紐約自由行│紐約住宿│夜半活屍,布魯克林驚魂記(上)│Travel│New York│Midnight walking dead in Brooklyn I

一直以來,心裡抗拒的美國,在我抵達紐約的第一晚,腎上腺素就飆升200%。心裡放的歌也從Alicia Keys的紐約之光,換成貝多芬的命運交響曲。

I’ve been always not sure about the idea of visiting United States, however, my adrenaline was boosted to 200% at my first night in New York. The hit single for this trip turns from Empire State Of Mind by Alicia Keys to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

一落地就被騙?讓你不會餓肚子的街頭智慧 Don’t get in the wrong taxi

從柏林出發,挪威轉機出境遊玩,從起床梳洗起算,經過了22小時後終於抵達美國紐約甘迺迪機場,已經累到晃神。走出機場,帶著對紐約地鐵的可怕幻想與好萊塢電影的遺毒,我破例直接走向計程車,突然有一位看不出哪裡來的人種,帶著美國口音的英文問我是不是要搭計程車,就像在台北市區一樣吧,私家計程車通常比較乾淨、也比較新,溝通了一番,他說他就是開UBER的,很順地我就上車了。

走去的路上,他一邊解釋uber要停在最遠的地方,我們就這樣走過黃色計程車區,他一副熱情的街頭年輕人樣子,非常活潑地開話題,

「你是哪裡來?你的style好特別、有藝術感!你英文好好!我喜歡你,你很酷!」一路這樣熱絡到車子旁。「你坐我旁邊吧!不要坐後面。」他開朗熱情地說。覺得哪裡好像怪但又說不上來,不是可怕或危險,但又說不出是不是過度熱情的怪,扣分。但今天的雅痞藝術氣息穿著有被注意到,悅,加分。

Departed from Berlin, transited in Norway and took a walk in Oslo, finally arrived in New York JFK airport after 22 hours. I was really tired, both physically and mentally, with all the imaginary bad impression towards New York subway and the fear caused by Hollywood movies, I walked directly to taxi stand. A man walked to me before I reached a taxi, “Do you want to take a taxi?” he has american accent.

Private taxi and uber cars usually are newer and more clean, so without thinkingly, I followed him after he said he drives uber. He explained that uber cars have to park further while we were walking pass all the yellow cabs. He was very energetic and talked a lot, a very energetic talkative guy, I categorized him.

“Where are you from? You look like an artist, I like your style! Wow, you speak really good English. You are cool, I like you.” he talked all the way to his car. “Come sit in the front, come sit next to me.” very passionate also, I added one more tag to him.

A weird feeling came to me but I couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong, not feeling dangerous but not sure if it was because he being over friendly, weird, minus points; but he noticed my arty outfit, delighted, plus points.

『你車上怎麼有大麻的味道?』一開車門,這是阿姆斯特丹街上的味道。

「哇,你好酷,你連這也知道,你不是一般的亞洲人」加分。就這樣,一路好話,我樂暈暈地覺得自己好獨特,對,我就是一個經驗老道的背包客、世界的旅人 (腦中出現粉紅泡泡)。這樣熱絡的氣氛,讓我的警戒心下降不少。

晚上十點半,陌生的城市,電影裡各種警匪和外星人攻擊紐約的片段在腦中浮現,我照了一張他的臉傳給朋友,因為車號忘了看,看到住宿的地址被輸入到導航之後,才稍微放鬆一點點。

‘ Why I smell weeds in your car? ‘ a scent of Amsterdam ran to my face when I sat into the car.

‘Wow, you are so cool. You know weeds. Man, you are not a typical Asian girl, you different! ” yes, I am unique, I know, I am such a sophisticated world traveller, plus points (narcissus mode on); as the compliments accumulated, my guard went down.

