We drove over Brooklyn bridge in the dark heading towards our university accommodation. As we drove over we could see the New York skyline lit up with lights and it was beautiful. Once we arrived at our accommodation we stood off of our air-conditioned coach into the humid (32 degree) heat. We quickly got told some information before heading up to floor 15 to sleep.
I took a few photos of the skyline before sorting out my bags and heading to bed. I awoke a 6:20 (local time) with less than 4 hours ‘sleep’. I kept waking up during the night either too hot or due to noise. Once we woke we managed to lock ourselves out of our room as we went to admire the view in the day light. Luckily, someone came to our rescue with a master’s key!
Once we had sorted ourselves we headed towards a delicious breakfast of a dry bagel (with the option of Philadelphia cheese), orange juice, water and an apple. We ate quickly before heading to Brooklyn bridge to have a group photo. As we left the bridge, a group of Americans gave us a warm welcome before we continued on route to the 9/11 memorials.
(I would just like to interrupt with a temperature update. The temperature was around 36 degree’s centigrade but felt like 45.)
We saw Ground Zero which was beautiful and hard-hitting. From there we headed towards Central Park board Subway. We worked out how to use the Subway and managed to arrive at Central Park. We walked passed the Trump hotels and spotted lots of UK units. Our leaders brought us ice lollys to eat before we headed around Central Park and spotted the Essex unit which we cannot with on our previous Gilwell/London training camp.
We walked towards Times Square but first ate lunch at Applebee’s. I ordered a Cheeseburger before the person next to me asked the difference between a hamburger and a cheeseburger. Our waitor gave us jugs of Pepsi and water and was very helpful for the vegetarian on the table. However later on the vegan burger looked surprisingly meaty. We soaked up the cool air-conditioning before heading to Times Square. Here we had a quick photo opportunity and my patrol ‘collectively’ decided to go into Sephora (where we tested all the first fragrances to hide our sweaty smell) we also went to Levi’s and American Polo. I got given a fan as an advertisement for a Broadway show.
We then headed towards the Empire State but stopped off at a tourist shop. As we left the shop we realised that we were running late so had to quickly go to the nearest deli to buy a packed dinner. I had a roast turkey roll, popcorn, a cookie and a cold drink. One of my leaders ordered a cheese sandwich so he was thoroughly disappointed as he received a grilled cheese sandwich instead.
Finally we headed back to the Subway where my card decided that it had ran out of credit so the kind man in the ticket machine let us through a different gate. We made the Subway and then managed to get to the ferry port on time – and luckily we were not the last patrol back.
We caught our ferry and met the Essex unit again. Our ferry ride was refreshing with a cool breeze. Once we got off at New Jersey we hunted for our holdalls (which we had previously loaded into a van) before then heading onto another air-conditioned coach (with WiFi). We then travelled to the University of James Madison. On the way we had a quick stop at a services which contained 3 vending machines, some toilets and a water fountain – it was very busy with around 4 units having stopped there.
On the coach we ate our dinner as well as some mango. We also had some Relationship talks from the leaders and every time we drove past a McDonald’s we’d cheer. Eventually we reached our accommodation. I showered quickly in the cold water and then fell asleep.
One thing I am currently missing from the UK is knives and forks in restaurants.