79. New York City (Day One)
Welcome to the Big Apple! A far cry from the tranquility of the Bahamas, but it was amazing in its own way. Humidity had disappeared, temperatures were bearable, traffic was a nightmare, organised public transport existed and the imperial system was baffling (about time you caught up to the rest of the world, America). It was everything we expected from a big Western city and more.
After dropping our bags off at our basic, downtown hotel, we hit the streets to see what all the fuss was about. Little Italy, Chinatown, wine bars, parks, a Myanmar festival, markets, and people everywhere. We hadn't visited a city like this since Mexico City, and the hustle and bustle was a shock to the system.
To help ourselves acclimatise we hit a few happy hour bars. The first was a French-Vietnamese cafe, with cute French music playing in the background. That first sip of a French Sauvignon Blanc told me to forget about New York City and just spend the next 10 days here instead. Nearly all the wine we had consumed on our trip was cheap and Chilean. To find a non-South American wine was like finding gold. Expensive gold, but gold nonetheless.
The rest of the night was spent restaurant-hopping in Chinatown. The first stop was for a drink, the next stop was for dumplings (how I had missed dumplings), and the third stop was for stir fried flat rice noodles, that delicious, smoky wok flavour leading me to stuff myself to bursting point. Although we ate until we couldn't take another bite, we still carried out a large box of leftovers. We donated it to a homeless man on the street.
We couldn't get over just how many restaurants there were in the city, and we had only explored a tiny section of it. There must have been one for every person, yet somehow they were all busy. I wanted to spend a year or two here, exploring all the incredible food options available. Not that we don't have similar options in Australia, but in my mind things were way cooler here.
Chinatown, side street.
Getting our dumpling fix.
They weren't all for us, although I probably could have smashed the whole lot.