Beautifully dressed in a starched-white kimono, my hostess bowed graciously as she bid me farewell. Surrounded by statuettes and little buddahs, it was difficult to leave my serene Japanese infused surroundings for the bustling streets of New York City, but I’d received a call from a friend. He’d had a job interview earlier that morning and we’d agreed to meet up later.
Too far away from my destination to walk, I hailed a cab and told the driver I was headed for East Broadway. The first driver said, “No.” However the next driver, a handsome, well-built middle-aged man with a breathtaking Middle Eastern accent agreed and I hopped in.
From the outside, all yellow cabs look the same. But this one was equipped in the rear with a television, complete with advertising, and a credit card machine. “Geez,” I said, “you can’t get away from commercials here even for a minute.”
He chuckled and nodded quietly. “I’m trying to get home to see my kids,” he said. “The weather is so nice.”
How admirable, I thought. The more he spoke of his children, the more endearing he became. Then suddenly, we were on Broadway two blocks from Central Park, just on the other side of FAO Schwartz. He pulled over to the curb and waited.
“Why did you stop?”
“This is Broadway.”
I knew this was Broadway. I’d been here dozens of times before. “No, I need EAST Broadway.”
“This is it. This is Broadway. One way east. The other west.”
Now things had changed. The handsome, strapping New York City cab driver no longer seemed right. Why should I know more about New York than my cab driver, I thought. Which one of us is the tourist?
“It’s in Chinatown,” I said.
He sped off, turning this way and that through the city. Does he know what he’s doing? Where is he going? Where is he taking me!
The Bronx, I thought. Then Queens. But the East Broadway I wanted was in Chinatown.
Did I finally make it to East Broadway? Yes, eventually, but at what cost.
I share this story because as your BellaOnline.com MidAtlantic USA travel expert, I want you to be prepared. It’s easy to entrust our confidence in others for directions, but when traveling, it’s a good rule of thumb to always know where you’re going. Even when taking a cab, map out a route in your head. So if you wind up in the wrong spot, you can make sure you know how to get where you want to go.