And thus I arrived at the "Newark" Penn station at 2.20 AM, to begin my hour long wait for the Philly Amtrak express. Having lived in the States for 4 years, I am not under any delusion that its a land of milk and honey everywhere. But, at the same time I wasn't quite prepared for what I saw. It was a cold winter night and the station had central heating. It was also filled with scores of homeless people (read mostly black men in ragged clothes). It was scary. Scary, that any of them could rob me for the possibilities of a few dollars. But also sad. Sad that all of them were already stereotyped in my mind's eye in less than a second. USA, is certainly the land of opportunities. But it can also be as cold as that winter night to those who fell thru' those cracks in life.
The homeless were not allowed to lie down and sleep. There were a couple of cops making sure that nobody slept. All those lonely people spend night after night standing inside the railway station to survive the winter. I am sure that some of them wudn't mind trading places with the slum mates of Andheri.
As usual there was a desi shop in there. The shopkeeper started playing Swades CD the moment he saw me. For lack of anything better to do, I hung around in the shop for sometime. And eventually bought a plum cake. As I was eating my midnight snack, a black lady stepped inside the station. I guess she was stone chilled. Soon, she started what seemed to be an erratic jog at the same place. Perhaps she was trying to beat the chill. Even more weird was her chanting. I really cudn't place the language. It seemed like some New Orleans Wicca - or ancient Swahili. LOL. It was certainly heart wrenching to watch the American poverty in action. My eyes were fighting to shut down. Thankfully the train arrived.
Once inside the train, I felt safer. Almost everyone was asleep. Looks like mass transit is popular in the East coast. Or may be there are just more poor people out there. I still couldn't afford to sleep. An hour wudn't be enough to wake up.
Philadelphia Junction! Yay. I felt proud at the way I had engineered my trip successfully thus far, despite the plane SNAFU. Now, just one more step - to get to the hotel.
I guess I have to continue the story again tomorrow. Hopefully. LOL. But, neva trust granpa. :) You never know how long its gonna take me. Today my eyelids dont yield. Arrgh..I'm getting older. Ready to walk on the sunset boulevard.
1 day ago