Day 3/4/5 – Hello from New York

We’ll we arrived in New York safely on Sunday night to a cold 35*F (whatever that is in Celsius … hang on a minute … YIKES 1.6*C) – it was a bit of a shock to the system after California being very like Wellington when we left.

So, the rest of our time in San Francisco.

Friday evening after our day in Walnut we got the BART (local train/subway) into San Francisco and walked up a couple of massive hills to a neighbourhood Italian restaurant which was delicious and where the ladies were given roses.

Saturday we drove into the city and spent ages exploring the Big Orange Bridge and surrounds. I didn’t realise you could walk on it so was very surprised and excited to do so. The bridge really is very big and very orange. It was a gorgeous day for photos. Disturbingly there were lots of crisis counselling phone numbers and ‘Jumping is fatal’ signs.

We drove 1 hour or so south to San Jose (just as some crazy, scary film like fog was rolling into the Bay) to the enormous new HP Stadium for a Sharks home game. We stopped in at a local pub to kill some time – man Americans eat a lot! Or perhaps it’s normal pub behaviour and never frequenting them I’m not used to seeing it but men and women had baskets and plates of chicken and chips and chilli and burgers and nachos.

The game itself was amazing, well, the stadium was. I got tingles when we walked up the steps inside – I’ve never been to Westpac stadium in Wellington so have no idea if it’s at all the same. The thing that amazed me was how orderly it all was. The great oval downstairs of food and drink kiosks and toilets with pretty swift queues and well sign-posted seating areas where everyone knew where to go. I’ve never seen so many people wearing the same gear! Every man, woman, child and a few babies were dressed in black, white or teal Sharks gear. And inside the stadium it was even more incredible – it was a sea of Sharks gear.  And there was a huge inflated Shark balloon that flew around the Stadium over the crowd by remote control. The rows were quite steep down to the ice rink and everyone was saying hi to each other and shaking hands and saying ‘just let me know if I lean forward too much, give me a tap if I do’. Once the game got underway everyone chanted the same stuff at the same time, everyone had hot dogs and beer (yes even me) and everyone knew what was going on and what all the player’s names were (except me). And when a Sharks goal was scored. Well. Some massive ship fog horn BOOMED out across the stadium, everyone leapt to the feet screaming and hi-fiving and the some music started which involved everyone arm waving and punching the air. It was incredible.

One weird thing was that the crowd were always cheering for a fight to start. And I mean a full on fist to face punch up. One started about 10 minutes in and I was rather alarmed. Everyone was screaming and cheering the fighters on. The refs did NOTHING. Just stood there and let them fight it out. And from then on half the crowd were cheering ‘FIGHT’ or ‘HIT HIM’ every time 2 opposing players touched! When one of the opposition got sent to the penalty box they boomed the Jaws theme out of the sound system and the whole crowd cheered and and made huge jaw-munching motions with their arms … god it’s too hard to explain. A great night.

Sunday was pretty much taken up with 7 hours of travelling, watching Dexter on the plane, and a loss of 3 hours due to the time zone change. When we got here and unpacked we went down to the little Italian restaurant near the hotel that we ate at a lot last time we stayed here and it had not changed. Not one bit. Same menu, same FANTASTIC Penne con Broccoli which we’ve since tried to copy and eaten lots of in the last 3 years. God it was good. It tasted just the same.

Today because it was fine we went up to Columbus Circle to the Wholefoods supermarket to stock up on a few supplies for the week and goggled (as we did when in the store in Washington DC) at all the fresh produce, types of granola, bread, ready meals, Thanksgiving stuff. Now we know why Jiff was so impressed with our Thanksgiving meal prepared from the start. In the store we saw packets of already shredded purple cabbage and grated carrot and bottles of dressing; tinfoil containers of mashed potatoes, beans, sliced turkey that just needed to be heated up; pie shells and tins of pumpkin … etc etc.

We caught the subway down to City Hall and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (it’s turning out to be a bit of a bridge-themed trip!) to take in some great views of Manhattan back over the East River.

After wandering around Brooklyn Heights we had a fantastic meal at Henry’s End – a tiny brick-walled restaurant that we’d read about in Time Out – yaaaaay! The Mister had pheasant and squash ravioli and duck, I had a warm goats cheese and pistachio salad. Brooklyn is full of those ‘walk up’ places you see in so many movies – buildings about 4 or 5 stories high on tree-lined streets, lots with pumpkins on their stoop for Thanksgiving. Also saw lots of nannies and lots of dogs. And one extremely exiting thing – Orange Street!

The rain’s arrived tonight and is set to stay through tomorrow so I’d say we’ll be hiding in Macy’s or some other enormous store or the movies.


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