I am writing this from the hotel lounge in New York. I arrived, and so did my bag, so that was something of a relief. The flight all went smoothly, and I managed to get through immigration and find a the taxi rank, and got to the hotel — with all my possessions. My sister Ruth was arriving from Calgary, so we tracked each other by phone.

We are staying at The Sheraton, Times Square, which is perfectly placed midway between Times Square and Central Park. I arrived and checked in first, and the nice man at the desk upgraded me to an spg room (which means we can use the spg lounge — which is the lounge for their card members). We can go into the lounge for coffee and drinks, and they serve a breakfast, and nibbles in the evening. I’m sitting in there now, as I write this, watching people outside as they hurry through the New York rain.

We’ve had a lovely couple of days so far, with great NY cold-but-sunny weather (though Ruth informs me that NY cold is nothing compared to Calgary cold!) The time difference is annoying, as I wake at midnight, ready to start the next day. We’re sort of managing a compromise, so I stay in bed until 6am, and Ruth gets up early.

Day 1: We ate dry bagels in the deli opposite the hotel. Then they started to wipe the table, so we guessed they wanted us to leave (even though they had spare tables). We recamped in the hotel lounge and ate a second breakfast, with more coffee, and chatted some more.

Walked up to Central Park. Ruth is a talented wildlife photographer, and there are rumours that a Mandarin duck has been seen in the park, so she was keen to find it.
We saw sealions on the edge of the zoo, and lots of squirrels and sparrows, and a little bird called a ‘crested titmouse’ and robins­ – which are not the same as the friendly little bird in the UK. But no Mandarin duck. We saw the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sculpture that my children climbed on 20 years ago. But no Mandarin duck. No ‘Birdy Bob’ either (he gives guided bird walks, but we arrived too late). There were lots of people though – masses of them; all taking photos of the autumn leaves and faded chrysanthemums, and reflections in the water.

We actually spent longer in the park than planned, as it turns out that Ruth’s sense of direction is as bad as mine. We walked up the east side, all the way to the north edge, then crossed and walked down the western side. Except, we didn’t, and after walking for about an hour we realised we had turned north again, and were back at the top of the ball-field. We also walked the wrong way around the reservoir (it has one-way signs, but we didn’t notice them until we left). It was a long walk – we walked 21.5km according to my phone app. My legs really ached! But we had some good chats, and it was so nice to be together after months and months apart.

Later, we went to see the dregs of the Veterans Day Parade. It really was the dregs — am assuming the actual parade was much better. We saw people in matching hats, and a woman walking her dog (not sure if she was even in the parade or had just decided to walk on the road as there were too many people on the path). We managed to miss the tanks and soldiers and most of the bands. The most interesting thing was the two men in black hats standing on the corner of a tower block, watching the crowd. Am guessing they were keeping us all safe.

I’ll write more another day.
Hope you don’t get lost today.
Take care,
Love, Anne x

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