Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kayaking Through Cultures

Have you ever wanted to kayak on the Hudson for free and eat some delicious Awaze Tibs? Well, my friends and I participated in a program with an O’Hare RA to go kayaking on the Hudson River at The Downtown Boathouse. After our last class on Friday, we all took the subway down to 59th St./Columbus Circle and walked a few avenues over to Pier 96.  As soon as we arrived, we were all taken aback by the beauty and peacefulness of the pier. I never would’ve thought there could be such a quite place in the middle of one of the largest (and the best) cities in the world!

A picture I took of the Hudson while waiting
We were the last of the Fordham groups to arrive at the boathouse, so we had to wait around 45 minutes to go on the water. While waiting, we walked around the dock and listened to the lady in charge barking directions in one of the sassiest, but still encouraging, manners I have ever witnessed. Our favorite was her explanation for why not to swim in the Hudson (as if she knew that's what we were all secretly plotting.) She exclaimed: “And remember, there is no swimming in the Hudson. I repeat, no swimming in the Hudson. It is highly illegal. In fact, they will fight over who gets to arrest you, either NYPD, FDNY, Homeland Security, the Coast Guard... or even me. They will all gladly take you in.” For us, that was a clear enough warning.  

 Andrew, me, and Michael on the dock
When we finished kayaking, the sun was just starting to set, so we decided to walk around the city and get something to eat before heading back up to campus. While walking, we passed by the Intrepid and all thought…Nicholas Cage was lucky that kayak lady wasn’t there when he dove off the Intrepid in National Treasure because that is "highly illegal!" 

The Intrepid at sunset while we were walking
After walking around a bit, we came across The Queen of Sheba, an Ethiopian restaurant in Midtown Manhattan and decided to give it a try. This was the first time any of us had been to a restaurant like it. For starters, we sat on little stools and ate in a woven basket without any utensils. But we all embraced the differences, looking forward to a non-traditional meal. To get tips on what/how to order and eat, we started staring at the parties around us. We quickly learned two important things. One, the meal is mostly shared between everyone, and two, don’t stare at people for too long. It’s rude. We received a swift and semi-joking “What are you looking at?!” from the girl sitting next to us. But we took that to mean she had been waiting for her Atakilt Wot for some time now and wanted to eat it in peace...very understandable. 

Once we ate all of our Awaze Tibs, Doro Wot, and Menchet Abesh Alecha, we triumphantly walked back onto the streets feeling proud of conquering all of our food and a whole new culture, and we all agreed it was a great night! The experiences further emphasized the importance of trying new things and not being afraid of something different. I would definitely recommend The Downtown Boathouse and Queen of Sheba to anyone!  

P.S. If you ever go to the boathouse, tell the kayak lady that Fordham says hi! (You’ll definitely know exactly which lady I’m talking about right away)

No comments:

Post a Comment