Pod 39 Hotel, Manhatten, New York City

My final post on NYC. It’s taken me a few days to get round to this one – just too busy at work (catching up is horrible)!
Well the hotel we stayed at is in Murray Hill which is in Mid-Town Manhattan. It’s based on 39th Street and in between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue. It’s three streets away from Grand Central Station, 10 minutes away from the United Nations, 15 minutes away from the Empire State Building and Macy’s and a few minutes away from a lot diners and eateries. I think I chose a really good hotel!
I had a single room and Miss Pinky and Mr Picky had the double room on the 9th floor. We were on opposite ends and I couldn’t be bothered to take pictures of their room since I had a feeling it would be filled with their things. I’m a bit of messy person (because I’m always on the move) but in hotels I am always tidy!! ^_^ 
The room was ok to sleep in, you can still hear noises from neighbours who are shutting their doors. The doors are quite annoying because you have to make sure they slam for it to be locked. So make sure you slam it like you’ve had a fight with a friend or partner and you’re slamming the door behind you. 😛
The towels are really small as if they only expected very thin people in the room. If you like big towels make sure you bring your own. The bathroom is basically right next to your bed. There’s a glass slide door to separate the bathroom to the bedroom, so if you manage to stink out your room there is a window by the shower you can use… The shower is ok, it sprinkles from the top, and make sure you turn the faucet round more to get the hot water (there’s no instructions on the tap).

The TV was ok but I think my aerial was quite bad at receiving signal so I didn’t watch much of the TV channels.
There is no kettle but there is a small desk you can use. There’s no wardrobe but there are hangers you can use to hang clothes or you can store them under the bed.
The roof top is not bad but the bar wasn’t open – probably too cold for them to use. Here’s the view from my room’s window…

Hotel staff are ok. There’s no room service and there’s a helpdesk for tourists to use. WiFi is great throughout the hotel even in the rooms… 
It wasn’t a bad stay… Miss Pinky and Mr Picky found their room a bit too small… thankfully we were only there for a week! ¬,¬”
I used booking.com, so I paid after the stay… ^_^

Address: 145 East 39th St, New York, NY 10016, United States
Phone: +1 212-865-5700

Survival in New York 2015: Day 7 – The Great Escape

Friday 20th March – the last leg of the trip
The day started really early. Well 6 am (not that early). Had to shower, finish packing the rest of my stuff and shift out before 7 am. We had already booked an airport shuttle which was $20 (~£13) per person. After being picked up we unfortunately had several other pick ups before we got to the airport and those people were late or we were too early… Not looking good for us trying to get to the airport and aiming to have some breakfast!!
We were stuck in traffic for a good 20 minutes or so and I had this bad feeling that we would be late for the flight. We should have left at 6 am. Who booked that shuttle?! It wasn’t me… Luckily I had already downloaded the United app the night before in case something like this happened or the fact that our flight was going to be cancelled because of the snow that was heading into New York that evening…
Thankfully we hit the high road and our driver sped through to the airport. He got us there just in the nick of time so I tipped the driver 5 bucks. Phew. ^_^ I’m a happy geek.

That’s our plane waiting…
Got to the baggage check in area, and I had a feeling all of our luggage was over the limit. I think mine was underweight, because no way was mine over 32 kg. In Japan, I remembered mine was quite heavy at 18 kg… And this time it weighed 34 kg. Impossible!! Luckily the guy who was checking our stuff let us pass as we couldn’t pack stuff into the third suitcase as he had already let it go through… In the end we didn’t have to pay any extra by shifting some of Miss Pinky’s / Mr Picky’s luggage.The Americans are really nice… especially the airport staff (well some of them). I think this may be our lucky day throughout the whole trip.
We passed security and really in the nick of time as we had a few minutes to spare to go to the loo and grab something to eat and drink on the flight.
As soon as we bought our things it was already time to board. Wow. This has been the fastest and adventurous trip back to London I have ever been on. No waiting around. Maybe we should do this more often… but I don’t think I would want to stress out everyone around me.
Our captain was a lady and this is probably the first time we’ve had a woman fly us on a big airplane… and we left the airport on time too!!
Lunch was ok… The chicken was very bland, rice was not cooked properly… I hate plane food…
United plane food
Spent most of the trip reading manga Ranma 1/2 which I have not read in a long time and I also listened to music on my iPad. 
The final snack was a boring cold turkey and cheese roll… it was horrible. They could’ve at least heated it up before serving it. I only ate a bit of it and some of the filling before turning my nose away from it… 😛 Disgusting.
Horrible turkey and cheese United roll
We landed safely in Heathrow Terminal 2 and Miss Pinky enjoyed the flight this time round – she thinks it’s because we had a woman flying us, but I think it’s because we had fewer clouds in the sky. It was a long walk to passport control… I think I like Gatwick a bit more now. I’m also getting used to the terminal staff asking where I’ve just flown from…

Well 3 countries in less than 5 months is a lot for a person like me. ^_^ Have to save up for the next trip although I’m now scared of flying since there’s been a lot of plane crashes in the past year or so. I will find confidence again to fly! Don’t you worry. The geek will fly again!

