Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chinatown is growing on me...

So every other weekend or so Jordan makes his bus trip from Boston down to New York City - what has now become the reliable, safe and clean Chinatown bus has become a bi-weekly occurence, whether its me going up or him coming down. For Jordan's part of the journey (which I'm sure he'll blog about one day) it starts off at South Station, where there is a bus depot, T stop and train station all nicely laid out in what would be best described as a Grand Central station fashion or even close to Main Street Terminal in downtown Vancouver. Needless to say, its clean, organized and well-laid out with signs, gate numbers and escalators etc.

Enter NYC, the Lucky Star bus as well as the Fung Wah bus snails across the Manhattan bridge and you enter Chinatown, only to realise that when they told you its the Chinatown bus, it literally means the Chinatown bus, right smack in the middle of Chinatown. You get off the bus and you're greeted by the sights, sounds and smells of what is Chinatown NY - the largest Chinatown in North America. It seems no one speaks English here and there is no such thing as a clean street - not even 1 square inch. Of course, once you find the person you're meeting here (ie. me) getting home is another feat in itself.

You drag your rollerboard down uneven pavements, through crowds shopping and chattering asian aunties and uncles. You drag yourself and your luggage down the stairs into the Subway station where it reeks of raw, wet fish from the market above. Ahhh..the smells of a wet market are really the signs which let you know you're in Chinatown once you arrive in the subway station. Then its the jostling to get into the subway itself while an old chinese man plays the "er hu" and fills the station with its piercing acoustics.

Chinatown in NY is not for the faint hearted.

And I'm slowly becoming accustomed to NY's loudness, especially since I'm in Chinatown every other weekend either going to Boston or receiving Jordan who's coming here. (but really, NY is loud, too loud if you ask me) Today, I attempted to go grocery shopping at Dynasty Supermarket for the 2nd time. The 1st time was, well, culture shock for me. I was with my Dad and it was my 1st week in NY - overwhelmed by the city itself and then being lost in the largest Chinatown in North America, my experience grocery shopping was not a good one. Being used to the large and very clean TNT in Vancouver - Dynasty was a let-down. I admit, I took TNT supermarket for granted big time. I couldn't even find a decent packet milk tea! And such a limited selection of snacks, condiments and drinks. But my 2nd attempt today, proved to be a little more successful.

I found: Lipton's packet milk tea and MILO!!!! I felt like I hit the jackpot! Milo! I can have my milo in the mornings now! I happily picked up some other groceries and was on my way home. So, Chinatown isn't so bad just takes a little getting used to and being familiar with wet-market smells.

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