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"The Docs, girl. They need some love."

12 April 201509:56AMusa-2015travel

So after the longest time I've ever spent on planes, and just barely scraping on to a flight out of LAX, we made it to New York City at about half past eight in the morning. Check in at the hostel wasn't until 3, so here is what we did in the mean time:

We went for a walk in Central Park. Luckily for us, our hostel is sort of right next to it, and so we sort of wandered across, from the Upper west side where we're staying to the East Side. This was one of those mind-blowing moments where you realise something you've been hearing your whole life actually has a meaning: East side and west side refer to what side of the city you are on - or, more specifically, what side of the huge big park you're on.

We eventually made our way across to 5th avenue, where Grace got very excited about some famous shops, and then we found a tiny cafe type place where we could buy some pancakes. We had some (awful) coffee from a real coffee pot, and some (awful) tea with the bag left in, and some pancakes in syrup made from corn syrup, and then spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out whether or not we needed to tip. Tipping is really tricky to figure out, but as far as I can tell it's a matter of adding about 15% and rounding to the nearest bill. Which is easy, because they have one dollar bills.

(One dollar bills. Good grief. It just doesn't feel like real money. It belongs in a movie or something.)

Feeling slightly more human, we worked our way across to the Rockefeller building, where - to my surprise and delight - there is a LEGO store which contains within it a miniature model of the Rockefeller building. Also, a dragon, and a pick-and-mix.

This + Pancakes = how to recover from a flight

We did some more poking around and found the NBC store (with its collection of Dunder Mifflin Paper Products merch) and an AT&T store, whose very enthusiastic sales guy sold us some pre-paid SIM cards. So I'm now the proud owner of (347)-735-2881, four (4) jiggabytes of data, and one (1) permit to complain about AT&T's service. Because that's how we do it here on the internet.

At some point we had to let everyone know that we had actually left the country, and we decided to do this by taking a selfie in Times Square and sending it to everyone with no explanation. Grace got her shoes shined on the way there.

The docs, girl. The docs. They need some love

And then we were in Times Square, and it was crazy, and we took a picture, and by that point I was just about ready to collapse, so we learned how to use the Subway and took the C-train back to the hostel where I slept until pretty late and we got dinner at a Thai place around the corner which was very nice.

And that was our first day in New York City. I've got to say, I found it very tricky to process. Partly because I was very tired, but also because this city is really, really big. 8 million people big. Has a legitimate claim to being the capital of the world big. I have no idea how I'm going to comprehend that, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to give it a try.

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