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30th December 2010:
Up early, we left Chloe unwell at home to board the Statton Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty for free.
IT WAS SO CROWDED! Let me say, honestly, it was probably worth it to pay a tour guided boat to see the lovely green lady rather than try and compete with the hoards of other stingey tourists on the ferry!
It was also freezing cold, but it was winter in NYC after all, and it was our choice at the end of the day…
From there we headed back to the centre of Manhatten to catch the elevator up to the top floor of the Rockefellar building for a spectacular view of the city skyline. It truly was magical up there, the city looks SO pretty from above, especially as the sun was setting (early remember, because it was winter).
We took the obligatory tourist photos with the Empire State behind us and then headed back down.
Chloe was absent for all of this, and again stayed in that night. Mum and Dad hit up some jazz bar for a drink or two and I headed back to BROADWAY!
This time I was off to see La Cage Aux Folles! I was alone, but I didn’t mind, I was SO excited about seeing this particular musical about love, folly and drag queens in the south of France!
Kelsey Grammar was FABULOUS as the drag queen club manager, and I wet myself laughing. It was SO camp! I especially loved it when Kelsey’s assistant told him he loved him to which he responded “if you loved me, you’d vacuum!” OH! And the queens! They just danced and bitched and danced and bitched! LOVED IT!

31st December 2010:
Hello New Years Eve!
This was the day we went to Brooklyn.
We wandered the streets a little, exploring all that this borough had to offer, before heading for the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
It had some pretty cool paintings in it. There was also a series of dinner plate ceramics, depiting various important historical women in an abstract way through flowers… It’s hard to explain excaatly what I mean without photos/gestures, but I can tell you they were very striking.
I think our favourite painting was the one of a family with all the men and boys dressed in black coats and white pants. Dad stood infront of this painting and announced “what kind of losers wear black coats and white pants?”
We replied: “You do!” as he hadn’t noticed he was wearing the EXACT same outfit the people in the photo did! Yeah that’s funny!
From there we WALKED (yes that’s right WALKED) back through Brooklyn, across the Manhatten Bridge, all the way to Chinatown. According to the taxi driver we hailed down in China Town, no one had ever walked that far across NYC before! We didn’t even REALISE we’d walked as far as we had!
We went back to the apartment to chill a bit before heading out to a funky little bar in the Meatpacking District for cocktails and dinner on NYE! We brought in the New Year there.

27th December 2010:
We awoke to find ourselves in a morning of firsts. First blizzard survived, first time “snowed-in” and first time dad has ever had to use a shovel to dig us out of snow. THAT was hilarious!
Chloe and I had a muck around in the white snow, which was thigh deep and incredbily cold. We’d never seen so much white in our lives!
From there we bundled up and headed out, following through paths others had already made across the streets of NYC.
We were off to meet Chloe’s best friend from primary school, Kristen and her dad. On the way we stopped in at a couple of department stores for a bit of shopping before catching up with our old friends outside the Plaza Hotel!
They took us to the CUTEST, QUIRKIEST little cafe that served delicious food. I can’t remember what I ate, only that I loved it.
Afterwards, Chloe, mum and I headed off to see Mary Poppins whilst dad went to Madison Square Gardens to see an ice hockey matched.
Mary Poppins was spectacular. Well, atleast the second half was. The first half was lacking in energy and we were on the verge of walking out. Thank god we stayed or we would’ve missed a really special second act! Very much worth seeing for that alone!

