Tue 30 Apr - New York City, NY

Start spreading the news... we're leaving today...we want to be a part of it...New York, New York!

Our leaving is a bit sad for Coco... She had been great fun playing with Hans in particular.

Mary had been a great host (again) and kindly drops us off at the Greyhound bus centre for our bus to NYC. Thanks for everything Mary. Again. We made it.

The bus trip is pretty smooth with a changeover of buses and a 40 minute wait in Baltimore. Baltimore from the bus does not look too exciting but of course they never put bus terminals in the attractive parts of town.

A snap photo from the road out of town.

We had hoped to find a snack shop or something to buy lunch between buses in Baltimore but ended up buying some bad food (which we threw away) from the BP gas station on the corner.
We sleep a bit until we catch our first sight of the Big Apple! Empire State Building in the centre of the next pic.
(This and the next photo are both taken from the bus, through pretty dirty windows, so not the sharpest.)

Not as excited about peak hour traffic jam going into the Lincoln Tunnel... About 9 lanes going into 2. Lots of buses. The traffic jam adds about 45 minutes to our trip but we had been warned by the bus driver what to expect. He was spot on.

After the tool booths, 9 lanes become 2...

Our bus pulls into the Port Authority terminus and we catch a yellow cab from there to our Chinatown address at Henry Street. Our apartment host, Chris, is waiting and he takes us upstairs and gives us a run down of everything before leaving us happily settled.
Street view from East Broadway, parallel to Henry Street, as we head out for dinner around 7pm.
We are close to the Manhattan Bridge and about 2 blocks from East Broadway subway station. We feel like we are living in both Hong Kong and New York at the same time and we love it!

Dinner is at a wonton house (in the corner on the pic above) that could have been in any Chinese city. Just some roast meats, rice or noodles and finally proper Chinese tea. No cutlery, just chopsticks.

We are completely at home and sigh with relief - we have missed this so much from Sydney.

Di can't wipe the grin from her face.

We pick up a few basics at a local Asian supermarket and a bakery, including Tsing Tao beer. It's 8.30pm now and Chinatown merchants seem to close at 8pm so its much quieter as we wander home. We feel safe and are not worried about walking further but we are ready to head home as we are tired and want to unpack. Tea for Di and a beer for Hans help us really relax.

Our home for the next month - the 2 lit windows on the third floor are our bedroom, which has plenty of space. We also have a small bathroom, a kitchenette with a full stove and drive and a small dining table and couch with coffee table. Surprsingly this is a free standing building and we have about 6 windows with great natural light and air flow. We are sure this is going to be just right for our time here.

Good night. Huge day wandering is planned for tomorrow.


Mon 29 Apr - Chester, MD

Rain had come overnight to Atlantic City, just as predicted. We wake up to a wet and windy morning, and therefore take it slow - we are not out of our hotel room until almost 9am. Check out time is 12 noon and we intend to make the most out of it.

Also, we are going back to Chester In Maryland today to return Jim and Michel's car and since Mary is working and there is only a 3 hour drive, we are in no hurry. We don't want to interrupt Mary's day too much.

We decided to wander north on the boardwalk from our hotel and then inlands as we only been south yesterday. The Atlantic City boardwalk is very empty and wet on this rainy Monday morning.

We don't have to walk for long before we hit a different world. Empty lots, rundown hotels and the boardwalk here had taken a bit of a hammering. Perhaps through Hurricane Sandy that whipped through here a year or so ago.

The Atlantic City boardwalk is closed off in large chunks due to the damage, but in one place at its very end you can wander in from the other direction. We are in for some work here.

Di is waiting in the rain for Hans to finish his photography.

We circle around the edges of Atlantic City's northeastern corner and then come across a working fishing port. These guys had clearly been out there on the Sunday and were busy offloading what looked like big clams. Of course, the seagulls were also there in force.

The small fishing port was sharing space with some pretty nice houses here.

Well, after some 90 minutes of wandering and exploring, without finding a coffee shop, we had pretty much done a loop and were very close to Showboat Casino so we decided to go back to the hotel room, have a cuppa and dry our clothing a bit. It got a bit soggy after a while as it was a bit windy and no break in the rain. Interesting for us to see another side of Atlantic City.

At 11.30am or so we check out and start driving in the rain towards Chester. We decided not to take the Atlantic City expressway this time, but to go west further south on New Jersey state road number 40.

We stop for lunch at a diner in Malaga, NJ called... Malaga Diner, before driving across Delaware Memorial Bridge coming out just south of Wilmington, DE.

We arrive at Mary's place around 4pm, bring in our stuff and say goodbye to Jim and Michel's car, before getting into a drink.

Later on, several of Jim and Michel's and Mary's marina friends come over and we all have pizza and drinks and chat for a few hours.

Burridge flew in this morning from Amsterdam but still worked during the day and now had time and energy to come over. Good on'ya Burridge.

At 9pm, the guests, apart from us of course, are all gone. Tired now. Big day tomorrow going to New York City. Good night.

Sun 28 Apr - Atlantic City, NJ

Off we go to Bruce Springsteen's home state of New Jersey; "I'll meet you tonight in Atlantic City".

Well, today we went to Atlantic City and we looked around for Bruce during the night, but he was nowhere to be seen.

