Note: Due to lack of time during my travels, I never finished my blog/posts before getting home. I’ll finish this series up and then post a conclusion + guide, so that people can enjoy the whole thing.
Despite being up quite late the night before I decided to wake up early to go see the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade with some Couchsurfers. It took me a while to find them, since they had arrived earlier, but I finally met up with them. So the Thanksgiving parade is basically a bunch of big ass balloons that are paraded through the streets of NYC. There where some celebrities on the balloons, but the only ones I could recognize where Jimmy Fallon, Fall Out Boy and the family from Duck Dynasty (reality TV-show here in America).
Almost Getting Scammed in Central Park
Since I was quite close to Central Park I decided to go there to check it out. While walking around I saw a big group of people. I went closer and got dragged into this street performance. There were 3 guys that had just been doing some acrobatics that dragged me and some other people to volunteer for their next trick, their grande finale. Before that, however, they would go around in the crowd, trying to get money from them so that not everyone would leave after the trick. So far all good. But it dragged on for quite a while, and people were starting to get tired of waiting. It was when they started to take the volunteers one by one in front of the whole crowd (50+ people) and asking us to donate, that I started feeling uncomfortable. I felt that they were emotionally extorting people for their money, since they were making fun of people who wouldn’t donate. I didn’t want to participate anymore once I had this feeling and told them that I didn’t want to be part of the whole thing. I and a couple of others that didn’t want to play along got removed from the line. This was also a little hilarious since the grande finale was to jump over us all, so it just became easier for them the more people who joined. Personally I didn’t like what they were doing and felt that they were ripping of tourists.
After the whole incident I asked one man who I saw in the audience about his opinion of it all. He had a quite different view. According to him, he wish he’d had more money on him, because he would have given them all he had. He thought they were very skillful street-performers and didn’t seem to mind at all what else they were doing. Quite interesting, but this man seemed to have seen something that I didn’t see, maybe from another perspective.
The Polish Girls
I had earlier in the week been in contact with some Polish girls that also where couchsurfing in NYC. We met up for some coffee close to the park. They were all working as tours leader in Europe for rich customers from all over the world. The salary was quite normal, but what really gave them money to travel were the tips that they got from the customers. They were on a great road-trip through North America and stayed with many of their old customers. We agreed to meet the next day and then shared the same way home and walked through the locally hated Times Square before I went to my host to prepare myself for my next couchsurfing event, a Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving in Brooklyn
The people that had come to the Thankgiving dinner were from many different countries (China, Ireland, France, Catalonia, Germany, Caribean islands). The dinner had a local New York touch in the sense that it was Vegetarian. I can’t remember anymore all the dishes, but it was quite special. We had a nice cultural exchange and a good time. Since I had a curfew with my Norwegian I couldn’t stay the whole night. But all in all it was another nice couchsurfing experience.