We woke up later than planned so while Andy was packing I went to the cash machine. Still no joy. I found a branch of HSBC (my bank) but they couldn’t help me since my account is overseas. They did kindly let me use their phone to call HSBC in the UK though. After speaking to the call centre there they informed me my card had been stopped due to unusual activity. Wonderful. I do love my bank. Apparently if you inform them you’re going to be using your card to withdraw cash in New York they still think its ‘unusual’ when you do so! They assured me the block would be lifted and to give it ten minutes so I went back to the hotel, finished packing an checked out.
Off we went back down to Broadway again for some last minute shopping, another stop at an ATM and guess what – still no joy!! Back into another branch of HSBC who let me use the phone again. The call centre assured me it would be lifted this time so off we went again to continue shopping. Twenty minutes later we’re at another ATM – still no money! We’re starting to panic now as we had no travellers cheques left and about $20 left. Not even enough to get to the airport.
Back into another branch of HSBC to use the phone AGAIN! This time I made the call centre hang on while Andy checked the ATM – nope, still giving nothing up. After being passed around for a while finally someone managed to lift the block and we had cash!
By this time we were going to be late for lunch at Nougatine with nywhiz so after a quick change we jumped into a cab and made it there only 15 mins late (she knows what we’re like for timekeeping!)
Lunch there was very nice, an absolute bargain too at $24 for three courses. An affordable way to eat at Jean Georges. The service was a bit patchy and our waitress didn’t know much about the wine we ordered but I’d go back – the food was great. I tried my very first cucumber martini there too…… it was interesting……
After a leisurely lunch and a good catch up with nywhiz we left to make our way back to RCA to get our car to the airport. We managed to pick up a few more souvenirs (after failing to withdraw more cash at an ATM, calling HSBC, hanging on and them lifting the block – again).
Our car was on time but again, that’s the only good point. A different car company to the one we’d got to Staten Island a few days previously but the same in many ways. I’m not saying Newark is a doddle to find but surely when you have found it the best course of action is not to drive past it three times? After a little impromptu tour of Elizabeth, New Jersey Andy ended up directing the driver and we eventually made it. Again, the cost of the car was different to what had been quoted, only by $5 but after the detour he wasn’t getting it.
The flight home was great, the food was really nice and the entertainment was fab. I could’ve stayed on that plane longer.
Unfortunately we arrived at 6.30am instead of 5.30am and so missed our flight from Gatwick back to Newcastle. After making enquiries made at the BA desk we were told they wouldn’t transfer the flights because it was Continental that was late, not BA and the next available flight was at 8pm that night and would cost us £200.
We weighed up our options and decided not to go with that (!!) so got the bus into London and the National Express back up to Newcastle. Ten hours later we were finally home! 24 hours after we’d set off from RCA. It was actually quicker to fly across the pond than it was to get home from London!
Highlight of the trip: Our private room at the Rainbow Grill.
Low point: HSBC
New cocktails tried: 2
Stop smoking attempts: 1
Successful stop smoking attempts: 0
Pounds gained: More than our baggage weighed
Pounds spent: I daren’t look.
Now I just need to find some cheap flights for the next trip!