I thought it might be nice, since I’ve got my computer here and have access to the internet, to update every now and then on stuff I’ve been doing in America!
So yesterday marked the first time in my life that I’ve flown further west than Ireland. The flight from Heathrow was okay, it just sort of – went. I was tired, though frustratingly enough not tired to sleep, so I was absolutely shattered by the time I landed at JFK. I felt quite strange, like my body clock was protesting that I was still awake, but had got very confused about the amount of light there’d been flying over the north Atlantic. It’s funny, this is the first time I’ve gone on a long flight where it hasn’t been aiming east or south, so I guess it’s appropriate that it’s the first real solo trip I’ve made. I entertained myself by taking a lot of photos out of the window – largely of the light on the clouds, but at a jaunty angle, to account for the wing of the plane. This is my favourite, taken somewhere over Quebec:
I’m staying in New Jersey at the moment, in a lovely little place called Montclair, with Carmel, an old friend of my mum’s. Carmel and my mum met because Carmel’s aunt lived in the house next door to my grandparents in Ballaghaderreen, the family hometown in the West of Ireland. I had a lovely hour this morning chatting with Carmel’s mother, who lives downstairs, and is Irish. This morning was pretty relaxed, actually, because Carmel picked me up from the airport last night, we got in at about 11pm (which was 4am GMT) and I pretty much checked my emails, informed my parents that I survived, and fell asleep. It was strange waking up this morning, though, because my body definitely felt like it was afternoon. So we were pretty relaxed and had a leisurely breakfast, then headed out to New York at about half one.
We ambled around downtown Manhattan for most of the afternoon, starting with the World Trade Centre site, which is a massive building site now, and then going around the corner to this tiny little Irish Heritage place that is basically a plot of land about twenty metres square on a plinth, and on the plot of land is a lot of grass, some drystone walls, various Irish rocks and a transplanted tumbledown Irish cottage. It is actually an Irish cottage that was brought over stone by stone and pieced together again – and the massive plinth it rests on is covered in quotations, in Irish and English, about and from people who moved from Ireland to America (many at the time of the Great Famine). It was very surreal to see it sandwiched in between two enormous, sparkling skyscrapers. ‘Skyscrapers’, what an amazing word. And there are some very, very shiny buildings in Manhattan. Anyway, this is a shot of the buildings opposite it, just to illustrate the point (those massive cranes are actually on the World Trade Centre site):
Anyway, after that we wandered down Wall Street (with a quick side-step into a Tiffany’s shop: I love love love the Tiffany’s Keys collection, but don’t have $900 handy to spend on my favourite) and past the court house with all the steps that’s shown in all the cop shows (and I think Batman?) – sadly no sign of any actors, but still a beautiful building. And we went to Brooklyn bridge and past City Hall before heading to Chinatown to meet up with Carmel’s sister, Rita, for dinner.
On the way back we decided to take a detour and get the ferry to Hoboken, which was fun, because it was getting dark, so the buildings were all lit up and reflecting in the water. I’ve been pretty tired for the last couple of hours, though – it’s twenty past ten here, which means it’s 3.20 GMT, so no wonder. But the walking was good, it was so nice to just walk and walk after spending so much time yesterday cooped up on trains and planes. Anyway, since good things come in threes, here’s a shot of the New Jersey side of the river from the ferry just to round things off:
I’ll post the majority of my photos in albums on Facebook, but I thought it would be nice to stick a few in here. Anyway. Those were the highlights of my first day in America. Those, and talking to a very nice NYPD officer and secretly being very excited that he was a Real New York Police Officer. I think it’s time I called it a day (I am definitely going to call this post ‘A Day’ now) and got some rest.
In conclusion: yay America, wow New York, camera happy, sleepy. But I really hope you actually read the post and didn’t just skip to the end, because that would make my day look really boring.