Yesterday I set off on the start of my five weeks of summer travelling: 12 days on America’s East coast, followed by three weeks backpacking through Costa Rica and Panama. I took off for New York, where I am staying with a friend from university in Manhattan. After landing, I navigated my way through the public transport system, taking the AirTrain to Howard Beach station, then the A train subway through Brooklyn, right into the heart of Manhattan. The whole thing cost $7.50, saving loads in comparison to the $45 taxi fare. The journey was actually very easy, and there was transit officers around to ask for help at each stage. I was also struck once again by the friendliness of Americans – I was helped by three complete strangers during this trip, who pointed me to the right train, or brought up maps on their phones for me. A lovely welcome back to my favourite country. So once I had dropped my bags and taken a shower, my friend and I headed out into New York. I have visited the city before on a family holiday and have done the majority of the main tourist sights – I am excited to see the city from an insider’s point of view! We started at the very photogenic Shake Shack, in Madison Sq. Park. We both ordered ShackBurgers (classic cheeseburger with special sauce), fries and a ‘hand spun’ vanilla bean shake. I don’t actually really eat beef but I make an exception on the promise of really good food (my first cheeseburger was at an In-n-Out in California!). The food was real good. The milkshake was amazing. It started to rain but we braved it and wandered around the area, popping in and out of stores and hotel lobbies.
Eventually we ducked inside Spin – a ping pong club – where we nabbed a table for half an hour, a cold beer, and got playing! This place is really cool. There’s amateurs like us just having fun, date nights, and clubs and teams practicing. ($25 for half an hour.) We took a bus back and ran home through the rain, which we’re unfortunately expecting more of today. I will trying to keep updating from on the road this summer, but am only posting now because I’ve been awake since 6.30am and not able to get back to sleep so waiting for my friend to rise so we can go exploring! Damn jet lag!