Lin Yutang once said, ‘No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.’ This quote is more than true in relation to my vacation to New York City as a resident of the plain suburb of Henderson, Nevada. Of course I have traveled down Las Vegas Boulevard and admired the many sparkling lights and imitation buildings, but nothing compares to the absolute splendor of the construction, history, and culture hidden within the walls of in each and every building in the ‘Big Apple.’ My grandma had decided that for the 16th birthdays of my cousin and me, she would take us both on a one-week vacation together to any state of our choice. We contemplated the sandy beaches of Florida, the everlasting history in Washington, and the delicious barbeque food of the South.
But, both being girls from dull, dreary towns, we chose the city that combined all of our desires into one whopping city: New York. Though the plane ride was a lengthy one, my uncontrollable excitement numbed me of any uneasiness. Once we arrived, I was overwhelmed with the unending possibilities that the city had to offer.
We did not even know where to begin! Should we eat at one of the world famous delis, go to the wax museum, take a city tour on a double-decker bus, visit the Statue of Liberty, or go street shopping? Scanning travel brochures and random flyers we had been given, we began to carefully plan what we would do each day so that we could fully capture the essence of each and every encounter. Then we began to map how we would get around. Most of our destinations were reachable by foot since our hotel was smack in the middle of Time Square, but some of the places would have to be reached by taxi or bus.
I have witnessed Los Angeles traffic and seen some pretty outrageous driving on the Las Vegas Strip, but nothing can compare to the insanity of New York taxi drivers! They straddle the lanes, run red lights, and cuss like no one I have heard before! Every taxi ride was a separate adventure of its own. Of the many sites we saw and places we visited, the most memorable parts of the trip included our tour at the top of the Empire State building, ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, and Broadway performance of ‘Mama Mia!’ I have never felt smaller in this great big world than I did when we were on the roof of the Empire State building, looking down at the thousands of miniature structures and tiny little roads weaving through the city. It was just unreal to ponder the multitude of people and places crammed into one unimaginable city.
Though I am not afraid of heights, the swaying of a 1250-foot tall building was not the most comforting feeling in the world, to say the least. The second unforgettable experience was looking up at the brilliant Statue of Liberty for the first time. I had seen fake versions scattered throughout Las Vegas and scenes with the real one many times in movies, however the statue was even greater than I had ever imagined.
Its towering beauty over our small ferry overwhelmed me with wonder and excitement. Though this was a truly unforgettable experience, by far, my favorite part of the entire vacation was having the privilege to experience a Broadway musical. I am a genuine admirer of the arts and have been in a few performances myself, but the intensity of the music, dancing, and the visuals seen in ‘Mama Mia!’ will never be surpassed by any other show.
The passion exerted by the actors and singers was so inspiring and contagious to me as a dancer, singer, and simply ambitious person. All three of the above experiences and my trip in general have opened my eyes to not only the intricate culture and history of New York, but also illustrated the innumerable opportunities the world has to offer. Living in the middle of a hot, monotonous desert, near a city that attempts to capture the spirit of tourist capitals all over the world, I never could have imagined the awe-inspiring reality of traveling to such a wondrous place.
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