10:30 p.m., I am a stranger to this city, with all the memories on cop-vaillant shooting and aliens attacking NY city in movies, I secretly took a picture of his face and sent to my friend because I forgot to check the car number plate. Only after seeing the airbnb address was pinned in the GPS, I could feel slightly relaxed.

uber沒有現場配對的功能 uber “pairing on-the-spot “? No-no!

『我不用打開uber app嗎?』因為他剛剛說沒問題,誤導我以為有功能是可以輸入driver code後現場配對,讓這趟在系統上有記錄,也可以分享乘車資訊給朋友。

筆記:美國的UBER有一些功能是台灣沒有的,但很顯然,現場配對的功能是不存在的。
Notes: uber USA and uber Taiwan have some different features. But pairing with the driver in front of you? There is no such a thing.

他說「我現在輸入app,計算多少錢、我就收多少錢,但你現在不能用app叫車,因為我們不一定會配對到啊!」說這話的時候,已經在高速公路上,呃,我現在能說不嗎?我沈默。

「然後再加上20%小費,是美國約定俗成的規矩,這裡都是這樣的。」嗯?小費我有聽說,但餐廳之外也收到20%?但又不想當小氣的亞洲人,加上有聽過餐廳小費給太少,服務生還質問客人的案例。

「剛剛你也看到app上計算就是$78 + 20%小費,$92我收你$90」沒現金?「我載你去提款機領錢」他說。

『那為什麼網路上一堆人都說$45 – 60?』我不甘心地問著。

‘ How come I don’t need to use my uber app?’ earlier he mis-led me to believe that he could make this ride via uber app, I knew uber USA has some different features than uber Taiwan, and I thought pairing with the driver in front of you is one of them. At this moment, it is obvious that there is no such a thing. So I can’t share my route information with my friend to keep me safe, neither can I make any complaint to uber if this ride goes wrong.

” Don’t worry, I text your address into the app and charge you the amount it shows, plus 20% tip. You know, it’s basic in USA. But you can’t use the app now because we can’t be sure I will be paired up with you. ” he said, while we were on the highway. I kept silent. I had no choice but staying in the car.

‘ 20% is a lot. Besides, on the internet, people say it costs $45-60 from JFK airport to Manhattan. ‘

” Oh, don’t worry, the app shows $78, and plus 20% tip, it will be $92. Too expensive? You can pay me $90. I am uber SUV so it will costs more than normal uber. ” he explained to me innocently. ” If you don’t have cash, I can take you to ATM. “

Tipping in restaurants up to 15-20% in USA, Yes, I’ve heard. But 20% at a taxi ride, never heard. I don’t want to be cheap but 20%?

筆記:飛完長班判斷力會降低,此時碰到會說話藝術的人,特別容易妥協。當然你隔天醒來,「昨天到底發生什麼事?」會在你腦中不斷echo。我想了好幾天,結論就是累了、蠢了的時候,還是倚賴可靠的科技吧。(笑)

但懊惱改變不了事實,就只好轉換心情,「哈,日後多了一個旅遊蠢事說給朋友笑笑。」

Notes: right judgement is hard to make after a long-haul flight. You compromise on things you mostly don’t if someone nailed the art of manipulation. The entire next day, you will be thinking ‘ what the hell just happened? ‘ So do use uber app when having brain fog.

But anger can’t change anything, so I said to myself I just got one more silly joke to make my friends laugh.

「因為我是uber SUV, 本來就比較貴」好了,台灣沒有uber SUV,而且這趟也沒有記錄在uber app裡,之後也無法評價或抱怨,那一秒我才知道,gut feeling那個怪異感從哪來。他沒有要謀財害命,也不是要劫財劫色,但是,對,我就是飛完長班、神智不清的肥羊(咩~),滿臉倦容、拿著招搖的銀色Rimowa大行李箱、單身女子、不太會吵架的亞洲人,然後我還在高速公路上,才問清楚這一切。

He is smart, street smart. He does drives uber but uber SUV, rarely people pick that due to it costs more. So he proactively picks his potential clients: mostly asians featured mild-tempered, those who look empty-eyed after exhausting long-haul flight, with shining expensive suitcases, women who travel alone. And he told me the truth after getting on the highway, no turning back.

