Sunday, 9 February 2020

Flying High... KLM Royal Dutch Airlines!

The journey back to Beijing, China takes long enough, choosing Birmingham Airport once again made getting to airport a lot easier. Making use of KLM's short connection from Birmingham to Beijing through Amsterdam allowed me to arrive in China without any delays. Sorry, Birmingham Airport really needs to step up those international direct flights! Get it direct BHX! Go!

Check-in had me shocked, one of the Passenger Services Agents had a foul look on his face! His KLM/Air France colleague apologised profusely for his unprofessional demeanour, she checked my bag in without any issues and apologised further even when it wasn't her problem. Proceeding towards the security checkpoint at BHX meant I had to say goodbye to my parents, with those farewells in order I proceeded through security. I was pleasantly surprised how streamlined the process was, I passed my compliments onto one of the security checkpoint officers. The previous December I chose to fly from Manchester Airport, the security checkpoint before departures was an utter mess compared with Birmingham's stress-free pre-departures security check. Manchester should take several pointers from Birmingham's operation, for that I was impressed! Fair play BHX, but we need more direct long haul flights! OK!

Tracking the inbound flight that would be coming from Amsterdam revealed a slight delay, I wasn't worried because the airline had to honour our tickets if we missed our connections. I got speaking to a fellow KLM passenger who was also going on to China from Amsterdam, she appeared to be quite worried but I reassured her in Chinese that there wouldn't be any need to worry. I didn't need any beverages that afternoon before my flight because I had to be focussed, I could wait for the flight over to Beijing, China that evening. With a boarding gate announced it was time to proceed further before boarding would be commencing. The inbound KLM flight from Amsterdam had arrived with enough time to spare, it would make the time up in the air and it was only a short flight. Taking to the skies, we were served a sandwich box with either a hot or cold drink. I asked if the refreshments would be complimentary because Aer Lingus Regional charged me! KLM had me sorted over to AMS!

After touching into Amsterdam's gargantuan Schiphol International Airport, my KLM City Hopper flight taxied to the dedicated stands for their smaller European based aircrafts. My Beijing bound KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight would be boarding within thirty minutes after the Birmingham flight had fully disembarked. We were bussed to the nearest drop-off point that led to connections and arrivals, I for one ran for my life towards the escalators that led to the international concourses. Confirming with some fellow Beijing passengers in Chinese I had the confirmation I was going in the right direction! Thankfully I arrived at my gate with plenty of time to spare, the boarding process was quite lengthy so I took some time to marvel at the amazing photo opportunity I was bestowed. My aircraft was being prepared for the flight to Beijing from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Yes, KLM's new bluey livery impressed me! 

Bluey? I had shown the KLM 'Bluey' series to my former homeroom kindergarten class, they loved the adventures that the little KLM jet experienced during the cartoon. My Boeing 777-200 wasn't the Dreamliner that was originally scheduled, I took that change in my stride because I couldn't change that factor. I had tweeted KLM well before my departure date to see if the aircraft change was correct compared with the reservation details I had on my account. Boarding for me came around, I patiently waited for the economy cabin to board on this China bound flight I didn't want any drama to arise. Luck was on my side, my Beijing seat was on the bulkhead row and better still the seat next to me to the left was empty! Taking off on-time, my KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Beijing would only take nine hours! If truth be told, I was content with the flight time! I was excited to experience the in-flight entertainment and customer service during the flight. 

I had completely relaxed into my bulkhead seat, I had plenty of room to not feel restricted during that long haul flight. I didn't have a seat-back screen so I took out my screen from in-between the seat to the right hand side of me. I browsed through the film titles to see some seriously good contenders for that Beijing bound flight. Choosing to watch 'Pulp Fiction' was the one for me, I waited for the meal service to begin before I started my film. I had enjoyed a lot of rich home cooked food at home in England so I chose the oriental option for my meal. The attentive KLM crew passed through the cabin with the first drinks service of the flight, they spoke English excellently and always had natural looking smiles on their faces! Not being a fool I had opted for a few red wines because the connection between flights had been quite rushed, again it was nice to relax into my seat onboard KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Let's get to China! 