28th December 2010:
Chloe had long dreamed about standing outside Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue, a la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and sip at coffee whilst staring longingly at the beautiful jewelry inside. 5th Avenue had already been mostly cleared of snow, so we picked up some pastries and hot drinks before posing for our obligitory photos outside the store. Then Chloe popped inside for a few new trinkets for her charm bracelet.
After our Tiffany’s detour, we headed for Central Park, where children were enjoying the mountains of snow. Central Park is GORGEOUS covered in white frost.
This what where I saw a “shelf” of snow and thought I could sit on it… I didn’t realise quite how soft snow was, and fell right through it onto the ground. Chloe, acting just as intelligently as myself, copied my act and found the same fate as I had. HILARIOUS!
There were already snowmen everywhere, as well as a few sneaky “snow shapes” pressed into trees which were very impressive.
We continued on, headed to a very special place. We were off for a mini lunch at a very snazzy (name withheld) restaurant in a huge centre on the other side of Central Park.
The food was fantastic, we were treated to some spectacular showmanship in the form of edible treats and the waiters were flawless – if only all waiters were like these ones! They DESERVED every tip they got!
Later that evening, Chloe and Dad ran off home and I managed to drag mum into FAO Schwartz. Dream. Come. True. GIANT PIANO TO PLAY ON! BARBIE FASHION PARADE! LIFESIZE PLUSH ANIMALS! HOORAY!

29th December 2010:
This was the day we went to Harlem. We boarded the subway and went almost as far north as you can go on Manhattan Island.
We spent the morning exploring the area well known for it’s jazz culture. Mum waved to buskers on the subway, then we ended up in a creepy little cafe that was empty. Mum was so fascinated by the photos that it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to drag her out! She wondered why I was being so pushy until I informed here a CREEPY OLD MAN had been glaring at us from behind a curtain. Good, glad we left… After she photographed the bajeezus out of the place!
We had “breakfast” as IHOP (International House of Pancakes) – which consisted of the most calorific quesadillas in the world and unlimited pancakes. Hooray!
From there we headed off to find this mystical and magical suit shop dad had read about in the travel guide. It wasn’t enough for him to just buy a suit in NYC, no, it had to be from some quirky little store with an eccentric owner in Harlem. He got just that, and a few shirts too!
We then wandered down the main strip, found the Apollo Theatre and talked dad out of buying some truly hideous shoes.
From there we headed to the Upper East Side and into the Met (after taking some fun “Gossip Girl” shots on the steps outside). The Met is amazing. I wandered for hours on my own (having ditched the fam) taking in some really spectacular art works. They had some really obscure Picasso’s there (yes, even for Picasso) that I was totally dumbstruck by.
By then we were starving. We met out the front, found dad on the steps (he had gotten bored after 20mins and gone to get a snack) and headed for 42nd St where we were off to have dinner with some old friends of mum and dad.
Sharon and Carl took us to PongSri, a cosy little Zagat-rated Thai restaurant nestled just off Broadway. I had the BEST Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten in my whole life, as well as a spicy eggplant dish and a Thai-inspired chicken schnitzel which was pretty delicious. I ate too much.

22nd December 2011:
Chloe and Georgia arrive in the Big Apple at 11am. We then proceed to hail a cab with our thousand suitcases and speed off towards the apartment we will be staying in in Chelsea.
After dumping our suitcases and exploring the apartment, Chloe and I wandered outside to find a small bakery next door. Half pound (250g) cookies and rich, fluffy cupcakes became our lunch.
Dad arrived an hour or two later and in order to keep him awake, I announced that we should explore Chelsea! Chloe stayed in, exhausted from the long bus ride, whilst dad and I ventured out to find Chelsea Market. Turned out the “little” market we were expecting to find was the size of a department store and had everything from an Anthropologie to an amazing bakery, fishmonger and a little Aussie pie shop! We wandered around before settling on a little Italian deli for some more food (dad hadn’t had lunch and well… I’m always hungry!) before heading back to meet mum.
Still excited by our little culinary find, we dragged mum back to the markets later that evening, when it was all lit up for Christmas! We then hit a trendy hole in the wall called Pop Burgers for an amazing round of sliders (mini burgers) before hitting the hay early, as we’d all travelled long distances that day.

