New York – On Our Own Again

It is officially our last day together as The Harlem 5, as we very queerly named ourselves.

Nobody has to be at the airport till around 5pm, so in the spirit of consistency, we dick around for the entire morning, and don’t end up leaving till late morning. Bec and I haven’t even got anywhere to stay for tonight. So, our morning is consumed with doing the washing, finding somewhere to stay for tonight, and packing. We don’t really get anywhere with the whole accommodation thing, so we end up starting today’s trek without somewhere to end the trek. We decided last night that we should go to Washington DC. We have been told by multiple people that we should make the effort. So, we booked our tickets for two days time, and found some cheap accommodation through Airbnb for our stay, as we couldn’t find anyone to surf with on such short notice.

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This certainly has become an adventure, thats for sure.

Micky has her heart set on a real coffee I’m down for that. So, we head to drop off the key for the apartment, and tuck into a starbucks while Allison does the run to make the delivery. We’ve hardly started our coffee by the time she is back, and all of us are kinda confused as to how and why is back so soon.

We’ve been told that we have to experience a New York bagel. Being that there is a bagel shop around the corner, Micky and Damo shoot in there and come out with a deliciously hot and creamy bagel to enjoy. It’s certainly enjoyable and does live up to the NYC standard. But, Allison is adamant that the bagel is nothing compared to the cookie that she is going to make us eat in a sec. We head to the subway, and dump our stuff in a pile for Allison to keep a watchful eye over. We all run upstairs and around the corner, so find a little bakery.

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We rock up, and this tiny little shop front is shoulder-to-shoulder with people all queueing up for these cookies.

To call them a cookie is a little generous. Whoever came up with the idea of these cookies was obviously sick of putting any effort into being a baker. Its more like a baked dollop of cookie dough, than it is a cookie. We get our treats and run back to the subway. Allison asks what we think, and we all express our surprise and confusion for this cookie-like object. After a few explanations from us, Allison says “Right. But can you guys just appreciate that this is an amazing cookie that you’re eating?!”. There is no denying that yes, indeed, this is one of the best cookies that I have ever tasted. Regardless of the odd shape, it was a cookie worthwhile having.

We all board the train, and we arrive at the main station, only to say our goodbyes. It has been an amazing trip, and it was with some of the best company I’ve had in a long time. Loads of laughs and too many memories have been made in this last week.

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We embrace each other for the last time, until God knows when. But, we all certainly look forward to that time again.

Bec and I collect our gear and walk outside into Times Square. It’s about 3:30 at the moment, and we still haven’t got anywhere to sleep tonight. All we need is wifi. We can sort everything else out, but we need wifi to do it. We find ourselves outside this pub, just near the subway station. It was only a few minutes till happy hour, so we were ok with that. We settle in a hustle to find somewhere to stay. I had sent a lady a message on couch surfing last night, but still hadn’t heard back from her till about 4:30. She wasn’t able to have us stay with her.

Not ideal. Worst comes to worst, and we have to just book a night at a hostel, but ideally, we’d like to air bnb somewhere, or even better would be to couchsurf. We’ve only surfed twice so far, but we sure have had a great time when we did.

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We finally find somewhere which is only gonna cost us $48/night. Its an instant book place, so none of this ‘waiting to hear back’. We book it, and luckily, it is in Brooklyn, which is exactly what we wanted to see. We finish our drinks, tip our waiter and get on our way. Airbnb has assured me that this is a steal, and that this place is usually booked out, so we have got lucky this time. We rock up, and I am beginning to doubt the authenticity of Airbnb’s recommendations. It’s literally a door between a shoe shop and a clothing store, with a two flights of stairs before you reach the top. We have no option but to head up. We’re committed now. We walk up the stairs, turn the corner, and the hallway is barely wide enough for you to stand between. Bec doesn’t make a sound. She doesn’t need to. I know she is thinking that I have blown it and booked us into a dive. The photos didn’t look too bad, but they sure looked better than this. We open the door, and are greeted with a hairpin turn, and another set of stairs.

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We walk up, and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s no mansion, but it certainly is a decent room. I mean, all in relative terms, I guess. We have our own room, with a code-locked handle. Its all good. We set out stuff down, and we are sorted for the night.

We connect to the wifi, and wish the guys a good flight each back to their respective homes. After settling in, we make plans to head out and find some food for dinner. We head outside and ask a random where the nearest grocer is. He starts explaining to us in his broken english, and then just decides to show us instead. As we are walking, he says to Bec, “You were the one with the baby before yeah?”. When we rocked up, we were carrying our day bags on our fronts and our backpacks on our back. Bec quickly picked up on the misunderstanding, and explained. “Oh, no, that was just my bag”

“Yeah. You said hi to me before when I was working”, our african friend explained to us. You could see that she’d brightened his day up that little bit, and it was enough for him to want to go that bit further and show us exactly where to go. He was from Senegal, and the moment we got talking with him, he was more than happy to chat with us. We get out and walk a couple blocks till we come across the grocer he recommended. For those who are familiar with Footscray, Brooklyn feels much the same. It’s got that semi-dirty/grungy city feel, but it is littered with little gems to explore. I’m all for it, I mean, I lived in Footscray for 3 years, so I can’t say I don’t like it.

We get our groceries, and get home to a missed call and a message from Damo asking us what we are doing tonight. Bec and I look at each other confused. “What’s that about?”, I ask her.

“I have no idea. Hope they haven’t missed their flight”.

It wasn’t that they missed their flight. Rather, the flight was so full, that they opted to stay back and have the airline pay for the accommodation, dinner and give them a few hundred dollars to spend on top of the cost of their flights.

Not too bloody bad, I rekon. We call them and have a bit of a laugh about it all. They sure have hit the jackpot on that one. We throw around the idea of Damo bringing his ID this time, so that we can actually head to the rooftop this time, but they opt for a night in and chill.

We tuck in for the night, eat dinner and doze to sleep.

Its been a cruisy-ish day.

Come back tomorrow,

Billy

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