The Geek’s Question and Answer Time:

Was 7 days enough to spend time in Manhattan, New York? Yes it was but I think if I had two weeks I wouldn’t have stayed near the city, I would have stayed somewhere cheaper and would’ve walked around more places if Miss Pinky wasn’t preggies. 

Was having a third person difficult to spend a holiday with…? Yes, because I didn’t know what Mr Picky was like on holiday. Miss Pinky and I both agree he needs a proper lads holiday and not spend it with two ladies on the go. ^_^ Lol… maybe we’ll all go to Europe instead of somewhere far…

How much money to take with you to New York? I took over £500 but had exchanged all the foreign currency I had remaining to British pounds then to US dollars. So roughly for a week about £600 (I brought roughly the same amount in Dallas and didn’t overspend at all! What a difference). Just remember you need to tip at majority of the diners and restaurants you go to. Not so much at fast food joints which is a relief.

Did I survive? I managed to. ^_^

And did I have fun excluding all the emotional baggage and tantrums, lol? Yes indeed!!

End of Day 7.

Next trip: Not planned yet… Awaiting for people to contact me to go places… 😀

Survival in New York 2015: Day 6 – Brooklyn Bridge and the Mad Metro

Thursday 19th March
Well the day started late… I had a good 6 hours sleep then I kept waking up and falling asleep. So tired. I could have done with an extra hours sleep. I was finally getting into the New York time zone. Before going out I had a couple of danishes – one cream cheese and one strawberries & cream. It was something weird I had to try out in New York. I think prefer the European danish. These were out of the ordinary. >,<""

We all left after 11, it was a nice sunny cool day, not as cold as the day before. Had McDonald’s which consisted of two hamburgers, fries and Lime Diet Coke at $6.99 (~£4.70). I personally like the British hamburgers, they’re a little sweeter. The Americans add too much salt! We then made our way to 5th Avenue to look for trainers and souvenirs.

Then next we went into Macy’s. Everything was too expensive and we actually didn’t buy anything but I enjoyed going up and down those old escalators. ^_^ I’m sure it was cheaper in Dallas when we went into Macy’s…
Old escalators in Macy’s NYC
In the end we went to Brooklyn Bridge because we had nothing much to do. So we took the Metro from 34th Street. Got the R train which took forever to come. Had to ask a young lady to see if the R train came on that platform… and we got off at Court St in Brooklyn. 
Brooklyn actually looks nice! Better than the city in terms of peace and quiet, plus there was hardly any beeping horns.

We had to get directions from a lady on how to get onto the Brooklyn Bridge otherwise we would’ve ended up on the traffic side. 😛
I took lots pictures whilst on the walking path. Must point out that the cyclists hate us pedestrians (sorry but we pedestrians hate the cyclists too >.<""). It's difficult to share the same path that's split for cyclists and pedestrians… see this article when a cyclist goes in the pedestrian lane and this article when pedestrians get it wrong. Not nice. The pathway should be pedestrianised during the day between 9 am to 6 pm and cyclists for the evening between 6 pm till 9 am the next day!! 

Yay! Statue of Liberty! Finally got to see it via a long camera lens.

Can you spot Miss Pinky and Mr Picky? Will they get run into from this cyclist…? Lol!! ^_^

Busker at the other end of the bridge.

Manhattan during the day.

We took the Metro back from City Hall and unfortunately we topped up our Metro card with a very rude lady who rolled her eyes at Miss Pinky. I think Miss Pinky should’ve have rolled her eyes back and tell her to pee off. Metro staff are just plain rude! The Metro staff member was already in a foul mood with an elderly gentleman but is it right for her to treat us foreigners with such rudeness. I don’t think so. I might be rude but I always help with people who are lost. Always. 

We took the J train to Canal St and then started looking for a trainers store that had sales which we saw during the bus tour… But we couldn’t find the store so we stopped to eat at a Chinese buffet called Lunch Box Buffet. $5 for 5 food items. And it was a dollar for my can of Diet Coke. Mr Picky didn’t have anything but Miss Pinky went ahead.

My food

Miss Pinky’s food
Address: 199 Centre St, New York, NY 10013 United States (Chinatown)
Next it was time to find that trainers store which we eventually found and I got a pair of Converse for my birthday. Thanks Miss Pinky and Mr Picky! ^_________^
Time to return back and we got the R train. Unfortunately the gates we went through you have to turn once otherwise you easily have to pay extra! That sucks, so I paid an extra $2.50 (£1.68) to get onto the Metro. I thought New York was so much better with their transport system. I guess not. They need to start being European and Asian friendly. We use magnetic cards to get through gates!!!!! I think these gates are mainly to stop people from jumping over the gate though… ¬_¬” Typical. Not user friendly.
Got back to 34th St. Did more shopping and then back to Peter Dillon’s for a beer. I did not get hit on this time. Phew. I don’t like American beer by the way – I already knew that when I was in Dallas. Tastes very watery.

