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September 20th 2013
Published: September 20th 2013
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During our stay in Italy and Greece we were really lucky and enjoyed beautiful, tasty continental breakfasts each morning with fresh Greek yoghurt, delicious cut up fruit, bread, freshly squeezed orange juice, olives and lots of feta cheese. Arriving in New York we went downstairs for our complimentary ‘continental breakfast.’ A continental breakfast obviously varies in America to what it is in Europe and we were greeted with boxes of huge donuts smothered in thick, brightly coloured icing and orange juice which was artificially sweetened all served in polystyrene cups and on polystyrene plates. Seriously, no wonder there is such an obesity problem over here the portion sizes are ridiculous and so much of the food is processed it makes me appreciate what we have back in Aussie land. Today we went into a place called ‘Snacky Shakes’ for lunch and there was nothing and I mean nothing at all remotely healthy on the menu so we made do with some cheeseburgers and fries. Now whilst I’m talking about ‘Snacky Shakes’ I must also tell you about possibly the worst customer service service I have ever experienced:

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

Tim: Err…Could I have two cheeseburgers please.

Waitress: Presses a few buttons on her computer screen and then continues to stare blankly into space

Tim: And a small fries please.

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

Tim: So that’s two cheeseburgers and fries then…

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

Tim: So…that’s everything then…

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

- Awkward silence -

Waitress: Pursing her lips – So that’s everything?

Tim: Yes, that’s everything

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

Tim: So…how’s your day going?

Waitress: Stares blankly into space

- Tim sees the amount flash up on the till and pays it into her open hand -

Now don’t get me wrong not all the customer service is this terrible but standing there I actually was trying not to laugh as to why someone can actually be so rude.

Spending our time in New York we rented bikes and cycled around Central Park as well as doing the typical touristy thing and taking the double decker ‘hop on, hop off bus’ to many of the sights throughout the city from the Statue of Liberty to Times Square. Now I thought that I was a real city girl being from near London and totally used to the bright lights and all the people but nothing could have prepared me for Times Square…HELLO! Madness, pure madness, the people, the lights, Spiderman up a lamp post, Elmo waltzing about, a beggar holding up a sign reading ‘I need money for weed (I’m going to be honest)’ and an old granny wearing nothing but knickers and a cowboy hat strumming the guitar. I can now say I have seen it all…

On September 11th we went down to Ground Zero, there were police everywhere and also people preaching. Finding that the memorial was closed to the victim’s families partaking in a memorial service we went back the following day. I thought that the architects and land scape architects had done an awesome job of the area…the names of all the victims were displayed around 2 water features standing in the foundations of where the twin towers once stood. It really was very tastefully done. What hit hard though was all the messages, pictures and photographs that the victim’s friends and families had left on the memorial the day before. It really made it so much more personal seeing this as opposed to just the names and I pretty much cried all the way round thinking of all the victims families and friends that have suffered.

The following day (12th September) we went to the Empire State Building. So there we were rapidly zooming up in the lift…I was casually standing there watching the floor numbers go up and up and up when I noticed a small TV screen in the lift. Doing a double take I read on the TV: ‘This year 11 planes have flown dangerously close to the Empire State Building…these cases are currently being investigated…’

Something that made me feel very confident…

Anyway once we reached the top I was blown away by the view across New York and just how high we were, the view stretched so far and I was even more amazed to discover that the Empire State Building was completed in just a year which is amazing when you think that they did not have the technology that they have today.

Meeting up with Tim’s family was a massive highlight of our New York trip. Some of the family he has never met and others remember him from when he was little in the Refugee Camp. Tim’s cousin Laura works and lives in New York and she took us out – firstly to an awesome Indian restaurant which had so many light up, low hung decorations that I seriously felt like I was in a Christmas tree and then onto some bars. The following day Tim’s other cousins Deanna and Rak drove up from Rhode Island to meet us for the first time. We spent the day talking about our families and showing each other photograph’s. The next day we went back with them to Rhode Island to meet all the family. They put on a big BBQ for us and loads of family turned up to meet the ‘Australians.’ It was awesome and we managed to get Tim’s Mum and Dad to Skype everyone, which made it really special. I guess what makes the reunion extra special is the fact that everyone has that extra tight bond whereby they made it through the Khmer Rouge. The following day after eating at an awesome sushi restaurant (I would go as far as saying that it is the best sushi I have ever eaten) that Tim’s cousin Phiroat manages we caught a bus back to New York. I was actually very sad saying goodbye to everyone because although we had only known each other for a few days I felt like we had this bond that I was honored to feel a part of. Thank you all so much - in particular Rak and Kevin – for letting us stay at your amazing place and Laura for all the clothes you gave me and your awesome hospitality in New York – you guys are legends.

That’s all for now folks….


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21st September 2013

Fantastic! What a great time you had and how wonderful meeting Tim\'s family!

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