I am taking a break from blogging about Panama to share about the 2-week trip we took to the U.S. I returned to Pedasí 3 days ago from a whirlwind visit to the East Coast. Our main reason for this visit was Mikkel’s 50th class reunion from Annapolis Naval Academy. We decided to add 3-day visit to New York City before the 3-day reunion and a 4-day visit to Washington D.C. afterwards; two places neither of us had been to for decades. After many months of planning and making reservations, and arranging for accommodations and transportation, the time finally came. First, our friends picked us up in their car and delivered us with our luggage from our home in Pedasí to the Las Tablas bus terminal where we quickly caught a coach to the Albrook Bus Terminal in Panama City. At that point, we had arranged for our friend and taxi driver, Luis, who has driven us around many times from the first day we moved here, to take us to a hotel near the airport. Having an early morning flight to catch the next morning, we feel it is best to stay at this hotel (Riande Aeropuerto) which offers a free shuttle bus to the airport available 24-hours. A few months ago I took advantage of a discount offered on “Oferta Simple” (similar to Groupon) which saved us about 20% off from any other Hotel website specials.
So they next morning, we checked in our bags at Copa Airlines; one of Mikkel’s was overweight, but easily remedied by taking the one suitcase out of the bigger one and checking it in empty. He needed the extra bag to bring back many things he had ordered and shipped to places we were staying. Off we flew and arrived at JFK about 5 hours later. From there, after going through customs, we took a bus to the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan. Then we walked 3 blocks to an Airbnb apartment we had reserved which was located only 2 blocks from Time Square. Our Airbnb host was not there to let us in, and my cell phone’s battery was dead (new updated IOS problem) & my U.S. Sim card had not been activated (I mistakenly scheduled activation for a few hours later, mixing up the time changes). Leaving Mikkel behind, I walked around the corner to an ice cream shop where there were plugs for cell phones and free Wi-Fi; called our host and left a message since he did not answer. Eventually all was resolved, and we did not have to join the many homeless living in the “Big Apple”. The apartment was small and very old, but the location was great.
At this point, I am attaching many pictures and footnotes of our visit in New York. I took a lot of pictures, but only sharing about half of them. Nevertheless, there are still many photos – just click on the first picture for the full captions and then the right arrow to view in order.
After a full-day of sight-seeing, we walked back to our apartment, rested, showered, got dressed again and walked about 6 blocks to the Gershwin Theatre to see “Wicked”. I have seen Broadway Musicals in Los Angeles and Sacramento; I have been in a Broadway musical at a Community Theatre (Annie Get Your Gun). I grew up listening to Broadway music and watching musicals on TV; and I have sung many songs from Broadway shows, including Wicked, when I was a member of Placer Pops Chorale before moving to Panama. But I have always wanted to see a Broadway Musical on Broadway and Wicked was my very first choice to see. So I bought tickets online before coming to New York. Thoroughly enjoyed every second of it, and Mikkel loved it, too. One check off my bucket list.
The next day we were back riding the On-Off Bus, this time through Upper Manhattan. I have always enjoyed architecture, so most of the photos are of different buildings that I found to have interesting architecture.
it was lunch time, so we got off the bus on the east side of Central Park to eat at the Boat House cafe. Afterwards we walked through Central Park to catch the bus on the south side and return back to our starting point.
Next we walked 5 very long blocks to Hudson River docks to take a 1 hour “Liberty” boat tour which traveled along the west side of Manhattan and out to the Statue of Liberty and back.
DINNER AT CARMINE’S
Upon recommendation of 2 different tour guides, we walked over to Carmine’s for dinner, a famous Italian restaurant. Since we didn’t make reservations, we sat at the bar. Luckily we were previously told by the tour guides and then the bartender to only order 1 meal for every 2 people. Mikkel thus ordered the special of the day, stuffed veal cutlet. It was more than enough for 2 people. Came with a large bowl of garlic mashed potatoes on the side, and spinach with the veal stuffed with lots of cheese, mushrooms, etc. DELICIOUS! The bill? Let’s just say we will have to sell a lot of maps and guides to pay for it. But the whole experience and ambiance was worth it.
MACY’S at HAROLD SQUARE
Years ago I worked part-time for Macy’s in both Sherman Oaks and Roseville, California as a bridal consultant and home department sales associate. One thing on my bucket list was to visit the “mothership” in New York. The last morning before boarding a bus to Annapolis, I walked about 10 city blocks to visit this store. As the doors opened, a double line for Macy’s employees applauded the customers as they walked through, and some holding welcome signs in many languages. It has 10 1/2 (yes, there is a floor named 1 1/2), built on a full city block, and has been there for 115 years – the world’s largest department store. It now includes a Starbucks and McDonalds along with a formal restaurant. I checked out all the floors and did buy a pair of pants in the Women’s Department. An experience I will never forget.
Stay tune to Part 2 – Annapolis