Grand Central Station is right ahead
Headed back to the hotel, relaxed and waited on the other two before heading back out.
Our last evening meal ended up eating Indian food in Nirvana NY where our bill came to $120 (~£80)!! Thankfully I did not go over budget throughout the whole trip. And we gratefully tipped. Portion size was too big for all of us. Miss Pinky was getting irritable because Mr Picky was being irritating to her (and to me too)… It was an uncomfortable evening… O_o
Vegetable Biryani 

Lamb curry

Rice, big bowl of spinach and naan bread

Mr Picky had his usual lamb rogan josh
Address: 346 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016, United States
Final moments were spent packing the remaining clothes and charging things. Then finally sleep.

Survival in New York 2015: Day 5 – Open Loop Tour Bus

Wednesday 18th March
It was time to do some more touring around New York City since I don’t think we would have time to go everywhere (well, we had a pregnant lady with us). We pre-booked some bus tour tickets from the hotel where there is a helpdesk for tours and whatnots. There are two tours available from the hotel the Big Bus Tour and the Open Loop Tour Bus. We chose the Open Loop Tour as there were three trips and we were able to hop on and hop off. It cost $39 (~£26) for the uptown, downtown and night tours. The ferry to see the Statue of Liberty is a separate fee, but don’t know how much that costs or we could get the free ferry, however it was too cold that day so we didn’t get the ferry.
Our tour started from 42nd Street in front of Bryant Park and it started snowing lightly for a few minutes. There is a bus every half an hour. Whilst we waiting I think I was hit on by a weird Asian man who started talking to me in Chinese and Japanese. Oh dear me! ¬,¬”” I started saying no in Japanese and said I spoke Cantonese… Argggh… Go away weirdo!!! Thankfully the bus arrived, I got on and the weirdo left. Phew!! ¬,¬””

I sat on top for the uptown tour but was practically frozen afterwards. Had to wrap up like a ninja! Miss Pinky said I looked like a raspberry muffin. XD

We passed by Central Park and looked at all the expensive shops. The audio wasn’t working properly so I skipped that and decided to look at all the buildings and scenery.

Just keep scrolling down… lots of pictures ahead…

We shopped around and had a McDonald’s after this. Miss Pinky pointed out that the Americans are better at packaging than the British. ¬,¬”” Well why doesn’t she go to the UK Head office and say that.

Second tour was heading downtown, we had missed the tour bus by a minute so we had to wait for the next one which came in an hour instead of half an hour so we sat around Bryant Park and had a look inside HBO. 

Again I was frozen. It was a longer journey and there was so much traffic. I really hate the New York Grid Plan. There’s no shortcut in between streets, no wonder New Yorkers like to beep their car horn so much. Grid plans do not work for a city like this.

The tour bus stopped here and the guide on the bus was saying to look on our left hand side… What was on our left hand side?

O… a bull. We’re supposed to rub either end good luck. Head for finance and / or the end for fertility (info from a friend in London). ^_^

Didn’t stop for the ferry for the Statue of Liberty… too cooooold!!

We were all trembling when we got off. We needed the loo and we needed food and drinks. We headed back towards 40th Street near our hotel and went into the Asian store near there… I wanted to eat noodles and so we waited for the chef… The Korean chef guy is weird… He demanded us to tip! I think Miss Pinky was in shock. I have never seen someone asking us to tip. I hate tipping. Ban it in the USA and increase the minimum wage! Anyway, I had the shrimp tempura ramen. The shrimp became all soggy as the chef put it at the bottom of the pot.

Miss Pinky had udon noodles. We agreed the food was good but service was bad!!
We went back to the hotel and this time we wrapped up warm for the night tour which started on 51st Street Broadway. I think the rest of the people thought we were weird wrapping up like ninjas – they weren’t on the day tours which made us all cold. I felt warmer thankfully but still cold… New York City is beautiful at night. Love the night lights in Manhatten. ^_^

Mr Picky and Miss Pinky being coooold!

Times Square at night is beautiful!!!

Night lights of Manhattan!! ^_^

We returned back and I had sushi, Pringles and milk for dinner. Not sure what the other two had. 

End of a very cold Day 5… we were told that this type of weather at this time of the year is unusual for NYC…

Survival in New York 2015: Day 4 – Empire State Building and St Patrick’s Day

Tuesday 17th March
St Paddy’s Day!!!! And guess what?! There’s a parade for this too!!! This was the main reason why we came to New York… But before this I went to the Empire State Building (don’t worry, I consulted with Miss Pinky before going ahead – before she got mad at me again… emotions do run high during pregnancy I must say!).
I was advised to go early before the queues started growing, so I left the hotel at 7.30 am. I got there in 15 minutes! I’m a pro walker. If you’re trying to the find the entrance which is currently covered with scaffolding, it’s just opposite Wendy’s on 5th Avenue. I asked about the tickets but you just buy them as you go up the escalator and pass the security section.
The security section actually reminded me of going up The Shard. Unfortunately they took my selfie stick away (which I hadn’t used for the entire trip). You are warned, selfie sticks are banned!! So tickets cost $32 (~£21), ok, that’s cheaper than going up The Shard, but that’s just for the observatory deck and not further up. If you want to see more you have to pay for more… 😦 (I like The Shard).

There’s two sets of lifts and in between the lifts there’s a gallery section before you get to the second lift…

I actually got confused and walked backwards because I couldn’t see the sign for the next lift… Confusing!!

