It'll all be fine


And so it begins... although it nearly didn't.

I came very close to cocking up the whole start of my trip by not looking in to the U.S visa. I didn't have one at all the day before I left and only by chance helping my brother book his flights at STA travel did I find out I didn't have one. I should have known better but fortunately my application was accepted and I dodged a pricey bullet.

There are things I will miss about home, not least my Mum and Dad. In the car on route to the airport:
Mum: 'Why are you wearing your sunglasses? There's no sun'
Dad: ''Cos I'm a cool dude and these are good sunglasses. They work in the dark'

At the airport I hit another snag. The U.S visa requires you to have transport out of North America booked to prove you're not staying. I had a bus to Canada booked but that was not enough so I was taken to the ticket desk and had to buy a flight. Off the top of my head I said Los Angeles to Bogota, Colombia. I booked it and now had to add a few more destinations to my itinerary. Panic over, I was on my way.

In the plane I was sat next to a girl called Jo who was on her way to the Dominican Republic on behalf of the Christian Union. She would be directing a half improvised play on the gospel of Mark in Spanish. It sounded bloody awful but she was a nice enough girl so I wished her well.

Through immigration, giving all ten fingerprints and an eye scan. I was in. Had a stroll through central park and bedded down in my hostel at 9pm (2am GMT).

After a good nights sleep I woke to be greeted by a stressed looking American lad in his pants. Even though there were two people still asleep in the dorm he spoke at normal American speaking volume (150% of other nationalities volume). He complained that he had been kept up by a Fat man in the bunk below watching a film on a laptop. The irony that he was now stopping others from sleeping was lost.

Walked to the bottom of Manhattan for the view across to the Statue of Liberty. The Liberty island is further away than I expected.

In the evening went out with two of my roommates who were as geeky as me. A German scientist and an American pharmacist. The question 'What do you think of the 2010 health care reform act'. They were good people and I learned that in the U.S.A. there are more deaths from prescription drug overdose than from automobile accidents.

After a pint met up with Asa, an Israeli I met in Slovenia and two of his friends and we went to the Top of the Rock, 67 floors up for a night time view out across the New York skyline. A good way to end a day.