Monday, June 30, 2014

We’re Just Getting Started

Welcome to New York City
We have departed at last! I am writing this blog from my hotel room in Manhattan. The cohort met up at El Cerrito High, as expected, and departure went smoothly. My mother decided to come along for the ride to drop me off, since she didn’t want to see me leave, though as soon as I left the car, my brother and my mom drove off right away.

When I walked over to the group, Don weighed my luggage, checked for my identification card and medical information card, and gave me luggage tags. Luggage tags are incredibly useful, and after a past incident, I will always ensure that I have a luggage tag of some sort for my checked bags. Don also gave everyone ribbons to tie around their luggage to help us identify our luggage.

The cohort gathered to the side and had a conversation while we waited for Don to proceed. When he did, he passed out itineraries for everyone and explained some procedures and expectations. Essentially, he warned us not to make any mistakes.

Our bus to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) soon arrived. We loaded our luggage and left behind Don and all of our parents, though my family had already left. The Vanderbilt cohort found seats near the back of the bus, and we chatted throughout the bus ride. Our conversation helped pass the time, and we got to bond.

When we arrived at SFO, we checked in our bags and proceeded through security. The ladies of the group were allowed in the priority lane, while Mr. Mannix and I had to go through the much longer regular line. We grabbed breakfast before we boarded our plane, which turned out to be an uneventful direct flight to the JFK airport in New York City.

After we landed and grabbed our luggage (thankfully, there was no hassle), we ran into trouble with our transportation out of the airport. Our driver had an accident, so we found a shuttle to Hotel Beacon. After we arrived, we checked into our rooms, and Mr. Mannix gave us much needed time to unwind before we headed out for dinner.

We walked down Broadway and found an Italian restaurant named Serafina. It seemed like the type of place to target tourists, judging by the prices. I ordered a steak, which came with fries, and I enjoyed my meal. I didn’t have to pay, but it still hurts me to think of the prices.
We need lots of photos for our blogs!
After dinner, we spent some time walking around. We went to the Central Park, which is absolutely massive! I find it peculiar how it has roads running through it. I feel that cars cutting through a park undermine the serenity of the Central Park. We did some sightseeing: we went to the Lake to observe for a little bit and saw some fireflies, we saw a large water fountain, and we walked around a concert. The idea of so much activity and human life in a park bothers me slightly, because I think of a deserted place when I imagine a park.
Walkin' around New York City
We walked back to the hotel from the park, and we saw the liveliness of the Big Apple at night! The size of the skyscrapers is quite awe-inspiring, though this comes from someone who is still amazed by the smaller skyscrapers of Oakland.

After we arrived at the hotel, we parted ways and returned to our rooms. I have my own room, which is actually rather nice, though I won’t be staying here for too long. I tried to get on the internet when I came back, though I ran into an error: there were too many people on the Wi-Fi! I looked around the room for an Ethernet outlet, hoping that it would work instead, but there were none, so I was without internet for a bit. I still got my blog complete though.

Although today was a long day, we still have quite a bit ahead of us. We haven’t actually seen any colleges yet, nor have we met with anyone important to the objective of this trip. Tomorrow is when the fun begins! After all, we’re just getting started.

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