Our Honeymoon

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Catherine, Family, Holidays, Memories, Music, Our World, Personal, Uncategorized
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well I know this post is well overdue, however its better late than never, I suppose! 🙂

Our honeymoon began on June 1st, with an early morning, rain-filled journey to Melbourne International Airport, bags in tow, and spirits undampened, regardless of the standard Melbourne wet season.

Once at the airport, tickets in hand, bags checked and dried off, we cleared customs and made our way onto our plane.
20 hours later, we landed flew in through the clouds at Los Angeles, seeing the far side of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and coming in for a textbook landing at LAX.

Unfortunately there was not enough time to leave the terminal before our next flight, so it was a few hours of Starbucks drinking and people-watching before boarding our next flight direct to NYC.

After a very scenic flight through an almost clear sky, we came over New York, with amazing views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, before landing at JFK.

After check-in at the hotel, we headed around the corner to Times Square for dinner, and to take in some of the sights of Midtown Manhattan.

New York City is a place that is constantly changing, yet strangely familiar. Although it has been more than 3 years since we were last there, we were able to navigate the streets and subway system with ease, and rarely needed to consult with a map.

With a total of 2 weeks in NYC, we had plans of things to do, yet plenty of time to simply relax and enjoy the city, and all it has to offer.

During our time in New York, we did a mixture of typical tourist things, as well as some not-so touristy things… cycling around Manhattan, riding a train in torrential rain to see a movie at a downtown cinema, having lunch on a floating restaurant in the Manhattan River…

Amongst the many things we did in New York, (of which there are too many to mention!) We did some new things that have definitely made it to our highlights list.

Firstly, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial, which I must say, is rather eerie in that it is probably the quietest place in Manhattan. Nothing above a whisper could be heard beyond the tranquil sound of the flowing water into the footprints of the twin towers. The entire area seemed smaller than it did on television all those years ago, but with so many names and so much sadness attached to it. Security here is greater than we experienced at any airport. 2 metal detectors, an air particle scanner, police and security everywhere, sniffer dogs and long, daunting walks through narrow corridors, being watched on CCTV by what I would assume to be behavioural specialists.

We headed to the Court district to view some cases. I never really thought that this would be as entertaining as it turned out to be! We first went to the Surrogates Court and heard small matters like petty theft and minor assaults etc. Then we went to the Arraignment Court to hear people being granted or denied bail. Then, over to the Supreme Court, where the lawyers were having a rather large party in the foyer area for National Lawyer Day, which meant free food for all (how could I refuse?).

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was a rewarding experience, if only to say we had done it. Such a wonderful, old bridge, and still going strong! Once on the other side in Brooklyn, we wandered about a bit, checked out a gorgeous Ferris Wheel in Dumbo, got a bite to eat at a very small local deli, and then discovered one of the Pianos in Public Places on the waterfront. As we got there, a classical dup were performing for a photographer, so we had a free concert just for two. Once we walked back over the bridge we parted ways. I was eager to walk the 60 blocks to the hotel, and take in the city, but Catherine decided to ride the subway and get back to relax a bit. So, 45 minutes later, I caught up with her at the hotel and we headed out for Lunch and a Museum.

We hired bicycles and rode the length and width of Central Park. The park is full of bike trails, and during the day on weekdays, most roads are closed to traffic, meaning pedestrians and bikes have the reign. The park is simply huge on a massive scale! Even with minimal stops, and no traffic, it took us about 90 minutes to return to the starting point. We saw 4 lakes, 3 cliff faces, a reservoir, a castle (Smurfs Movie), a boathouse, fountains, bridges (Home Alone 2), and so much green! This park is indeed the heartbeat of the city, sustaining the sanity of so many residents who spend their lunches with their shoes off, sunning on any available surface.

We had the bikes for 6 hours, so instead of returning them and losing our money, I suggested we ride down and around the financial district. There are bike tracks everywhere, so we only needed about 5 minutes of road cycling in the entire journey. We headed through Hells Kitchen and down along the banks of the Manhattan River, passing a retired aircraft carrier that is moored as a museum ship, before reaching the financial district, where we lost the bike trail. After a little confusion we found the track again, and with a few more corners, we arrived at Clinton Park, looking across to the Statue of Liberty (Closed, due to damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy). After a small break and an ice-cream, we headed along the trail and up along the East River, heading back to the hotel area on 49th Street. Once we got to around 38th-40th Street, the bike trail ended and became a bike lane on the busy Manhattan roads in afternoon peak hour. Onwards we went, passing the UN Building and turning left along 50th Street (Most streets are one way, so each opposing street goes in the opposite direction). Crossing Lexington Ave and 5th Ave, we eventually got to Broadway. We turned left, then back onto 49th Street, returning the bikes with 20 minutes to spare. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but Catherine seemed a bit shaken from the craziness of the traffic.

We dressed to the nines, suit and tie for myself, gorgeous dress for Catherine, and headed through Times Square to a small, underground Jazz Club to see Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks perform. Vince and the Nighthawks are responsible for the music heard in Boardwalk Empire, as well as a few other productions whose names escape me. After a lovely meal and a few drinks, we were up and dancing to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade; a slow song, but an amazing experience to dance to this in New York, with a live band playing right beside you. Vince was lovely, we had a bit of a chat with him, and as soon as he realised we were on our Honeymoon, he gifted us two of his albums, which have been getting plenty of play back here in Australia.

