Saturday, 4 November 2006

New York, men and me!

After a great night's kip and brekkie of bagal, smoked salmon and cream cheese in a 'typical' New Yorkan deli, I decided to face my fear of heights and head to the Empire State building. Everything - as you would expect in America - was extremely well organised,the queues moved and for $53 I bought a City Pass which gives you access to all the main tourist attractions for 9 days.

The views from the top were amazing. I could just about see the longest suspension bridge in the world on the horizon - the distance was slightly disturbing as the bridge is the start point for the marathon eeeek! What I didn't realise is that the Empire State Building is only a measly 80m taller than the Eiffel Tower - for some reason it felt much higher!

Whilst taking photos of the vista, I was asked by an Italian if I would take a photos of him at the top. He returned the favour, and that's how I met Mauro - a slightly short, Italian captain in the Italian paras. We got chatting and it turned out he was pretty friendly so we ended up spending the rest of the day sightseeing together. First up, we headed down to the famous Flatiron building seen in practically every film or TV show featuring NY. We then walked almost the entire length of 5th Ave taking in the Rockerfeller Centre, St Patrick's Cathedral and ending up at the Museum of Modern Art. St Patrick's Cathedral is gothic in style and resembles Notre Dame but looks rather lost tucked in amongst the skyscrapers that surround it. The museum was fab with the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Dali and Van Gogh on show.

Some of the more unusual sights I saw were a skyscraper with trees growing on it and THE most bizarre shop I've ever come across. It was a grotto filled with fairies, clowns and all sorts of other magical creations in every shape and size - we got chased out by an extremely gay 'artiste'when we took a photo of it!

In the avo we trekked to eastside Manhatten through some of the seedier districts of NY to the marathon expo where I had to register and collect my number and timing chip. Something that does differ from the movies is the ease of getting a taxi - unlike Sex in the City no amount of elegant waving and shouting of 'taxi' will get one to stop. Hence we ended up trekking all the way back to Times Square.

I said my goodbyes to Mauro (although I may catch up with him today) then contacted Raf and went out for a dinner of - guess what? - pasta. Considering i'm travelling on my own, I haven't actually spent any real time on my own. Has been great!

Today, I'm going for a 2 hour boat cruise to see the Statue of Liberty, heading to Ground Zero, meeting up with my fiend Rob's friends for lunch, meeting Mauro to go to the Guggenheim Museum and probably meeting Raf for dinner.

Tomorrow, I've got an early morning awakening at 5am to get ready for the marathon. Tis all very nerve wracking! I've realised that with the time difference I'll actually be running between 3pm and 8pm UK time. I will have my phone on me so any texts of support during that time would be absolutely fab. My biggest worry is not having people watching to keep me running - If I stop even once it's all over!

Watch this space for my results! Fingers crossed!

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