Back to: The city that never sleeps, part 1

Forward to: Marvelling at the Falls and Marvelling at the BAP

I woke up on Sunday morning before Stella so I was able to wrap her present before she got up and lie in wait for her. She liked her present, a Mark Rothko calendar, and we set off to find some pancakes for her birthday breakfast.

Our main trip of the day was to the Bronx Zoo. The zoo is in a huge park right in the heart of the Bronx and when you are in it is easy to forget you are still right in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. We really enjoyed our day wandering around checking out the ostriches, penguins, monkeys and the like. The zoo has a weird atmosphere because it was quite empty and loads of the cafes and food stalls were shut. A lot of the rides had space for huge long queues where only two or three people waited. Here we were in peak season and the place was nigh on empty.

We finished our day at the zoo around 5pm and hauled our exhausted bodies back towards Manhattan. We got back to discover our host in a cleaning frenzy scrubbing and scouring the apartment. He had a girl coming round, a girl he had been going on about non-stop since we met him. We though it best to make ourselves scarce and so we headed off to the cinema to see Men in Black II. It was quite good, not as funny as the first but still good. We arrived home to find our host and his girl quite drunk and so we hid out of the way until we could get to sleep on the floor in the living room. She eventually left, taking him with her, so we were free to get to bed.

On Tuesday we headed off to see the New York Stock Exchange but discovered that it was still closed following 9/11. Instead we wandered down to South Street Seaport to take a look at the Brooklyn Bridge and grab some lunch. Our other mission was to find an Abercrombie and Fitch store as Stella wanted to get a birthday present for a friend. After a great deal of walking backwards and forwards and around in circles we found it and were able to get a top for her friend. I wasn't very impressed with the store myself, if ever a clothes store traded on its brand name this was one, the clothes themselves weren't that hot.

Finally we headed out to the village to try and find some sunglasses for Stella since hers broke. We got some nice ones despite being accosted by the most disgusting gay guy I have ever seen. He had weird silvery gray highlights that made him look like he had dandruff, his excessive bear like chest hair was bursting out from his partially unbuttoned shirt, his large ugly sunglasses looked more like comic accessories than style items and his tight jeans just added to the horror. I suppose if you venture into the Village you must be able to take what it throws at you.

We headed home and packed as the main part of my birthday present to Stella was a night at the Plaza hotel at the corner of Central Park. We checked in and headed to our room on the 16th floor, the floor below the penthouse. We nipped out for a quick supper and headed back to enjoy the luxury we had paid for. We opened a bottle of wine that our host had given to Stella for her birthday and laid back, sipping our drinks and watching trash on cable TV. What more could money buy you?

After our amazing evening we were forced to stir at 7:00am to meet our host for breakfast at 7:30. We had managed to get him to agree not to take us to the Plaza restaurant since he was insisting on paying and we refused to pay $25 for bacon and sausage. After half an hour of manouevering around the streets of Manhattan we ended up at a different almost equally expensive hotel. Unable to discourage him we sat down to breakfast, enjoyed and thanked him profusely for his kindness before heading back to the Plaza to catch up on some sleep.

We're in Buffalo right now and we arrive in Boston on Saturday evening, hope to meet up with some of you guys.

Oh yeah, power points on trains are life savers.