Harlem, New York

I guess it's about time I posted something about the United States of America - after all, I have been here for about a month now.

I had been to New York city once before about 8 years ago, but it was a very short visit and there was much that I wanted to see which I missed. One of these things was the neighborhood of Harlem.

Thanks to television and the stereotypes it is so apt at portraying, I thought Harlem to be a super dangerous place where I may be knifed or raped or both - and not particularly in that order.

But instead I learned that Harlem is a really hip place to be - and a great place to go out. I went there with a friend and actually the only trouble we had was when a crazy, Caucasian guy saw my camera and consequently ordered us not to take pictures of his building. Incidentally, there was nothing interesting about his building at all and so the thought hadn't even entered our minds - we were just walking past. But he was very aggressive about it.
"Are you angry?" I asked.
"No," he barked, "this is the way that I talk."

We did search for the stereotype... venturing off the beaten track for a little adventure. When we couldn't find it my friend approached some locals to ask, "Do you know where the 'hoods' are?"
"These are the 'hoods,'" was the reply. Harlem has changed a lot over the last ten years. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be."