I had always visualized New York as a modern and dynamic city, with industrial skyscrapers blooming like daffodils. I would later find out that that did not hold true for where we were headed. The five-hour long car ride finally led us to the Williamsburg Bridge, where I sat up eagerly and squinted my eyes to the far side. Flushing, New York. A stunning scene greeted our family as we headed deeper into the city–but my excitement swiftly diminished as our car took a couple of turns and slowly cruised to a stop in the immeasurable traffic. Shabby, stained restaurants and shops were wedged together like sardines, and flashy advertisements demanded for my eye’s attention everywhere I gawked. The homeless and the poor mixed in with tourists and civilians, who each had a different destination. It only took me a moment to realize that we were going to be staying in New York’s Chinatown.
It took us forever to find our hotel. It wasn’t exactly the hotel that I had in mind, and was a bit on the dirty side. But it was already 6 o’clock by the time we transferred our luggage to our rooms, so we set out to find some dinner. There was probably more than a hundred restaurants in the whole of Chinatown, but despite tattered looks, their aromas—each one special and different, were tantalizing.
It wasn’t long before an exquisite restaurant came into view. It was surprisingly clean, with red lanterns hanging here and there like glowing balloons. The food was by far the best part of Chinatown. Each dish tasted distinctly unique from the others, from spicy fish stew to cold rice noodles, to spicy diced rabbit. After an enchanting dinner, everyone chatted contentedly without a worry in the world.
We took our time checking out lit-up stores, each with its own special theme and merchandise. One contained stuffed animals on shelves extending all the way to the ceiling, and another was crammed with every kind of plant imaginable. After a few hours, we reluctantly made our way back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep (despite the stuffy air and stiff beds).
As I awoke the next day, it took me a few seconds to realize where I was. Today, we were traveling with a tour group to see New York’s million-dollar sights. I quickly dressed, brushed, and ate breakfast, eager to escape from the dingy hotel into the sunlight. The tour bus came in no time, and the cool air conditioning soothed our skin as we climbed on. The tour guide was a comical guy, and cracked all sorts of jokes as he pointed out important buildings like the Wall Street Journal, the apartment in which the 9-11 terrorists had hidden in, the legendary bull statue on Broadway Avenue, and an antique catholic church.
Included in the tour was a cruise around the Statue of Liberty. The green woman was a gift from France, which is the direction it is gazing at. The day passed in a haze of sun-drenched skies, shimmering water, skyscrapers along the shoreline, and the Statue of Liberty standing clear and proud in the center.
There was so much to do and so little time, so we quickly visited a few chosen places. The wax museum was simply amazing, and was filled with important history-makers; the tour of Fu Hao mansion uncovered a complete history of life in the past, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited Egyptian artwork, Asian paintings, Greek sculptures, and modern crafts.
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