Thursday, February 08, 2007

Old New York Was Once New Amsterdam

Last night a guy quietly came into the room at about 2am. At 3am there was loud snoring. I probably wouldn't have notice except that I had had a nap for four hours earlier that night. He kept me awake until about 4:45 am when his loud snoring was interupted by loud vomiting and the splashing noise vomit makes as it hits the carpeted floor of a 12share room in a hostel. Luckily for everyone involved the overpowering smell of feet took care of the smell of vomit.

I must have fallen asleep sometime around 5:00 or so, but I don't think the angry asian in the bunk next to mine did. He kept sitting up and tossing and turning. He even went over to find the culprit. Luckily for him he didn't slip on or step in the puddle of vomit. I must have fallen asleep again shortly after that.

At around 6:30 I was awoken by the angry asian packing his bags to leave the hostel. I thought that I might as well get up because the snoring continued, and this way I could get a jump on the line in the shower. I'm told this is the biggest hostel in the world with 612 beds.

I keep calling this guy the angry asian, but that's not to say that I wasn't annoyed too. It's just that I know that I snore too, I do however try to sleep on my side to avoid snoring as well as responding well to people who shake my bedframe.

By bunk neighbour was just leaving as I was getting dressed after my shower. As I was putting on my socks, I noticed he had left his gloves on the bed. I ran down the hall in my stocking feet to tell him, but I just missed the elevator. Oh well. I got ready to go out for the day at a little past seven and as I stepped out the door, was the guy looking for his gloves no less. I let him know they were up on his bunk, using a series of grunts, whistles and hand motions that I had developed and later perfected during my stays in Hong Kong and Tokyo. He was very happy.

I caught the subway down to battery park, which is on the south end of the island. It is where you catch the Staten Island Ferry as well as the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The ferry costs $12 and will take you in a circular route to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island then back to Manhatten. Another ferry comes about every 20 minutes.

Let me tell you, it has been several years since I have been that cold.

The Statue of Liberty was interesting and well worth going to see. I felt sort of the same way about seeing it as I did seeing the Sydney Opera house. That is to say, "There it is, it looks just like it does in pictures and TV. That's pretty cool." The security is a little over the top though. They screen you before you get onto the ferry and then agian before you go into the pedastel of the statue.

I've been through a ton of metal detectors in the last little while. It seems rather random as to if they pick stuff up. On hit my belt, others, my glasses. The one in Calgary seemed to go off for no reason at all. The lady at the statue seemed surprised that the dectector to get on the boat hit my glasses but hers didn't. It all seems rather pointless to get screened twice just for that, but I guess it is an international icon.

At the top of the pedestal, several people asked the rangers when they stopped letting people go up inside the statue itself and if they though people would ever be allowed to go in again. Basically the answers were that although it was closed shortly after the 9/11 attacks, it was a long time coming. It isn't good for the statue for people to go up in there and it isn't good for the people either. It was a popular spot for graphiti and it isn't a particularly good view either.

I couldn't imagine the view from up there to be one bit different than from the top of the pedestal, but it would be somewhat interesting to see the guts of the statue up close.

The ferry took me to Ellis island next and that was very interesting. I didn't stay as long as I could have, but I found it to be a somewhat sad place. The emphasized the hardship and unfairness of the process of emigrating. Basically if you could afford a first or second class ticket the officials rubber stampped you because they figured you were a healthy hard working person with money. Everyone else got a good once over. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them. I mean, I think I would have been in the weathly group if it had been me, in fact I am in that situation right now with plans to go back to Oz in a few months. All we have to do is fill out some paper work and buy a ticket. Heck we'll arrive faster and we're going further than most immigrents to the USA. The worse thing we'll have to put up with is not getting our peanuts.

After the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Isand I went to wall street and saw the stock exchange and then I went to the excavation at the site of the world trade center. I wish I would have seen them before they were demolished. Exploring around downtown I came across a couple of guys with little stalls on the sidewalk selling pirated movies, but I didn't get anything even though I was tempted. It boggles my mind that there are these people making money from pirated movies selling them in the street not three blocks away from the NY stock exchange and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. The place is literally crawling with cops. There must be something more to it. Maybe the cops figure people like having these guys around. I don't know. Maybe they just don't care and have bigger fish to fry. You would think movie execs would get after them.

I have to admit that New York is the greatest city I've been to. It has everything and everyone. I can't imgaine a better place to live. The people don't seem as mean as they make them out to be on tv and in the movies and the traffic isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be. In fact if you were to triple the number of cars on the road in Medicine Hat and make them all New York drivers, traffic in Medicine Hat would improve.

1 comment:

Bob Milner said...

New York is the only city where you hear radio requests like..."this is for Tina, I'm sorry I stabbed you".