What a crazy surreal week.
First, we got hit with Hurricane Sandy and lost power (not to mention internet, heat and hot water) for most of last week. New York felt like Batman’s Gotham City. Downtown was pitch black after sundown – eerie, deserted and strangely soothing. Time seemed to stand still as you crossed over to the dark part of town. The only sign of civilization was the faraway guiding light from the Chrysler building.
I have never experienced New York like this. But despite the blanket of darkness, there were signs of hope: a small but mighty food cart offering warm food and a source of light in Union Square; a neighborhood bar (Percy’s) around our block providing free charging of cell phones with their own generator; people opening their homes to friends who needed a hot shower; cars co-existing peacefully despite the lack of traffic lights and traffic directors. All these little details and happenings made me love New York even more.
At one point, we fully expected our weekend trip to be cancelled. But lucky for us, we took off on Friday morning to the island of Nevis. And we went from 40 degrees to 80 degrees temperature and stepped into a parallel but reverse world to the one we had just left. It was like emerging from night to day.
Most of our friends and family have never heard of Nevis. It’s a small island (you can circle around the place in less than an hour) in the Caribbean Sea. Little known fact: Nevis was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton (you know, one of our founding fathers who died in a duel with Aaron Burr). Nevis used to be a British colony that produced and exported sugar. You can still see remnants of sugar cane mills and plantations around the island. A few of these have been turned into modern day inns.
As we watched the sun set over the horizon, a bunch of locals pulled up to the surprisingly empty beach, blasting music, dipping into the waves, catching up with family and friends, with babies in tow and dogs on leashes. I couldn’t help but feel so relaxed and at peace. It made me wonder whether it’s possible to absorb this peaceful energy and let it guide my life back in New York. After all, life is about being with those you love and experiencing its simple pleasures.