Saturday January 24th: 2 days before New Year

 

The train ride from Utica to New York City was fantastic.  It was just so smooth and quiet.  I fell asleep several times during the trip.  Amtrak is really great with their train service. 

 

The instant I got into Manhatten New York City, everything starting going really badly and I didn’t even know it until it was too late. There are bad people who specifically look for people who are carrying luggage / baggage and they will do everything in their power to get as much money out of you as possible.  They will follow you around, they will hold doors open for you, they will offer to get you a taxi, offer to pay the taxi money, etc.. You do not need them, so just ignore them.   They will seem very friendly, but in reality they are lying to you..  They will force you to get into a hurry and then they trick you into making expensive mistakes.  I have never in my life been in such a big city before, and I have never met these kinds of people before.   I thought they were really trying to be friendly and helpful, but then I realized they tried to cheat both me and my taxi driver out of money.  When I suddenly realized this, then he ran away with my taxi money!!   Once I made it to my hotel room, everything was much better!

  

So yea,  being alone in a big city is very difficult.  My mom has been in this city before, and she gave me some advice to keep my wallet in my front pocket.  However, she did not warn me about these kinds of bad people..  These bad people seem like good people, but they are not really.   I know I should not trust people in the city, but I had no idea they would be like that!!!   I thought I would know a bad person when I saw one, but I know now that I can’t.  That in this strange city, I really don’t know a bad person from a good person.  It is just so different from out in the country where I live.  Here in NYC, bad people are very friendly to you but they are still bad people because they are trying to take your money and the second you give it to them for something, they will run away with it.  Sometimes the best way to take your money is to be friendly, so that is what they do.

Well, I learned an important lesson today, I am thankful that it is only $60 that I have lost. He said he would pay my taxi, but then he just took my money and ran away!  But that was ok….  I still had money to pay my taxi driver.   After I dropped my luggage off at the hotel, everything started to go much much better!!  The bad people who pretended to be good people stopped following me around!!!  So I was very relieved that I would not be harassed the entire time I am here!    They specifically are looking for people coming into the city and they try to trick you into you giving them money.  They will do and say anything to get your money! They will lie to you, they will make things up, they will create a scene, they will try to embarrass you, they will follow you around, they will try to talk you to pull out your wallet, they will do many things.. All they want is your money!!

I was so glad to get out of Downtown Manhatten.   I really hated it..  There was garbage all over the streets and people following me around trying to trick me into giving them money!! It just seemed like everybody was trying to do things to take my money because they know I am visiting the city and don’t know not to trust them.  Once I got in the Taxi cab and went to Chinatown, things were much better.  Chinatown is much cleaner than downtown Manhatten. Also, people are a lot nicer. 

 I started exploring around Chinatown.  This place is AMAZING!! I absolutely love it!! Every where I look and every shop I enter there are things that I have never seen before.  It is really just simply.. AMAZING!!

 I found a small shop, and the only thing they sold were chopsticks.. Hundreds and hundreds of different chopsticks! Oh, funny story! There was a chopstick on the table.  It looked very strange and heavy..  A very heavy chopstick..  So I pick it up to look at it, then the Chinese lady says, "That’s not for sale."..  And so I ask, why not?  And she says, "That’s not a chopstick, that’s my hair pin"..   "Hair pin is for lady"..   Ooohhhhh..  Hair pin is not a chopstick…  I thought it was just a very unusual chopstick..  So little I know!!!

 

 The first event I went to was a Traditional Chinese Opera and Dance celebration at an elementary school.  The instant I walk into the auditorium, I felt  a little uncomfortable.  Everybody who came to watch the show were old Chinese people.  Except for a few children…

So if you can imagine, me as a young American guy sitting with over  100 Chinese old ladies and old Chinese men watching a traditional Chinese opera.  Strange huh?  You know what was great? It was free!! Absolutely no cost at all!

During the Opera, I sat next to an old Chinese lady.  She kept tapping my shoulder and pointing at people and saying things in English. She was so happy to be there.  She was very happy that I was enjoying the show. She explained to me all the different dances and the different songs.  She also pointed at all the teachers and told me their names.   I soon quickly forgot about the bad morning!! And I enjoyed the show!!  I made many videos and took many pictures!!!  The old Chinese lady and I became very good friends very quickly.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

She started eating some crackers and she offered me some and then I started to become very anxious because of the bad morning.  I was a little scared because I had over $700 worth of equipment on me and I didn’t know if she was good or bad!!  So I refused the cracker and put my camera away.  She gave me a big grin but I was not going to take any chances!!   I did not know if she was good or bad.  But really, she was a very good lady..  If it wasn’t for my bad morning I think my day would have been much better.   I wish I could say sorry  to that old Chinese lady for not trusting her..  Really, I have to take care of myself and I need to be safe…  It has been a very difficult day for me… 

It is unfortunate that the younger Chinese people really aren’t interested in those shows.  So many Chinese people walked by the school, for a while I thought that maybe I was at the wrong building!!  For having so many people in such a big city.. There aren’t very many people interested in the Chinese Opera.  The auditorium was half empty.  I had a great time with the old Chinese men and women…   I have seen similar dances before and heard the songs before.  There were many songs that I recognized. 

After the show, I explored Chinatown.  I got lost about 7 or 8 times.  But that was not a problem at all! It was actually fun to explore through Chinatown and when you’re lost, you often find things that you would not have found if you were not lost!  Strange huh?  So often when I became a little disoriented and lost, I would look up and see if I could see any tall buildings that I recognized..  If not, then I would keep walking straight forward…  And keep walking straight forward.. And keep walking straight forward…  Until I saw a street name that I recognized or until everything suddenly went from Chinese to English and I realized I accidently walked outside of Chinatown.. Then I would turn around and go back into Chinatown and keep wandering around until I found the road I was looking for!  I am very glad that Chinatown is not too big!!

Chinatown is just the right size..  Big enough that I will have many things to do in the few days that I stay here!!  This is going to be great!!!   Of all the people in the entire New York City, the ONLY people I trust are old Chinese ladies..  I just do not feel like I can trust anybody else..  I just do not know how some bad people can offer to give you a taxi ride and then take your money and run away!! They don’t have any feeling of guilt or sick in the stomach..  Maybe that is something I will never understand..  Just know that there are bad people out there and often they are VERY difficult to recognize from good people.  I walked into the city thinking that I would know a bad person when I saw one, but I was very wrong and that mistake cost me $60..

I bought some Chinese candy, but I did not realize that it was shrimp flavored candy.    I like shrimp, but shrimp flavored candy I discovered I do not like.  I quickly realized that watching what other Chinese people were buying is a good idea.  I saw a Chinese girl buy some things and so I bought the exact same things.  Maybe I scared her a little, but I just didn’t know what foods were good because everything was written in Chinese.  Everything that she bought, I bought too..  I had a very delicious and healthy dinner tonight, so that worked out very well!  Chinese women really know the delicious foods to buy!  Some foods are much better when bought from a place that knows how to prepare that food. So that is probably what I will do for the next few days, I will buy what I see Chinese people buying. 

 

 OK! Time to go to bed!!   Good Night!! Tomorrow morning I will go to Brooklyn Botanical Garden and listen to more Opera and listen to old Chiinese Folk tales!  I think I will be more trusting towards the old Chinese people…

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