This Article is About
scrambled eggs
first few days
taxi drivers
breakfast lunch
coffee shop
loaf of bread
first impression
Coming To America – Not The Neil Diamonds Immigrants But Me
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Coming to America – Not the Neil Diamonds Immigrants But Me

A few days in New York, our first few days.

They say you can take the boy out of the bush, but can you take the bush out the boy?

Having arrived at JFK and finding the children waiting for us, a taxi boarded for the city. Having been on the wrong side of the plane we'd missed the unique skyline of Manhattan. Stories of taxi drivers in NY fresh in my mind, I sat forward to help him with driving trips, his attitude and skills having my approval, I sat back to enjoy the views manifesting themselves outside my window.

Manhattan island, adorned with a skyline second to none, made its appearance, I thought of Neil Diamonds song and what an impression the immigrants must have had when arriving by ship years ago (I hadn't slept all night so the family forgave me my stupidity). Forgetting that it was them that built Manhattan, it was not already there, but my first impression amazed me. Deposited at our hotel on the island I was keen to explore, we had arrived at 7 am NY time, my watch said something else, but my stomach said “breakfast, lunch or supper, no matter, food I want.”

A block or so away from the hotel, a corner café, I wondered at the array of food available and settled for a Muffin the size of a loaf of bread at home. The wife more conservative scrambled eggs and toast, amazingly the owner, worker or whoever behind the counter, cooked this as well as made the coffee and collected payment. What no waiters, no cook, no cleaners, one man did the lot. We thought of Linda's coffee shop back home and all the employees she had.

Next stop the underground. In South Africa the only things that go down are miners, snakes and moles. We about to join the group. My son-in-law played with a machine that spat out tickets, allowing us access to the platform. A mole train came rushing down the tracks, “not this one Dad” shouted my daughter, why not I thought and asked, and told I must wait for a certain number. These things were unbelievable, rushed in stopped opened doors, a crowed exit and crowd enter, doors closed and gone in seconds, or so it seemed. I could stand here and watch all day, this fascinated me. Ours arrived and off we went. Now a bush boy from the south has a good sense of direction, but underground, lost.

A shove from the back told me to exit, we had reached where ever it was we were going. Up the stairs towards the light gave me that feeling an underground mine worker must experience when exiting the mine. Ground level had me lost, was I facing North, East or West, no idea. The first stop was at the area of destruction, 9/11, this was when I felt the patriotism of the American people. Flags, messages, flowers, all adorning the area of disaster, that had happened almost six months before. Photos from afar gave no idea how immense the area was.

From there a walk to a Starbucks, American coffee how would it compare. Different from anything I had experienced, but then I'm not a coffee drinker. Back underground and another sojourn waiting for the mole train, this one took us up city, down city who knows where. Exiting near Central Park, a short walk past Trump towers, Elizabeth Arden, and Walt Disney all known names to us. A ride in a horse-drawn carriage, through central park, an experience I enjoyed, followed by a walk, and then up or down town to experience the lights, sights and sounds of Times Square. Much later, back to the hotel, as we had begun early, the bed called us all, not knowing what excitement awaited us tomorrow.

The early morning saw me awake long before the rest, I needed coffee, something available at any time I'd been told. The pavement reached, orientating myself, I took off in search of a supplier. Three blocks down success, and after convincing the Asian woman behind the counter I needed help, I had my coffee. Wondering why it necessary to have so many differing flavours, I headed back to the hotel. What happened next I was not expecting, accosted by a “Lady of the night” that wondered if I'd be interested in a good time early morning quickie. In shock my English left me and I answered in Afrikaans. Her reply, “....ing foreigners” had me increasing speed homeward, only a half block later to have a “big” African-American, adorned to the hilt with “bling”, stopping me.

Now this South African was not going to allow a “big” man to convince him he should part with his money. I prepared the coffee for a face shot and asked if I could help. “Do you know where 42nd street is?” his question, “two blocks that way” I answered pointing in a direction. Thanking me he left, I felt bad, I had judge a person by his appearance and surely had sent him in the wrong direction, but then survival, my motto, had prevailed.

Reaching the hotel in one piece, I realised the stories heard of another country, should not always be believed. I had not been robbed or mugged, I had my coffee and was safely back at the hotel.


Street Talk

I really like this article, it is good article, the perception of the mistake of judging someone is with everybody, like where I am living now Spain. Spanish taught Africa continent is one country,whenever they meet any African they will take him as someone from Sudan and asked why hungers and diseases are killing you in Africa or why is war in Africa, or if any black man has robbed them of their belongings they will think all blacks are thieves,once they see any black man they will be hiding their bags. We do needs to judge others by the mistakes of another person. As for New York I have never been there, but I am sure I will be there one day to see and to judge all the information about the City.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks for the look in Moses, yes we judge people on what we hear and not what we see. NYC is a wonderful place and I definitely intend to return.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Good article. I've also made the mistake of judging someone and have been wrong about people so many..I am learning though. As for New York, I've been there 3 times and I absolutely love it. I've never really met anyone unfriendly and found everyone open, helpful and courteous.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

How right you are Martin, it is a city I would love to return to, one needs a lot of time to see all the sights to be seen. I had a wonderful time there as I will talk to anyone, I found New Yorker's the same, it was great.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
Joan S  

New Yorkers are very friendly people, and they're so funny once you get to know them. Getting to know them is easy. Everyone has to be street smart. There are nasty wise guys who snatch a handbag or rip a gold chain from your neck. Doesn't happen that much. You just don't wear gold chains, and handbags should be held close to the body. I lived on east 57th street for 24 years and really miss it. New York is great fun. I loved reading your article Rob. Wonderful visuals.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I plan some day to return, if a city has ever attracted me that one has, I loved the people, the vibe, the goings on and of course there is for Linda and I so much more to see.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

NYC...I love going up there and have been many times. It is a fascinating city and in your best Afrikaans language, made it an even more fascinating city.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

It is one place I would love to return to, the exploration of a city and it's people of that size requires a lot of time. We walked past buildings that call for exploration that time just would not allow. The size and magnitude of shops and stores I have never encountered before. But one thing I found most interesting was the people and their understanding of the rest of the world, and when you corrected them on some of their misunderstandings of South Africa, they were so keen to know more, and time was of the essence. I was forever being dragged away from conversations with New Yorkers by the family who felt it was unnecessary for me to educate them all, I loved it.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

I am so enjoying theses Rob. One thing to note, you pre judged the gentleman wrong, but by no means should you change that form of defense when in the Big Apple. Always assume the next guy will want everything in your pockets.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Shawn I have always lived by the saying of "A safe defence is an active offence" worked for many years.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Rob, Nicely written. New York City is a big change from anywhere! blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Cynthia, A change you say? It is so different to anything we from Africa see its unbelievable. Me being a big mouth spoke to a lot of New Yorkers, and my biggest surprise was how many of our international sportsmen they knew. I also found them to be the most informed on South Africa. But still some very weird characters you see in the subway and on the streets of the city.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Rob, That's wonderful. Glad you had some good surprises. New York City has it all. From all over the world and then some. blessings, Cynthia

  
  about 9 years ago

Cool article. Nice picture. Congratulations on making it to #1!!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Hollie, That's my wife and I taking in the sights, something that is difficult to explain to people here at home.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Your story reminded me of Crocodile Dundee! What an experience to have and how wonderful!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Heather.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Hi Rob...Long way from there now but had some intersecting experiences there too.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thanks Kev.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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