Okay so hairy expedition this week, deep into the lower east side, looking for some 'drug store' or a chemist type Boot's placey for those of the English persuasion for some ibuprofen for the boyfriend who has become a bit poorly, probably from all the stress of the move and then having to hit the ground running at work.
So, I walk into the depths of this neighbourhood, where people constantly seem to be shouting at each other, but perhaps this is just the charm of New York, I find that what should be a 10 minute run as according to our guide book- provided by the corporate apartment people- turns into 45 minutes. Not only this but I walk into a grotty area, complete with brand new flip flops which start to blister my feet... then pass a gun shop. I only know that this is a gun shop because it brazenly has a three dimensional gun hanging from it's shop front!! I thought you only see this stuff in movies!!
In the window are detailed drawings of exactly where your bullet should aim for a deer for instance, there were probably other animals detailed but I rushed on by, looking for the 'Rite Aid'.
Next I come across a man with a rag strapped to his head with what look like are elastic bands yelling at a rather nicely dressed woman as 'Baby!' When she fails to turn to his attention... she quickly becomes the 'hellish *itch' and he's getting irate.
I am now praying that after walking 200yrds the wrong way or 2 blocks, that I will see this Rite Aid soon, and my feet are begining to hurt.
It occurs to me to ask someone for directions would be insane.
And I muster on following the numbers that will surely lead me to my destination, after all it's in this bloomin corporate guide!
I pass what Americans refer to as 'the projects' we'd probably call them council housing estates in the north, Burnley for example. I adopt my London of keep your head down and look like you know where you're going...my feet are really not liking these flip flops any more and the flip flops start to tear into them...
Right at the edge of turning back, I see this woman and she looks okay, glasses, back pack, and suddenly I'm surrounded by a neighbourhood that feels less busy- but a bit eerie and deserted.
I decide to ask her for directions... but before I have a chance to finish my question.. she has placed her hands in the air, and says in a accent other than American that she has never been here before.. and scurry's past me... now I'm thinking perhaps it's me who looks like the scarey one, but thank heaven I persisted because I see it!!
I buy my ibuprofen and other nic nacks- it's been a long walk!and walk home as though I've really achieved something, really accomplished something...I made it through!! But you can bet I wasn't walking the same way back!
I moved up a block to a street that looked a little more leafy, and to my surprise I was stopped by a woman asking me directions! Wow, been here two weeks and people think I look New Yorker enough to as me directions, I was flatterd, but I'd forgotten my map and of no help.
I felt very wistful for her when I passed the street she was looking for in the opposite direction to the way she was walking.
I finally made my way back up what was now newly known to me as my grotty street, to the park side to hear an exchange between two local men about holding the baby correctly, and the other responding 'you better shut yo mouth'.. at this point it was full immersion to the American or New York psyche, I have yet to find out... but I dont rember experiences quite like this in California...
For the rest of this week, I'm taking it easy....adventure and exploration can wait....