In the year 2000 the internet wasn’t much more than just emails, mobile phones were small and barely did phone calls, and the twin towers were still standing proud in New York City.
Chris an I had finished partying like it was 1999 and in a drunken frenzy decided to go around the world, or at least half way.
I had decided to emigrate to Australia. I’d met a few Aussies; they understood English humour and could drink; two up on the Yanks. I’d already applied for permanent residency so why not set off early, the trip might take some time!
We checked the world out and decided going East was too obvious; West it was. So where do we visit? Did we do detailed research and planning?
It seemed Mexico was the place!
So this is how this trip started. The first stop on the way to Mexico is New York and hence this part of the story.
As I said at the beginning, in those days email was the only real way to do long distance communication, and that was often from internet cafes that used the old modems to phone up the internet!
These travel stories were recorded via a series of emails we sent to our family and friends. This was written by Chris…
The First Email
So here it is, the very 1st e-letter to friends and family chronicling the meanderings and exploits of our trip to Mexico and beyond. We’ll try and send an e-ramble every month or so, and as this is for family as well as friends, it will be an edited version, leaving out things like drunken hi-jinx, breaking federal laws and spending time with the wrong people in the wrong part of town, doing the wrong type of things.
Addition: The original emails did not have photos. In those days cameras had film and we only infrequently found time to get it developed. Scanning and adding to emails was not a real option. We would periodically send photos and the developed film back to England so they were safe. I had quite a few cameras stolen while travelling and the precious photos they contained went with them. Most of my cameras ended up being cheap disposables!
The top photo is from the trip which I included in the original blog of the email (That’s Chris). The bottom photo is from a trip on the 10th anniversary of September 11th. This world tour ended with me flying over New York City and viewing the towers from my plane, not long before the fateful day. But that comes a lot later…
Got to New York City on 2nd February on a beautiful crisp winters day. About 2 feet of snow, but the city still going about its business. In a nutshell, we blitzed the whole town – Manhattan, Brooklyn, South Bronx and Harlem – Empire State, Times Square, Chinatown (great noodle soup). Best bits were jogging in Central Park in the snow, ice skating next to 5th Avenue (like in Woody Allen Movies) and the fantastic Egyptian collection at the Met Museum (even better than the stuff they’ve got in Egypt, also good pop memorabilia museum, shame on Sheffield). Dakota building where Lennon got shot and Strawberry Fields, across from it in the park. Nearly got to Ricki Lake (GO RICKI, GO RICKI), but just to much to see and do.
Stayed in NYC for 4 nights and hung out with Chris’s good mate from Belfast Roger, now some kind of high-powered yuppie executive in Manhattan, living in a groovy apartment in the East Village. Went drinking in dozens of Irish bars and a great Texan bar, the Rodeo, just so that Tony could feel at home. And saw some great modern jazz at The Bitter End in Soho.
On the last day in NYC headed to the famous Yankee Stadium in the South Bronx – SB not as scary as it sounds, and checked out surreal sunsets on Coney Island snow-covered beach, paying homage to Van Morrison. Then, courtesy of Tony’s Dad gorged ourselves on oysters and champagne at Grand Central “like licking phlegm off a turtle” – Chris. A big night out in the East Village, chosen in preference to a meal at the world first S and M restaurant, and we were up not so bright and early for the flight to Miami.
A couple of thoughts on NYC. the subway is crazy, locals asked us for directions. Does anyone know how to use the system? We got showered with freebies all the time in bars – left NYC with 5 new t-shirts, 2 sports bags and a baseball cap. A good result. Finally despite the enduring image, the place is actually safe. The seediness and sense of danger is sadly gone. Still plenty of nutters though.
- Tony to grow ponytail and get a “six pack”
- Chris to barter everything he owns by the time of return to UK. No giveaways, no accidental losses, all bartered for other items.
Addition: Chris’s challenge is something I try and do on every trip. It’s fun 🙂