When I got up to the deck (it was cold and rainy that morning) I took a lot of pictures… I think I wasn’t that impressed with the whole thing but at least I gave it a go!!

Address: 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118, United States

It was time to go back, but firstly I stopped off at Staples and bought some sticky notes because I couldn’t be bothered to buy them in England… (told Miss Pinky I went in there later in the week because she thought she would have to go stationery shopping with me, lol… she wasn’t impressed – but I knew she wouldn’t want to go in anyway! :p).

I headed back to the hotel, then met up with Miss Pinky and Mr Picky. We had some food first. Mr Picky had to skip as the pizza places weren’t opened yet… so I had sushi first. And Miss Pinky had a noodle soup.
We walked up to 44th and 45th Street but it was all closed off so we had to walk to 49th where we could enter and find a spot to look at the parade as it started at 11 am. We stood in front of Saks Fifth Avenue which was blaring out a horrible tune throughout the parade… I think they could have at least turned it off or toned it down… 

We were there for a good 2 hours looking at the bands, NYPD, the Navy and Army… There were even bagpipes too! Here’s a lot of pictures, well, just some of them, so keep scrolling…

My camera’s battery died at this point… so I had to my phone.

It was too much for us and so we went back, loo break and had food at Cosi on 45th Street where a lot of the bands were awaiting their turn for the parade.
Went back towards the hotel when I decided I wanted to try out Dunkin Donuts. I didn’t know what I wanted so I chose the 6 donut option. Unfortunately I think they ran out of the icing ones so I got all the dull ones… Not great stuff. I liked the chocolate ones, the blueberry one and the funny looking one… My iced latte needed sugar too…
Miss Pinky and Mr Picky had already decided to hit the pubs at this point (before I went to get my donuts) and I took my time getting there – I was tired from the standing around. Went back out and popped into Peter Dillon’s, they were checking our ID on this day… hmmmm… And I had a Guinness in a plastic cup! ¬,¬””
Miss Pinky was tired so we left Mr Picky and went out… We actually ended up a couple of blocks down the road, where we found a Chinese restaurant and we had food in peace and quiet. I couldn’t eat much as I already had 3 and half donuts!!!
They speak a mixture of Cantonese and Mandarin but obviously I spoke in Cantonese.

The waitress recommended these fish dumplings… and they were huge!

Can’t remember the total, but it was reasonable (around $40 ~£26 I think). Portions of food were big and the quality was great!! ^_^ I recommend. (Mr Picky was upset we went out and had food… oh dear, don’t ever look him in the eye Miss Pinky told me).

Address: 242 E 40th St, New York, NY 10016, United States

Went back towards the pub, and I think I was hit on by a guy who was blowing kisses outside the pub! Oh dear. Lol! I politely said I was waiting on some – that would be Miss Pinky who was checking up on Mr Picky who got hit on by a girl too… heheh (This does not usually happen to me by the way… New Yorkers really know how to hit on people). ^_^ I think Miss Pinky was the only one who was not hit on that day… ¬,¬”” 
Back to shopping and then to the hotel. There’s a Taco restaurant/bar joined to the hotel and we went and had a drink… The bar is very expensive and they also expect you to tip too! ¬,¬” We’re not going here again… 
Expensive cocktail!!
Night food consisted of pizza on top of the hotel. 
Broccoli Pizza!!

Took a final picture of the night lights in New York City where the Empire State Building was lit up in green. ^_^
St Paddy’s Day at night

Survival in New York 2015: Day 3 – Central Park, Eating and a Day of Confessions

Monday 16th March
Since I woke up early (around 7.30 am) I thought I might as well make the most of it and since I knew Miss Pinky was going to be asleep (maybe, since we were in different rooms but I think Mr Picky would have been awake by then) I decided to go out alone. I did some food shopping in the meantime so that I could get some change. 
Then I went out walking with my heavy shopping which I added into my rucksack. I found the Empire State Building which is not far from the hotel at all. About a 15 minute walk (if you walk averagely fast)

Then I found Macy’s. I thought Miss Pinky would be quite happy that I found it – and I didn’t want us to get lost if I didn’t.

Went back to hotel after my morning walk (it was more of a burnout energy session). spotted Mr Picky outside the lifts and went to see Miss Pinky. Unfortunately Miss Pinky was upset I went out alone (my confession and sin for the day) and she that our friends would assume she abandoned me as I would desert the two and do my own thing… She thought I didn’t tell her but I did! She never responded to my text (because she didn’t connect to the Wi-Fi!!). 😛
After half-an-hour we all went out together and Miss Pinky became all emotional (she’s preggies by the way… So it was expected on this journey. Never upset a pregnant woman. Ever. Even if you are the best friend. BIG SIGH). In the end we all had a heart to heart talk/confession which cheered all of us up!
Long Island in the distance
We walked along the United Nations. People were taking pictures as we actually didn’t know what the building was… At this point Miss Pinky became her natural self. Wow. Talk about Jekyll and Hyde moment! XD
From here we made our way to Grand Central Station on 42nd Street and took the Metro to Central Park. 

