Saturday, April 05, 2008

I am not sure how my feet will survive 8 more days of touristing.

So I am here. I got here. It was an okay set of travel, just a really long day. The shuttle driver from the airport to LIRR was HILARIOUS and I met this nice guy Chad that was on his way to Brooklyn from Atlanta. It was really cool for me to have these very first experiences of friendliness. Can I just tell you how friendly everyone in New York is? I mean, yeah, there are some scary crazy people in this city...everywhere. But none more than SF, LA, etc. Just different. I think this city is the most diverse city I have ever been in, and I am eating it up. Unfortunately, I am not so digging the hostel thing, but keep reminding myself of how much money I saved. Last night, everyone in my room was asleep when I got in, and it was very awkward even trying to find my bed and clean out my locker from someone else's crap. I was no quiet, let's just say that. I ended up being thankful I brought ear plugs and sleeping pills, it's just a noisy building and my room is right next to the front desk. Unfortunately, those two plus hostel plus alarm clock I think means I am the most hated girl in the room right now. I tried to stay away as much as possible today until my feet swelled and I am about to collapse from lack of energy, and STILL someone is asleep in the room, so it's all dark still and I can't even get into my stuff. I grabbed my laptop since I had to clear pictures from my card (439 since I left SC) and headed up the lounge where I am trying not to collapse and sleep on the couch. I also am still sure I am sick and just pushing through, but I have to. I can't believe how much left there is to see.

Today, I fit in all of Lower Manhattan, which I am sure I will write about at length later, but since this trip is about me and my growing as a person, I think I want to jump straight to the biggest awakening of this trip. I'm a morning person. No really...I am. I like sleep too, it's amazing hobby, I think it's awesome. But, I love watching a city come alive. From home to the playa to SF to wherever, there is something about being out before anyone and seeing it come to life. Today, I left Union Square to a little north of the Bowling Green and wandered around in the damp air, meandering down to the Castle Clinton Monument and the Statue of Liberty. First piece of advice - If you ever plan on coming to New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty, get your ferry and monument tickets ahead of time, get there at 8 o'clock and in line to pick them up and go on the very first ferry out. If you miss Ellis Island, you're still pushing noon. Between 2 security checkpoints, lines, etc, it's a big ordeal, and when I turned around to see the line behind me, I was shocked. Anyway, even though the ferry was insanely crowded, and the line to the monument still seemed long in front of me, I managed to work my way through security faster than everyone but one couple. What that meant is that for a brief moment, I was in the statue of liberty alone. When I walked in the door at the base, I wept. I walked all 156 steps to the pedestal, and came out in full tears. I called my grandmother and told her where I was, I needed to share it with someone at least a little closer to my time zone. I am very thankful I had her to call, I needed to share that desperately. It was seriously life changing.

She is beautiful. As you take the ferry there, you start to think she is so much smaller than you thought, but when you are standing under her, looking at every fold so carefully carved, you realize the undertaking. She is majestic, and amazing. I was so glad that I was there as the sun broke through the sky, gleaming her torch in the sun. As far as moments in my life go, I am certain that this was one of the most amazing. I walked to the lowest level of the pedestal, still free from any other people who seemed to be crawling like ants below. I laid on the ground and stared up at her. I am sure that anyone up at the top at this time may have thought I was nuts. I walked up and I touched the rock that held her up and thanked her for guiding us. I have hundreds of pictures, but this I just had to share for now.

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More to come...

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