Getting into my film, I absolutely loved my economy class meal, I even ate the salad and I never ever eat the salads provided onboard a flight! Pulp Fiction was a really twisted 90s film, I really enjoyed watching it! Half way through the flight I went to the rear galley to ask the cabin crew if they accepted photos to be taken with passengers, they were very gracious but due to company policy they had to decline my request. I respected their response and for the company policy in place, overall the cabin crew that were on board my KLM flight from Amsterdam to Beijing were really friendly and attentive. Morning came around with the final service of the flight, I enjoyed some caffeine and the cooked breakfast option was much appreciated. I felt that the services offered were exceptionally good for present day economy class. It felt like such a relief to finally arrive into Beijing's Capital International Airport, my two week holiday had come to an end with those three long flights! Dank u, K!

Ik hield van KLM!

Joseph Harrison

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Southside, Birmingham: After Hours!

Going back to Birmingham is always something for me, it's where I studied for three years during my time at University College Birmingham. Wanting to swerve those Boxing Day shoppers I saved my Birmingham for the the nighttime. Spending my well earned coins from China, I stayed at a nice hotel for the night. Enjoying my Caribbean food before the night took full effect! 

After spending a lovely evening with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew it was time for me to return to Birmingham. I had been conservative during my hometown visit, the drinks consumed during Christmas Day hadn't given me any hangover. Checking into my Hotel Indigo room, I felt like I had graduated all over again! My room faced my previous halls of residence, looking over that student halls gave me the truth that my life had progressed and then some! I don't want to sound arrogant but I have worked hard to get to where I am. Enjoying my room, I already had breakfast ordered for the next day! In my minds eye I was going to keep it cute, planning a walk into town for some food at Turtle Bay then maybe a few drinks at the Loft Lounge? Getting ready I did some surfing on a certain social app that I use in China, some individuals were rather ungracious but I don't suppose 我不再是英国人了吗? 我不知道? No!

Why did I stay at the Hotel Indigo? The appeal of Broad Street wore off pretty quick during my university stint after my first semester, it just wasn't safe during those twilight hours. Since I returned from China to spend a night out in Birmingham's city centre during August 2017, I saw some stark changes that were not for the best! Having lived across from the Cube, it had always been somewhere nicer to look towards, but as a student I could never afford that kind of price tag. Making my reservations before I flew out to New York, I knew I had made a good choice to be away from Broad Street for the night. The Travelodge might be for some but not for me, I don't want to sound like a hotel snob but since I saw security on the door during that 2017 overnight trip to Birmingham after time in China, I was shocked to the core! Nevertheless, I got ready for the night ahead with much anticipation for the night. Keep it together, it's just truth, the Hotel Indigo served something better!

我在北京吗? 不,我当时在英国伯明翰! Let me translate for those who don't speak or can't read Chinese. Was I in Beijing? No, I was in Birmingham, England! I had reserve culture shock because the amount of Chinese students who passed me as I made my way to Turtle Bay had me feeling as if I was back in China already! Feeling hungry I knew where my tea was coming from that Boxing Day evening! Having already tweeted Turtle Bay to see if they were open the day after Christmas, they replied with an answer that suited my plans fully. Ordering the mutton curry with rice with dumplings on the side, I opted for a deliciously refreshing rum punch cocktail. Turtle Bay, Birmingham was subdued during that Boxing Day evening time, that suited me just fine. Snatching Wi-Fi within Turtle Bay was much appreciated because my China Mobile sim wouldn't be any use for 4G in Birmingham that night! I enjoyed my food, all good!

Experiencing serious reverse culture shock whilst back in Birmingham, I had such a complex about my safety because everywhere I have been to in China has been safer than safe compared with the UK. I tried to keep it in my head that I knew this city well but somewhere inside my psyche I didn't know the Birmingham that existed in the present day moment. Aside from those side thoughts I carried on with my meal, the flavours impressed much because I had never been able to find Caribbean food in China, something that I wasn't going to compare or feel any reserve culture shock because I still had my rice! Casting my back to 2014, I had been invited to the opening of Turtle Bay's Birmingham location. A lot had happened in my life since 2014, Birmingham life was no more for me but four years on I still make it my best to return when I come back to England. So, Turtle Bay, thanks for the food and it's great to see your Caribbean food still being served in Birmingham! Irie B!

