All in all, the journey across the United States was smooth. After arriving at SFO, our cohort quickly checked in our luggage and passed through security. Much to our surprise, when we arrived at the gate, we found that our flight had been delayed for about 45 minutes due to thunderstorms in the New York area. After finally boarding our flight, I tried to sleep, failed to do so, and watched television on the small screen in front of my seat until we touched down at JFK.
It wasn't until we collected our luggage that it finally hit me that I was in New York City—the city that never sleeps. I got my first taste of the different culture here when we got in a van on our way to the Empire Hotel. Despite that fact that Mrs. L. said that our driver was tame compared to drivers she had in the past, I found our driver was far more aggressive than drivers in the Bay Area. He cut off cabs and totally ignored pedestrians as he raced to our destination. After the ride, Mrs. L. warned us to be careful when we cross the streets here because most drivers are like our driver and don't give pedestrians the right of the road. When I heard this, it immediately reminded me of when I traveled back to China to visit my grandparents. Like pedestrians in New York City, pedestrians in China don't have the right of the road. Those who are walking in China inch their way across the road while cars speed past and honk to get out of the way. The only difference for pedestrians in New York City compared to China is that in New York, pedestrians cross the road at crosswalks whereas in China pedestrians cross wherever they wish to...even if there are crosswalks. I guess we're lucky to live in the Bay Area where we have the right of the road.
Another part of the Big Apple that reminded me of China was the weather. As soon as I stepped out of the airport's revolving doors I was hit by the hot and humid air. While I knew that it was going to be hot and humid, I was surprised to find that it's much hotter and more humid that I thought. In China the air is also hot, humid, and smoggy. When I stepped out of my grandparent's abode, it was like walking into an extremely stuffy room. The one thing that remains to be found is if New York is as smoggy as China, but that'll have to wait until morning.
I am so excited to begin my adventure in New York City, and I plan to have a blast for every moment of it!