We saw Paul McCartney perform at Barclay’s Stadium in Brooklyn!
What can be said? The man is 72 years old, and still pitch perfect. He puts live performance at a whole new level, and its a level that I don’t think anyone could match. Seeing an ex-Beatle perform has long been a dream of mine, so having seats in the nosebleed section didn’t faze me in the slightest. Neither did singing along like a music geek to around 3 hours of hit after hit after hit. With such a huge catalog of music to draw from, there was not a single song that left the crowd in their seats.

SET LIST

    1. Eight Days a Week
    2. Junior’s Farm
    3. All My Loving
    4. Listen to What the Man Said
    5. Let Me Roll It (“Foxy Lady” snippet)
    6. Paperback Writer
    7. My Valentine
    8. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
    9. The Long and Winding Road
    10. Maybe I’m Amazed
    11. I’ve Just Seen a Face
    12. We Can Work It Out
    13. Another Day
    14. And I Love Her
    15. Blackbird
    16. Here Today
    17. Your Mother Should Know
    18. Lady Madonna
    19. All Together Now
    20. Lovely Rita
    21. Mrs. Vandebilt
    22. Eleanor Rigby
    23. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
    24. Something
    25. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    26. Band on the Run
    27. Back in the U.S.S.R.
    28. Let It Be
    29. Live and Let Die
    30. Hey Jude

      Encore:

    31. Day Tripper
    32. Hi, Hi, Hi
    33. Get Back

      Encore 2:

    34. Yesterday
      Helter Skelter
    35. Golden Slumbers
    36. Carry That Weight
    37. The End

The next morning, we headed up into Harlem to experience one of their church services. After a bit of shuffling between churches, we found a service that had some room for visitors, and we headed in. Everyone was simply lovely, saying hello, shaking our hand and making us feel welcome. Some of the parish children performed a few songs which blew us away. Amazing talent! Vocals and violins were all sounding simply spectacular.

We decided one evening to go and watch The Great Gatsby in New York City, as it was based here, so would be fun to see it here! Well, after much confusion on the location of the Cinema (most are independent, and hard to really work out what is playing where), and of course the downpour of more NYC Rain (Seriously, the raindrops here don’t fall, they punch you in the head, repeatedly!) we found the Cinema near Union Square. we were saturated and cold, but after buying a not-so-small inventory at the candy bar, we headed into the film. Seats as big as a couch (American sized!) we watched the film… Not as “Great” as people were saying, but I have seen worse… Afterwards, another rain-punched dash for the subway and back to the hotel to change.

Catherine wine two tickets in the ballot system to see “The Book of Mormon”,  which was written by Matt & Trey: creators of South Park. Imagine a 2 hour episode of South Park, focussed on delivering the smack down to the Mormons, add in many songs that do the same, and you can get an idea of this show. It was rather funny, and from our position (Front row, dead centre!) we definitely saw the show! This show has been booked out for up to a year in advance, so getting tickets was simply unbelievable! The fact it was playing next door to our hotel was also rather handy. 😉

After our two weeks in New York City (My self-proclaimed home away from home – I simply love it there!) we headed to Hawaii for 5 days. Not even close to long enough!

We had hired a car, so once we had that in our possession, we braved the highways (and the “Interstate” – think about that for a moment!!) and headed up the coast for some sightseeing. We visited one mountainside that has been in about 15 movies, ranging from Godzilla and Jurassic Park, to Pearl Harbor and episodes of Lost. It is simply amazing that these places still exist, looking almost untouched by humans, yet surrounded by farms and houses!

Snorkelling was on the list of things we must do, so we headed to a tourist snorkelling beach (Pay $1 and access all day). We had our own gear with us, so didn’t get stung by the hire costs. I have NEVER seen so many brightly coloured fish outside of a tropical fish store! All were rather tame, some even coming right up to investigate my camera! of course there was also a wide variety of corals and seaweeds, brightening up the ocean floor, and becoming the perfect backdrop for the occasion. The highlight of course was when we came across a Green Sea Turtle! He decided to swim next to us for a while, then slowly moved along and out to Sea. I later saw him diving for his lunch, getting many photos as I swam alongside him. Such amazing creatures!

Of course, we had to attend a Luau, and arranged a pickup from the hotel (which was free and gave us free drink cards!) we headed out to the site. It was rather touristy (as expected) but was an amazing experience. The staff at Germaine’s Luau were lovely, and the food put out was simply perfect! The meat was so tender, you could almost drink it, and all were encouraged to “Eat until it hurts!” The show itself was rather interesting, as they did a dance from each Polynesian island, from New Zealand and Fiji, to of course Hawaii. We met some friendly Texans on our table who were asking us a million questions about Australia, which was fun, and we ended up getting rather tipsy on the cocktails as we chatted with them.

Another bus ride, and off to Pearl Harbor. As this is an active Military base, the whole procedure was rather complicated. Stand here, No bags allowed, No Camera Bags allowed, No photography in this area, etc. We headed to the memorial, which involved a boat ride, escorted by Marines, and no more than 10 minutes at the memorial before returning to land. The memorial is positioned directly over the USS Arizona, with sections of the ship still visible. The ship, although sunk in 1941, is still leaking oil into the water, with small slicks still visible.
As part of the tour, we were also escorted across the base to the USS Missouri, which is the ship that the World War 2 Cease Fire was signed upon. This ship served in WW2, Korean, Vietnam and even Gulf War 1 before being decommissioned in the mid 1990s. We were allowed to explore many areas of the ship unescorted, but other areas were obviously off-limits.

Our last night in Hawaii was spent on the beach in Honolulu, near the hotel. We had dinner and watched the sunset across from the Volcanic Crater, lighting up the Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii is such a lovely place, but needs more time to fully experience it. I hope we can return to both locations some day soon.

 

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