New York, February 12th 2015 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta’s US Journey
Twenty three hours of travel can make anyone cranky but not when you visiting the USA for the first time. Leaving Zimbabwe at 1230, landing in South Africa at 2:30PM then a 6 hour layover. I was still sane then and rearing to go, my schedule said I would leave SA at 8:30PM and land in Abu Dhabi at 645am then leave for New York at 1045 and land at 4pm. First mistake I made was think of 4pm Zimbabwean time thus I had calculated the flight from Abu Dhabi to be about 7 hours at most. I was in for a shocker when I realized I was on a 14 hour flight. It’s the worst realization ever as my body had prepared for 7 hours now I had go for an extra 7 hours!!
So I finally land at JFK and as I’m heading towards the baggage area I’m thinking to myself am I really in America? How did I get here? I follow the well illuminated signs and just as I get there I’m intercepted by Nikiya, Danai’s friend who has come to pick me up. We wait for my bag which I can’t remember what it looks like exactly except that it’s brown. Finally the bag appears and we herd out and instantly the sheer size of New York hits me in the face, we exit the airport and get into a “taxi” the kind of “taxi” I’ve never seen in the movies. It’s a 4X4, and as I should have expected but didn’t, the driver is on the left. I feel like saying “dude you in the wrong seat”. So we leave the airport and I get to see the super wide roads, ooh and the movie yellow cabs. It’s a ‘bit’ of a shift for me coming from the humble Harare to the very loud New York, we proceed to Brooklyn were I’m staying, ‘hold on where are the gangsters from Brooklyn?? Huh? I question silently. So far, however, I have spotted zero gangsters. The movies do lie at times. So we arrive at the place that I am staying and one thing that strikes me is how compact the place is, perfect use of space one might say, coming from a very spacious place one might feel slightly claustrophobic but that isn’t the case because the house is quiet homey and nice.
Following morning I wake up and there is snow outside believe me I get so excited that I start snapping photos and sending pictures to people at home and every time their reply is ‘wooow, lucky you’. I finally leave the house and the ‘woowness’ of snow instantly disappears. In the movies they make snow look so sexy and beautiful but ITS NOT, it’s just cold, really cold!!
A lot of people I have met in New York have asked me this one question ‘how different is Zimbabwe and USA?’ My answers is always the same, being in the states is overwhelming, let alone New York with its huge stores, crowded streets, big screens and the general liveliness that just shocks you. I can’t begin to state how different everything is, the people, the culture, the architecture but all I can say it is has impacted me in a good way.