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  1. Thanks to Hurricane Irene, this will be the second-last New York related post from us (tomorrow will be a travel wrap-up, if we have the energy to write). We are leaving a day early (in 3 hours or so, actually) because of the impending storm. They'll actually shutting down airports after noon, so we've scheduled our flight for 8 a.m. Saturday instead of 8 a.m. Sunday. Fingers crossed we actually get home without delays!

    Once we figured all that stuff out, we decided to head out to Central Park to spend our last day in the Big Apple trying to relax before some inevitable travel stress. In fact, I'm getting knots just thinking about it. Moving on....

    We started off the day by being interviewed by my sister paper, the Edmonton Sun. I sound really wussy in it, I'm sure, but I don't want to be stuck here during a vacation. Yes I'm a reporter, but staying in a strange city in a hurricane doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Besides, if you were on vacation would you be doing any extra work?

    As an ex-reporter I wanted to stay and be a part of the chaos, even if that meant watching from the sixth floor. Of course this is easier to think about than actually be a part of. I'm sure once the streets started flooding and people started looting, I'd want to be home in my comfy bed eating ice cream (something I can do again!) Overall it just makes more sense for us to leave early than bet on the hurricane not hitting the east coast. Laurie also feels a lot better now, which is good because her peace of mind is often mine too.

    After getting off the phone with the reporter, we headed to ShakeShack again to pick up some burgers to eat in the park. What can I say, it was too delicious not to do twice.

    We ended up getting doubles. I think America's eating habits may have brushed off on us during the trip, but these are some seriously good fast food burgers. The key seems to be the higher quality of ground beef they use and the fact that all their burgers are cooked medium. The cheddar cheese also has a nice rich flavour to it. We never did try their shakes, but that will be for the next visit.

    A ShakeShack picnic in Central Park. The pigeons were sooo jealous!
    We enjoyed a gorgeous view and a nice breeze on the lake.

    We saw some turtles relaxing as well! They were headed to the Shake Shack.

    The we got suckered into one of those rickshaw tours around Central Park. For $25 per person, it wasn't that great. If you do want to take the rickshaw tour through Central Park, please make sure your guide can speak English clearly. Our guide, who was from Turkey, was incredibly hard to understand and since we're polite Canadians, we just nodded and pretended to understand him. Lesson learned, but G did get to spot Woody Allen's house.

    It's the one with the red roof. Garret is sooo jealous of him!

    Then we walked home during sunset. It was amazing but it seemed to warn of the impending storm, even though it's not due to hit the area until tomorrow evening.

    Just off Columbus square.

    The Met Opera House/Lincoln Centre.
    Before we came back, Garret made sure to pick up a lot of his new lactose wonder cure, which he can't find in Canada. I have about 1/2 a year's worth now. These green little pills are like gold to me. I take one in the morning and I feel invincible. When we get home I'm throwing out the vegan margarine and going right back to cultured butter. Hell, I might even put cream in my coffee!
    We'd like to thank Dan, Mama and Paloma for opening up their wonderful home for us to stay. Without this housesitting opportunity, this trip wouldn't have been possible. Thank you so, so much Dan for helping us create some wonderful memories and we're sorry we had to cut our trip short. Mama and Paloma never really did warm up to us, but we did our best to feed and refill their water bowl, and occasionally pet them when they would let us... they probably could tell Laur and I are dog people. On a serious note, I would also like to thank Dan for letting us be a part of his humble abode and for all the help he provided before arriving to the Big Apple. Your generosity and trust will be long remembered as gift that allowed us to fully enrich our perspective of the world and to grow as more cultured individuals. We can't thank you enough for this opportunity!

    Next time we write, hopefully we will be back in Canada (or at least away from a hurricane!)

    Until then,
    Laurie and Garret

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