We got out of the Metro and we had to walk a long distance to get to the park.
Finally we got to Central Park (but we didn’t walk all the way)…

It was time to eat, on the way of finding food Miss Pinky had a pretzel which tasted quite doughy. Mr Picky decided we should go to the pub for food, so we ended up in The Coliseum. It was an Irish pub.

Mr Picky had the slider burgers which he found to be the perfect burgers since we arrived.
Miss Pinky had some seafood stuff and realised she couldn’t have the shrimp (prawns in English terms). We did tell her that she couldn’t eat shrimp but would she listen? Nope. ¬,¬””.
And I had the Manhattan Clam Chowder soup (Miss Pinky also had this) and tagliatelle with cut up beef steak… Ooo, that tasted good! 
This practically threw us off our food budget because we spent almost $100 (~£67) including tips – I originally thought that was expensive, but now looking back at the price, it looks ok! Anyway the food was good.
Address: 312 W 58th St, New York, NY 10019, United States
Walked around and shopped in TJ Maxx where I had to find skinny jeans, size 0 and had to be $10 (~£6)… Tough challenge from my colleague. But I found some! (Unfortunately it didn’t fit her, heheh).

We ended up doing somemore shopping and window shopping but it felt too hot in those shops. 
We returned to the Metro, went back to the hotel and then had food at Sarge’s where Miss Pinky thought they did lasagne which Mr Picky wanted, but that was next door. Miss Pinky finally got her buffalo wings.
I had a big massive salad which was good but I think they shouldn’t add the dressing onto the buffalo chicken pieces because it tasted too vinegary. 
Mr Picky had a hot dog in the end but the fried onions didn’t look like fried onions… the chips were good though!
Can’t remember the total… But we had a good dinner in the end…
Miss Pinky actually confessed that evening that she already had a big massive sandwich because she was hungry… She’s feeding for two, I know (!). That’s it. We’re even now!! 😛

Survival in New York 2015: Day 2 – Times Square, Chinatown and Little Italy

Sunday 15th March
Sunday started early. Mr Picky and Miss Pinky were already awake and they seemed to have a good nights sleep. Not fair.

Anyway. We all got ready and were out of the hotel by 9. That’s early for a Sunday and lots of people were up already eating breakfast…

We were looking around on Lexington Avenue and trying to find a diner with decent food… This meant we kept walking and asking the locals… One lady just ignored me and Miss Pinky >.<"" ! D'oh! We think she thought we were going to attack her… But one nice gentleman stopped and acknowledged us. Heheh.

Finally we we ended up in this cafe called Oxford Cafe. The food wasn’t fantastic but my latte was good! My cream cheese bagel was ok but when it came to my apple filling croissant I looked at in disgust! What are these Americans thinking. This is not a croisssant! Mr Picky didn’t like his poached eggs, they looked undercooked. Miss Pinky was enjoying her pancakes though – at least one of us was happy.

Pancakes, sausages and bacon

Cream cheese bagel

Poached eggs and … I’m not sure what that stuff is… hash brown?

Apple filling croissant ¬,¬” Are these Americans serious???!!!

It was an expensive breakfast at $39 (~ £26) which I think included service charge. We didn’t like the plastic plates or the cutlery unfortunately… Kitchenware needs an upgrade.

Then we just went back towards the hotel. Miss Pinky and Mr Picky took a nap… And me? I started writing and watching the food channel…

We finally went back out and Mr Picky was hungry because of the breakfast situation so he bought two slices of pizza which were awfully massive! So I had one slice. It was salty pepperoni. 

Next we ended up going to a bar on 40th Street called Peter Dillon’s… I think I was a bit moody because I wanted to go out and explore and not sit around doing nothing on this trip! My moody tantrum worked (hey I’m an Aries, I’m allowed to be stubborn and moody) because we ended up going to Times Square (Miss Pinky’s idea – which we was going to go to in the first place)…

We kept getting lost so we kept asking people (more like me asking for the right direction and confirming what the person said to me was the right way… Mr Picky and Miss Pinky were totally directing all of us the wrong way!!). I’m a geek, remember that! 😛

Please note: if you are going to take pictures with these animated characters in suits they expect you to pay a small amount of money… I didn’t ask for a photo… I’m too smart for that!

Times Square!!

Flag of the USA 

Times Square reminded me of Akihabara in Tokyo, the electric town and it also reminded me of Leicester Square in London.

M&M World


Then to Chinatown! You have to note that some New Yorkers are really moody and rude when it comes to buying tickets at the Metro station and the people behind you are practically rude! (Us Londoners are really civilised peopled when it comes to queuing and waiting our turn – I will try not to complain much about queues anymore… maybe ¬,¬”). Second note: they do not sell return tickets. They only do single trips for $2.50. So you must get a Metro card for $1 then use that to top up every time you use the Metro. Oooh, why haven’t they started using magnetic top up cards like London, Hong Kong and Japan. Even Marseille are using magnetic tickets! The Metro needs a mega upgrade. 

This reminds me of the French Metro machines… but the French one is cooler!

Once we got to Chinatown we pretty much split up. Miss Pinky and Mr Picky went to find food and I went around to explore the area… Felt like I was in London and a there was a bit of Hong Kong in between. There’s no big gate but it did feel very Chinese in the area.

