NYC as a Vagabond

It was so interesting coming back to New York after all the travel I did this summer.  I definitely had a different take on things.  Overall, I felt more at ease navigating the city on my own than ever before.  September is a great time to visit as the hot muggy days of summer are fading and the tourist traffic is dying down.  The days are still typically sunny too and it doesn’t get dark till around 20:00 (I’m getting used to that convention these days).

I stayed with my brother and his fiance.  They have a cool new place on the upper East side that is really nice.  I had seen photos, so was excited to finally check it out.  They’re just a few blocks from Central Park, so we went walking there a few times.  It was fun catching up, going out for dinner and drinks, and just ordering take-in and relaxing in their home.

I did a lot of the usual things like go to Central Park, ride the subway, and just wander some of the different neighborhoods.  My brother and I also took a day to go to the MET.  I had been before, but it’s so huge, you need more than a day to explore everything anyway. 

One of the new things that I was able to do this trip was ride a train out of Grand Central Station.  I have some friends, Mauricio and Kelly, who used to live in Ohio who moved to Connecticut several years ago.  We still stay in touch, and talked about meeting up on my travels.  CT is less than a 2 hour train ride from NYC.  Unfortunately, Kelly had something else going on the weekend I was there, but Mauricio and I met up for lunch and a tour of Hartford, CT.  It was good to catch up, and I enjoyed taking a train out of Grand Central Terminal as I had always wanted to try that.  At this point, any train ride under 2 hours feels like 20 minutes or so.

I also spent an afternoon with my brother riding a few different ferries around NYC.  It’s a great way to get around, much less aggravating than riding the train, and you get to be on a boat with a nice breeze and awesome view.

My big errand for the week was to get my visa for India.  It’s the only country I really want to see that will require a visa prior to arrival.  I kind of procrastinated a bit and was worried I had waited too long.  The best way to do this is by mail, however, I learned a couple weeks ago that a place called Travisa Outsourcing will work with you if you want to apply in person.  They advertise as being able to provide the visa on the same day.  I made an appointment for 9:00 on a Friday morning and had all my paperwork ready.  There was a line out the door of people waiting for them to open.  The place has a strict process and they won’t even let you in the building without an appointment.  Everything went pretty smooth, but I did have to come back on the following Monday afternoon to pick up my passport with the visa stamped inside.  Waiting until this late to get the visa turned out to be a good move because it’s only good for 6 months starting on the application date.  I plan to arrive in December after my Euro trip, so if I had applied earlier in the year, it would have expired by the time I wanted to use it.  Hooray to procrastination!!

I love New York.  If it had mountains, I’d find some way to earn enough money to live here.  It gets too hot in the summer, so San Francisco would probably be my favorite major city for summer travel, but it’s tough to beat NYC in September.  It was another good stay, and I’m sad to go.  It will be my last time in the US for quite a while.  If all goes well, I’ll reenter the US some where on the West Coast next year.  I still find that hard to believe even though I’m the one planning it.

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