Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Wrap it up already
Traveling is cool. Seeing new sites. Being out of your element. Trying new foods. Recognizing places from books, movies and such.
But the coolest thing about traveling to me is realizing that people are the same no matter where you go. They really are just like me whether they live in a world class city or a small back woods town like mine.
Having never been to New York City before I had some preconceived notions as to just how New York, and more specifically New Yorkers, would be. I figured New York would be dirty, stand-offish and would eat me up and spit me out in two seconds flat.
I figured New Yorkers would be abrupt, brash and rude.
I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead I found New York City to be clean. Try as I might I cannot conjure up a single memory of litter on the roads or sidewalks. Real estate is at a premium on that small island and every inch is planned and maintained far more scrupulously than I could have imagined. Furthermore, the city is navigable on foot or subway and though my mom and I still felt the need to whip out a map to figure out which direction to head, my daughter managed to get us everywhere we needed to go simply by reading the street signs and understanding the "grid." Rather than the city swallowing us up as I had feared, the three of us bonded together, found our way and tackled all that we hoped to see and do while there.
And I owe an apology to New Yorkers for my wrongful preconceived notions of them. They may have been in a hurry but I've got to remember that I was doing my slow southern stroll down their "walking freeway" to work. Many times while my eyes were skyward or covered by my camera, it was a rush for them to get to or from work. Sure they were in a hurry . . . but I was often in their way. And when I was focused on walking and keeping sights on my daughter and mother and nearly being swept up in a sea of people, I often made eye contact with New Yorkers. Not once did I get a rude response. Unexpectedly, I usually got a smile.
We left New York City just two days before Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan. Nearly ten years after 9/11. I talked to subway riders and restaurant maitre d' about that day. About the city. About the Twin Towers. About their homes, families and livlihoods. I wish to have been in Lower Manhattan a few days more and talked to them again.
Labels: road trip