Luk Fook Jewellery Shop!!

Aji Ichiban in New York City!!

Sorry… had to take a picture of this… It looked different and awkwardly amusing.

The way to Manhattan Bridge

Big massive HSBC

Then I went to explore Little Italy, only a little bit of it to see some street art before I went back to find the other two.

This is really famous!

See how inventive this street artist is… uses the air vents as part of his art work

Pretty cool stuff

Couldn’t focus well on this side

Little Hulk!! Really famous art work in NYC!!

Little Italy

In the end I ordered a bbq pork bun and a milk tea (Tetley tea of course). It came to $3 (~£2). Cheap. The only cheap food I will ever get on this trip! Too much tipping around. Service charge in London is only 12.5%!

Pork bun and milk tea

All three of us trekked back out to Little Italy and I got to see my favourite stuff… Street art!!!!!

Little Italy’s hydrant

 Miss Pinky thinks this is my long lost sister. 😛

Audrey Hepburn!! Wow!!

It’s a joke….

Walked more and then ended up getting on the Metro to Grand Central.

At Grand Central Station we started listening to this music artist Verbal Ase… he’s really cool!

And off we go…

As we walked back to the hotel, I took a picture of this Converse trainer hanging in the tree, Mr Picky said it was something to do with gangs in the neighborhood, but I’m not so sure. Could someone enlighten us with this… bullying, maybe? Or did someone lose their shoe on purpose?

Missing a shoe someone?

I took a two hour nap afterwards… I overslept my two hours and we went out afterwards to have our dinner at Scotty’s Diner on Lexington Avenue. Our host was kind of corny but nice. Mr Picky thought he was being smarmy but I thought he was a delight trying to be friendly, suggestive in the food area and quite courteous actually!

Scotty’s Diner in Lexington Avenue

I had the corn beef wrap with fries… Pastrami is too fattening apparently… ¬,¬”

Miss Pinky had the buffalo wings which she didn’t like. Too much salad and not enough sticky sauce which came separately.

And Mr Picky had a burger with fries…

Then we had a cheesecake in the end. It was absolutely gorgeous. Tasted like vanilla ice cream! But there was not enough biscuit… 😦

Can’t remember the total for the bill but I don’t think it was too pricey… Definitely tryout the cheesecake peeps!!!
Address: 336 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016, United States
Finally we headed back and Mr Picky and I went up to the hotel roof top so that I could have a look and he could have a smoke before returning back to Miss Pinky, heheheh. Those two make me laugh… I think I’m supposed to be their guardian and separator at the same time. Hah!

Rooftop view from Pod 30 Hotel

Empire State Building is just in view

Night time in Manhatten ^_^

I think I over ate because I couldn’t sleep. Again!

End of Day 2.

p.s. It’s my birthday today… ^____^ Getting older!!

Survival in New York 2015: Day 1 – The Journey Begins

Saturday 14th March
¬,¬” Whaaat! Another trip you say! Being spontaneous (but planned really after the Japan trip) in my life. ^_^
Yep that’s what we did, Miss Pinky, Mr Picky and I went to New York and it was Mr Picky’s idea to go around this time – actually I don’t really know whose idea it was really…  But I really, really wanted to go and so we went on the week of St Patrick’s Day. A spontaneous trip within less than 5 months apart (and this is my third international holiday… Oops). I’ve always wanted to go to New York and compare it with Tokyo and now I can tick this off my list of places to go to. Yippee!!
Our trip started after 12 pm and we all met at Waterloo Station and made our way via the Jubilee Line, then changed at Green Park for the Piccadilly line heading towards Heathrow Terminal 2.
We flew with United Airlines (which I had vowed not to take again since the bad experience we had when Miss Pinky and I went to Dallas but we were all on a tight budget) and so basically it was all self check in and do everything yourself with your luggage labels – but I needed assistance in sticking my labels on. 
After checking in Mr Picky went back outside to have his last cigarette, we passed through security (Mr Picky and I got checked… My bag seems to be checked all the time – I think it was the lip balm that I forgot to add to my plastic bag – but they didn’t even see it!)…
Fascinating taxi art work in Heathrow Terminal 2 by Benedict Radcliffe

Then it was time to eat. I had a jerk chicken burger, which I found a bit too dry and needed more spice. Mr Picky had a cheeseburger and Miss Pinky went to Yo! Sushi and had chicken miso ramen.

Chicken Teriyaki Burger

It was Duty Free shopping time then one more drink, toilet and snack shopping. Our gate was 15 minutes away from where we were so we had to walk fast… By the time we got there it seemed that everyone had boarded and I was out of breath! So quick! But it meant we were lucky not to have to queue. Phew.

Our flight was ok. Take off felt terrible and there was a lot of turbulence. The flight attendant even said one of us could move to the back… Miss Pinky decided to leave us and sit by herself for a while – but she regretted it as she should have sat at the back after take off. Food was a little off. I had the pasta dish and it was a bit too salty. The only thing I liked was the brownie.
UNITED plane food

Pasta dish

Before landing I had a cheese roll which was nicely warmed up… I liked it!