Going off grid, I went Southside to be within Birmingham's Gay Village and Chinese Quarter. Listening to those conversations I sensed a strong Hong Kong contingent had continued to call Birmingham their home, along with the growing Chinese, HK, Taiwanese and Macanese student population calling Birmingham their student home! Recognising the snacks from the window of the many Oriental convenience stores definitely gave me a sense of China! Heading for the Loft Lounge for the first drinks of the night I embraced not having any mobile data or Wi-Fi, I was going to observe and enjoy the night with enough money on my person it was fine! Enjoying my first few pints of Corona, little did I know at that point would a virus with the same name be ready to kick off once I would get back to China! I had no idea that my Corona beverage had any link to an epidemic! No longer keeping it cute, I needed the Village!

After downing a few pints of cider, I felt as if I was in an almighty time warp that transported me back to my university weekend nights out! Things were quiet to start off with, as the night progressed it was time for the cabaret show by Miss Marty and Miss Penny, from the corner of my eye I was not mistaken, I saw that Rupaul's Drag Race UK star Sum Ting Wong had snuck into the Village Inn next to the DJ booth! Bringing yet another Birmingham Chinese connection that night, would there be another one before the morning? Amongst the music and the growing partygoers, I saw a rather handsome Oriental looking guy, he happened to be from Harbin, China! I couldn't imagine how it would feel to be in a club in a foreign country where people actually interact with each other, putting their phones away! Truth! Enjoying a few more pints, I got into the groove a little more before I got a taxi back to my hotel. My life has progressed, I have moved on, I wouldn't want to go back! Done B! 

Graduated, Never Forgotten!

Joseph Harrison

Friday, 7 February 2020

2019: My Hometown Glory...

Flying across the Atlantic Ocean to reach mother England was no mean feat, being back on British soil felt amazing during that December 2019 moment! My six day stay would flash past me, I had one special human to meet that I hadn't seen before that pre-Christmas visit. Bilston thought it had me back, not on my living life did it have me back! Bring on my hometown glory, B!

My journey to reach England had started in Beijing, China after my United Airlines flight left for Newark New York Airport. After spending seven days in the states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it was time for me to board my Dublin bound Aer Lingus flight, that would allow me to connect with my Birmingham bound flight with Aer Lingus Regional. Taking to the skies on my final flight of the day, the Irish Sea passed by quickly, before I knew I could see the Welsh coast that bordered England. The rolling countryside looked immense from up above! As mentioned before, I had never truly appreciated the beauty of my own country, the harsh concrete views that left me in Jamaica, NY couldn't be any different compared with the picturesque rolling landscape that I marvelled at as my flight neared Birmingham Airport. Was I excited to be going home? Yes B, I was feeling very excited indeed!

Touching down at Birmingham Airport a few minutes later than scheduled didn't matter to me, seeing the apron and terminal building once again made me feel like I was growing closer to home! The Ryanair flights had my inter-terminal bus waiting for such a long time, those jokes made on Aer Lingus had come back to haunt me. Making my way into the terminal building I knew that I didn't need to worry about baggage reclaim because I only had carry-on bags. Immigration also wasn't needed, I simply walked back into the UK through a door that allowed passengers from both Republic and Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Sark and the Isle of Man. Finding my brother wasn't difficult, he hadn't been waiting in the car park for long after I had surfaced from arrivals. In hand with a can of cider and a bacon sandwich it was a great Brotherly reunion! As we drove back to the Black Country it gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up! Yes, it felt amazing to be back in England again! Go!

