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Turning 30 South American Style With the dreaded 30th birthday looming, I ran away to South America to celebrate the landmark birthday in style.

New York

USA | Sunday, 24 August 2008 | Views [1075]


Last stop on an epic journey and as much luxury as we have enjoyed on our whole trip. We dined in style, drank in hip bars, saw the sites and accidentally walked into Macy's during the horror show that is the August annual one day sale.

Commitment shy couple that we are, we didn't book a hotel room until the very last minute, ending up with the expensive cast offs that more discerning clients booking months ahead of their holiday had spurned.

After hours on Skype phoning around every overbooked hotel we could find, we got a bed and breakfast in Brooklyn that looked like pure luxury on the web but was actually a pretty enough place with a pretty hefty price tag and the stingiest breakfast in the world.

Great location though near Smith Street with loads of bars and lovely restaurants near by so we bunked down for the night ready to wake refreshed and explore the big apple.

We woke and headed across the road to a lovely French cafe for breakfast, watching our fellow diners tuck into eggs benedict, fresh orange and all manner of pastries as we presented our voucher for a single croissant and coffee each to the waitress. Lovely and buttery but quite literally the cheapest thing on the menu. Talk about mean.

Ah well, the city that never sleeps awaited and we headed out ready to enjoy the hustle and bustle. Without planning to, we immediately found ourselves underneath the Empire State building, wandered over to the Flat Iron building and wandered back ending in Macy's on the day of the famous (never heard of it myself though) one day sale.

Steve made the mistake of leaving me by the first floor of ladies wear and arranging to meet me back at the escalator in a few minutes.

I soon realised that a 65 per cent off sale is no place for lady and hid at the bottom of the escalator praying for Steve to return soon.

Steve meanwhile got hopelessly lost in the maze of Macy's and spent almost an hour frantically riding stairs up and down the 34th Avenue desperately trying to find me.

Enough was enough, we headed off to China Town for some take out, getting ourselves lost again and settling into a Vietnamese restaurant for some delicious noodle soup and tofu. Mmmmm, New York can sure do food.

After freshening up, we hit a few bars back in Brooklyn. We talked to the most boring man in the world who within five minutes had told us he earned a lot of money, was making waves in the art world as an unpublished poet and could sing very well but did not want to risk his voice on karaoke. He was very sweet though and we could only assume he was very drunk.

Heading up the road, we tried a few more for size before settling on bar stools where another drunk man accidentally bought us both a drink.

It seems he did not notice Steve beside me and thought I was a lady of easy virtue sliding up onto a bar stool next to him as a big come hither gesture.

Much awkward silences later, he was replaced by another extremely drunk man who told us he was rich, a hedge fund manager no less, and was buying part of Coast Rica to go and live there because the USA was coming to an end and would never recover from an imminent recession on a scale not witnessed since the depression.

We discovered that people in Brooklyn like to talk and often about something quite interesting so you just have to sit there and listen.

And if you don't want very drunk people to talk to you, you really shouldn't sit on the bar stools.

After being politely evicted from our final bar at around 4am, we headed home and woke the next day with heavy heads. Not fit for much, we watched the football in our room and headed out in the afternoon to Battery Park see the Statue of Liberty across the water, passing the former World Trade Center site on the way where I stubbed my toe on a grid so hard that it started bleeding. Clearly not a tragedy on the same scale but it did hurt.

We also had great fun walking past the American Stock Exchange shouting: "Buy, buy, buy. Sell, sell, sell." Ah yes, greed is good as the great Gordon Geko informed us, but childish antics are more fun if you are a tourist.

One of the best ideas of the weekend though was to walk across Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan as you get a great view of the famous skyline framed by the impressive steel structure of the famous landmark.

A great place with great people, we could definitely see ourselves living there and loving it if only someone would let us in.

We will definitely be back, some day, and next time we will probably buy the T-shirt.

Tags: america, battery park, brooklyn, empire state building, flat iron building, macys, new york, smith street, united states of america, usa

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