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Tuesday 11 May 2004
New York, USA

Last dayzzzz....

Ok a quick entry here... Ive just purchased my ticket back home to EIRE for the 13th May. The strange thing was, though, that the cheapest flight I could get was a RETURN to the UK with Aer Lingus for 76 quid! The ONE-WAY cost something like 110!!... weird. Anyways I hope they dont start requiring me to return to the UK prior to picking up the ticket (i.e. would they check that I live in the UK before giving me this ticket??? who knows!) Still it was expensive and I really should have planned ahead and booked a cheap Ryan Air flight 2 weeks ago (so that I could avail of the special deals). *sigh* more costs...

Did a lot of sight-seeing today. Started off down at Wall Street. Its called Wall street after the wall that the original Dutch settlers put up to keep the English out of "Niewe Amsterdam" (as it was then called). Couldnt get into the building of course, because of 9-11. Lots of heavily armed police around too with vicious dogs, one of which almost went for me!

I then went down to the nearby Statten Island ferry, which is a FREE way of seeing the Statue of Liberty (finally I get to see it after a WEEK!). The closest the ferry came to the statue was about 500 metres, but still I could get some good shots at that distance. The funny thing is, the statue is remarkably small.. not at all as it appears in the movies, etc. The one in Las Vegas was about 2/3 the size of this one.

After this I had some lunch and headed off to the UN building (again.. I wanted to get IN this time). I went inside where there seemed to be EVERY nationality represented.. the ethnic groups even walk around in their traditional garb: I saw some Chilean ambassador in large bowler hat and big red skirt over trousers (Ive seen pics and this is the style of the Chilean women). Then a woman who looked like she was dressed as a German milk-maid (replete with pig-tails and puffy arms on the dress)... probably some Russian group?!? There was even a Maori exhibition on there too... so I got to strut my stuff with my Maori carved necklace... but when I got a disgruntled look from the Maori guy, I think I understood why. The Maori detest the tourists coming and buying their sacred jewellery.. I think I pretty much did the ultimate faux-pas by flashing mine around!

I didnt actually do a tour of the UN, because (a) the guard selling me the ticket was about as helpful as a brick, and didnt inform me when my tour was about to start, so having missed it, I would have to wait another 30 mins for the next one! So I got a refund!

Also (b) I was limited on time and I wanted to see the "Met" (Metropolitain Art Museum) before it closed at 5.30 (at this stage it was 4pm)

The Met is AMAZING! The have endless displays of humoungous Egyptian sarcofaguses, Greek statues, Medieval armor, plus Samurai swords and outfits. All completely genuine and all were donated by "collectors" (in the 1800s many New York businessmen became so insanely rich that they could afford to amass great quantities of antiquities... really quite amazing how much was purchased. And of such excellent quality, despite some being over 2000 years old!)

All in all.. a great last day of New York. Tommorrow my flight leaves at 6pm, so I say farewell to my excellent hostel (Hostel International on Amsterdam Ave) at 11am and will hit the subways lugging around my junk on the way home

Yay!!! Its been a great 16 months... one that has changed me forever... for the best.

Ill update the diary when I get back home (having travelled around the world.. and MORESO, since I will actually bypass Ireland and land in the UK, before backtracking back to Eire!!)

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