父母來自印度、在紐約出生長大的Anthony,靠著辨認這些特徵,主動挑他的客人,我相信他開一晚車賺的錢,是別人的1.5-2倍。他挑出我當他的肥羊,而我對他的掌握,只有一個可能是假的英文名字。

Anthony, he said that’s his name, his parents are from India but he is born and raised in USA. With his way to pick his clients, he must make at least 1.5 – 2 times more than regular taxi drivers. He analyzed me and picked me. But the only thread I collected from him is just a fake name probably.

很街頭?很幫派?Ghetto v.s. Gang, any different?

一路上他一直說各種誇獎的話,岔開車資的話題,「你好漂亮,我可以跟你自拍一張嗎?」已經被誇到飄飄然的我,開心地比yeah跟他自拍了一張。(事後覺得怎麼可以這麼荒謬?)

他一邊開、一邊問,「那一區很ghetto,你這樣的一個女生,怎麼會住在那一區? 」回想著帶有濃濃藝術感的房間照片,那些油畫、佈滿牆面的書、素描用的古典半身雕像,覺得他不會懂,那就是布魯克林充滿藝術氣息的嬉皮區呀!但很ghetto又是什麼意思?

「ghetto就…你有聽過gang嗎?街頭跟gang又不一樣,那一區的人看起來有點危險,但其實又不是絕對那麼危險」干,你說什麼?我的心崩裂了。

During the ride, he stopped me bargaining on cab fare by tons of compliments and chats. ” You are so pretty, can I have a selfie with you? ” I was so flattered and dumb that I even did a typical Taiwanese Y hand gesture in that selfie. (It is ridiculous…)

” Why did you pick that area to stay? A girl like you shouldn’t stay in that area alone. ” I picked that airbnb because the room is very artistic, decorated with many oil paintings, a wall of books, some half-bodied statues for sketching. The romantic hippie style it is, but I didn’t expect him to understand.

” But that area is very GHETTO! ” he paused, “Don’t worry. It’s ghetto, not gang.”

“They both look dangerous but people here are more ghetto, they look like bad people in a cool way but it’s just their style.” WT… I don’t understand what he was talking and the image of my cool, arty room now broken into pieces, so did my heart…

「你一個女生怎麼會住在這一區?這裡很ghetto」他說完我還來不及反應,車燈照亮路邊,有人以活屍的姿態走過。不合身的衣服、肢體不自然、兩眼無神,怪異地走著,我瞬間背脊發涼。

” Pretty girl like you shouldn’t stay in this area alone. It is very ghetto here! ” right at this moment, the car light lit the road and someone walked pass in a scary zombie way. A man in dirty oversized suit jacket, stiff limbs, empty-eyed, walking like his soul was talken. A shiver ran down my spine.

『你是說… gang會搶劫、會攻擊,ghetto是看起來很像壞人,但是不會攻擊你,只是看起來危險?』

「對對對!你可以這麼說,但我還是不懂,你這樣的女生怎麼會住在這區」他話才剛說完,車燈照亮路邊,一位黑人啤酒肚大叔,穿著過大的舊黑西裝外套,兩眼無神、頭微仰、雙手打開,以一種僵硬活屍的形態,在漆黑的路上走著,這怪異的氛圍嚇壞我。之前生活的台北是全球前三的安全城市,而此時此刻,我人在紐約、像是要走入地獄的綿羊,「你覺得他是不是有嗑藥?」我寧可他嗑藥,也不要他剛從屍速列車上下來。

