Sweet Victoria’s Secret

I had the badly needed shower upon checking into the hotel room and was ready to fall asleep - imagine no sleep for over 30hours now! But boy I wasn’t going to let sleep come in the way of seeing this famed city, no ways! There would be time to sleep at night!

I struggled to keep awake, resented the doorbell and the TV sounds breaking the numbness setting in my brain after the shower. Almost napped away over a cuppa coffee - for lack of sleep!

It was 5 pm now and time to get ready to hit the streets – my first day in New York!
So after much debate with the ‘to-do’ list decided to drive around and stop somewhere not too noisy and nice! That’s an oxymoron if you know what I mean! Nothing in Manhattan is not noisy, its like an organized “aamchi Mumbai” – honest! The difference being sexy cars on the roads there, nicely maintained yellow cabs, people who maintained some respect for the law, lots of pavements to walk for pedestrians, hugely tall buildings that aimed to touch the sky, lots of food places, much haute couture too, lots of glitz yes!

And lo behold where do I make a stop ultimately? Victoria Secret- my first shopping stop! I keep reminding myself as I walk slowly checking all- from its interiors, to its beauty products to lingerie to everything that I need to go slow and not go berserk! Tough task I assure you! I wanted to buy everything! I had assured Anika that no beauty stuff for me from VS- but hey was she to know if I bought it?! J I was seriously totally awed by the huge size of this plush store, it stocked just about everything I wanted! I was a lot poorer when I came away from the store! And the lady at the cash counter wanted my email address and postal address because I had shopped so much I should have been a loyalty customer! But alas – I had to break her heart and tell her I live in India ( do you know where it is?), I dont live in the Big Apple. And for the time I was in USofA I got called by many nationalities but never and Indian- its probably my colour. Infact once a friend jokingly asked me if mum had an affair with a westerner ( because of the way I am) and I repeated that to my mum who was not amused then. So, coming back to ViSecret, between you and me for all the days I was there I went back again and again to VS I think about 4 times, Loyal and definitely poor now!

Arrival In New York

Gazing out of the limo into the streets of New York, what struck me instantaneously was how little of the sky one gets to see in NYC! But quickly that thought was pushed aside to seek the action – and I promise you there is a lot there!

Upon reaching the hotel which was booked for us, the tiny cramped lobby had receptionists who probably were not having their best day then – one of them very matter of fact-ly informed us that check-in was at 3 pm and that they cannot give us a room any earlier!

We decided to get our “to - do” list out and said, Best Buy - here I come! Within close distance we found a Best Buy, which Julian (a friend), had suggested for me to check out.

Did you know that Best Buy is a Fortune 100 company and the largest retailer in of consumer electronics in USA? Audio , cameras, music, movies, camcorders, games, toy, home appliances, software, phones…the list is endless!

Best Buy’s concept of customer centricity really works at minute details- it configures its stores to serve the needs of the particular customer segments that predominate in the area of that store, to a service, where you can pre book appointments to have a service attendant devoted completely to you. Best Buy building exteriors are usually light brown with the entrance in an area designed to look like a blue box emerging from the rest of the structure.

Definitely a must visit for anybody looking to buy any of the above in the USA , by now my legs and tummy both were talking to me – tme for a shower first for the weary traveller, then some food and rest before the evening beckoned us for more action soon! Found our way back to this strangely compact hotel and a hot shower was the need of the hour!

Landing in Newark Liberty International Airport

3 terminals, huge Continental parking bay with tens and tens of planes lined up, for either take off or service, I figured it was a large hub for Continental!

A hot bright warm day with the sun glistening off the tarmac and making me realize it’s just as bad as Bombay, this heat! What was I expected I chided myself.

In 2006 this airport handled 36million passengers! Newark is the 10th busiest airport in the United States, the 5th busiest international one, second being JFK.

Here’s an interesting story I was told by somebody at the bar- United Airlines Flight was ready to take off from gate A17 at 8:01 am, on its way from Newark to San Francisco International Airport on Sept 11, 2001

Two hours later it would crash into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
when passengers took over the plane from a team of hijackers. Based on the direction that the plane was flying at the time and information gathered afterwards, most observers believe that the hijackers intended to crash the plane into a target in Washington DC, In memory of this event, the airport's name was changed from Newark International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. This name was chosen over the initial proposal, Liberty International Airport at Newark, and refers to the landmark Statue of Liberty, just 7 miles east of the airport. Despite the name change few locals call it by its new name. The name most often used by locals is "Newark Airport" or simply "Newark".

I found myself out of the terminal , sitting in the cab very robotically , mesmerized by the thought that - Hello! I was in America! In the cab I sat seeking the tall buildings of New York! - It took me a while to get there from New Jersey!:-)


Air route to New York City

Yes I was excited, this was to be my first ever visit to the States, and boy was I like a 4 yr old so happy with her candy!

I have traveled the world and nowhere in my travels have I had to go thru such scans. First the passport, then the ticket get scanned, then one goes to the boarding counter and gets a boarding card but not before they scan the passport all over again

Immigration has to scan and then the airplane people scan again- they should write somewhere "happy scanning, happy journey"!

Anyway, once I crossed all the metal detectors and the physical handling and the computers and the security- I was in my seat in the plane- looking around , absorbing all details- after all I was to be onboard nearly 17hrs!

I settled into my seat, worked the remotes and realized I had a in built massager in the seat that became a bed when you want it to be one. It had doors that could be pulled out and I could be seated in my private jet to NYC

I figured our domestic airlines are doing a good job flying international waters now- the comfort of home is splendid when in a plane you can understand their English, know the food, and know you will not be served non veg guised as veg when you ask for veg:-)

We took off on time, did a short stop in Brussels and landed on time in Newark. I saw 5 movies, some in fast forward mode- all trashy - don’t know which was worst from the other! Very sad choice of movies indeed. Jet should improve its library of movies most certainly!

The food was de-li-cious. The service was excellent, the lounges were comfortable, the plane ride was smooth n beautiful

Newark was barren, big and had a HUGE parking bay- omg our airport looks very sad in comparison - this airport had some 8 vertical and 4 horizontal runway strips if not more! Planes were taking off with efficiencies of every minute! And landing fairly close too.

And now into immigration and collection of bags. Did the immigration rote and was out to baggage claim, they screened bags to see if I was carrying any alien with me, heard cheery "how r ya's , and gawked at the signboard that read - baggage trolley US$3 ! Nope- I trolleyed my bag out without it

And the smooth journey continued - we were met by a friendly cab driver who was waiting for us patiently, he got his car around and we were whisked to Manhattan from New Jersey whr Newark airport is.

I was feeling my eyes hurt with lack of sleep, but my mind would not allow it to shut or rest as it was soaking in with great amount of determination the sights and sounds of the Big apple!

NYC here I am:-)