Tuesday, September 15, 2015

All's Well that Ends Well!




For more than a year, my daughter and I have been planning a week's getaway to New York to celebrate her fortieth birthday. As I am wont to do, I have looked at rentals and  neighbourhoods to find the best possible situation. Our Canadian dollar has dropped in value considerably so a Manhattan hotel was not in the cards this year.


the lights

During previous trips to New York, I have stayed in older hotels near Times Square. The hustle-bustle, proximity to theatres, sights and lights hold an allure for us but we had decided to stay in Jersey City where we could rent an apartment with a kitchen, a gym, and a swimming pool for less money! It seemed ideal...Until 12 hours before we were boarding the plane, I received an e-mail from Booking.com that the apartment for which I had already paid more than $2000 Canadian was unavailable!!! How could that be?

Booking.com offered me another hotel (no kitchen, no gym, no pool) in Brooklyn for the same price but I still needed to get back my money from the first rental or non rental! It was 10:00 pm Sunday night in New York so I really was in no position to quibble. The 24 hour Canadian phone number for Booking.com is out of service anyway.

A really sleepless night! Note my overuse of exclamation marks. I had to cancel my Airport Shuttle and find a way to get from Newark, New Jersey to Brooklyn in rush hour. We required a town car as there really is no simple way. Our driver was not familiar with the route so at one point, he left us in the car, stopped in the road and enquired somewhere (I don't understand).

After 24 hours of extreme uncertainty, my daughter and I arrived in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn.
Life does not always turn out as we plan. On Sunday, our minister talked about the futility of worrying..It was the lilies of the field sermon. As it happens, Sunset Park is more than 50% hispanic


Sunset Park brownstone

I love to be where another language is spoken, where there are mama y papa vegetable stores, Mexican delis and bodegas. Last night, I convinced Daughter to try an Ecuadorean restaurant, El Tesoro Ecuadoriano. I love to try different foods but my daughter is a little more wary. I had a cazuela de mariscos, (fish stew with a tomato broth thickened with plantains)which was delicious. My daughter has decided that we need to go back another night.


Sunset park was Brooklyn's first park

Today we wandered down our own (Brooklyn's) Fifth Avenue with its food smells, its dark-eyed mothers and babies, its windows filled with religious ornaments, hula hoops, phone cards for Central America and $3.00 hoodies. So different from its counterpart on the other side of the river!


Tomorrow is Mexican Independence Day
We will be buying our transit pass and heading to Manhattan most days but without this unforeseen
adventure, we would have missed a really interesting and affordable neighbourhood.





5 comments:

  1. Euadorian food is delicioso! What a fun adventure - sometimes they just happen to fall into our laps like gifts.

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    1. I did not realize that there was such an Ecuadorean population in the US. We visited another restaurant in our neighbourhood and tried another meal. The seafood is very fresh and the meals are obviously prepared from scratch. Even with planning, there are often unforeseen occurrences
      and this one turned out to be an eye-opening adventure.

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  2. I so admire your spirit of adventure and your resilience! Sounds as if it's been well rewarded! (I'm trying to echo your exclamation points, but with a positive twist!☺️ I wish you and your daughter a wonderful day in Manhattan. I'm also hoping that Booking.Com apologizes to you in a meaningful way -- I.e. With some decent compensation, I'll be watching to see what you say about them later as I've used their services for this trip, and will now be wary of using them again.

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  3. I am hoping that they will at least cover the extra transportation costs. I would not have booked in Brooklyn when Air Canada's direct flight from Vancouver arrives in Newark. Our journey cost about $200 Cdn from the airport as opposed to the $30 we were going to pay for SuperShuttle. I will try to arrange something different for our departure. With regard to booking, I won't use any hotel that insists on direct payment prior to arrival again. Booking.com's free cancellation and pay when you arrive policy can be abused by the lodging but hopefully Booking.com would drop them if they are unreliable. Good luck with your trip and enjoy your family time.

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  4. Sounds like a bit of serendipity here . . . quite a different trip than what you planned but maybe more interesting. Enjoy the rest of your visit!

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