Hi everyone! As I’m lying in this, possibly bigger than a king size bed (everything in America is super sized), and getting the most out of my night in because I haven’t had one of these since I arrived in the States. I’m currently in Washington DC and writing this post just makes me miss New York City even more because it’s more than just the city that never sleeps but it’s full of life and possibly the most vibrant city that I’ve visited. Considering that it’s fall now and the cold does really get in the way of things (the temperature varies between 4 to 17 degrees Celsius), people just go on doing their thing like it’s summer here! While everything is still fresh in my mind, I should lay down the 10 signs you’re in the Big Apple and not SA anymore.
1. When crossing the road, you look LEFT then RIGHT (not right then left)
I know this sounds like the most obvious thing but trust me, crossing the road can be tricky especially when in SA we were taught from a very young age that if and when we cross the road, the sequence is: RIGHT then LEFT. I made sure that I drilled that into my head when I came to visit, otherwise just follow the robot, I mean, street lights to indicate when you should cross.
2. People actually walk faster than 5km per hour
Don’t be surprised when you’re walking a good 6km per hour and people are still shuffling behind you shouting “move!” or “excuse me!” every few minutes. I know that typically in SA, there’s generally no sense of urgency to do anything or get anywhere and I’m probably exaggerating or generalising a little bit but you know what I mean. 🙂 Whether you walk on the right side or the left side, there will always be someone who needs to get past from behind you, don’t feel offended if the people seem a little rough, it’s just part of the big city life.
3. They sell pizza by the slice and it’s $4
We are so spoilt when it comes to prices of food in SA and you really appreciate that when you come to a place like NYC because food is very expensive especially when you’re earning South African Rands. That said, there are tons of food here, not just quantity but the variety is insane! Vietanese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, American fast food, BBQ, Italian, Peruvian, Greek, Indian, Turkish… you name it and they have it. The only problem you’re faced with is not having enough stomach to try it all.
4. You have to pay tip for everything and it starts at 15%
Remember how that one time you thought it was ok to tip the waitress less than 10% in SA or you complained about tipping 10%? The average here in NYC is 20% but you can get away with 15%, depending on where you are. You’re also required to tip the taxi driver, the concierge at your hotel if you ask them to make a booking for you, the bell boy for helping your luggage, the tour guide … pretty much everyone that offers some form of service to you. Nothing comes for free here so happy tipping!
5. People don’t look at you funny for living in your running shoes
New York City is probably one of the most pedestrian friendly cities I’ve visited and with that comes with tons of walking. It’s literally a workout on its own because of the amount of walking you do on a daily basis. It’s super convenient too because of the 24 hour underground metro service that runs across the whole city. Tons of people wear running shoes around the city, running shoes has become a fashion item on its own. Don’t even bother bringing pumps and heels unless you think you can walk about 10km in them a day.
6. Whether you’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic or alien, you’ll fit in
New York is possibly the most diverse and integrated city I have visited and no matter who you are, what language you speak, where you are born, you will fit in. Very little emphasis is put on race in such a big city and it’s the most beautiful thing.
7. You can monetize just about anything
Remember how you thought M&M’s were just candy coated chocolates? Well you’re wrong. They are celebrities and have their own 3 story merchandise store in Times Square. Seriously.
8. Dogs are truly a man’s best friends
Here we are thinking that SA is a dog friendly country, sure we have the luxury of space which allows us to keep pets in massive gardens but New York is possibly the most dog-friendly city with parks just about everywhere and dog owners walking their dogs on the streets on a daily basis. There are also doggy play grounds open to the public to allow just about anyone to bring their furry companions to socialize with their own kind. How sweet!
9. There are people walking around at 2am and they’re not dodgy
That person walking around on the streets in the early hours of the morning is most likely you. There are tons of places that are open 24 hours, the subway runs 24 hours and you will never feel alone out on the streets in the early hours of the morning. Dreams do come true.
10. Starbucks is in every corner
Forget Vida, have you tried the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Startbucks??
Hope you enjoyed the post and look out for the next New York diaries post with pictures of my trip! Happy traveling!