屍速列車

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「嗯,一定是high了的流浪漢。」

『怎麼會這樣…如果在電玩裡面,他就是要被射殺的活屍角色…』惡靈古堡電玩裡,殭屍的血液噴濺畫面,在我腦中像煙火一樣,砰、砰、砰,一一綻放爆開。他大笑,但我一點都不覺得好笑,然後腦中想到21年前的布魯克林校園槍殺事件,嗚嗚,我要哭了,同時台灣國罵在心裡以rap的形式,不斷迴放。

‘ You mean… “gang” will rob you and hurt you, but “ghetto” is just… looking like bad guys? ‘

“Yes, yes, you can say that. But I still don’t understand why a girl like you wants to stay here alone. ” he said. Right at this moment, the car light lit the road and someone walked pass in a scary zombie way. A man with beer belly in dirty oversized suit jacket, tilted head, stiff limbs, empty-eyed, walking like his soul was talken.

A shiver ran down my spine.

Taipei, where I live, is the 3rd safest city in the world according to the Crime Index 2017. Now I am alone in a ghetto area of Brooklyn and am like a innocent sheep walking into hell. ‘ Do you think that guy is on drugs? ‘ I just hoped he wasn’t bitten by a zombie.

” huh, yes, I think he is high.” the driver replied.

‘ You know… have you ever played any computer games like BIOHAZARD, he looks like the zombie you should shoot at. ‘ and bang, bang, bang, their weird color blood splatters like fireworks in my imagination now.

He laughed so hard but I didn’t find it funny AT ALL. The tragedy of 1997 school shooting in Brooklyn came into my mind for some reason… Omg, I am going to cry… Taiwanese national swear words now forming a rap song in my head and replaying again and again…

惡靈古堡

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正驚慌到想跟他說,直接帶我到曼哈頓島上隨便一間飯店,我已經不在乎車費和不知道會多昂貴的住宿費,此時,看到目的地巷口停了一檯紐約警察的巡邏車,整晚就是要停在那,「有警車待命,要勇敢,會沒事的」我安撫自己,給了90美金,下了計程車。

「紐約第一晚,要不要跟我去喝一杯?今天不要?那明天要嗎?後天呢?我真的很喜歡亞洲人!」處在驚弓之鳥狀態的我,又累又怕,這種黃熱病的玩笑話聽起來只有更害怕,長長的路上沒有路燈,驚恐指數再加100倍,無盡黑暗裡,唯一的亮光就是載我來的那車燈,想叫他滾又想他留下,協議之後,他等我進airbnb的屋子後再開車離開。

airbnb的主人沒有回應,我依照先前的指示,把第二道門推開,一樓有三戶人家,玄關沒有燈,三個門內的對話聲或電視聲,透過很薄的門板傳出來,我腦中跳出電影裡美國廉價的汽車旅館被破門的畫面,還是找不到燈,抱著對房間照片的信心,我拖著28公斤的行李上樓梯,迎接我的還是一片毛骨悚然的漆黑。

So frightened that I wanted to go to Manhattan and to check in a random 4 or 5-star hotel, at this point, a sense of security is priceless. But I told myself to be brave when seeing a NYPD police car with 2 officers parking at the end of the alley where the accommodation is. Paid $90 unreluctantly, I got off the car.

” Wanna go clubbing with me? I really like asian women, let me take you out for a drink? Or tomorrow? No? How about the day after tomorrow? ” at this terrible timing, all the flirty words and yellow fever joke sounds like a harassment and only made the situation worse. There was no street lights on this endless dark road, scary index times 100%. I want him to get out but the car light has to stay.

No response from the airbnb host, following the information he sent me earlier, I walked into the house and tried to switch on the lights at ground floor but in vain. Some dim light and TV noise sneaking out from the bottoms of 3 very thin doors, a movie scene of cops breaking the door at cheap motel appeared in my mind. I still couldn’t find any lights to turn on so I dragged my heavy suitcase and walked upstairs.

What awaiting me was still, darkness.

horror-creepy-night-spooky-scary-516701

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~未完待續~
~To be continued~

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