“Welcome to the United States, this way sir” – a voice that’s still alive in my ears – like some one said this to me a second ago. Well when I stepped out from the plane, this is what a 6 ft 4 in American told me in his husky voice. Haa! I’ve landed in the business capital of the world - New York. Also well known as “Big Apple”. Hey I think I have missed out something, Yes! I did not introduce myself. Well I am Shubhang Bajpai, and I am going to take you on a tour to Big Apple and nearby places.

So all set folks? well I’ve spent almost three months in this city (Aug’09 to Oct’09) and let me tell you it’s not only about looking at buildings in New York but a lot more other stuff as well.

10000 non localites visit New York every day but still you don’t hear voices shouting for taxis or negotiation for fares between the cabbies and visitors as evident in Delhi or Bangalore in India.

Thanks to my company – once I cleared the immigration there was a man with a placard saying “ Welcome Mr. Bajpai / Hotel Hyatt”. Ahh I felt so nice & relieved to see him. He took me to the hotel which took over 2 hours from John F Kennedy Airport to Bridgewater, New Jersey.

So after 22 hours, I finally dumped my self on the bed and in no time was asleep. When I get up after 13 hours I observed why Hyatt is so popular and well known – Gym/Pool/Jacuzzi/Basket ball court/Business Rooms/Conference Rooms and barbeque space. I was damn hungry now and ready to crack naan with paneer butter masala. Oops! Suddenly a voice came out of my mouth and I realized that my paneer and naan days were over and some nacho chips/scrambled eggs with red tomato soup were my only salvation.

After a couple of days I went to the nearest mall and electronic shop called Bridgewater Commons and Best Buy. An eggetarian in US (that’s me by the way !) finally saw Sbarro and realized the taste of mushroom pizza like I had in the GIP mall Noida, India. Although its not same in New Jersey.

Summers in New York are beautiful – sunny but not hot, windy but not humid – actually it was more like spring for us. I took the NJ Transit from Raritan station to Newark Penn station and then PATH to WTC.

When I steeped outside there was a big ground which was a surprise to me because NY is a city where average number of floors in a building are 60. “Realization at its best” – this ground was actually the place where the 2 huge towers of WTC stood tall prior to 9/11. Although the best part was that I had seen “Freedom Tower” under construction for 121 Floors.

I had planned to reach there by afternoon so I could explore the streets and buy stuff for my friends & family. I could easily figure out the Indians here – not true for all parts of America though. I was told by my managers that in the first on-site visit, I had been to the best place in the USA.

People were busy eating and shopping in the streets. Most of the streets have roadside shops as well where you can buy things such as perfumes for $5 and Rado/Fossil watches for $20 (ofcourse I don’t need to mention if they are real of not). Luckily I am not too fond of any of these so I kept exploring the streets. As I earlier being an eggetarian, lunch was the biggest problem since last 1 week for me. Some how I learnt the recipe of “Burrito Bowl” :-) . WOW ! It was my jackpot – something for me with all veggies & rice.

I decided to visit Statue of Liberty and thanks to the street walkers I was able to reach “Battery Park”. Ohh My God one statue of Liberty was walking on the road- he he ! Spend 2 bucks and have yourself clicked with the statue of Liberty :-) . See the 3rd pic below and you’ll understand. I finally board the ferry and reached the island – View of Manhattan from the ferry was awesome and as I was getting close to Statue of Liberty a strange kind of nervousness enveloped me.

In the evening I went to Times Square – beautiful place – specially because on the corner I could see Hard Rock café with Starbuck coffee. So I was all set. Those who think whiskies like “Canadian club” and “Grants” would harm their tummy, should have a sip of coffee although my preference was the first one. As it became dark, I was not able to see the roads !- as this place was so crowded. Every where one could see people sitting by the road side enjoying the weather and ofcourse being exccited to be in Times Square.

Well it was not all fun and frolic – after spending evenings on the streets, I got back to my hotel where lots of process maps and SOPs were waiting eagerly for my attention. Trust me – after walking all this while in the city I was no where in the mood to work but I can’t complain – because of this work I am here. After couple of weeks with Nacho chips and scrambled eggs I started feeling homesick. So I googled to find one Indian restaurant named Bombay Spice. Since then I went there a couple of times to get my ‘Indian’ food.

There are a couple of beaches in New Jersey such as Belmar and Point Pleasant. I was very excited because I had never been to a beach in my last 24 years on this planet. I decided to spend my next weekend on the beaches hence. I leisurely took my sun bath and saw people in different shapes and sizes around the beach, specially those people who loved to stroll by the shore.

October was around the corner and as the weeks progressd I was going mad because it had been a long time in the city and I was not getting to drive ! Every day from the hotel I saw people driving @ 100-120 kmph. I finally convinced people around me and rented a Dodge Avebger. It’s pretty easy in New York to fulfill your dreams as even a Merch could be rented with a fair deal through local rentals like “Enterprise Rent A Car”. A week with the furious car was awesome. The only bad part was that cops here always looked for Indians to charge fines as they hardly go for a case and hire a legal aid. If you are caught by a cop, the smallest ticket you get is for $175.

Well, that’s my experience in the city till October 09 – will write back soon ..

Till then bye bye and wait for some snow whipped stories – Atlantic City & Washington DC – coming soon !

VN:F [1.8.1_1037]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.8.1_1037]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)