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America America Trip 2016 Jewish New York Personal Plane Religion Travel

The Flight & Day 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside

To say its cold is an understatement. Freezing piercing cold is probably closer… And its set to get colder still this weekend…!

Before we get on to today a quick run down on the flight….

Following a quick trip on the funky transit train from the main building to Terminal 5b, I was at my gate – as always it was the furthest gate in the building!

Boarding was quick and easy and soon I found myself in the middle of the plane in one of the middle two seats. Cozy…. And we were off.

I was ready with a TV plan – I knew I wanted to watch Adele at the BBC but couldn’t get the TV to work. As soon as the seatbelt light went off the guy in the row in front called the air hostess over for the very same thing….

Now, while I joke that “turning it off and on again always fixes the problem”… That’s exactly what solved it! Although that meant turning EVERYBODY’S TV system on and off… A process which took nearly 15 mins!

Eventually we up and running and Adele was singing! Breakfast was as good as a hermolis airline breakfast. You do the math. I did have a good game of “Catch the coffee” during some of the turbulence… No spills!

When the captain came on to say we were making our final descent and to prepare for some turbulence due to the 25-45mph cross winds, nothing could quite prepare me for what I was about to experience. At one point G forces were similar to that of a theme park ride! As it happened however, the actual landing part of landing was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced!!

Anyway… I arrived! The Journey to the city was pretty uneventful but I very early on learnt that the subway in New York makes our Tube look classy. It’s a bit more… edgy… 😉 Following some expert instructions, I made it to the bus station where the lovely Jemma was waiting for me! (With a Starbs, obviously!)

We went straight to times square for a look around. Wow! It makes Piccadilly Circus look amateur! People everywhere bright lights screens shops everything! Craziness!!!

So many Screens... so many lights!
So many Screens… so many lights!

From Times Sq. (with a quick stop at Cake Boss’s city shop) we got the bus to Montclair New Jersey where I’d be staying… had a mini tour of Montclair and I even go to go into Whole Foods (WOW!) before eventually heading for bed and sleeping in until 10!

This morning we got the bus and headed back into town! From the bus we got the subway to the Brooklyn bridge… and we walked across! Wow what a view!

From the start of the walkway....
From the start of the walkway….

As we went further and further across the bridge the view got better and better! While talking about the view it’s probably a good time to mention that the weather today, while it looked sunny with blue skies, was actually around -8. BLOODY FREEZING.

Thankfully the bridge wasn’t too windy and I managed to get some nice photos and a panorama:

Artsyone

The View from the Brooklyn Side
The View from the Brooklyn Side
A little panorama from the Bridge. Spot the Jem!
A little panorama from the Bridge. Spot the Jem!

Once we got to the Brooklyn side, we were a bit clueless as to where to go… and after a little walk Googled “Jewish Deli Brooklyn”… we followed google maps and turned up (Via a quick Shpruntz Round Trader Joes.. Noch) at Shelsky’s Of Brooklyn. WOWSER.

Food that I can’t explain. Sweet, Savory, Pickled, Gefitle’d you name it! We got some Rugalech and some Halva. OH MY. It was like a little corner of Jewish heaven had exploded in my mouth.

The owner came over and started talking to us explaining that he wasn’t supervised kosher as it was too expensive and there wasn’t a market for it – Lots of the Jews from Brooklyn have started to move out. While we were talking some Chabadniks came in, Wished us all Good Shabbos… Asked if we’d got Shabbat Candles / Laid Tefillin today, had a chat…so friendly!

From Shelsky’s we got the subway back to New York and went to Russ and Daughter’s. The wait for a table in the cafe was going to be 35 mins so we went for a walk and waited for them to text us! While we waited we walked up to Katz’s Deli. Very different to Russ… a Different sort of New York Jewish Deli. Quickly, the phone buzzed and we went back to Russ’s.

WOWSER again.

Food you just can't explain!
Food you just can’t explain!

What looks like simple latke, eggs and Salmon… I can’t even begin to explain how it tasted! SO SO SO GOOD. They smoke their own fish, and make their own latkes (Not so sure about the eggs!) but boy oh boy was it delicious! I took one of the latkes to go as I couldn’t finish it!

From there I was left alone in the Big Apple! (AH!) I went for a walk from the bus station to central park and then to the shopping mall – The Time Warner Center. Very nice! I had a little wander, found some free wifi, got a Cawfeee and made some calls home!

From there I walked back to Times Square as I’d watched it getting dark from Starbs! As amazing as Times Square was during the day… it was even more intense and immense at night!

For those complaining of the lack so far of selfies... here's one for you!
For those complaining of the lack so far of selfies… here’s one for you!

... and a Panorama of Times Square at night!
… and a Panorama of Times Square at night!

Then from Times Square, with achey legs, I made it back to the bus station, and found the correct bus back to Montclair! Thankfully the driver knew where to stop for me and soon I was back for dinner! I noticed at the Ticket Booth there was a certain musical at half price… on Broadway…. I might have to go and get a ticket… How do we keep our balance?

