I started travelling at 2 pm Thursday, New York Time. Finally arrived home at 1pm GMT (Geordie Meal Time) on Friday.
The plan was to post from Heathrow to kill some of that nasty transit time, but my flight was delayed arriving and to be honest all I wanted was some coffee before dashing to catch my flight to Newcastle.
I duly arrived back in the 'homeland', but as the crowd subsided to just me at the baggage hall, it soon became apparent my bag hadn't made it. Arrrgghhh!
Exit to British Airways desk to be assertive with them, as they had charged me $45 dollars for having 1.2 kg over my limit from New York, as well as changing my seat selection from the online check-in - 'ee wor a libaty!'
A pretty limp wristed apology and I'm asked to wait for an hour to see if my bag is on the next flight. I suggest they contact Heathrow and make sure my bag is on the next flight. Their response - "Well it's only an hour." "Well it might just be an hour to you pet, but I've already been travelling for 23 hours and one more might just push me over the edge of being reasonable lyke." She made the phone call and confirmed my bag wasn't on the flight, but it would be on the next one. Eventully she agrees that they can deliver my bag to my home address - with a little friendly persuasion. (Can't wait to get the customer feeback questionniare).
I drive home and as I enter my own neighbourhood in Stockton it feel as though I'm in Legoland, with nothing taller than 4 stories, the roads strangely quiet, the cabs are no longer yellow and I can't see a single Starbucks - "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore I think to myself."
I've had a chance to sleep, my final thoughts and observations are as follows:
I loved New York, didn't find the place or the people at all intimidating. I did buy a guide book, and it was interesting as a point of reference, but I used a city bus map most of all.
My favourite mode of transport was walking, followed by the bus. I didn't like the subway because it was always too hot down there, and the smell of the hot air, oil, B.O. and often packed trains was not my idea of fun. Public transport is cheap however, $2.25 per journey of any distance if you have a metro card, which you can re-charge, and can be used on buses or the subway.
The rumour that shopping in New York is cheap for clothes is a myth. Perhaps jeans are cheaper, but otherwise prices are as in the UK, or more expensive, as you pay a tax on top of the marked price.
So will I be going back? You bet I will, this was just the warm up visit. I don't think I could live there. I thought about it on the way back. My heart belongs in Northumberland. New York made it beat a little faster at times, but only places like Bamburgh Beach, Lindisfarne, Hadrian's Wall, the Cheviots, Wallington Hall and the Angle of the North still make it miss a beat.
So until my next adventure, as yet destination unknown, thanks for the comments and the emails. In the next couple of days I will post all the photos I took on a web page and put a link on here, as the ones on the blog are just a small sample of what I saw - but first some more sleep.