From NZ to NY
10.08.2012 - 11.08.2012 38 °C
At 4am I arrived in Wellington Airport with my very kind parents (so early!) and checked in. Only event was not knowing the address that I would be staying in America, thus them refusing to let me on the plane. But a quick call to Pete and we were all good!
I watched The Sapphires on the plane - a film about 4 Aboriginal girls who sung soul music in Vietnam during the war. I really enjoyed it and recommend it.
As I do wherever I go, I made friends with people on my flights. I met a Kiwi meeting his girlfriend in NY, a lovely Australian couple heading to LA to go to Disneyland and a beautiful Chinese dancer named Seron. When I arrived in NY, Seron helped me find my way around and offered me a ride. We were picked up by the driver for her traditional Chinese dance company. Only problem being that he only spoke Chinese. He told Seron that we had to pick up 3 other dancers and then he would drop me off at Times Square. So we left the airport and he was talking on the phone, I don't think he realised we were on a motorway because he was going about 40km/hr and traffic was backing up behind him. He didn't seem to mind, or even notice the people tooting and yelling. Seron and I were giggling in the back. He took a turnoff and we were back at the airport again. After waiting for more than half an hour in the hot van I decided to go my own way. So I thanked them both for their kindness and set off to navigate the New York public transport system.
I caught the air train and got to see my first sites of the NY. I could see the big buildings and huge city in the distance. It was a formidable fortress and was extremely daunting. I began to wonder why I wanted to go there. I caught the train from Jamaica! Then changed to the metro to get to Times Square assisted by a friendly New Yorker who helped me buy my ticket and show me where to go.
By the time I arrived in Times Square it was dark and hot (38 degrees)! It was an assault to the senses that I was not prepared for. I emerged from the subway into a crazy busy street full of hundreds of people and hot air blowing at me from vents in the ground (from the subway). There were bright lights and advertising, videos, photos, billboards on every wall of every building. People were trying to sell me stuff on almost every corner. Cabs and cars rushed past. The smells were of urine, body odor, fast food, hot rubbish, and perfume. It felt more like India than America!
I asked for directions and walked the 10 or 15 blocks to find the Times Square Church. I was so relieved when I found it! Pete met me outside. I was late and the service was already half way though. I didn't care though, I was hungry, thirsty and unbelievably tired. The service was a bit like Arise church in Wellington in style. I knew some of the songs and I tried to sing along. After the service we met Cat, our host and headed home to her apartment. We ordered Chinese takeout and got it delivered which was very exciting for me as it is something I have never done and also because it is such an American thing to do. The food even came in the cute white boxes I have seen on TV!
It took me 32 hours in total to get from Wellington to Times Square church and I slept very little on the plane so I was very glad when Cat showed me that I had a bed to sleep in.