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2013 Autumn Leaves on the East Coast – Day 28

NEW YORK to SYDNEY – start spreading the news I’m leaving today – 

Empire StateFRIDAYToday is our last day in ‘The Big Apple’.  It is an incredible city – one that never sleeps as the song goes.  As if the city knows it is our last day it has turned on a brilliant blue sky and sunshine BUT the wind is as cold as the South Pole – nice in the sun – freezing in the shade.

We have to be at JFK airport early this arvo as K&T’s flight home has been changed so we have a somewhat leisurely sleep in – we did most of the packing last night so it’s only the odd bits and pieces to be stowed away.  We head off to Cafe 28 again for brekky – bacon and cheese muffin, hash brown and coffee.  Don’t want to eat too much as I am sure that Qantas will stuff me to the gills when I get on board.  Coming out of the Cafe the Empire State has given us a wonderful farewell.

We have only one thing to see today – the Flatiron Building – within walking distance so we do not have to worry about how long it will take us to get there and will we get back to the hotel on time.

On our way we go through Madison Square Park (more leaves for the collection).

Madison Square ParkMadison Square ParkWhat a wonderful little park set right smack dab in the middle of New York chaos.  If it wasn’t so bloody cold it would be lovely just to sit for a while and watch the leaves fall.  There are a couple of statues here – –

David Glasgow Faragut (below right) and Chester Alan Arthur (below left).  I have no idea who they are but I love statues and they make for good Kodak moments.  I will make sure I look them up when I get back home and am writing this journal.

Chester Alan ArthurDavid Glasgow FaragutWe are walking toward a most peculiar structure to say the least.   Aptly named The Flatiron Building, it was built as the headquarters of the Fuller Construction company.  The skyscraper was meant to be named Fuller Building, but the building was soon dubbed ‘Flatiron’ after its unusual shape, caused by the triangular plot.

Flatiron BuildingFlatiron BuildingFlatiron BuildingI am not too sure how I would feel about working in such a place but I suppose you would get used to it.

Once our photos are done, we practically run back to the hotel which is about 2 blocks away.  Our car is picking us up at 1pm so we make sure we have all our bags.  I have had to get another suitcase – just what I need – so now I have two large cases, one large camera bag (which will be carry on) and a large shoulder bag. We check out and wait for the car – which turns up early at 12.30pm so it’s good that we are organised.  I have chosen to sit in the front seat – what a harrowing drive.  I think it’s best in NY that you cannot see what is in front of you – just go with the flow.

K&T are being dropped off first at Terminal 2 so we pull up, get their bags out, say goodbyes and all of a sudden they are gone and I am on my way to Terminal 7.  I have about 2 and a half hours before check-in opens and about 5 hours before boarding time.  Listen to the ipod, read my journal, take some photos, look around and then the flight comes up for check-in.

JFK airportQuite a few people but the queue moves quickly.  I check my 2 bags and go through security where I am picked up AGAIN.  What is it with me and security? I always get to be the chosen one for extra attention.  Camera bag through the scanner – back through the scanner two more times and then I have to open it up.  They inspect everything and of course, I have forgotten to pack my Valley Forge Christmas Jam in the suitcase – it is still lurking here.  They confiscate it due to my utter amazement. What did they think I was going to do? Jam everyone to death?  Oh well, doesn’t do any good to argue so saying goodbye to my tasty looking jam I progress upstairs to Gate 10 to wait – wait – wait.

More reading – more photos – only 30 minutes before boarding and the adrenaline is pumping.  I love flying and will be glad to get on the plane so that I can settle in for a few hours and just wind down.  There are loads of people flying with me, the plane is full so no spare seat beside me – maybe it will change when we arrive in LAX for the final journey home.  Long taxi before we take off but we finally get in the air.  Yep, the journey details begin – Distance travelled – 90km / Outside air temp is -35C / LAX time – 4.27pm / Altitude – 7620m / Estimated arrival LAX – 9.34pm / Time to LAX – 5.07 hours.

Now that you have those details we can all relax.  We are still climbing and it is a bit bumpy, this is the same plane that I was on coming over. Seat in front is still wonky but at least there is not a walrus of a man sitting in it.   Every time he moved, his seat was practically on my nose!

Speaking of which, the nose is working and dinner is not far away – Salmon and rice – was OK but nothing spectacular.

JFK airportWe have landed in LAX so gathering up all our personal stuff – we cannot leave it on the plane – they are telling us we now have to go to Gate 156 – which is rather strange because that was our arrival gate.  My bags go through to Sydney so don’t have to do the carousel shuffle.  We are due to board at 11.10pm and depart at 11.55pm and it is now 10.40pm so only a short time to wait – I can cope with that.  Hang on, I knew it was too good to be true – they have now listed boarding at 11.45pm.

Isn’t it amazing that after being reminded to take all our personal belongings with us, there are still a few that have not done so and now the staff have to go on board and look for them.  Another group of people who should not be allowed to travel.  OK back on board, everything is nice and clean again – same seat and it is another full plane so a long trip home coming up.

Time to Sydney 13.30 hours / Outside air temp 16 degrees / distance to Sydney 12073km.

Dawn on the way homeJust had supper Beef Provencal with mashed potatoes – again nothing special – time to get some sleep.  Bumps every now and again but still managed to get some shut eye.  But now that I am awake what’s on the movies?  Kings Speech – always a good watch.

Time to Sydney – 4.20 hours (nearly there)  – Outside temp minus 48 degrees C – flying over Nadi so should be getting brekky soon.  Special K, muffin and fruit. Nice and light and it’s only 56 minutes before we land in Sydney.

The wingI cannot understand why some people don’t like flying.  I love it.  I love everything about it except for those passengers who should not be allowed out their front door.  You know the ones I mean.  The ones who drop their crap all over the place – the ones who recline their seat without checking – the ones who constantly tell everyone what they can see out the window – the list goes on.  I love the thrills of take off and landing; the calmness of looking at the clouds and making sure the wing is still there.  I love the food most of the time and I like the little bottles of wine.  I love the navigation screen that shows me where the plane is – yep tourist of the first degree – but you know something?  I don’t care.

We are preparing for landing and it’s raining in my City of Sydney.   Down through the clouds and there she is.  It’s great to have holidays but it’s always great to get back home to recharge the batteries.

Over SydneySafely downThe minute we hit the ground the ‘impatient brigade’ is at it.  I just sit back, take my time and eventually I will get off the plane.

I cannot believe that the last  4 weeks has gone so fast.  Seems like I should be here taking off but alas, time to get back to reality, get back to work and start planning the next trip.  I love the US and I have been lucky to have seen a great portion of it – all that is left to see is the South – sipping mint juleps while sitting on a wide verandah.  It doesn’t take much to get the imagination going does it?  MMmmmmm something else maybe? Kenya I think.  Yep, that puts me in a good mood.

Walking to the exit, what is it with people and their rubbish?  Such grubs flying under the “I don’t care I don’t have to clean it up’ policy.  Amazing!  At least my seat and surrounds is clean and tidy.  I should get extra FF points for my efforts.

Hope everyone has enjoyed the trip and maybe learnt something along the way.  Stay tuned for the next big adventure!

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