And so I landed at JFK International early Sunday morning on 5 March. The airport experience is a complete blur. Perhaps that’s what happens when you visit a new place. Your focus is on getting it right, not so much what you see. At least initially. And I was alone so I had to get it right. I do remember it being hustle free. I had expected there to be a lot more commotion since it wasn’t long after the November 2016 election.
Nonetheless I found a wifi hotspot, checked for an Uber and it wasn’t going to happen. You have to understand that $70 was a huge chunk of the money I had. An entire R1000. It had to miss me. I didn’t know how much I would need for food and excursions so I was not going to risk it. What I was going to risk was getting lost in the big apple. Why not.
So I went on the Subway. New York was fresh. 3 degree celsius kind of cold. Got on the wrong line. Of cause I did. I mean what was I doing? All I had were directions from my Airbnb host and a picture of Subway network downloaded from Google. Got on the Howard Beach train instead of the Jamaica Centre train. Or the other way around. I can’t quite remember. What I do remember is having to go back to where I started so that I could use the directions from my host instead of the train operator.
Resilience saw me through and I landed at 50th station. Somewhere between 7th and 8th Avenue. Figuring out which direction was 8th was another trial and error exercise. Apparently I walked 270m to 7th, but it felt like a lifetime given that I was dragging an oversized red bag back and forth. I eventually found my way to a hot cup of cappuccino on 48th and 9th, where I would stay for the days that followed.
I ended up spending about $5 on the Subway to get from the airport to Hell’s Kitchen. And it wouldn’t have been that hard if I hadn’t been a diva (i.e. followed instructions and asked where I didn’t know)