One of the things that I promised Ronelle when we met is that we would visit New York with our kids at least once in our lives, so finally getting there was one of the big ticks off our bucket-list.
New York is one of those places where you feel like a kid walking around, regardless of how many places you’ve travelled to. As South African’s we’ve been inundated with American culture through TV and it’s amazing to see this culture in the flesh.
When you’ve been on the road as long as we have, travel fatigue can set in, but for some reason, New York just shakes that out of you and demands that you love her. We spent time in Central Park, Times Square, did an open top bus tour and visited ground zero.
For or our sins, we visited M&M World and then we took the kids to BOTH Toys R US and the Disney Shop. Giving your kids loads M&M’s and then letting them loose in a Disney Shop is something to behold! However, one of the highlights was seeing the Statue of Liberty, as the sun set over the Hudson.
New York is amazing. It has its own culture, foods and people. Although the general perception is that New Yorkers are hard, we found them completely the opposite. Maybe its just because we had Darth Vader and Snow White with us most of the time, but we found people to be very friendly, helpful and really proud of their city.
As we were in the area, we planned to visit an old friend, based in Massachusetts, in a little town called Essex. The US is the ideal place to road trip, with easy roads, cheap petrol and relatively cheap car hire.
We headed to Laureen’s , about 5 hours North East of NYC. Laureen and I met in ’95 when tripping throughout the US and have caught up a few times since, both in the US and South Africa. One of the things I love about travel is connecting with people that you have met along the way, no-matter how our lives have changed.
Laureen, with her usual charm had hung a South African flag outside her beautiful house. On the first night we ended up drinking a glass of wine or two, talking about “the old days” and feeling a little tender the next morning. It was really great catching up with Bryan and Reenie’s little boy Flyn, who Kai and Kerala really loved playing with.
Before we knew it was time to head back to New York to catch an early flight to San Francisco…