23rd Dec 2010:
We set off relatively and successfully early (I believe it was the earliest we were ready the entire trip!) on our first FULL day in NYC. We headed south, hoping to explore Greenwich Village, Chinatown and Little Italy. Mother refused straight up to drink coffee from a little cart on the side of the road, so after the rest of us got our morning coffee and donut hit from a silver truck, we headed off to find some “real” coffee for the fusspot. We ended up at Jeffery’s, a quirky little greengrocer/cafe near Gay St, where mum got her “real coffee”.
Satisfied, we continued south.
On a busy street which I am thankful I don’t remember the name of, we came across a shop with some shoes in the window. Dad went in, deciding he wanted to look around. He found pimp shoes… We were in a pimp shop. Yes, my father the pimp. They were long, pointy leather shoes that were teal and pearl coloured. He wanted them so bad. Mum was feigning interest whilst Chloe and I were trying DESPERATELY to convince him that not even his friend Dapper would talk to him again if he bought them. They were foul.
Other items found in the shop: hooker boots with guns for heels, those dresses that have so many “trendy” torn rips on them you’re not sure if it’s really a dress anymore, pimp hats.
It took a good hour, but we talked him out of the hideous pimp shoes… although he did get SOMETHING from the shop: a very plain, basic pair of black leather gloves. He was very happy with his purchase.
And we kept walking, and walking, and walking…
And then we found a record store. It looked cool, so we went inside. We found a cat, and not just any cat but the WORLDS FATTEST CAT EVER! For realz, this cat was like four times the size of that fatty obese cat that lives down the road from you (you know the one, you all have one!). I would’ve broken my back trying to lift it. It was bigger than all three of my fatty pet cats combined. But he was a beautiful cat, and very friendly. Dad, Chloe and I spent a disturbingly long time with the fat cat, Carmel was highly offended.
So then we kept walking, and walking, and walking. We saw NYU and Chloe got this foul pretzel and we had lunch in Little Italy and we saw hoards of Chinese people hovered around a tiny little outdoor chess set – just like in the movies except instead of one or two spectators there was half of China there. Yeah.
More walking and we hit the financial district and we saw the courts and it was pretty cool AND THEN WE HIT WALL ST! We walked HALF of MANHATTEN in less than a day! By this stage it was getting dark (so early!) and we ventured down Wall St as it got dark and it was pretty cool I must admit. We saw the New York Stock Exchange and some other big buildings AND THEN WE SAW TIFFANYS! And of course Chloe disappeared inside… Eventually the rest of us followed, but not until we were finished being mesmerised by the Tiffany’s carolling men out the front, in their cute Tiffany-blue ties. Adorable.
Mum and dad were exhausted like the old people that they are by this stage and we headed back for Chelsea.
Chloe and I didn’t have much time to waste, we had to get ready to go to our first Broadway show: LION KING!
Let me just say one thing: if you never see the Lion King musical on stage then your life will be a complete waste. It was amazing. AMAZING!
Times Square is le disgust.

24th Dec 2010:
So we started our day with the hunt for the mystical bike shop my dad was so intend on visiting. Whilst Chloe and Mum went to get Chloe’s glasses repaired (she sat on them), Dad and I strolled a few blocks over to find the bike shop… What we found was an empty storefront that had closed down only mere weeks earlier… LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! I was so pleased we didn’t have to visit the stupid bike shop… UNTIL WE FOUND ANOTHER STUPID BIKE SHOP! Karma: gets you every time!
We then embarked on a mini architecture self-guided tour. We visited the Flat Iron Building, the New York Public Library, the Empire State and many amazing skyscrapers before finding ourselves on 5th Avenue admiring the gorgeous Christmas windows. We also saw a man do a backflip over 4 standing people. It was pretty hilarious. It was also a pretty sweet deal kinda lazy exploring NYC day.
After a really late lunch at this amazing cafe, I ditched the rentals and sister to catch up with my friend Brad and do a little last minute Christmas shopping! I was after this particular bike book for my dad, and whilst I didn’t find it, I found something better: the sequel to his FAVOURITE bike book of all time! Hooray! I also picked up a few sneaky things at Sephora for mum and Chloe.
Then we all retired in for the night, eating dodgy late night pizza, before going to bed to await Santa!

