One of those great innovations is Google Maps.
Like thousands (millions?) of users around the world, I often use Google Maps to plot imaginary journeys, search for exact locations in far flung cities, and print maps of unfamiliar neighbourhoods.
I was thinking about this today, and remembering my first visit to
The flight from London was uneventful, long (but nowhere near as long as the 24 hours it took me to reach London from Adelaide), and bearable thanks to some classic movies (All The Presidents Men) on the in-flight movie channel.
Getting through US Customs and Border Protection was no problem, except that it took so long – close to an hour. This was due to the new heightened security measures then – and still – in place for foreigners like myself, where each index finger was scanned and a photograph of my face taken and added to what is no doubt a huge Customs and Border Patrol database.
By the time I got through Customs and to the baggage carousel to pick my luggage up, it was sitting on the floor with a bunch of others that had simply been off-loaded by (presumably) baggage handlers, and left there for anyone to pick up and walk away with. At least it hadn’t been destroyed in a controlled explosion by paranoid, over zealous security staff!
If getting through Customs seemed like a big pain, it was just a taster for the waiting that had to be endured as I lined up for a taxi outside in the late afternoon cold. That took another half hour before I could finally get a cab to the Greenpoint YMCA. I had to wait, not because there were no taxis, but because the queue was so long. As I patiently waited in line, I couldn’t help wondering if long queues where going to be a defining factor of my
Having scored myself a Yellow Cab, I told the driver where I wanted to go, and he seemed to be making good progress getting there by the quickest, most direct route – until he got lost in a warren of narrow, traffic laden streets close to my destination.
The driver knew the general location of Greenpoint, the
However, all was not lost. Thanks to Google, I had printed out a map of the area surrounding the YMCA. This map had just enough information on it for me to help the driver find the building. Once we were on
I thought it quite ironic that having just arrived in
The lesson here is to make use of these simple, cheap and incredibly useful online resources, whether provided by Google or other online mapping sites, and there are other mapping sites. They can save you a lot of time, stress, and money, and that can’t be a bad thing now, can it?