We were too worn out to do any further museums so I gave the family a bit of time at the hotel mid day. I tried to do the Holocaust Museum on my own but when I got there I found out they allocated visiting times and wanted me to wait an hour before I could go in so I gave up the idea.
We at least ducked out mid afternoon to do a little shop browsing and have tea which in the heat meant a McDonalds ice cream so we set the GPS. The subtle drawback of the GPS is it simplifies every decision to what's closest with no other regard such as social factors. Part way through eating our ice creams I heard from behind me a condescending reference to "Mr & Mrs Whitey slumming it". I looked around and noticed yes we did stand out from everyone else in the packed establishment. I guess what I'm saying is I'm missing the good old multicultural Australia that I'm used to. Finding oneself unwelcome because of ones race is unpleasant and not something I've experienced anywhere else in the world. Unusual and sad to experience this in the city that actually proclaimed "that all men are created equal and have inalienable rights" (I was at Lincolns memorial reading it last night). I feel sorry for any Americans that I believe must experience racism daily. The experience was a learning opportunity and lends credence to what the Californian pool woman observed recently in the south when she visited where she grew up. PS I'm sure glad that due to pure chance I didn't take a laptop into the Maccas to use their free wi-fi. Lastly the place had a begger (who appeared intellectually disabled) inside it scrounging for peoples left overs.
We finished with a very pleasant mass marketed Italian meal (where we weren't quite the only white folks) with exceptional service that had plenty of interesting tastes and indicated an unexpected cultural attachment to very cheesy pasta. I wish I'd tried a pricier joint to see if this postulate holds true at the higher end eateries.
Today I am missing home and especially my own disabled children that I've left in a respite home. I can't wait to pick them up and take them home with me. I think I've been on holiday too long.
A reality in many if not most US cities and definitely not restricted to inside McDonalds stores. I and I'm sure others here have seen this in many places some reasonably up market compared to McDonalds. It's also not new I used to see people eating food out of sidewalk trash cans in SF in the early 1980s.
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts
I'm knackered and so is the family, we're in New York now and I'm regretting the punishing pace as we're now too tired to do anything. I wish I'd slowed down in the parks though to be honest the kids would have objected if slowing down meant seeing anything for longer instead of simply chilling in the room.
All I can remember is friendly and helpful Americans all day, a GPS and road system that kept pushing us onto highways, a lack of turnoffs to anything let alone scenery, a few technologically amazing bridges as I think it's Delaware we went via (certainly Maryland) and then Staten Island. Lot's and lots of standstill traffic which I was surprised by on a Sunday. The helpful bloke at reception said it was due to parades and events and that tomorrow won't be that bad, but he also advised it would be worthwhile leaving at 5am to help ensure that.
So tomorrow 5am I plan on driving across New York to return my car then come back to this hotel which has our luggage via the subway and some inner city sightseeing. Then we can go slow on everything for the last couple days.
I'll photo up all the above posts during the next couple days, I'm just too time poor to do it now. Thanks for all the interest, hope it's still present after you've read some of my above posted musings.
If you have the time at all make sure to see the Ground Zero Memorial and the new WTT building. It is very hard to tour a large nation like the US and due it justice. Be glad and enjoy the memories you have made and the people you have met. Your children will surely remember this as a highlight of their life. Take care.
DC (and a few other US cities) can be rough, racially. Beyond that the socioeconomic picture gets pretty complex, pretty fast. Keep in mind that the U.S. has about 300 million more people than Australia, and borders two other countries. Not only do we have indigenous people, but every possible race, culture, and religion, on earth. Some brought here unwillingly, and once freed from slavery, were still treated as dirt until about 50 years ago, give it another 50 years as it takes us several generations to adjust. As you have seen we are mostly friendly, and glad to have visitors and (legal) immigrants to our shores.
I don't think there is a one of us who were not concerned with the pace and distance of your trip. Frankly, I was getting a little worried with the long silence, of the past 4 days, and glad that you are all ok and just a little tuckered out. Hope you get in the WTC, Ellis Island, The Statue Of Liberty, Time Square/Broadway, and of course B&H Photo.
Some of the Smithsonian certainly lives up to the 'America's attic' nick name. One of my personal favorites are the Freer and Sackler galleries of Asian art. The National Gallery of art is also wonderful. In NYC make sure to get to the top of the rock (Rockefeller Center) for good evening views into Central Park. While less iconic than the Empire State building, it is much less crowded and the view is also very good. It really gives you a good sense of the size of the park.
Dread, hope you might have caught the skyscraper sunset down 34th St.
Nope I didn't catch Manhattan-henge and I do appreciate the size of Central Park now.
We walked from New York Penn Station to and into Central Park and even took a horse drawn carriage around the park.
We capped the day off with a subway trip to our downmarket hotel in I think Brooklyn (Ozone Park anyway). I loved every minute of it - well apart from the hair raising drive across town in the rain this morning. If I never drive in New York again it will still be too soon.
PS I just added photos to the last 4 or 5 days posts
We woke up refreshed enough to do it all again, we had another dodgy hotel breakfast and got on that steel chariot (subway train 10 short New York blocks walk from our hotel). We got off near the harbour ferry's and spent the day walking around Wall Street, Broadway etc and a ferry ride round Lady Liberty.
We had a nice Italian dinner in town and very tasty Haagen-Daaz ice-creams as well. The dinner was to get us sitting down until the after work subway crowd had died down.
We weren't brave enough to hang around town till after dark for sunset photos but we at least got dusk.
Some turkey set off a smoke detector at our small hotel and the fire brigade responded with 4 appliances (incl a ladder unit), very cool and no-where near as apathetically handled as back home. No sound of an alarm inside the hotel though which doesn't please me.
Before the revolutionary war things were pretty peaceful, but since then, the USA has been a series of battles to keep what we had and gain a nation. England, Spain, and even France decided that they wanted a piece of the rock. Then the southern states decided that they didn't want to give up slavery, and civil war ensued. We expanded the country westward at the expense of the indigenous residents and the Indian wars were on through almost the turn of the 20th century. From 1865 to 1917 there was relative peace (except the previously mentioned Indian wars), with only the Spanish-American war to contend with. In 1917 WW1 and 22 years later WW2. I guess it's a good thing we were a "warring" nation at that point as, although my German is pretty good, not so my Japanese?
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts
Once WW2 gave birth to the United Nations (???) and we rebuilt the economies of Europe and Asia, became the defacto world police, and have been in that mode since. How's your Russian and Chinese comrade? The Cold War, Korea, Vietnam (thank you France), Iraq (ok, bad example), Afghanistan. We would love to hand off that world-police responsibility, but haven't found any takers other than Al Queda.
So yeah, we are a country whose history, and probably future, involves a lot of conflict. The question is where would the world be right now without us? I don't mean that to sound condescending, but the fact is, that we are trillions of dollars in debt, and have lost hundreds of thousands of lives, so that the rest of the free world can remain that way. Just don't be surprised if the history of this country revolves around wars.