Well finally the day arrived Emma was coming. Isabel and I anxiously made our way to JFK via the subway. I am very confident now traveling all over on the subway and find it very easy and extremely efficient. When you first use the subway here is does seems so overwhelming. There are many lines and people are always in a rush so you do feel intimidated by the sheer speed your expected to maintain. After our reunion we proceeded to our town car (car service) and off we headed home. Here in New York there is a real issue with what they call “gypsy cabs” at JFK Airport. They are basically other illegal car services that lure you into riding with them. These ‘cabs” have no meters so innocent tourists get in them and then get hit with an astronomical bill. They usually also intimidate the naive tourist so much at the end of the journey that they always get the ridiculous fare that ask for. An example is of someone I heard having to pay $150 USD (not including tolls and tip)when normally the fare is $60 USD which includes the tolls and tip. I warned Emma about this and when I arrived she had already been asked seven times before I had got to her. If visiting New York either book a car service online or only use a yellow cab!! Otherwise the subway is great it’s so well organized and easy to do into Manhattan.
The first couple of days involved familiarizing Emma to our neighborhood. We did a quick day trip over to New Jersey as there is an outlet mall I had been meaning to check out. It was huge and we did buy a few things. I am still surprised at how well organized transportation is here in this busy city.
I would have to say one of the highlights was my personal welcoming by Barrack Obama. Well that may be a slight exaggeration however I did get a wave. This was totally not planned but in true New York style you never know who you may bump into. We had just collected Annika from her preschool when the street we walk down (Columbus) was covered in Police. As we got closer to the main intersection we noticed everything was being blocked off. At first we thought it was asecret service celebrity however there was just too much security so I knew it must be some sort of dignitary. I asked a nanny that was with a child and she told me it was Barrack Obama.
We stood there for about one hour. Emma was over it and did not share my enthusiasm. She would have been more impressed if it had been a celebrity. I on the hand was very excited to actually see the President of the United States. It truly was like a scene out of a movie. Secret Service all over the place. They even had Sanitation trucks (garbage trucks) blocking off all the side streets. They inspected every trash can and every newspaper vending machine. Then finally I could see the black entourage making its way from Central Park west. There were helicopters hovering and two SUV’s I suspected he would be in. It was not the first but the second SUV he was in. He looked out and waved. So there it was my official welcome from the President of the United States. I felt so welcomed.......