Senegal at 3:00am, they changed crew and a few people got off the plane and a few people got on. Then, they said that everybody had to take all of their carry on luggage out of the overhead bins and place it on their lap so that they could check if the bins were empty. Then, nobody checked and they told us to put it all back!

I have no problem with airport security and the process to make things safe. But this stuff was a waste of time and didn't make any sense.

Anyhow...

Finally arrived at New York City's JFK airport at around 8:05am, about a half hour behind schedule. Then, it was actually fairly quick through customs and all of that and we made our way to the "Airtrain" to get to the subway line, and one subway change to get to the lower east side of Manhattan.

Waiting for the subway train.

Not a bad cost to get into "the city". $5 each for the airtrain, which is a little pricey, but then $2.50 each for the long subway ride. 

Our son Alex had come into the city on Friday evening to meet us here and spend some time with a friend who lives in the area. So we met up with Alex at the apartment. We were pretty tired, but seemed to get a second wind. It was a gorgeous day here, with a high of about 13C (56F). They've had a terrible winter, one of the worst in many years and so everybody was out enjoying the day.

The apartment we're staying in is right in the middle of Chinatown and so what better place to go out and get some food!

Alex, being funny with his big bowl of soup! Looks like he's wearing a crown with the wall hanging in the background. Too funny.

We stopped at a place that sells "pho"...a noodle soup with veggies and beef. Huge bowl, for $5.50 each.

Lots of seafood for sale in Chinatown.

You can buy pretty much any type of seafood here. Some stuff we didn't even know what it was!

Then we took Alex to the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. Along with everybody else!

Looking back at the skyline.

Saw one of these things come flying in. They sure make a lot of noise.

Freedom Tower, nearing completion.

Alex, in the financial district.

We had made plans with our couchsurfing friend Ike to come over for dinner. We had stayed with Ike last November before we left for South Africa, and we had left our heavier jackets and a pair of jeans with him. He brought our things over to us, and it was good to catch up with him and tell him about our trip. He's done a lot of traveling, but he's never been to Southern Africa, so now it's on his agenda.

Ruth, Ike, Alex, Kevin.

Slept like a log last night, but woke up early. Between the time changes, the lack of sleep, and then the hour of daylight savings time change overnight last night, our systems are a little messed up. But we don't seem to suffer much in the "jet lag" department, so we'll be back to normal pretty soon.

Busy day planned for today. We're doing a New York City food tour with Ahoy New York Tours and Tasting. Should be fun!


22 comments:

  1. Wow that was a long flight. The last time I was on a long flight, we had no movies, so at least that helped pass the time somewhat.

    I imagine you're in for a bit of culture shock, huh?

    BTW....we took your advice and invested in Tilley hats. Boy are they expensive, but we both like them.

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    1. Having the small entertainment system at our seats certainly helped to make the long flight a little better.

      I am sure that you will be very happy with the Tilley hats, and they will last you for a long time.

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  2. Ah yes, you got to experience the absurdity of the TSA. This was why in all our trips to and from Europe, we tried to avoid the US as much as possible. Only flew through Newark one time to use up some miles, and we decided that THAT was enough. Had to do it to get to Maui unfortunately.
    Nice to see the weather in NY has cooperated. I think that's the warmest it's been there all winter.

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    1. Have to agree with you on the absurdity of it all but we just look at it as part of the travel experience and suck it up. Besides, if they didn't have all these crazy rules then what would we have to complain about! :)

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  3. Welcome back to the good old U.S of A. We love pho.

    With all the awful weather New York has had this winter, I am not surprised to see so many out and about on a beautiful day.

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    1. We couldn't have ask for a nicer day for our arrival at this time of year. It was nice to see the city bustling about with so many smiles on.

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  4. Walking thru Chinatown and Little Italy is always one of our fav things to do when visiting NYC - so many sights and yummy foods. Enjoy your time there!

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    1. We loved that area and we loved having the apartment in that area too. There is also something happening there and the shops are so interesting.

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  5. You have had a very busy time, maybe slow down a bit?
    soon.

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    1. We will have plenty of time to slow down when we are old, life's too short so we want to enjoy every minute of it.

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  6. I was 'suffering' along with you as you did some of the touristy things with a supreme lack of sleep. Welcome back to North America.

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    1. We really didn't feel the lack of sleep until very late in the day. I think we slept pretty well that night, just up a bit too early the next morning.

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  7. Oodbtonsee youbgyys back safe and sound. Ready for the next adventure!

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    1. Thanks Peter, we are ready to get back to Sherman, we sure have missed him.

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  8. You will be glad of your heavier jackets!

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    1. There was only one day that we were happy to have our hats and warmer jackets. We were lucky that they had some decent weather for most of our visit.

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  9. Welcome to my old stomping ground, NYC. When I was stationed there the last time, one goal I set for myself was to eat an egg roll in every Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. In five years, I maybe hit about half of them, they seemed to open new ones faster than I could eat... :c)

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    1. Wow, that was quite the goal you set for yourself! We can understand what you say about a new one opening up faster than you can eat, everywhere we looked all we could see were restaurants.

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  10. Welcome to the USA, sorry about all the hassle with customs. I couldn't agree with you more, they seem to have lost the reason for their existence.

    The aircraft is the V-22 Osprey, used by the US Marines. It lands and takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane by rotating its engines. They are headquartered at the Marine base in Yuma, Arizona. One year while camping at the Slabs, they did their maneuvers just outside the fence for a few days. Practicing their takeoffs and landings. It was cool to watch and very loud as you said.

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    1. Yes it was a bit of a hassle but if you want to travel it is part of the package.

      Thanks for that bit of info on the V-22 Osprey. We have heard of them before and seen them on TV but I don't think we had ever seen then flying, they were pretty cool.

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  11. OMG - exactly the same flight experience as I had back in October. Except that you didn't mention about the extra blanket landing in your lap having flown over your head by the flight attendant, nor the bottles of water smacking you in the head as they rushed down the aisles. Laughing about it now but sure wasn't much fun in the middle of the night.

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    1. Guess we were lucky enough not to have encountered the flying blanket or the bottles smacking us in the face. We actually found the staff to be quite courteous it was just annoying having them wake you up and in the middle of the night and have to deal with all the "security" hassles in Dakar which were in our minds pretty "Mickey Mouse".

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