Sunday, August 10, 2008

My favourite holiday - Part 1

Hayley and I started going out in May 2000 (and were married a year later but that`s another story altogether!). Since the first week, Hayley wanted nothing else than to take me to the States. She spent a few weeks there with her family in 1999 (including New years Eve in Times Square). They got to see a lot of the East Coast and spent the majority of their time in New York, Boston, Miami and Orlando. It was her ambition to take me to the States.

So it came that my Father-in-Law, Clive, got into the New York Marathon last year. He would not miss it for the world and my Mother-in-Law, Cheryl decided to go along. Hayley immediately said we should try to join them. My Father-in-Law heard about this and thought it a very good idea. He arranged everything for us and on the 31st October, Hayley and I left Cape Town International, New York bound! I could not contain myself!

Now, let me say this upfront. I was really a bit nervous about New Yorkers and Americans in general. The image I had was that of brash, loud, obnoxious people. This stereotype was blown out the water as soon as I set foot on American soil. The Americans are incredibly warm, friendly people. For every "Thank you", you get a "You`re welcome" unlike here at home where you are more often than not completely ignored. Every time we stood somewhere, somebody would come up and ask if we needed help. I now believe, from my own experiences, that Americans are amazing people. My new blogging friends are perfect examples of what Americans are truly like, generous, warm, friendly people with big, big hearts.

I digress!!! We landed at JFK just before midnight on the 31st October 2007 (Halloween!). My In-Laws had arrived earlier that day and they headed straight to the Police concert at Madison Square Gardens. How lucky are they???

So Hayley and I headed out the door of the airport and immediately we were approached by a man asking if we needed a taxi. "Yes" we said. Without asking he took it upon himself to take our luggage to his SUV, not a Yellow cab but a black SUV. Now I have seen enough horror movies to know that this was probably gonna be our last trip. Neither of us said anything and we got into the SUV, holding each other very tight. Then he started talking to us and I was sure he just wanted to make us feel comfortable before taking out a massive blade and chopping my "freakishly big head" off. Well, it transpired from my "last conversation during my last trip on earth" that he was also from South Africa and that he had been in the States for 20 years. He also stayed on the motorway (I was waiting for him to take us to the docks cos that is where a lot of killings take place and I have a lot of movies that will prove my point). But, he drove straight to the Marriott on 49th Street on Manhattan`s East Side without killing us on Halloween. It did cost us $90 for this trip but I was very happy handing it over, $90 is small change when it comes to your life...

With my "last trip" turning out to be "not my last trip" I was more stoked than ever to have the time of my life. The In-Laws were in bed already and we were soon cuddled up in our own bed. I must admit, although jet lagged pretty badly, sleep was the last thing on my mind. All I wanted was to see the Big Apple! The sounds from the city was exactly as I had imagined it, police cars, sirens, horns etc. A buzz, even at 02:00 in the morning. I think I fell asleep at 03:00 and was awake at 05:30, woken by Lindsay`s (my Sister-in-Law) ritualistic everyday early morning phone call to my Mother-in-Law. Shame, she couldn`t wait to talk to us and it took all her self control to only phone at 13:30 in the afternoon (05:30 in NY).

So, my first day in the greatest city on earth was about to start!

First order of business was breakfast! We went to a little place called Pax and it was great. One thing you must understand is that my Dad has to have his breakfast, lunch and supper at set times. I didn`t mind cos it meant that I`d be able to eat during the day! I had to take time out of my schedule to feed the body. Keep in mind it was still the "unfit, overweight" me, so sustenance was vital. You most certainly cannot go shopping in NY without proper carbo loading! One floor of Macy`s would murder you (no pun intended with regards our "killer Ex-South African cabbie" and our dice with death on Halloween...).

With breakfast out the way, we headed to the ING New York City Marathon Expo. My Dad needed to get his number and I was just to happy to go with!
As soon as we entered the Expo, a camera crew got hold of my Dad and an interview ensued! Here is a pic of Hayley and Mom, with Dad being interviewed in the background!! The lifestyles of the rich and famous!!!
Dad and I walked every square inch of the expo. I bought a lot of running things, not knowing how big a part of my life it would become in the not too distant future. Hayley and Mom got their first cups of Starbucks, so everybody was suitably chuffed!

The best holiday of my life was just beginning!

To be continued....


David Richardson said...

I'm glad to hear that your experience in U.S.A. was a positive one.

I've heard that people in other countries have this idea that Americans are loud and obnoxious. In fairness, some Americans are. I'm just glad you met plenty of people that are not.

Maybe we all have unfair stereotypes about each other that are unfounded and untrue.

Anyway, I enjoyed this post. Really interesting for me.

Francois said...

Hi David! So glad you had a nice weekend away.

I must say the trip to the US was a real eye opener. Like I said, the stereotype was completely unfounded and I`m just fortunate to have realised it first hand. I mean look at you and Kevin, to name but two! You guys really are an inspiration and I cannot wait to read your updates.
I absolutely love America and it`s people. The rest of the world has a lot to learn from you guys.

I look forward to sharing the rest of my holiday with you guys. It was awesome!!!!