Just before midnight on the 26th of November 2009, my parents, my sister and I touched down IN INDIA!

Now, let me try to explain exactly how excited I was: SO EXCITED!!! See, India is a nation of beautiful silks, amazing architecture and most importantly, my favourite kind of food: Indian. All I could think about was all the curries, the dosas, the samosas, the bahji that was calling my name: “Eat me Georgia, we are delicious!” they exclaimed. I was truly ready to eat nothing but curry for the ten days I was in this amazing country of spectacular food… And I wanted to buy some nice silks and see some temples whilst I was at it.

We arrived in Chennai, formerly Madras, on the south-east coast of the brilliant subcontinent, and despite it being so late at night, the city was ready and waiting to assault our senses the moment we stepped out of the airport.
Men and women in colourful saris lined the barricades outside the arrival terminals (see, in India you can’t even ENTER an airport without a ticket, so the crowds wait outside). Many of the men were holding up signs with names, we were supposed to find ours… amongst what seemed like half the population just outside the airport!

Immediately we were hit by a wall of smells: India smelt funny, but not half as bad as I was warned it would be. The faint smell of spices filled the air, mixed with sweat, dust and that disgusting summer-day humidity smell that didn’t seem to care that it was the middle of the night!

We were under the assumption that Chennai was small-ish. We were wrong. Chennai has like several MILLION people, it’s like the Melbourne of Australia… but with like a zillion times the population, and that’s not even counting all the “extras” in the slums. (Not that there appeared to really be many slums happening, which surprised me – although I was later informed that this was really only a problem in Mumbai, and most other cities had very little in the way of slums.) But Chennai was not only big, it was also busy: all day and all night. A city that never sleeps AND IT’S NOT EVEN A MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ONE!

I was so excited that when we finally arrived at our hotel, I had alot of trouble falling asleep (despite my severe jetlag due to the never-ending stop over in Bangkok airport), but awoke the next morning with so much energy and excitement, I was ready to go before my parents had even rolled out of bed!

Then it was time for breakfast: a good Indian breakfast was clearly the only way to start the day! (My family did not agree.) I couldn’t help myside, it was so tasty.

When we FINALLY went outside, it was hard not to be a little nervous, our hotel was on a major highway and there was like zero sidewalk (what sidewalk did exist was mostly crumbled or occupied by a cart or similar). The Indians on foot happily risked their lives walking up and down the side of the ACTUAL ROAD, going about their business like having a car driving at you 100kms an hour was nothing at all! So we followed suite, and headed down the road, trying not to become roadkill.

We headed down the first “side street” we came along. Apparently every Indian in the area was staring at me, Chennai isn’t exactly a big tourist city, white people are almost unheard of, and my particularly-pale complexion really stood out. (My family are luckily all quite tanned, and except for mum’s blue eyes, they all found it much easier to blend in than I did.) I was also apparently offending them with my almost-knee length shorts and a tshirt… I was told that would be fine (BY AN INDIAN!), clearly that advice was wrong.
So I made a future effort to cover up more… which was easier said than done in a country that has 35 degree days in the middle of winter, I couldn’t think of anything worse than covering up.
Of course, for India I’d do anything and it wasn’t an issue of modesty, but it was humid and that’s gross. (Next time I visit India, I will invest in many long, linen things… And not have to wear funny mismatched clothing in order to try and blend in.)

Interesting fact about lovely Chennai: The St Thomas Basilica is located in the city, and is one of the only three apostles world wide. (The other two are in Rome, Italy and Santiago, Spain.) That’s pretty cool.

We only had that morning in Chennai, but already I could tell that I was going to love every part of India. There were so many exciting things to photograph and for some reason we didn’t appear to have any culture shock… So it was off to the airport to go to Madurai and visit Mani and his family for his wedding.

To be continued…