Saturday, July 14, 2007

Buffalo, New York

On 3rd May 2007:
Buffalo, the second largest city in New York, can be reached from Toronto by taking the CAN$5 bus to Niagara Falls, Ontario, take a walk over the Rainbow Bridge for CAN$0.50 while enjoying the beautiful Niagara Falls into the United States custom. After clearing the customs, take the NFTA bus to downtown Buffalo, either buying a day pass for US$3.50 on weekdays or USD$6 for the weekends or US$1.80 for a single trip. Total time took about 2 to 2.5 hours as opposed to 1.5 hours on a Greyhound bus which cost above CAN$30. It will be an exciting adventure for travelers to venture into taking local transport in unfamiliar grounds.

The bus drivers in the Niagara Falls-Buffalo region are mostly helpful and friendly, so encountering local transportation problems, is not exactly a problem. Maybe it is the accent, maybe it is in a foreign land, the bus drivers are patient, some of them greet and thank their customers, and they have to announce the bus stop's name before the bus arrives.

Some reasons to visit the Niagara Falls-Buffalo region, is mainly for the Niagara Falls National Park, maybe some historical sites in Buffalo, but it is also a good place for cheaper shopping away from Canada. One shopping centre is the Walden Galleria where a bus can be taken from downtown Buffalo. Walden Galleria is quite a modern shopping center although it may be considered to be relatively quiet.

Along the 30minute journey, from the city centre, the shabby sites of a town of United States can be seen. Other than the City Hall area, which has some skyscrapers and modern buildings and structures, most of Buffalo contains rundown houses and buildings with vandalism all over. Most houses do not have gates or fences around them and there will be some rubbish along the streets and land. From observations, 80% of the population are American Blacks, and probably 40% are overweight and 20% are at quite a dangerous level. Being a minority, one might experience some curious looks or a feeling of insecurity, perhaps due to stereotyping. However, such stereotyping or insecurity is not really quite justified, at least in Buffalo.

One real life experience:
A man board the bus but he did not have small change to pay for the bus ride. He had a five dollar bill and was looking for someone to exchange for one dollar bills. One old lady did not have enough small change for a five dollar bill, but she was kind enough to offer the man the small change that she had. It is true, offer, meaning that she gave for free. But someone else on the bus had enough small change to exchange with the man. So the man returned the money back to lady because he was now able to pay the bus ride himself. Kind and generous? Maybe it is part of their way of life in that part of the world.

Another real life encounter:
A blind lady was taking the bus but somehow lost her direction. So she was confused, but people sitting around her was asking where was she going. But this blind lady had just missed her stop. Not knowing what to do, the people around her were trying to tell her that she had to walk back to the bus stop and the bus driver stopped the bus. One lady was trying to sling the blind lady's handbag around her but did it clumsily and she said, "I am sorry, baby, I'm just trying to help." The blind lady, as she was getting up from her seat, dropped some coins, but the helpful lady took the change and returned to the blind lady by putting in her coat pocket. As the blind lady was heading towards the front of the bus to alight, she was helped by some of the other passengers while they wished her well on her journey. The bus driver came out of his seat and escorted the blind lady down the bus to orientate the correct directions for her. All these took quite sometime, but the passengers were mostly a patient lot. As the bus continued its journey, heads were turned; a sign of concern for the blind lady. Buffalo may not be the most beautiful of places, but the people probably are.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! That's really nice of the Buffalo people.

Such helpfulness is definately a rare sight in one of the South East Asian country. I heard that they would pretend to be asleep to avoid helping and giving up their seats to others who need them more.

Perhaps you might want to talk about the hospitality of the Japanese as well, since I can see that you went to Japan as well. Do they help the blind as well? Do they offer to help when you are lost?

15/7/07 02:45  
Anonymous missanon said...

Mr anon, I heard that this country survives on pragmatism. It has infiltrated into the minds of many people there, so it is probably part of their culture.

15/7/07 18:31  

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