The Good, The Bad, and the Plain Nasty!
I hate getting lost! I thought that years of driving in the Joburg maze, and experience with other 1st world transport system had equipped me for New York - after all, they don't call me GPS for nothing! Much to my surprise and agitation, in my 52 hours in New York I've been lost countless times; finding myself on the correct avenue, but not being sure which direction I needed to go. I landed up in Harlem at 1am on the East side of Central Park, instead of the west side of the same street (across Central Park) - more adventure than I had bargained for!
Apart from the bad building numbering and my own challenged sense of direction, I'm finding the subway unnecessarily complex and the cabs prohibitively expensive. As iconic as the yellow cab is, I think spending R200 in one day on cabs is excessive, especially after spending $7 on a bus and subway travel pass to avoid the very cabs.
Apart from m crazy travel issues, my other nasty NY moments include:
- Seeing a big Afro-American Mama screaming at her crying toddler in the middle of a crowded subway station;
- Sleeping in the same room with 7 strangers at a $56 per night hostel (backpackers at R350!!!)
- Wondering if there's a paint shortage in New York City (come on people, a little building maintenance never hurt anyone!)
- You think Durban humidity is bad? You ain't seen nothing yet!
- You think Telkom service is bad? Try bad service from every New York shop you step into!
- Unless you're a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, rats in the subway are just eew! (the red circle in the pic identifies the rat)
- Finally, the saddest reality of my trip so far has been the racial segregation within the city. It's been a reminder that discrimination is unfortunately widespread across the globe. It remains an ill we need to continuously guard against in everyday interaction; whether in a hot and sweaty and grimy New York subway, at work, at church, on the playground...