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Time
to knock a big trip off of the bucket list and this trip was three
years in the making because everytime we managed to save up enough
money to book it something came along with the kids needing things so
as the savings hot the mark just before Christmas I booked the trip
in quick before fate could throw us another curve ball!

Now
I have family in America so have been over there a few times before
but New York would be a first and I wanted to see the city that never
sleeps (my arse it doesn’t) for myself along with all of the tourist
bits it’s famous for.

The
trip didn’t start off well after driving from our home toward
Birmingham Airport I started to have an IBS (Irritable Bowel
Syndrome) attack so by the time we arrived I was buckled over in two
wondering if I was going to be able to make from the drivers seat in
the car park to the nearest toilet in the airport without giving
myself cause to change my lower clothing. Thankfully I made it.
With the first round of that horror dealt with we set off to look at
the departure board to discover our flight to America had been
cancelled, of course it had the day was fast getting worse, so we
walked over to the check in desk to see what the plan of action was.
Not too bad they said we just needed to hop on a flight firstly to
Dublin then a connection an hour later to JFK in New York. A
different airport than we had booked but seeing as we were just
catching a cab into the city no worries and they gave us vouchers for
breakfast which was nice.

After
a couple of hours hanging around eating not a lot and several painful
trips to the toilet for me later we noticed the gate number wasn’t
coming up for the flight to Dublin even though it was nearly time to
take off. Half an hour later and fifteen minutes after take off time
we were directed to a gate put on a plane and sat there for some time
like lemons then when we took off we were over an hour and a half
late and going to miss our connecting flight…the day was not going
well. I asked a stewardess what we had to do about missing our
connection and seeing as over half of the plane load of passengers
they had wee in the same boat she went to see the captain who
contacted Dublin then let us know that because there were so many
folks that needed to get that flight to America they would be holding
it until we all arrived and cleared American immigration. I looked
at Wifey confused then a stewardess confused “America
administration…in Dublin?” Yep the American border is now in
Dublin airport so that took a while to clear as well much to the
pissed off faces of the people stuck on the flight to JFK if looks
could kill most of us that came from Birmingham airport would now be
dead.

We
had made it onto the flight though and with time made up in flight we
should on be an hour or so behind schedule upon landing. How that
works I do not know but hey I was happy with the result. The flight
was painless and we landed without crashing which seemed good
considering the day we were having so we walked to baggage claim and
our suitcase was one of the first on the line our luck was turning as
we made our way to the taxi rank. We were there informed it was a
set fare which was even better and we jumped into your typical yankie
yellow cab and the next round of hell arrived moments later.

I
had been told that New York taxi drivers were bad by a friend who had
been there before but nothing prepared me for the ride that followed
honestly it was something that Amusement Parks would deem to
dangerous to use for fear of giving folk heart attacks or strokes.
He left the airport gently enough leaving me thinking my friend was
talking crap but as soon as we hit the interstate directly off of the
airport he unleashed hell in the form of a rejected formula one
driver that had decided banger racing was probably the best idea for
him now. How he missed the cars he was cutting up forcing them out
of lanes and off of the road I do not know because with thirty
seconds I deemed the best course of action I could do was to close my
eyes tight and pray.

Up
ahead the traffic had pulled up in a huge jam but this wasn’t a
problem for our driver he just cut right across 4 lanes then drove
along another lane that I couldn’t see but he could straight up the
slip road into an area I found out later was called Jamaica Queens
and not an area you would willing enter unless you absolutely had to.
He weaved through the snow along tight streets with parked cars both
sides forcing people to slip and slide out of his way as quickly as
they could in case they got mown down straight into another long
traffic queue up to lights in the distance. It was then that I
noticed the thumping music from my right and as I turned I found four
obvious gang members in the next car staring at me and into the Taxi.
Now I did point out this area was rough right? Well now I was
getting more than a little concerned as these guys strained to see
what we had in the cab. Thankfully the traffic started to move again
and they disappeared from view for about fifteen seconds in which
time we had stopped again and they had moved over the the left side
of the Taxi in their motor and were busy looking on at Wifey and what
she had on her side of the taxi. Even the cab driver started looking
nervous when their thumping music stopped.

Thankfully
at this moment the traffic cleared and we were back onto whacky taxi
races weaving in and out of lanes blaring his horn, which seemed to
be a common theme for driving in New York, then the way ahead cleared
and we careered into Manhattan through some tunnel at a hundred
miles per hour. He pointed out some landmarks at warp speed forcing
me to open my eyes to the blurred terror of passing buildings then
shot across Times Square in a flash and skidded to a halt outside our
Hotel where I have to admit I have never gotten out of a motor so
quickly in my life.

Of
course he then stood outside his Taxi with our cases and this being
America was waiting upon me to tip him for the worst ride if my life.
Apparently ten percent is the norm for your authentic New York taxi
ride experience.

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