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Taking a Chomp Out of the Big Apple: My First Trip to New York
Friday, March 27, 2009
Well I’m sitting in the Seattle airport awaiting my connecting flight back to Kelowna. For the past six days, I have been in New York spending the majority of time attending Search Engine Strategies New York. As those who know me, realize that I am a west coast kind of guy. In fact this was my first trip in the Eastern time zone since I was young. I live in the Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada’s most western province so making the 2,408 mile (3,875 km) trip to New York was very exciting for me. I had never been to the Big Apple, and it seemed surreal that I was going to visit what many suggest is the “world’s greatest city”.

As I was travelling by myself, I was a little nervous leading up to the trip. The night before arriving I could not sleep as the anticipation of going to New York got the better of me. (My wife was not very happy with me as she drove me to the airport at 4:30 in the morning…) From Kelowna, I would go to Seattle to catch my connection to Newark…. New Jersey. If I’m not mistaken this was the longest flight that I had been on as I do not recall a previous flight to Mexico taking so long. Regardless it was about a five hour flight which included flying over Chicago, the Great Lakes and Michigan. I sat behind a family from Kenya which was pretty cool. I had noticed one of their Kenya passports. They were wearing traditional garb and had some amazing bracelets and necklaces on. I wanted to ask one of them if they would consider selling me one, but thought against it. It was cool just seeing some folks from Kenya.
With the three hour time difference, I arrived on the East Coast just after 5:00 pm local time. The sun was out and as we made out decent into Newark International, I got my first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. It was small than I had envisioned, but nonetheless was a breathtaking sight. One thing that I always wanted to see was the Statue of Liberty. I can now check Lady Liberty off of my list. The 111 feet, 6 inches statue is just an amazing piece of work. Image courtesy of http://www.statueofliberty.org/Fun_Facts.html

I was so busy trying to take pictures of the World’s famous statue that I nearly missed taking in the skyline of New York. As I looked across the river, I wondered about of the families that had been impacted by the tragic events of 9/11. Even though I am Canadian, I felt a sense of pride as the plane touched down in Newark. I quickly grabbed my carry-on baggage and walked anxiously through the airport. I was impatiently awaiting to hear my first New York accent which didn’t take long as a lady resembling Ellen Travolta was giving her (whom I assume was) husband an earful. A smile ran across my face. Yup I definitely was not in Kelowna anymore. Not knowing where to go, I just followed the crowd which quickly dispersed. I had pre-arranged a shuttle to take me my destination in Manhattan. I called the Shuttle and they told me that it would be there within 20 minutes. Forty minutes later, a fellow came up to me and asked which Shuttle I was waiting for as he had waited over 75 minutes for his to show. About five minutes later, my Shuttle showed up. I looked back and the other fellow was still waiting for his.

The ride from New Jersey to Manhattan was pretty cool. We jammed a dozen or so people in a van and proceeded to head to NYC. It was pretty cozy to say the least. We were all squished in the van and I apologized to the girl beside me for squishing her. She just looked at me, smiled and winked and said “no problem..”. I guess that she definitely was not from New York as I had heard that the people can be a little rude. She kind of returned the favor as she nodded off in the van with her head falling from side to side bumping my left shoulder depending on the corner that the driver was taking. In the van there was about three of four different languages being spoken one being Spanish, another being Scandinavian and I couldn’t make out the third one.

The drivers were nuts with a constant honking of horns on the freeway. We entered the Lincoln Tunnel which I had heard a lot about, but was disappointed as we went through it. Now we were in New York. Within a few minutes we were amongst some of the tallest buildings that I had ever seen. I had arrived.

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