… and on that note… it’s 11pm here… or 4am at home so I bid you all night night…. or by the time you read this… a good Saturday morning!

Categories
America New York Plane Travel

Come Fly With Me….

I’m early. Very bloody early. Very very bloody bloody early. As a rule of thumb, us Phillips’s are never this early. When I say early… I’m checked in and through security and there’s still 1 hour and 50 mins until the gate is announced… Let alone boarded!

I’d guess this is earlier than any Phillips has ever been before.

Sadly it's a bit too early to do some serious damage in here!!
Sadly it’s a bit too early to do some serious damage in here!!

Thankfully due to a quick reshuffle just before check in, my bag went through at the right weight…. Also, I appear to have shaken off the Phillips trait of getting a good frisking! I sailed through security painlessly!

Sitting here in this “world class” terminal, looking at all the shiny metal and glass twisting and twining as far as the eye stretches I think back to stories grandma told me. When air travel was still fairly new. Things were a little different. As she said to me “the world was a simpler place”.

The terminals were tents or shacks and planes were a little different to the beasts that rule the airways today.

While grand and flash looking (apparently the largest free standing building in the UK) terminal 5 just leaves me feeling a bit…. Lacklustre. Everything shiny, everything nearly new….I’m yet to have a “wow moment”….

Perhaps I’m being a tough critic…. Currently the outside world is still “asleep”. Surrounding the edge of the building is darkness littered with the orange glow of some sort of lamp. Perhaps when things light up a bit the landscape will change and I’ll have a wow!

To me, this terminal suggests, as probably is true that we are out the other side of grandma’s flying stories…. The golden glamour age of air travel is over… This is now as mundane as getting a train or a bus. (Not for me it aint!)

Talking of the glamour of air travel. There is the odd whispery nod back in time – “The BA Concorde Lounge”. Now that was something I always wanted to travel on!

Sadly, the plane which was the fastest commercial airliner for 27 years, is no more. In an industry which moves as fast as air travel (see what I did there!) That’s an incredible feat. It amazes me that since retirement in 2003, no one has yet come up with a magical tin can which can break the speed of sound twice, while also carrying passengers like Concorde did.

Enough reminicing, back to the matter in hand…. Where in the world can you get sourdough toast and a coffee for £4? Weatherspoons Heathrow. Admittedly, its quite a snazzy spoons, but it’s spoons all the same! You can’t go wrong. Not even at 6am!

Mmmn. Toast and Tiptree jam!
Mmmn. Toast and Tiptree jam!

Opposite from me, I’m not sure if you’d call it art, but is a world map. The world map has cast upon it different degrees of light depending on where in the world is currently experiencing daylight… Some could say I’m literally watching the world wake up! (For a spoons that’s pretty impressive I’d say!)

Wake up world!!!!
Wake up world!!!!

On that note, toast has been eaten, coffee has been drank, it must be time to gawp aimlessly at copious amounts of Toblerone and alcohol as displayed by the duty free shop…. Does law require every airport in the world to sell Toblerone?

I can’t promise updates as in depth and regular as this… (I’m killing time here!) But I’d like to try and write something once a day!!

See you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Categories
America Trip 2016 IT Personal Travel

Start Spreading The News….

Thinking back over the years, I started writing a blog as I was starting work. There are still posts on here (somewhere) from 4 years ago, documenting the first days of my apprenticeship. Unsurprisingly, things have changed since I started writing this blog!

People keep asking me what’s going on with my life… so here we go!……

In December I decided to leave my job of 4 years and take a short break from working. Having left school and then very swiftly starting my apprenticeship/work I barely had a chance to breathe. So many of my friends left school and went on to uni with their three month summer holidays. Many then went on, or are currently on a gap year / travelling. I therefore decided that now was my time to have some rest and do some travelling.

I’ve always wanted to go to America. Especially to New York, and so with that in mind, Last Friday I booked my flights…. Next Thursday, (11th) sees me board a British Airways flight for the longest flight I’ve ever been on. To the Big Apple, where I will be Visiting friends, family and seeing the sights. From New York on the 17th Feb, I fly down to Tampa Florida where I’m going to be driving around the state a little, again seeing friends and seeing the sights.

While by no means as exotic as some of the exciting travels which some of my friends have endured I’m rather excited none the less, and hope you keep some bloggy updates of my trip.

What about work? What are you going to do? In honesty, I’m still not quite sure. I’m thinking about possibly freelancing for a while – doing IT Repairs and getting people new computers as well as perhaps some contract work…. If your computer is broken then let me know!!

I’m rather excited about next week – Need to get a new suitcase as I doubt ours will last and then need to start packing!! Hope you update you all either closer to Thursday or once I’m in the Big Apple!!

Watch out America I’m coming for ya!

(Sorry Frank. Was messing about at home and just thought I’d pop this in for fun. #BedroomSessions)