Rightly so my American adventure had been about food and drink from the very start, so my English sector wasn't going to be any different with Christmas on the cards! Leaving food out of the equation for the time being, we made a quick visit to my parents house to see how they were and for me to say 'hello!' Making it across the road to see my maternal grandparents was the best, its always great to see them after I spend the majority of my time working in China! They were doing good and at least in 2019 there wouldn't be any shocks or surprises, as the previous year I secretly flew back from India for Christmas! I wasn't feeling the jet lag to badly at that point, I wanted to stay awake for as long as possible before going to sleep properly. Being back in Bilston felt good, it's a place that doesn't have much life but its home and family ties remain tight in that Black Country town. Next time I will try best to arrive at night like 2018.

Supermarket shopping in China isn't mundane for me but it doesn't completely offer me the comforts of home, needing to pick some pre-Christmas shopping, me and my brother went to the local TESCO supermarket in Willenhall. For me it was like Christmas had arrived early, seeing the aisles laden with familiar foods with packaging that had only slightly changed since my last visit, it was visual treat nonetheless. I wanted some Walker's Crisps and some BabyBel cheese's, abroad its only 'Lay's' and BabyBel cheese in China can get quite pricy! One thing I really appreciated about having lived in China for almost five years at that point was the prices were so much lower in the Middle Kingdom! I wouldn't fancy doing my weekly shop in one of the big supermarkets in England, I'd go to ALDI and in Shanghai they are opening more ALDI's! I'll stay in China, at least more ALDI's will be opening soon! Not hating on my hometown nor the prices in the supermarket, it was nice to have some familiarity.

Before August 2018, going home was normal, but after my niece Orla was born that changed everything entirely! Going back the previous year in December 2018 allowed me to spend time with her during her first Christmas. Not long after I got the call that I was going to be an uncle for the second time, 2019s visit was made even more special because I got to see my nephew Owen for the first time since he was born earlier on in the year! At first Orla was like 'Who on earth is this person?' But throughout the week spent home, Orla became more comfortable with me and I got to see her free-styling to some Grime music, she's not all that bothered with nursery rhymes because she favours the melodies of Stormzy! Owen melted my heart, his infectious laughing had me thinking about why I had travelled around the world to see him for the first time! Every mile flown and ounce of jet lag was worth seeing those HB Babies!

Seeing my Brother and Sister-in-Law with their growing family was beautiful to witness. Being called an Uncle felt great, as Brother's we may not have seen eye to eye as children but as adults I couldn't be more proud of his achievements and accomplishments made as a Dad! Enough of that sentimental language, it was time for us to prepare for Christmas! I had given Orla her Christmas present the previous year in monetary form to go towards her first passport and the rest for savings. Owen didn't understand what all the fuss was about Christmas, regardless of him not knowing I gave his parents the same monetary amount that I had given to Orla the previous Christmas with the same amounts to be spent on his first passport and then for savings. Having known a lot of people my age in China that haven't ever travelled outside of their country, my niece and nephew were going to have passports with the intent to travel during their early years as me and my brother had done! Yes!

Christmas Eve was such a treat, I got to see my two aunties and cousins again after almost one year! The day was full of laughter, food and drinks and truth be told everybody was in good spirits because truthfully speaking, Christmas can be a really stressful time! I had really loved seeing the Christmas decorations in America during my week long stay, to be at my grandparents house to see the same tree decorated with the usual ornaments was priceless, to be within that cosy and comfortable environment was again worth every mile flown and every ounce of jet lag suffered! I didn't want a lot for Christmas, all I wanted to do was spend time with my family, eat delicious home-cooked food and drink lots of wine! I did ask for a few things, I asked for Jonathan Van Ness's new autobiography. For the Christmas week all I wanted to do was relax and have one night out in Birmingham before going back to work in Beijing.

The festive period at home was great, everything was enjoyed in good measure and it was immense to see everyone in my family again. I had a lovely Christmas during the latter part of December 2019 but since I have returned two years consecutively, for 2020s festivities I'm looking to spend the time in another country. Going home was the tonic that I needed, its always a grounding experience and since living in China I always feel a deep sense of 'reverse culture shock' but as time goes by its lessening. Being able to see my niece and nephew made my year, feeling like I have something more to love has given me a new sense of feeling. We can't choose our family, for that I'm glad because I wouldn't change any of them for the world because they wouldn't want to change me all the same! Saying goodbye never gets any easier but technology keeps us in contact still. From arriving into BHX to seeing my niece dance to her tunes, the week was worth the distance. 我们回家吧!


