Sunday, June 20th

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Life before kids, Reisen

When I left the beach yesterday and arrived in Manhatten, I decided to get of the train one station before times square to find a super market. I can already tell you, that I didn’t find any super market, but I found something different and not less interesting: the Victoria’s Secret store :) And guess what, it’s their annual sale at the moment, but unfortunately I didn’t find any piece of underwear that i liked and that was also on sale.

Today I wanted to go to a Gospel Church in the morning. I already had made some research the night before and decided to try to attend a service at the famous Abyssian Gospel Church. Since I new, that it wasn’t easy to get in there, due to the mass of tourists that make the same attempt, I got up early, took a shower, had breakfast and left the hostel already at 9:15 although the service started at 11. Harlem on a sunday morning is not Harlem at all. When I left the subway station it was already occupied by at least as many tourists as natives, walking everywhere on the streets. That’s why it wasn’t difficult at all to find the Abyssian Gospel Church. When I arrived I first thought, that there was no waiting line, but the guy at the entrance asked me, if I lived in the area and when I answered „no“ he told me to walk around the corner and wait there. When I walked around that corner there was already a line along the whole block, but the end of the line was not on this side, but just around the next corner. I asked some people for how long they had been standing here and the told me, that they had already been waiting since 7am!!! I immediately decided to find an other church and found another one in the same street where I was standing. The man at the entrance was very friendly (in contrast to the guy at the AGC) and when I went in, there were only 10 or 12 tourists waiting. You could here there choir warming up in a different room behind the altar and I was very pleased to hear what I heard. But the more the clock’s hand turned towards 11, the more tourists came in.

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At 10.30 the church was already filled half with tourists, at the beginning of the service, more than 90% where people with photo cameras and „I love NY“ t-shirt (spoken figuratively). And the Spanish guy next to me just didn’t get it, that taking photographs and filming was not allowed during the service. He kept on until the man from the entrance told him to stop it for the second time. I don’t want to tell you everything about the service, just a few things. The choir was okay. Not the best one I have ever heard, but not bad. During the sermon, even some people from the native congregation fell asleep althoug the Reverend was shouting at the end. I knew that Methodists can be really conservative, but I have never been listening to a more conservatively yet secularly interpreted sermon than this one. Not even conservative but racist. The sermon was about Genesis 45:4-11. It’s the story, when Adam and Eve have just eaten of the Forbidden Tree and God asked Adam: „Where are you?“ The interpretation: „Where are you, black man?“, followed by a long list of statistics about black people in jail, black teenagers under arrest etc, followed by a sermon about the good old times when you coulnd’t go shopping on sundays etc. I was close to leaving the church and a lot of people did. But in the end I was lucky, that I stayed till the end. Not only because of the music but also because of a birthday song for a very friendly, tiny elderly lady who had been sitting right next to me. It was her 78th birthday and the congregation sang for her. The smile on her face when I wished her a happy birthday after the service compensated the whole sermon :) But still I can’t recommend you to go to this church (Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 136th St. between 7th and Lenox Ave.). Although the neo-gothic church, finished in 1925, looks really nice and the people are very friendly, the sermon was just incredible, in a negative way.

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After this deflating experience I decided to make a stop at 125th St. (subway train 2/3) to have lunch at Mana’s Soul food and salad bar again. Last time when I went there with Meryem, it was reeeeal soul (healing) food and it had the same effect today, although having lunch on my own wasn’t half the fun. But if your planning to visit New York, you definitely have to have lunch here! It’s delicious, the variety of food is wide and it’s still really cheap for NY. Food is very expensive here. First I thought, I could cook at the hostel, but mostly cooking is even more expensive than going out to have lunch or dinner. One piece of butter is about $5,50!! It’s incredible. The only thing that is cheap: chips! A „German size“ package is only 99 cents. No wonder that lots of Americans are really fat. On the other hand, NYC has a striking number of beautiful and/or slim people and people who eat healthy and do sports e.g. jogging oder yoga in Central Park. There are also lots of restaurants where you can compose your personal salad or sandwich and you can watch the staff while they prepare it freshly and they are quite affordable, too.
Apart from that I didn’t do much today except writing blog and doing some planning and research for next week. Originally I had planned to go to China Town, but the weather was so hot and humid today that I decided to save my powers for the following week. There’s loads of stuff on my list! :)

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