11 Jun 2010

Mumble in the Bronx

So… planes now. I flew to Florida when I was a kid to cuddle strangers in animal costumes, but I don’t have a sparkling memory from that age. I remember I cried when I didn’t want to go on Space Mountain (after queuing for an hour first. Thanks Dad), and my brother jumped over two beds and into a wall when lightning struck a nearby hotel. However, what I definitely don’t remember is every seat having its own media TV station thing where you can watch a catalogue of movies, play games, listen to music, and even follow the plane’s progress on an animated flight chart. I was apparently so spoiled for choice that I couldn’t even make a choice. I just watched bits of things and fell asleep. I especially enjoyed the first ten minutes of Ghandi. I hope everything works out alright for that lovely little bald man.

One plane landing, forty fingerprints and fifteen bucks later, we were not only on a government database but also outside Grand Central station, poncing wireless from a Starbucks and downloading directions to our first host, a woman called Lisa in the Bronx. At this point, we were still weighed down by our bags and looking a bit like four people trying to smuggle folded camels into a rucksack convention.

We did the looking-up-everywhere-touristy thing for a bit, then found a Subway station to get confused in. A lovely woman helped us press some buttons on a machine because apparently it was too complicated to figure out for ourselves, and then we went to the platform to watch lots of trains that should have had us on them leave without us on them. Finally, we confirmed the right one and boarded, rearranging as many tired commuters with our massive rucksacks as possible.

In the Bronx, it was pissing down but it seemed very fitting that four English people should arrive to their first Couch Surfing host absolutely soaked. Despite this, we stopped in a shop doorway for a few minutes, and met a black skinned, blue eyed man called Charles. Thirty seconds in, it was clear he was on the Diana side of the Queen vs. Diana debate, if indeed that debate is going on anywhere.

We got to Lisa’s and within five minutes were in love with her, her son Ethan and their place. I’ll leave Lucy to describe them as she already has a new 8-year old best friend. Meanwhile, we all went out to grab some shopping for dinner and blended immediately into the local neighbourhood.

‘Yo! Where all these white people come from?!’

Or not.

Pictured: 'When in Rome.' Us blending in to the Bronx.

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