Joseph Harrison 

Monday, 3 February 2020

Flying High... Aer Lingus!

Flying high for the second time, it had only been one week since I had arrived into Newark Liberty International Airport with United from Beijing! Making my way from Long Island City to JFK's Terminal 5 allowed me to have brunch with a missed sister friend! Going green to the Emerald Isle with Aer Lingus, my New York JFK flight to Dublin would be my first with the airline. 

My American adventure had come to an end, all packed, I found myself all checked out of my Local NYC Hostel. Heading over to Sandords Astoria for brunch with my sister friend, we worked as Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse superstars during 2012 at Newark Liberty International Airport during my work placement. Picking up where life had last allowed us to meet in person, we looked forward to the future! Real talk resumed, from the bottom of my heart it was just the best thing to see Fiorella again after our parting! With our brunch enjoyed and future Miami plans confirmed it was time for us to say goodbye one more time, stepping onto my JFK Jamaica bound Subway had to be the one! The JFK Air Train had me on the right track, seeing the different aircrafts and airlines had me living because I love aviation! Terminal 5 came around, heading for the check-in, it was time for Ireland! I was so excited to see my first nephew! Yes!

Checking in at the Aer Lingus check in counters allowed me to clock the nature of the New York JFK based passenger services agent, I knew the way the communication would be with that NYC and NJ chat. Checked in with no complications I passed through the TSA checkpoint without any issues. My side of T5 at JFK didn't have any immigration checkpoint, for that reason it made sense that Aer Lingus pre-clears passengers bound for North America before they depart the Republic of Ireland. Checking the flight through an online flight tracker allowed me to see when my Aer Lingus EI108 flight arrived as the inbound Aer Lingus EI109 service from Dublin to New York JFK. Seeing my green and white aircraft turn into the gate gave me the excitement that I was making my home to Birmingham Airport, England via Dublin. Not needing immigration clearance to enter the USA, the inbound passengers disembarked quickly, going onto collect their luggage! Aer Lingus made good choices!

Pushing back on-time, soon enough my Aer Lingus Airbus A333-300 had taken to the skies bound for Dublin's own international airport. Flight E1108 certainly served humour from the flight deck, those reindeer jokes were amusing to hear, nowadays pilots don't usually makes jokes during their announcements. Things were done differently on Aer Lingus, soft drinks were complimentary whereas alcohol beverages were available for a selected price. Wanting to have something nice to drink, I purchased two small bottles of red wine to accompany my chicken curry. Drinks were served early on into the flight, keeping to my blogging protocol I kept my drinks grape based for the meal. The meal itself tasted good, I liked that a small tub of ice cream that was served on the tray. I made a good choice! Overall, the meal choice was a good one to make! Would I be having a few more wines? Sorry to say EI but I chose to save my coins.

The flight from New York JFK to Dublin was under six hours or so, I wasn't bothered with full length films because I sensed that I was going to spark out at some point after the meal service. Choosing to watch short comedy's and drama's was what I did during that Ireland bound flight. Starting off with some 'Friday Night Dinner' then I enjoyed 'The Great British Bake Off', if truth be told it was nice watch a few short television shows from the comfort of my Aer Lingus economy class seat. The in-flight entertainment on-board my Aer Lingus flight Dublin stood to be new with a very modern design. The whole cabin itself looked like it was either brand new or had just been refitted. My meal was tasty, wine was just and the entertainment kept me occupied throughout my flight from New York JFK all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to Dublin, Ireland. My week in New York City, Newark and Philadelphia had been mad crazy, to sit back and relax for that flight was bliss! It was home time!

