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Day 87: First We Take Manhattan

When I changed buses yesterday in Atlanta, I made a fatal error – I didn’t push to the front of the queue. And so I and about fifteen other misfortunates were shunted onto another bus, a bus that didn’t leave until an hour after our scheduled time. This was the start of our nightmare journey.

We were supposed to change buses ONCE in Washington DC. No chance – we changed buses an unbelievable seven times throughout last night and today. I was woken at 1am, 3am, 4am, 6am and 8am to stand like a lemon in a Greyhound bus terminal (terminal being an appropriate term) while the horrible Greyhound staff sneered at us and didn’t even have the decency to tell us what was happening and why.

Any lesser mortal would have been utterly shattered thanks to Greyhound’s badly-managed hoople-ha they call a bus service. But I’m made of nails and Irn-Bru. There’s another boat leaving Halifax for Liverpool on Monday. It’s a very long shot and as a result, I don’t really want to burst a gasket getting there and then discovering that I’ve got to wait a few days for the next boat to Europe anyway.

I especially don’t want to miss out on a night out in New York. So I amended my plans a little…

We eventually rolled into Manhattan bus station at about 7pm. I headed over to see an old friend of mine – Monica Ibacache – we met over a (very) Happy Pizza gigglefest in Cambodia back in 2002 and the offer of a floor to crash on in the Big Apple had been open ever since. So after meeting her lovely flatmates, Hans and Cindy, we trotted out into town to see what New York had to offer.

We went to a burlesque/cabaret night somewhere in the Lower East Side. It was great – dancers, acrobats, strippers, a man-monkey and an evil superhero called Captain Donut. We drank more than was feasible considering I needed to be up at 6.30am, and afterwards we stuffed our faces with – hats off to you, NY – the BEST pizza I have ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of pizza.

At about 4am, I decided it would be a good idea to visit Ground Zero – but the icy rain drove that idea from my mind and instead I found myself negotiating New York’s Subway system in the dead of the night, drunk and on my own, with instructions on how to get back to Monica’s friend’s flat scrawled on my hand.

I love New York. It rocks my world. I’ll be back soon, I promise.


Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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  1. MBP

    We have perfectly good trains up the US East Coast. I can’t understand why you subjected yourself to our buses, although I can understand why you complain about them.

    P.S., You would have saved a day by taking the train as far up as Portland, Maine, and then taking the ferry to Nova Scotia, but I suppose it would have just meant an extra day in Halifax as you are waiting for a boat to Iceland.

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