By Contributing Reporter, Aaron Smith
USA: New York, New York; a name so good they say it twice. NYC has had several different names over the years; in the beginning it was known as New Amsterdam when the Dutch controlled the area.
First as slaves and later as refugees, Brazilians made up some of the earliest immigrants to what was to become the city, dating back as early as the 1600s. One of the first names for the earliest settlements of New York City, was Geit Stad, which is Dutch for ‘Goat Town’. This was later mispronounced by the British as Gotham. Bob Cane, the creator of Batman, later revitalized the name with the invention of Gotham City, NYC’s fictionalized alter-ego.
But it wasn’t parallels of superheroes that had Vivi skipping down Madison Ave. It was rather her all-time idol, Carrie from Sex and the City, as she listed off locations from the series. Manolos, Prada, Channel, Marc Jacobs, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry were some of the icons Vivi pursued in all of uptown’s consignment shops – where she secured second-hand bargains at a fraction of their retail value.
Meanwhile in downtown, I sought out the world’s best hotdog and pizza slice while casing out tattoo parlors. After dragging Vivi through the tough terrain of Central America, it was her turn to take the initiative, and she was in her element in this concrete jungle. I have to admit though, after watching Vivi shop, I also got swept up in the mania – helping her rummage through the racks and buying myself an Armani jacket.
Vivi even exclaimed as I unearthed a Stella McCartney handbag from a box, “My God you are like my gay best friend, every girl’s shopping dream!” Not the thing a future husband expected to hear.
New Yorkers say one of the best things about the city is that the world comes to them. The global pinnacle of urban development, NYC is not only a shopper’s Mecca but also the world’s cultural and financial capital. From Wall Street where mirrored towers scrape the sky, to the theaters of Broadway, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim, The Natural History Museum, the bustle of SoHo, China Town, Little Italy, Greenwich Village, the lights of Times Square and the tranquility of Central Park – the list was dauntingly endlessly and dizzyingly impressive. The buzz of this city that never sleeps was nothing short of electric.
New York has had a reputation of being a dangerous place, where its inhabitants are rude and unfriendly. Today nothing could be further from the truth. We took late-night strolls through Central Park where buskers crooned and actors performed free renditions of Shakespeare and where every New Yorker would go out of their way to help with directions and offer a “you have a good day, now…”
However, they do have a rough, good-humored banter with each other. An example was our friend looking for a space to park his car in the street. He looked up to the sky, “Gawd if ya give me a space I promise I’ll pray to ya everyday.” A minute later when it appeared, he added “forget it, I just found one.”
Senhor and Senhora Smith are from different worlds; he, Aaron Smith, an Australian travel writer, still idolizes his childhood idol, Indiana Jones, and she, Viviane Silva, is a sassy Carioca ‘Sex in the City’ girl. They have decided to embark upon a trans-continental four-month honeymoon BEFORE they get married, from Bogota to New York, the Far East and Australia by bus, boat and donkey. Follow them along the Gringo Trail – it’s an epic Clash of the Titans journey to (hopefully) marital bliss at the end of the road.
For more info on Aaron’s writing check out: www.jetsetvagabond.com
To read Viviane’s blog go to: www.varaujo.wordpress.com