Cheese roll

Finally after 8 hours on the flight, we landed but unfortunately we landed too early so we had to wait on board for what seemed like forever… So here’s a few more pictures from the flight…

Flying over Canada

Then it was queuing time at passport control. We thought one of the officers looked quite mean, but he was really funny! They sit in a booth all day long so I guess they look mean and serious. Those type of people I like – people who can really make you laugh by looking serious at the same time. ^_^ Good for that New Yorker!

It was then time to get a taxi to our hotel. I think our taxi driver heard me say 9th street but we were supposed to be on 39th… It cost us $100 (~£67) to get there (an extra 20 bucks)! Expensive trip already!

Finally we checked in, unpacked and then Miss Pinky and I went out to have a quick meal at a nearby diner called Sarge’s. Looked popular from all the pictures that were hanging on the wall. I had a pizza burger, medium rare and no fries.
Sweet coleslaw and pickles

Miss Pinky had a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. So much food!

My pizza burger looked so big and I was able to add my own salad… all the burger needed was a bit of salt otherwise it would have been a perfect burger. I should have also asked for it to be well done… never mind…
Pizza burger

Medium rare

The bill came to around $36 (~£24). So we gave $40 (~£26). Need to remember to tip. It was an expensive sandwich/burger meal but it was the only place we could find at night. If we had went up towards another street we would’ve found a McDonald’s!!

Address: 548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016, United States

I think I had too much food so I had trouble getting to sleep… Had only 4 hours that night! 😦

Hawthorne Suites by Wyndham/Love Field Airport – Dallas, Texas

Before I move onto the confectionery that I bought in Dallas (will be in a future post), I’m going to first post about the hotel Miss Pinky and I stayed at.

First of all, it is in a very good location. It’s located about 25 minutes by car from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and about 10-15 minutes depending on traffic from Dallas Love Field Airport. Not a bad location at all.
Outside Hawthorne Suites

The apartment / suite they gave us was very satisfying!! There were two queen beds as I had requested in a non-smoking apartment. One bed was downstairs (the bed below is the one I slept in) and there was one upstairs, but Miss Pinky asked me not to take a picture until later (when she tidied up!)…

Downstairs bed
So here’s the stairs instead.
The stairs

There were two bathrooms!! Two!! Wow. I feel like I’m in someone’s house. Didn’t take a picture of Miss Pinky’s… She was too busy telling me not to take pictures…

My bathroom area

We had a small kitchen, but I forgot to take a picture of that. It has a microwave. An electric stove with an oven. Kitchen sink. And there was a massive fridge and freezer. You can even make ice in the freezer by pulling the lever up. An ok kitchen, but it needed bigger pots and pans. A toaster is available, as a coffee machine… But there’s no kettle!!

Here’s the desk by the door.
Desk by the door

And here’s the outside near the entrance. There’s a free shuttle service which you would need to notify the reception an hour ahead or the night before, that you need to use it. They only cover a 5-mile radius. So find out where you need to go first!!

Parking area

The shuttle

Bus stop 526 – there is another one further up the road

Food there was not the best I’m afraid even if it is free. I advise to actually go and find food. American breakfast is not my thing. Biscuit, sausages and egg (scrambled or boiled). Waffles you have to make yourself… And they also have cereals! The coffee is the best stuff they’ve got by the way. I think they have a routine of what they serve for dinner every week, like pizza on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, fried chicken on Wednesday. Main dinners are served only on Monday’s to Thursday’s. You will need to find food from Friday to Sunday!! If you like walking I advise to go to Pappy’s or the McDonald’s… It’s about a 15 minute walk to either place! Otherwise take the bus or a get a taxi.

Wi-fi was excellent! But you may have to enter the password from now and then. So remember the password!!

Laundry service – there’s only 2 washing machines and 2 dryers. Washing machine costs US $1.75 and drying costs US $1.50.

Parking is free I think and there’s a small swimming pool plus a tennis court!

So all in all, it was a satisfying stay. The noise level was a little bad. We had some noisy weekend stayers partying, mockingbirds that would not be quiet throughout a few nights (use ear plugs), and you will also get to hear a few toilet flushes from somewhere! all the piping is connected.

Also house-keeping is usually every 2-3 days… So don’t expect a clean apartment after you have been out all day long…

Buses: 404, 526 and 527
Nearest train station: Inwood / Love Field (take the 404 or 526)

Address: 7900 Brookriver Drive, Dallas, TX 75247 United States
Telephone: 1-214-688-1010

Dallas, Texas – Day 14: An almost nightmare journey home

Friday 19th April – Final, Final Day!!

First we got up early. I had thought we were going to have breakfast at reception, but we didn’t go… That was good because I didn’t really want to eat the food there… We had already booked the shuttle for 9 am that morning, and so we was all ready to go!!

We got to Love Field airport within 10 minutes! Hawthorne Suites is THAT close to the local airport!! We could’ve walked it Miss Pinky  said… ¬,¬” We checked in. Miss Pinky had overweight luggage again. Went through security and sat in the only cafe in the airport where I had a coffee and a not so good tuna salad sandwich and listening to the news about Boston. Miss Pinky had a problem with her luggage, so she had to back to the luggage area. Apparently her padlock was not safe for the flight… How can that be? She flew to Dallas with it on there!!
Inside Dallas Love Field Airport
Suddenly we then heard our flight was cancelled. What?! Not again… This happened when we was in Dublin but that was with BA!! Reason for this flight cancellation: bad weather conditions around Houston. ¬,¬ This isn’t funny!!