We have our breakfast, pack up and check out from Ronks and Amish country and drive east to a very different environment.

On the way, we pass the outskirts of Philadelphia and cross a couple of its bridges in the process. Downtown Philadelphia can be seen faintly to the left in the photo below.

Our check in time at the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City is 4pm, but we arrive there just before noon. Hans does a quick park outside the hotel and hangs around the car while Di goes inside to see whether we can check in early. We can check in from 12pm, but it will cost us $11. Done deal. We are on our way.

So, we check in, park our car in Showboat's enormous general public parking garage, find our room and immediately wander out again and onto the famous Atlantic City boardwalk on the other and front side of the Showboat building.
A few pics up and down the boardwalk on an April Sunday afternoon.


We liked the Atlantic City Beach Patrol building behind Hans here, built and painted to look like a boat.
Of course, the TV series Boardwalk Empire is set in Atlantic City and we passed a studio set of sorts on the boardwalk. Plenty of photos would have been taken here.
Atlantic City boardwalk is not really that glam. We were sure that it again tries to be, but between the big casinos and hotels, there were plenty of cheap eats, t-shirt shops and astrologers / mystics / massage parlours etc. The place felt a bit like Venice Beach in California.
These guys were really impressive outside Atlantic City's Conference Centre. According to the spiel in front of them, they were National Champions 2012 in Intermediate Percussion division. We believe it. They were very tight.
It is good to see that the Atlantic City boardwalk actually is a boardwalk and not like Virginia Beach's "boardwalk" which is made of concrete. Of course, with all that timber and lots of people around, board maintenance must be constant.

They were running helicopter joy flights from one of the piers. A 5 minutes tour up and down Atlantic Beach cost $49 per head. Up to 3 punters each time.

Nah, we wait until we get to New York City and do a flight there instead.


A self portrait from the pier, which is a "fun pier" with plenty of attractions for the young and young at heart.

We had to go down to the water to see whether the Atlantic Ocean is any warmer since last time we checked it out in Virginia Beach some weeks ago.

A fraction warmer perhaps, but not swim friendly yet is our verdict. Although a few more people here sunbaking and enjoying the sunny weather. We liked the guy asleep in his shaded chair to the far right of this photo.

There were a fair bit of sand dune stabilization going on along the beach.

One of the piers forms part of Caesar's Palace and is filled with shops. The pier building looked unbelievably bad from the outside, with large billboards with advertising, but inside was quite interesting.

They had these small rest areas where you sit in chairs and benches in sand and looking out over the beach behind glass. We were sure that these alcoves were very popular in winter when the Atlantic wind would be pounding the beach, but even today there were quite a few people there.

Yes, we got ourselves a cuppa and sat there for a while like the other punters. This is the view from our bench.

And this is at the end of the Caesar's Palace pier. One way, looking south...

And the other, north.

We then decided to wander inland one or two blocks to see what was there. We passed this unbelievably boring very new park. Note that there is not a single tree there and apart from us, not a single soul either. The place seemed rather pointless to us.

One block in from the Atlantic City boardwalk is a different world. The division between the have and the have not's was very obvious. Mostly black people on the street here. People rummaging through waste bins. Hotels and motels looked mostly run down. Pawn shops and small grocery stores. A few churches.

We found it interesting.

Pawn shop at the end of a motel... First time we have ever seen that. We wouldn't leave too many valuables in our motel room if we stayed here and went out.

Suddenly, we walked into the entrance at the back to Taj Mahal Casino owned by Trump. Yep, it has an enomous footprint alright.

However, what you can't see here though is that just behind from where Hans is taking the photo, across the street, are not one but two pawn shops. It is all divided by a street.


We wander back to our Showboat hotel room for a break and then around 6pm we wander out to find somewhere for dinner. We checked out the various nicer eateries within the Showboat complex, but nothing seemed to be worth the prices they were asking. Well, there is also a Johnny Rocket's hamburger joint there, which was popular perhaps due to being more reasonably priced, so burger and beer it was for us.

We decided to sit in the bar to eat which gave us opportunity to check out what was going on in the kitchen. It was mayhem in there. These guys were busy.

The burgers arrived together with our Coronas. Not bad, although at $6 + tax for a Corona with no lime is a bit steep. Well, it filled us up well.

Back into the casino after dinner to test our luck...

This time on pokie. Well, our $5 outlay eventually transformed itself into $30 so that paid for dinner if not the beer. All good.

We wander out in the dusk along the Atlantic City boardwalk to check out the lights and take a few photos. Quite empty now and much colder this Sunday evening. We shoot off a few pics.


This was somewhat symbolic for the area. Everything seemed to be just a little bit out of action or broken and the working vs the non working neon letters on top of Taj Mahal seemed to encapsulate it all. We wondered what Donald Trump thought about it.

These vehicles are Atlantic City boardwalk's version of tuk tuk or taxi, but seemed more like a giant shopping trolley they way they were pushed around. Plenty of them there.

You can always tell that you are in a touristy area when there is a "Ripley's believe it or not". However, the building looked quite dramatic at night.

We have seen Margaritaville before in Nashville, and they are setting up a new outlet as part of the Resorts complex which was undergoing major renovations. Margaritaville was not yet finished and open, but the sign worked fine.

Back to our room around 9pm after Di decided that she wanted a Baileys as a nightcap. Good night.