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:

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.
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