We had to change our entire flight plan and had to go to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport… At least we won’t be in Houston Airport. ¬,¬” This flight was going to Newark Airport, then from there we would get our connecting flight to London. We took a taxi from Love Field with another person who was supposed to take the same flight… Unfortunately I think we were cheated with the taxi fare, because the driver forgot to put his meter on, and charged us US $25 each person!!! Huh?!! Blimey! Not taking that taxi ever again! 😛

We checked in AGAIN! Flight to Newark was cancelled AGAIN – so it was another FLIGHT CHANGE AGAIN! How many flight changes do we need?!!! Not impressed UNITED Airlines!!!
At Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

I like this poster!! Reminds me of the courses I have been going on…!!
Miss Pinky then had something to eat. Some sort of Chinese food. Seriously, Dallas doesn’t have the greatest Chinese food I’m afraid… 😦
Miss Pinky had food from here

Doesn’t look like Chinese food… Fusion food maybe?!
It was then time to board the flight. The guy who was calling out for us to board shouted at the flight number rather than the flight time… Confusing!! Before boarding, a lot of people were surrounding the area because this flight was a cancelled flight and then replaced with another flight for a later time. 

We sat in very comfortable seats. It was probably one of the best flights throughout the trip. But the bad thing about this flight are the TV screens, you had to pay to view on this very short flight. I fell asleep for a few seconds with my earphones plugged in. But I couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards because I was hungry! I purchased a Thai Tortilla Wrap for US $7 I think (approx. £5). Yes purchased! No freebies on this flight. What the heck..! We also had TV screens at the back of the seat, but we had to pay to watch a film… So I sat there listening to my music. I think this was a type of flight like easyJet. You had to pay for everything. UNITED flights are not really consistent are they?!! No. They are not!! 
Sky, clouds and plane wing from the first flight back home

My food – it had a lot of vegetables in it!
We landed in Newark 2-3 hours later… I didn’t realise we were going to be in the New York area because I didn’t know where Newark is. But I knew we were heading for the East Coast of America… And I saw the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty from the air! ^_^ Need a closer look in the nearest future!!

As soon as we got off, we headed towards our next gate to see if it was the one we were supposed to be at. It was! Yay!! No flight cancellations there. Then before that, we ate at Wok and Roll, which is in Terminal C around the food court. I had sushi and dumplings. The people there spoke in Cantonese. I was so happy! 😀 I think the guy on the other side was also happy!!
Sushi and dumplings from Wok and Roll!!! Yay!!! Proper food!!! ^_^

Wok and Roll in the back
I was looking at Ben and Jerry’s, and I really wanted ice cream. I think the service in this place wasn’t great but they tried… It’s because I didn’t know what to order…
My chocolate ice cream… I was now satisfied!
Then it was time to fly again. We weren’t seated together for some reason and we hadn’t realise we were in separate seats. There was an empty seat next to me, but the other lady at the end seemed to have hogged that middle seat so I didn’t get Miss Pinky to sit with me… Plus the lady in front of me kept sneezing and coughing too… I think Miss Pinky wasn’t able to maneuver much in her seat unfortunately… but she sat next to a nice person who talked with her… This flight was the best out of all the flights because there was a touchscreen TV screen at the back of the seat, which was free of course! However the food was DISGUSTING!! The chicken I had was overcooked. The vegetables were ok. But unfortunately the rice or pasta that came with it was not cooked long enough. It was practically raw. I left it… Didn’t have the breakfast either… Bleuh.
From the second flight
We finally landed! Thankfully the European queue for passport checks was on the quiet side… And then we went home!! 😀

I have missed London public transport!

End of Day 14.

Pointers for staying in Dallas:
1. Have US money changed at any high street exchange place from your home country… It’s hard to find an exchange place in town
2. Purchase a weekly ticket for US $25 (£16). You can sit on DART buses and trains. A regional pass can take you to Fort Worth. Regional day pass costs US $10 (£6.50)
3. Bring sun block and after-sun cream
4. Be smart and dress appropriately for the hot weather
5. Always have change for the laundry
6. Walk as much as possible even when there’s no pavements (sidewalks). Be aware of the way American’s drive and how you should cross the road.
7. Find your local supermarket as soon as you land 😀
8. Take a direct flight… No transfers…!!! 
9. Go to Fort Worth, it’s worth it ¬,¬” … sorry for the pun 😀
10. Remember that there is tax on top of the original price shown on the price tags… Terrible! Even the British have got this one right. Put the total on the price tag!! Makes shopping easier. 😛 (I don’t like working out my taxes!)
11. If you are from London, people around town will ask you about the London Olympics 2012! ¬,¬ I didn’t do much except that I worked throughout the period, and I didn’t have tickets even though I tried to purchase some without success!! It was a bad turnout for some events and the ticketing was badly managed… But traffic was brilliant! No one around… Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I did see the Olympic Torch in Stratford…