My trip to America got off to a bad start. I was on my way to the Gautrain when I realised I forgot my credit card at home. I couldn’t believe it. My friend sent me a message the night before to say all I needed to pack was my passport, plane ticket and credit card; anything else can be bought. How could I forget the most important item?? I was then stuck in peak-hour traffic on the way home which now caused me to be late for the airport as you have to be there three hours before. I arrived 25minutes late but no one seemed to care and all went well.
I was on a direct non-stop flight to New York and it was a very long and extremely uncomfortable fifteen hour flight and I only slept for about two hours. Everyone warned me about the arrival at JFK but I think ours may have been one of the first flights to arrive in the morning as there were few people and the security check went quickly without having to stand in queues – bonus!
We collected the rental car and it took me a few minutes to figure out how to work an automatic car and to get oriented with the driver side being on the left side. My friends gave me a few tips on how to remember to drive on the right side of the road which came in very handy. A fellow blogger also told me about turning right on a red which kicked in when the car behind me started hooting at the traffic light. I opted not to take the GPS as I thought I was just going to buy a Garmin at the first shop as it will be handy for the rest of the trip. I arrived at the Walmart only to find they didn’t have any stock and the sim card I bought at the airport for my phone apparently didn’t have a data package so I could not even find directions on my phone which caused some driving around in circles but we eventually found our way and I saw this as an opportunity to get used to the driving.
We arrived early at Howard Beach where we were going to spend the first night and couldn’t check in immediately so decided to go for a drive to Rockaway, Jacob Riis Park and Breezy point. The most noticeable thing is the long stretches of white sandy beach with a lifeguard every 100m or so. Back home you are lucky if there is 100m of swimming area due to all the currents, sand banks and rocks. I have not seen any rocks here which may explain why the waves seem so mild and tame. Riss Landing in Breezy Point has the most spectacular view of Jamaica Bay, Marine Parkway Bridge and Brooklyn bridge in the distance. The Marine Parkway Bridge is a vertical lift bridge (which opened in 1937) where the inner section can move up and down dependent on water or road traffic. It was fascinating to see especially knowing that it is so old because looking at it I would have guessed that it was quite new.
We checked in just after two and slept till 8.30pm as we were just too tired. We decided to get up, find something to eat and do some night sightseeing. We had some pizza at a place across the road and then drove to Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, Lido Beach and Point Lookout. It was a great experience as you get the sea on the one side and bay on the other side. We had fun driving and exploring until two cars with lights came speeding down and parked us in. It was the cops trying to look why a car was driving around at 1 am in a parking area that closed hours ago. We explained that we were just looking around and was on our way home. After our run in with the law we decided it was maybe time to go sleep.
This morning we woke up to news of a mass shooting at the premier of Dark Knight at a theatre in Colorado where 14 people were killed and 50 injured. Last night when we drove past a cinema complex we thought to go watch a movie but thanks to the newsreader who scared everyone by saying that the coverage of the event may lead to copycat acts made me decide to maybe skip movies on this trip.
It is overcast and wet today which is fabulous as it is no so hot. We will see how the drive to Washington will be but looking forward to it.