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Round the World

Visited some relatives of mine on the Friday night and Saturday morning. It was great to meet Mark, Maryann and their young daughter Katherine. A trip like this is a great opportunity to meet up with people you would otherwise wouldn’t see often and unfortunately I did miss one such opportunity in Toronto. Sorry Dorethy and Alan.

We went to a fundraising fair organised by Katherines school. It was nice to see this side of the US that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Most of the money was raised by selling second hand goods that had been donated. More valuable items were sold in a silent auction including a sailing boat with cabin, outboard and tailer. The reserve price was $500 so Mark put in a bid just above. As I left the fair and with only about half an hour to go Mark’s was the only bid on the boat and it looked like he had got himself a total bargain.

The Beaumonts, Long Island, USA

Returned to NYC and spent the evening in a great dive bar; drinks were reasonably priced, the 4th was free, so were the hotdogs and the jukebox was brilliant playing superb range of music including Jesus Jones amd Madness (no I didn’t put them on). Many of the people were regulars and the place had a nice friendly if run down atmosphere.

Rudy’s Bar, New York, USA

Over the next few days I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge which offers superb views back at Manhatten, though there appears to be little to see or do on the other side.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA

The Staten Island ferry is another free opportunity to get great views of the harbour. Handy hint, head for the lower decks as they are less crowded and it is great standing only around 4 feet above the water at the very bow or stern of the ship.

Manhatten from the Staten Island Ferry, USA

Also at the south end of Manhatten is the site of the former World Trade Centre and a short visit was worthwhile. It is interesting to note that most postcards on sale in NYC still feature the twin towers.

What I did miss this day was the Dalai Lama speaking in Central Park. It was advertised on posters but I didn’t see one until the day after. However on returning to the hostel I found they had sealed of the road to set up a stage for a Jazz band to play. Excellent music which was watched by hostellers and residents alike. Nice to see the Jazz in the Park hostel living up to its name.

Jazz in the street outside the Jazz in the Park hostel, New York, USA

NYC has many distinct areas with their own flavour, Chinatown being a mad hussle of markets and restaurants, Greenwich Village being much more laid back, the financial district dominated by skyscrapers and banks, midtown with its grand stations, post offices and libraries and the upper west side much quieter, residential and cheaper. Shocked to find that almost all the sleaze has been driven from the Times Square area and its been Disneyfied.

As it was raining heavily this morning I intended to visit the Museum of Natural History, but it was closed because George W was visiting. Wouldn’t have minded if I thought he would have half a clue at what he was seeing. Still at least with the rain NYC may smell a bit better. For those that have not been it is worth noting that New York has an array of strong odours, especially arounds bins that the summer heat doesn’t help.

Its now my last full day in NYC before catching the bus to San Francisco tomorrow. I have only scratched the surface of the city and am sorry to be leaving; its a dramatic and fun place. Sorry for the lack of pictures again but I am suffering from poor internet cafes with staff that struggle to understand english and don’t have a clue technically.

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