Now it is almost two weeks since I, Torunn, Astrid and Andrine travelled to New York together. I must admit that there already is a bit unreal that we were there, among the skyscrapers, and I think we all agreed that New York is a city we would visit again. Since I traveled to Baltimore to meet Elizabeth, I lost two days. I also spent one Sunday shopping in New Jersey, on a large shopping center just outside the city. In spite of this, I got the chance to go to Broadway (Phantom of the Opera), walk on times square, took a boat trip around Manhattan island, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, took the subway to random stops, and took the elevator up the Empire State building. We also ate at different restaurants recommended from Tripadvisor, and on the way to the last restaurant we went to, an American actually asked me if I knew what it was, although he had been there before . We talked to each other while we walked togehter, and by coincidence he was placed right beside the table where my friends waited for me. This was in fact the restaurant that had the best food.
The very last day, when we should fly home in the evening, we also had the chance to see a little more of the city.
I had to find a scrapbook store and went by myself again. I proudly found the “the ink pad” (it is terribly easy to find in New York, so I had a good time with my map reading.) where I found so much great stuff that I almost got tears in my eyes. My ATM-card also shed some tears when it involuntarily got $ 300 leaner, but since our community believes dieting, so do I.
Is there anything negative to say about New York, you might wonder? I am sure there will be something, and I also have to mention something myself. What I found a bit annoying, was how everyone was kind of precisionist. I do not really know whether this attitude should be attributed to New York in itself, but I will mention it.
The first thing was when we were at a restaurant recommended by TripAdvisor. I did not bring my passport or driving license, naturally enough, since I am terrible at keeping my things in place. Considering that I`ve lost my passport before, I’m not very keen to experience it again. I brought my ATM-card , and I thought this would suffice.
But when I and my friend Torunn wanted to order a glass of red wine to the food, problems arose. To our disbelief, we saw that they “had to check the cards”.
With many “I` m so sorry ” the owner of the Restaurant at last came back with the cards in her hand, and told us the issued ID was not good enough. Andrine and Astrid had a driving license and were served what they wanted. I felt like a two-year old, and did not like that. Exactly there and then I felt irritation from the meaningless adherence to the rules tapping the door for my facial expressions, but I calmed down any frown by remembering that Americans have been through trauma (9/11), and this might have led to paranoia which is perfectly understandable.
Three cute girls on top of the Empire S. From the left:Torunn, Andrine and Astrid
The same paranoia had stretched all the way to Maryland, where the same thing happened again. I and Elizabeth were on the Annapolis Maritime Museum, but after going through a security check (I saw many of these in the U.S.) we were told that I couldn`t get in, since I did not bring my Norwegian passport, which meant they couldn`t know who I was. The lady who said this had a stern, serious voice, so we cleverly pulled back, while I quelled the familiar rebellion over what I found an inflexible system.
Some politicans have said: If we are to protect you, it can lead to restriction of freedom.
I think this was the difference between USA and Norway that was most clear.
Another cultural difference, was how people approached one another. I found that people were more “themselves” than I`m used to in regards to the Scandinavian countries. People didn`t seem to be afraid of talking to strangers or to show real emotions. If somebody was in a foul mood, it did not seem they tried to cover this with a smile. An example is when I asked a women in a box outside the subway about the system she shouted to me in anger: “Look at my ugly face while I explain this” when my eyes started to wanter in another direction.
Again, I have to remember that they were really afraid after 9/11, and that might make them extra careful about certain things (check this link) . .
I collect refrigerator-magnets, and have already added the two I bought in NY
Overall I had an amazing trip. I liked that the city was so diverse: That you can find and do just about anything. It was also fun to travel with friends, and even through I often lacked sleep (poor room-mates, who had a difficult time sleeping themselves since I took a shower early in the morning or when I wrote on my blog early the morning).
My mood was still raised through the trip, and I feel extremly lucky to have seen this magnificent city.