BABY, WELCOME TO NEW YORK.

The trip to New York was an education in it’s itself. Never have I been on a flight this long before – consider me, completely wiped out – absolutely exhausted, and for some inexplicable reason, my knit weave sweater unravelled and turned into a pile of beige yarn. Much like half-cooked Maggi noodles. Highly unappealing, not at all appetising. The whole apparel item gave me a haggard, homeless-bum look to my travel get-up. But not in a good way.

So after shipping off to Taiwan, then on to Osaka and then finally to New York – we arrived in the great land of the US – where the incoming Customs scan was practically non-existant and when released into the arrivals lounge, were almost instantaneously approached by a scammer asking us if we needed “transport anywheerrre” (rolling the “r’s” here) and, when he realized we understood English, he backed off right away. Also, security were eyeballing him. Also, a few seconds later, an announcement came over the PA system warning travellers not to accept such offers of apparent “generosity”. Go figure.

The trip into the Big Apple from JFK contained me ooh-ing and ahh-ing in semi-conciousness at the architecture styles of the US of A – apparently, eves on houses aren’t a thing for a large number of residential plots in the US? The houses appeared in uniform rows, only discernable by their paintwork (and possibly a discreetly placed property number) – the roads presented themselves beautifully, but most showed no form of sewerage gutter, the majority of trees were still recovering from Winter’s howl and waving at the blue sky with empty fronds. But the most astonishing thing? The huge, expanses of clean, uniform cemetery plots of the Cedar Grove Cemetery that seem to stretch as far as the eye could see, when we headed past Queens and into the belly of Manhattan.

For me, oogling from the back seat of a 4-wheel-drive taxi, the whole experience was not only mind-blowing, but also surreal – we travelled over bridges, in communter tunnels and were spat out in Brooklyn – the land of massive converted warehouses, imposing fume stacks and a ferociously devout community of Hasidic Jewish families living alongside a growing generation of skeptical hipsters – bristling in their skinny jeans and sullen expressions.

Hitting Manhattan, we were warmly greeted by hordes of drunk St. Patrick’s Day revelers – clad head to toe in green, their garish outfits – decked with shot necklaces, jangly shamrocks and flashing bobbly shamrocks donned upon headbands – our cabbie swore fluently as he attempted to wrangle his way around the inebriated masses – all of whom were practically dribbling down the sidewalks. If anything, the police force looked bewhildered with the sheer force of alcohol-induced frivolity that orbited them. The police horses appeared amusingly unfussed.

Then our cabbie hit a green-clad, beer swelling, buzz-cut-sporting, jay-walking pedestrian.

And swore again.

Baby, welcome to New York.

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BABY, WELCOME TO NEW YORK.

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