The last 24 hours in New York were filled with signs. Initially I was sure that they were signs that I should leave and never return, but upon reflection, I think it was just New York's way of telling me that I shouldn’t leave. Clearly New York wants me to stay, albeit with a very strange way of saying so, and who am I to say no to such an imposing lady? Should I have followed the signs or did I do the right thing getting on the plane?
Way too many suitcases meant that it would indeed be cheaper (and more convenient - I like driving) to hire an SUV and drive to the airport rather than get cars or cabs (yes multiple, we had a significant number of suitcases - 7 and carry on -9). It also gave us the freedom to drive around a bit on the very cold last day we had in New York. It was in fact the coldest during our trip so far (a Maximum of -2C and wind chill making it feel like -12C). Car secured we head to Atlantic Centre to pick up a few last minute things for the flight (and a Yankees baseball cap for Dad), and that my friends is where the signs began. In order:
Tuesday - New York:
- 12pm - 25cm (10 inches) away from being taken out by an MTA bus that had run a red light at speed. One more step and I would have been a goner. Heart still pounding over that one. Survived untouched but scared and very shaken.
- 4.45pm - Hire car towed whilst I was in the post office. Pay the driver cash now or pick up from the pound at 10am - not possible when I was leaving at 5.30am. Card not working - blocked from Australia as a suspect withdrawal, huge dramas, car eventually recovered by 5.45pm.
- 9pm - Discover dead mouse in wall of apartment - that one was just nasty!
- 9.30pm - Toilet overflows in apartment - 5 minutes of plunging and 4 rolls of toilet paper to resolve
Wednesday- New York:
- 6.25am - traffic jam on the way to the airport.
- 7am - no one else in the building and the hire car takes 15 minutes to return - how can this be?
- 7.15am - Airport train incorrectly says we are at terminal 2 instead of terminal 7 - we realise at the last minute and barely make it off the train with all our luggage.
- 7.30am - Check in to fly home - all ok, except Mark’s resident return visa is expired and FIlomena at the check in desk won’t let him fly. Phone calls to Canberra and he is approved to leave New York and fly to Hong Kong. No onward boarding pass from Hong Kong for Mark.
Thursday - Hong Kong:
- 12.30pm - Try to secure boarding pass to get Mark home, much explanations to the supervisor on duty and emails to Canberra. Boarding Pass secured. Long layover begins.
Friday - Melbourne:
- 12.15pm - Mark to fill out 8 page document requesting he be allowed to leave the airport and return home - granted by the wonderful people at Australian immigration (thanks Ruth), who inadvertently loose his inbound passenger card.
- 12.30pm - try and find kids and luggage - they had secured the luggage whilst we were with customs - shouldn’t be too hard right? 10 minutes later…
- 12:35pm - Mark’s replacement inbound passenger card hadn’t been confirmed by customs - get pulled aside into a seperate we are going through your baggage with a fine tooth comb kind of line. Realise I have written my year of birth on the card instead of his. Smile sheepishly and apologise profusely. The nice man from customs lets us through without the need to open bags.
- 12:40pm - FaceTime Mum who really wanted to pick us up. Sim card not swapped yet - accessing airport free wi-fi, she’s just in the car park.
- 12.55-1.15pm - Go back into airport (repeatedly) to FaceTime Mum again - no luck, whilst trying to find something to swap out the sim cards with (small pointy objects very difficult to find in airports). Mum and Dad show and we hug it out.
So I’m pretty convinced that we weren’t meant to leave. I mean, apart from killing you, removing your transport, taking your ability to fly away, what does a City have to do to keep you there? Or is New York telling me to go and never return? Nah! After all, I am 1/8th New Yorker by blood.