We have arrived in the Big Apple. The taxi ride from Pennsylvania Station to our hotel on West 54th Street takes twenty minutes.
The hotel room on the 8th floor is small. If we had had three suitcases, we would have had a problem. The bed is big, very soft. I look out through the window, looking down at the crossing of West 54th Street and Broadway. We are in the middle of Manhattan. It has been some time since the hotel window was cleaned. It is dirtier than my windows back home.
It is a day of walking. The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps. Central Park. United Nations on 1st Avenue. Times Square. Lots of yellow taxis. Yes, here they are still yellow. Police cars with sirens. We go to Rockefeller Plaza, take the lift to the top. The Top of the Rock. It is very windy up here. The view is magnificent. The whole of Manhattan, yes the whole of New York, is below our feet.
In the early afternoon, we have walked more than 10 kilometers. We make it back to the hotel, resting our legs on the soft bed before it is time to change. The dress code is smart casual. The car we have ordered through the hotel is there on time. The elderly driver speaks to us in Spanish. We realize that his English is very limited. He does not know the address we are going to. Pier 9 in Brooklyn. He is trying to set his gps in the phone. Then we realize that he does not know how to do it. We have to help him. Then his phone goes flat. The battery is dead.
There is a knock on the car window. Thanks God, it is Jeffrey from our hotel. Jeffrey through whom we booked the car. “Are you still here?” he says. Twenty minutes have passed since we entered the car. He turns to the driver. “These people are boarding a yacht”, he says. “They must be there on time”. It is obvious that the driver is lost. “I will waive down a yellow cab for you”, says Jeffrey. We change cars.
The cab driver is from Algeria. An immigrant like most people in New York. He has been driving a taxi eleven years. He knows his job. He knows that we are in a hurry. One hour later, we have reached Pier 9 at Brooklyn. The Atlantis is still there. Our friends and hosts are waiting at the pier, greeting us and a few others who are also late. The yacht can depart. The party can start….