My name is Kenneth and I write cool Mac and iPhone software. This is my personal weblog where I post about stuff I find interesting. I usually write about Mac development, the business of shareware and the Mac community in general.read more →
So I spent four weeks in New York and San Francisco. This was quite an experience.
I left South Africa, thankfully forever just before New Year, headed for New York.
This is a trip that did not start on a good note: I showed up at the airport, all ready and looking forward to it, only to find out I had missed my flight by a full month. I mis-booked my flight from Durban to Johannesburg for November instead of December. So I was stuck at Durban International with only a few hours to get to Johannesburg (400 miles away) or I’d miss my (non-refundable) flight to New York City. Thankfully, I managed to buy a last-minute ticket and eventually got to JFK Airport, NY.
Finding your way around New York at first was a bit confusing. Took me quite a while to find Penn Station. I mean, you’re not expecting New York’s biggest train station (it severs over 600’000 passengers a day) to be this hard to find. But then again, the only visible outside sign of Penn Station are stairs leading into a subterranean complex under yet another of Midtown Manhattan’s tall office towers. On the other hand though, once you get the system, finding a place in Manhattan is really easy. If you can count, you can find what you’re looking for. No needs for maps. Manhattan is a simple grid, and street numbers act like coordinates.
Several hours later (and after missing my train, twice) I eventually got to the kind people who where hosting me about 30min of train away in New Jersey.
The very next day, I went, along with a full million of other people, to see the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop on Times Square.
I had the wonderful (or not) opportunity to wait for 7 hours in the freezing cold (-20°C with wind) for a colorful ball to drop.
After a day of rest, I went sightseeing. New York City is probably the coolest city I’ve ever been in, no exceptions. Especially at night.
Of course, I couldn’t help visiting the Quiksilver store on 5th avenue. And of course that big glass cube, nerdy me.
A few of the bullet points of things I noticed while in NY:
- Pedestrians have a blatant disregard for red lights.
- Street vendors will try to rip you off.
- There’s always a minimum of a 30min line for any restroom.
- The city that never sleeps is rightly named; a pizzeria at 2 in the morning will be more full than a european McDonald’s at its busiest time.
- The one thing to do in NY is eat, and then eat some more.
- A cup Starbucks coffee is more expensive than a full KFC meal in South Africa.
- Having all prices without taxes is the biggest damn pain in the ass ever. I really hate it. When the price tag say $3.50 I want to pay $3.50, not $4.06.
- JetBlue has free WiFi in their JFK terminal. That is like, seriously awesome.
Oh, and lest I forget to mention, I Love New York! Or, rather:
On the 5th of January, I was off from to America’s first to its second most densely populated city, San Francisco.
I landed at midnight and directly made my way to Moscone to wait for the Keynote which was to start 10 hours later.
I spent the rest of the week at Macworld doing cool stuff.
After Macworld, I spend another two weeks visiting the awesome bay area.
I discovered many new cool things like bubble tea and dumplings.
And Indiana Jones’ hat in a fishing store:
The cable car was broken that day. It took them hours to repair it.
Fisherman’s wharf, and a guy making scarily unsanitary crabs:
It was funny, there were a whole bunch of live crabs in a box. Stuck my finger in it, and disappointingly withdrew it still in one piece.
And don’t forget Ghiradelli’s awesome chocolate and sundaes:
That’s me with the son of the family hosting me in San Fran.
And let’s not forget chinatown:
When I went to visit’s America’s former most secure federal penitentiary, Alcatraz, the security guard was kind enough to give me a special behind the scenes tour of the restricted access areas of the prison, which was pretty cool:
The lucky prisoners had the best view:
Eventually on the 21st, my trip was over, and after saying goodbye, I made my way to SFO Airport, only to be refused check-in because I only had a one-way flight into Japan. I actually had to buy a return flight (which I have no use for) at an insane price to be allowed to board the next day. Stupid paperwork. I hate visa problems.
But I am now safely installed in the Democratic Republic of Sushi-land. (By that I mean Japan, or 日本 as they say here.)
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 14th, 2009 at 12:51 pm and is filed under English, Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.