Ireland is famous for having two airlines, one has been slammed for its treatment of its crew and has a cold 'no frills' model. I chose not to fly with Aer Lingus's questionable flying Irish cousin, I chose Aer Lingus for its convenient transatlantic connection with their UK network. Back to the cabin crew, my Aer Lingus crew that looked after our flight to Dublin from New York JFK were friendly and approachable. After I found that I didn't have any earphones to watch my programmes with, I asked one of the crew members before departure if she could help me with my earphone situation. One of the other crew members also advised me that I buy two drinks in order to not miss the drinks service before the meal was served, that advice had me ready for my blog worthy shot and the second bottle of wine helped relax me into the flight after my hectic NYC Subway from Astoria to JFK's T5 via the Air Train. Much better! Thanks!

Half way through the flight I made my way to the frontward galley to see if any crew were about, I always ask politely for a photo with the cabin crew on any long haul flight that I fly on. I always keep in mind that different airlines have different policies and that some crew can be camera shy, I wouldn't want to be asked anything out of the ordinary if I was in their shoes! The crew on-board my Dublin bound Aer Lingus flight were chatty and even laughed about a joke I made about their 'no frills' Irish flying cousin. One of the crew kindly accepted to take a photo with me, I thanked them and took my orange juice back to my seat to continue watching 'The Great British Bake Off'. They had mentioned the company were in the process of changing their name badges to just feature their job title and first name, one of the crew had said to me that some passengers take it upon themselves to investigate on social media. Why would anybody want to do that? A, I wouldn't do that!

Landing into Dublin Airport with time to spare, it was nice to be closer to home but with one flight to go I needed to keep on moving! Disembarking after one of the ground crew had messed up trying to fit the jet bridge with the aircraft door. Making moves toward my Birmingham gate, I noticed outbound passengers who had just been pre-cleared before boarding their USA bound transatlantic flights. Passing through immigration at Dublin Airport was super easy, for that moment before Brexit things were rather informal. After clearing immigration it only took me a few minutes to find my ground level gate. The jet lag had hit me hard, the overnight flight was comfortable but I didn't feel like sleeping all that much. I could tell something wasn't quite right, I knew my Aer Lingus Regional EI3264 flight to Birmingham was delayed. It was due to the late arrival of the aircraft from the previous flight. 100% right!

Sensing that boarding was going to happen within the next five minutes I waited at the opening of the stanchions, my previous airline experience told me the gate agent was ready to allow us to board the bus. Within about ten minutes, myself and the rest of the passengers were bound for the awaiting Aer Lingus Regional EI3264 flight. Dragging my hand luggage up the aircrafts own stairs was something that I didn't want to do! Within five minutes the doors had been closed, my propeller plane soared towards the Irish Sea, finally I was on the way home to see my family in time for Christmas 2019! Making our descent slowly into Birmingham, the scenery looked so picturesque, I had never appreciated the beauty of my own country properly until that point! Landing smoothly into Birmingham Airport, things hadn't changed one bit! As we were being bused to the terminal, Ryanair had come back to haunt my jokes whilst on-board that Aer Lingus flight! It was no joke! Home time for sure!

Aer Lingus, Go Raibh Maith Agat!

Joseph Harrison 

NYC: Rockefeller Center, Times Square & Broadway...

My final night in the 'Big Apple' would set my full packed trip on fire, the very same afternoon I hadn't long stepped down from my Philadelphia coach! Negotiating my price in the heart of Times Square had to be done, I promised my students something from New York City! Before my Frozen Musical show on Broadway there was one sweet reunion left! I had missed Valerie a lot!

Leaving my Megabus behind me, I bounced over to Times Square to snag some souvenirs for my students. Finding some fridge magnets I brought out my China negotiation skills, the guy was playing me for a fool! No, I got my price and moved onto McDonald's in the heart of Times Square. Watching the million lights whirl past as the billboards advertised anything and everything felt surreal. I was back, it felt correct once again! Zipping back to Long Island City, I practically raided the corner stores, I wanted all of their candy! Freshening up and packing before heading back into the city, I was already on a mission, clearly that mission hadn't ceased since my United flight had landed the previous Saturday! Getting myself together, it was time to take the NYC Subway back into Manhattan for the final time, well for that trip anyway! The Christmas lights weren't going to wait for me, neither my friend Valerie! 

