usa new york - backpacking around the world in 333 days
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around the world in 333 days

REPORT 27 - June 2001

USA - New York

Towering, huge, energetic, crowded and pulsating are all words that over the course of our around the World escapades we have most probably used far too often but as we approached New York and crossed over to Manhattan Island we both knew that are favourite adjectives would be seeing action one last time.

If you ever want to feel hated then we would suggest carrying oversized rucksacks 10 blocks at the height of rush hour, New Yorkers have a look that is almost painful. We arrived at our guesthouse in one piece, if a little bewildered, and flopped into bed, the summer's sticky heat having sapped all our energy. People always say how unbelievably tall the sky Scrapers are but it is not until you see it for yourself that you truly appreciate the scale involved, man-made canyons flank every street.

We opted for the tourist spots and caught the tube down to South Manhattan and took the ferry over to Liberty Island, where the famous statue stands. The French gave the statue to the country in 1886 as a sign of goodwill and now is a world famous symbol of freedom. Maybe we were becoming battle hardened by this late stage in our trip but there were no real surprises on offer at Liberty Island. The statue was everything you would expect but nothing more. You can go to the top of the crown for a spectacular view but it requires quite a few hours of queuing so we settled for a walk around the base.

On a combined ferry ticket, the next stop was Ellis Island, the arrival point for many of the immigrants that flooded the country at the beginning of the century dreaming of a land where the streets were paved with gold. What they found were doctors poking and prodding them and endless questioning before either being sent back home or being set free to find their American dream. The large building remained vacant for many years but was restored to its former glory and reopened as a visitors centre with exhibitions and displays charting its unique history and was really much more interesting than the Statue of Liberty if not providing as many photo opportunities.

By this time we were beginning to get the hang of all the streets and avenues and found our way to the financial district where everybody looks important and the tourists stand out a mile. We headed straight for the New York Stock Exchange where you can go inside and look at a rather boring display about how it all works before being ushered in for 5 minutes of standing above the trading floor and looking down on the brightly coloured blazers dashing around the floor. Afterwards we saw the traders hanging around outside, those who had sneaked out for a crafty fag, talking over the days events, probably finalising million dollar deals, but we were off to spend some serious money of our own.

We were desperate to pick up some bargains and part with some of our dollars and in New York it really isn't difficult. We strolled down Fifth avenue and realised we couldn't afford anything and instead took refuge from the hordes in the Museum of Modern art. Promising Picasso's and a few Van Gough's, we were disappointed that nearly all of it was closed for refurbishment, but all the famous pieces were still there and we felt we had had our blast of culture for the day and headed for Times Square for a blast of New York madness at its peak

We couldn't leave New York without seeing the apartments where John Lennon was shot and on the tube it was only a few minutes before we were delivered into the sanctity of Central Park and saw the famous steps before paying our respects at the Lennon Memorial. There were joggers, dog walkers, lunching office workers and tourists all escaping from the mayhem and due to aching feet saw only a fraction of the huge park.

On the last night of our trip, we opted for the best view in town and went right to the top of the Empire State building. As we stared out to the skyline we thought back to where it all began in India and realised how lucky we had been and just what a fantastic time we had had. The places we have been to, the things we'd seen and most of all, the people we had met would remain with us forever. We knew that we would never quite be able to see the world in the same light again. New York had been hectic, hot and exciting but most of all tiring, we both knew it was time to go home.

Jon & liz
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Statue of Liberty


Ellis Island


Wall Street Traders


Empire State Building

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REPORT ARCHIVE
The Beginning 14 - THAILAND Bangkok
01 - INDIA Delhi 15 - THAILAND Bridge Over the River Kwai
02 - INDIA Agra Taj Mahal 16 - THAILAND Chang Mai - The Long Necks
03 - INDIA Jaipur 17 - AUSTRALIA Kakadu National Park
04 - INDIA Camel Safari 18 - AUSTRALIA Ayers Rock
05 - INDIA Mount Abu 19 - AUSTRALIA Great barrier Reef
06 - INDIA Goa 20 - AUSTRALIA Fraser Island
07 - INDIA Mumbai (Bombay) 21 - AUSTRALIA Sydney
08 - HONG KONG 22 - NEW ZEALAND South Island
09 - PHILIPPINES Boracay & Panglao Island 23 - NEW ZEALAND North Island
10 - PHILIPPINES Bohol Chocolate Hills 24 - USA Hawaii Oahu Island
11 - PHILIPPINES Banaue Rice Terraces 25 - USA San Francisco
12 - MALAYSIA Kuala Lumpur 26 - USA Washington DC
13 - MALAYSIA Penang, Georgetown 27 - USA New York
  28 - UK - THE END
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Produced by John Bentham - Copyright 2000/01 Jonathan Enoch & Elizabeth Wigg / John Bentham

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Museum of Modern Art

John Lennon Memorial

view from Empire State at night

view from Empire State at night