Just the second day after my last exam into the break and under intense pressure from friends, I got going for a trip to new york. The grades were yet to be announced and i was quite nervous, wanting to stick around at home until they are announced, lest there is something that comes up, but I finally fell in.
After 2 hours of total chaos (which is usually the case whenever I go anywhere :D ), I finally heaved a sigh of relief when the bus started. To give you a sense, I hurried to finish work, ship a laptop by USPS -no, beg my friend to do it for me so I can get ready and catch the bus in time, friend finally agrees to do this for me, and then when this friend of mine calls me for the address to ship to- I am boarding the bus while the address is in my laptop locked in my bag-he called me earlier for the address than I thought he would- it takes time to get on to the seat, open the laptop you know :P. and as I am in the bus, can hear my friend constantly shouting at me for 10 minutes for wasting his time etc.. and then lo, there is no cash with any of us, so having to run to find an ATM. Yes, my trip started with an absolute bang :).
The journey of 4.5 hours was completed without we realizing it. Of course, there was the so- polite and the so-non-violent African American shouting barbs at my friend for constantly getting up from his seat behind him (!, wonder what his problem was ).
Soon, we found ourselves shivering outside JCPenny on 32nd and 11 right in Manhattan.
My friend from high school was there in 15 minutes, and then off we went to Times Square with one of us almost getting hit by the racing cabs there – no road rules seemed to apply in New York City, pedestrians cross roads at all points at will, the lights are just for a show and cabs are driven wildly. After a munch at McDonalds there , I finally reach my friend’s house in NJ dead tired.
On Christmas day the next day, we started late, and went to all the free attractions nearby – the ferry to Stratten Island, the World trade center site, Macy’s, the Hudson, the Empire State, the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, one of the public programs for christmas, chinatown, the rockefeller park, the rockfeller center and roamed the streets of Manhattan taking pictures all along. It was a lot of walking but was worth it. The day ended with me having a video chat on Skype with my family right from Times Square using the free Wifi connection there, it was a wonderful experience. But the day started and ended with a lot of tension, I read an email from my professor before I started from NJ that I had a problem with the project I had submitted, and by the end, also got to know of a low score in the finals in another course reading my mail in Times Square. Though the fun from the trip was certainly diluted with all of these things, with some of my fears coming true and me regretting making this trip before the grades were out for sometime, looking back, I still feel it was worth it.
Back to NJ for the night, I made the necessary corrections to my project and finally shut the case. The grade was out in a little while, thankfully, it was not bad, but wasn’t good either, but way better than my expectations.
The next day, I was left all alone high and dry by my other friends visiting their relatives. I walked for a long time to attend the Friday prayers in one of the mosques I found after a long search in Manhattan. I prayed Asr, ate at the Halal delis in the streets twice, spent some more time in times square – atruly awesome place, visited the Tausad’s museum before boarding the bus back to Baltimore.
On the trip overall, it was extremely cold and windy -so much that I couldn’t even remove the gloves to see the map, which was a pain. And New york was really dirty due to the snowstorm a few days earlier; all the streets/pavements were filled with black snow and it was not a good sight. Plus, the fun was obviously diluted what with the trip being before the nervous days before the grades were out.
But still, I was happy i made this trip – I had always wanted to visit New york and I could hardly believe I actually fulfilled one of my long-standing wishes :) I even banged my head to make sure I wasn’t dreaming . And NYC was awesome, the skyscrapers were a sight to watch, it was an awesome experience to roam the streets in Manhattan, the other places we visited were good too. I could see people from all over the world in the streets, a lot of them didn’t speak english. It certainly was a great experience,but I don’t think I will make another trip here, as I am pretty much satiated :)
Signing off, I am leaving a few pictures from the trip, and believe me, we took a lot of them :)