Going back down memory lane, I got lost a little bit within the crowds and telling the truth, my phone signal started to falter. Within the maddening crowds I found some calling to use my Chinese language skills, the rules pertaining public order were being taken very serious by the NYPD that evening, I paid attention. Catching the magnificent Christmas tree below the Rockefeller Center had me feeling all kinds of feelings, it had been some serious time since I had that 2012 Christmas Eve moment! The ambiance was typically tourist, I loved every second whilst I was in the zone, not paying any mind to the cameras or the excitable passersby who all wanted a slice of the NYC action during that pre-Christmas moment! Our phones were not working! Myself and Val had worked together during 2012, seeing her face after those years I could say she looked more beautiful! Getting to spend some time with my favourite Filipina was like magic! Our meeting was brief yet so lovely!

Saying goodbye to Valerie wasn't easy, I had to make my show! Thankfully I was able to use my maps to walk from our Pret A Manger hangout to Times Square. I felt very fortunate that I was able to see one of my forever Hallmark Aviation/Virgin Atlantic sisters, the next day would allow one final reunion. During that meeting we spoke about life and if truth be told I wasn't to entertain certain people because they only made the effort after I had landed into Jersey! Anyhow, the mesmerising lights of Times Square had me feeling those 2012 nighttime vibes! One million lights amazed me in that moment, I felt very blessed that I was able to see Times Square during the daytime and then in the evening, time had been pressed but that NYC landmark had got my timekeeping skills operating fine! Times Square had not slowed down, I had waited so long to stand in that moment, I savoured that moment! Get it, Times Square! 

Had things changed? Not one bit, I appreciated the vibe but I wasn't going to get caught up in the hype. Times Square had been one of the first places that I had visited during my first days in 2012 after moving to New Jersey for my work placement. I had returned independently, I hold no bad feeling toward one of the girls I had visited Times Square with but time had ousted the negativity with the other individual. It was a full circle moment, for that reason I paid attention to the lights and sights that played out in real time motion. My show would be starting very soon, I say goodbye to Times Square before making my to NYC's St. James Theatre. The week long experience had been intense, memorable and damn amazing, to have gone down memory in so many senses and to conclude things in the heart of Times Square's dazzling lights felt correct once again! I had one more meeting with Times Square, that would be after the show, the 7 train had my back! I'll be seeing you soon, TS! 

Taking my seat on the last row within the central mezzanine level at NYC's St. James Theatre, I waited patiently for Disney's Frozen on Broadway. I had originally wanted to see Disney's Aladdin fly its magic carpet but Frozen proved to be more economical, Elsa persuaded me to let that original musical choice go! I hadn't been to the theatre in such a long time, I think the last time I saw a show was in London during 2014? That show was the green themed, Wicked! Why had I not been to the theatre in such a long time? Let's just say in a certain Asian country their isn't much call for etiquette or appreciation to give the performers the applause that they deserve! Saving my coins, I travelled to NYC to see Frozen, I was ready to sing-a-long with those famous tunes from the film! Singing during the show by the audience was prohibited! Lights down, curtain up, my love for the theatre returned naturally! E, just let it go! 

The show started with the usual pace, references from the film had been written in well and other filling stories blended the key numbers together. The first songs played out nicely but I was ready for 'Do you want build a snowman?' The show was easy to follow but I was waiting for 'Let it go', sure enough before the intermission that anthem was belted out with energy and spirit! The second half of the show impressed me with its inventive storyline, seeing a show that was originally a film gave me the sense the writers had to add a little substance to the stage version. With the finale nearing and Frozen 2 already in cinemas at that moment, it was really interesting to see Elsa turn the stage into a series of autumnal colours! With the cold no more, those greens and brown tones definitely teased another Frozen stage show to be debuted in the future! With the songs of the musical in my head, I made it to the NYC Subway, a sadness filled my heart as I realised my trip had ended! Oh! 

Never Let Go! 

Joseph Harrison