There are two things I need to clarify before I launch into this anecdote. Firstly, I am not a bad person I probably should have interjected into the conversation but there is something about indignant tourists that rile me. You know the type – the ones that take it as a personal insult that things aren’t closer together. You want an indignant tourist try being in Pompeii in July when it is a thousand degrees in the shade (if there was any shade) and all the guide books say that it’s only a 20 minute walk from the minibus drop to the top of Vesuvius BUT they lied and it is actually a good hour at a steady trot. Secondly, just to get your geographic bearings the discount store Century 21 is opposite the World Trade Center site.
So I am sitting in Starbucks in SoHo killing some time before I have my lunch date. Enjoying the AC and getting frustrated about not being able to get on the free wifi. Three tourists sit next to me. They are in their early 20s and are pouring over a subway map. It is obvious that they are tired, hot and getting frustrated with being in NYC (the sighing and eye rolling gave it away). Girl 1 wants to go to Century 21 but none of them know where it is. Girl 1 is adamant that she must go to Century 21 to buy discount jeans. There is no reason to be in NYC other than to go to Century 21 to buy discounted jeans, and visit the World Trade Center site. Girl 2 understands the importance of visiting Century 21 but does not see the point of going downtown to the WTC as aside from the building site there is nothing of any interest there just people in suits. Girl 1 and 2 then launch into a discussion about how they could ask someone where Century 21 is. This circular conversation of ‘I want to go to Century 21 but I don’t know where it is, and I want to go to WTC’ goes on for about 5 minutes before Boy 1 suggests they get a cab to Century 21 as the cab driver will know.
Imagine their joy when they discover the location of Century 21!