14 April (Sat) - The journey to Bronx:...
The weather looked kind of okay and predictions said rains weren’t expected - at least not until evening. One website that you end up logging into often in US is weather.com; probably second most popular after google.com was weather.com!
No downpour meant great news and so Wreet and me were off on our journey; we didn’t plan much; it was just kind of a run-time decision; the weather was good and we weren’t going to stay indoors - make hay while the sun shines, who knows whether tomorrow would be the same.
We hurried to reach the bus stop in time. There was a 7:40am bus - buses weren’t exactly on time but I did like the time table system which was adopted; at least you had a rough idea of when a bus would come to your stop. But then the number of bus travellers and routes were much limited compared to what we have in India. There was a little sunlight – something that we were really looking forward to but the chilly breeze still persisted; and boy it was really chilly – I kept my hands warm hidden within my jacket’s pockets. I wondered how most people walked without a jacket and even in short skirts and pants when there was such a cool breeze. Even with my jacket on I was feeling the cold!
We were really hungry when we reached the New York bus terminal. Both of us were desperately in search of a place to eat. I was tempted to have the American style fast food for breakfast. As we walked towards the subway station we dropped into a McDonalds (supposedly one of the largest outlets but on a Saturday early morning it certainly wasn‘t doing much business).
“Do you have any chicken burgers?”
“No sir. We don’t have that now”, came back the reply.
Everything on the menu had ham (beef) except for a McMuffin burger – which was listed as having egg.
“We’ll go for McMuffin?”, Wreet asked me.
We didn’t have any choice and went for two of the same. Wreet also ordered a couple of medium Cokes which turned out to be really huge cups – that is kind of the normal size that you find here in US; people love to drink a lot of soft drinks, tea and coffee and even the smallest size is often large for us. There must’ve been nearly half a litre of fluid in the cup! Use of water seems to be a rarity.
As I munched on the burger I discovered a slice of something other than egg - a slice of something pinkish – from the pictures in the restaurant I guessed that it was a slice of bacon.
“Did you see this? It’s bacon”.
“Bacon is ham right?”
“I’m not sure”.
“Ya; it is”.
“Great - so we finally ended up eating what we tried our best to avoid”.
Now it was too late – when hunger strikes and you don’t have a choice you really can’t help it.
We studied the city map that Wreet had to locate our destination. Bronx zoo was reachable by the subway (also called the metro) and there was a subway station nearby according to the map. I finally figured out the layout of the city - there were streets and avenues. Streets are horizontal while avenues are vertical. And every street had a number - 72nd st, 73rd st., 74th st. and so on. The street numbers were in descending order as we go down south. So if I wanted to go from 4th street to 81st street I actually wanted to go upwards or uptown as they say. Downtown meant the reverse direction. Now the directions in the subway stations made more sense to me - we had to go to Bronx and so needed to catch a train which went uptown.
The subway ride was good - it was different from the regular office ride because the subway spent half the time underground and half the time above ground level. It took us around 10 minutes to reach the Bronx stop. There were signs on the traffic posts which led us to the Bronx zoo.
I had read that this was one of the biggest metropolitan parks in the world - I had been to Vandalur zoo which was also a large zoo and was curious to see what the differences between the two would be.
Entry fee was $15 but there were some other additional rides which cost extra dollars. A complete package was available at a price of $30 per adult.
Price wise definitely this was costlier than Vandalur zoo - it was less than Rs. 30 per head in Vandalur!