Saturday, 5 January 2008

NY for NY

Happy New Year everyone! I planned this one year ago. A hostel half a block away from Times Square in New York, plane flights booked and an event that i have been looking forward too for just as long. After waking up late on the 31 December, i knew that it was going to be a big day. One of the guys working at the hostel recommended that to see The Ball drop, you have to be there by 5pm. Not knowing if there would be toilets or food available, we went outside the police barriers at 3pm that were already set up. Once we got our stuff, it was a big hassle trying to get back in. The police were already not letting people enter. We managed to squish through the crowd around the barrier only because we had hostel keys within Times Square, no-one else was allowed in. Once getting metal detected at this checkpoint, it was again a problem walking to the main area to view the ball. Power driven cops blocking the way and not letting anybody in. At this point i actually thought i was going to miss out, but by asking different officers and pleading with them, we eventually got in. It was 4pm and we had 8 hours to go! It was a huge crowd already and we managed to find a great spot in one of the 'sheep like pens' that they had set up. (pic) We were positioned in-between the ball and the 2 stages that they had set up above the crowd where we could see both. The red ball is in the top right corner where most of the screens under it and behind where we were displayed the countdown. Now what do we do? Well, we listened and danced to bands playing including Lenny Kravitz and a whole heap of other bands the crowd definitely knew but i had never heard of. Every hour was a countdown to New Years somewhere in the world, and there was a restaurant open right next to us where you could get quick food and use the restroom after lining up. With free red hats and balloons being handed out to the crowd of 300,000 within Times Square, everyone and myself went nuts after the final 10 second countdown. Fireworks, confetti and a roar that sounded like the crowd when Essendon won the AFL Grand Final over Carlton back in 1993. With New York, New York playing on the loud speakers, everyone wished each other a happy new year. By 12.30am, most of the crowd had disappeared as everyone had been standing there all day. With adrenalin pumping, it was time to go clubbing, however as we found out, all clubs were charging US$60-80 entry fee! So we ended up having a few drinks at a bar which put us to sleep as it had been a long day standing in the cold and squishy crowd. I loved it, but like everyone around us was saying... never again.
(pic) Mariah and I and our hairstyles... don't freak out mum, it's only hair :)

I'm off to explore New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and LA until the end of January. Unfortunately due to 'Carnival' in Brazil changing its dates to the start of February, i have had to miss out on exploring Canada and Mexico.