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First and unforgettable spring break alone in New Jersey County

It just so happened that I teach sociology at the university. Once I found on the site of scientific conferences one sociological, held in the town of Madison, New Jersey, in May 2017. And she decided to fly. A visa at the US Embassy issued just for participating in a scientific event. I note that for a scientist, any opportunity to travel outside the country is a vacation: new people, contacts, a new atmosphere.

I think that May is a pretty good time of the year for conferences. It was plus 15-16, it rained. I had to spend two days in trousers, a sweater with long sleeves and a light jacket. Even take an umbrella with you. But this is better than snow, because I had to go by taxi, especially in the evening.

I had to fly to New York. Departure from Kiev at 5.45 to Amsterdam, then almost 8 hours from Holland. In New York, she was at 13:00 US time, or at 20:00 Ukrainian time. Total 14 hours of summer and three hours by bus from Zhytomyr to the airport of Boryspil near Kiev. In America, it so happened that many universities are located in small towns. The Americans are used to the fact that everyone should be able to drive a car, that this is a means of transportation, not luxury, therefore they do not stipulate the features of the route. So, before the trip, I asked the organizers how to get there and where to live. In response, she heard: New Ark Airport, a Uber taxi ($ 20-30) and the Madison Hotel. Or the train from the airport. But I’m non-native, and I bought a ticket to Kennedy Airport, since little flies from Kiev to New Ark. Therefore, I decided that I would order a taxi. There are many companies that will take an order for a specific time a week before arrival. As a last resort, you can take a yellow cab right at the airport, which costs a little more.

We checked the Madison Hotel online. Hmm. There a night would cost $ 170, add another mandatory 15% of the tourism tax. To the university, either walk on foot for an hour (and I with bags), or again call a taxi. My brother advised me to look for something cheaper. And I found. It was a two-star hotel in Hanover (Wippany) American Best Value Inn 1255 State Route 10, for $ 59 a day. Whippany is the same town in New Jersey County. In general, Americans call the entire state “rural”, and all these towns like Madison are called villages. There are no footpaths, one continuous track. Lodges and shops are located at the highway. Not far from the hotel was the Ukrainian Cultural Center in the USA. They often hold exhibitions, play national instruments such as bandura, but it is impossible to get there without a taxi: there is no walking path, and the denouement on the track is such that getting lost is very simple.

The hotel was not bad, but without much innovation. As if I ended up in the 80s. At the reception, either Indians or Pakistanis – father and son. Such a country as Ukraine, they have never heard. In the lobby was a computer full of viruses, a coffee machine, a table and chairs. There was a separate room for breakfast: a Latino worked there. Breakfast included waffles, rolls, juice, and coffee. As for the room, there was a giant bed, a plasma TV, a refrigerator, an iron, hangers, a safe, hot water, towels, Internet. True, all this was far from “not the first freshness”: the carpet got worn out, the shower room was covered with limescale in some places, dust lumps could be found under the bed. But overall, for 59 bucks, you could spend the night. The staff turned out to be good-natured: they helped in calling a taxi to Madison, charged their mobile phones (sockets in the USA are not the same as in Ukraine), helped to open the number (plastic keys instead of ordinary iron keys are almost new to me, as I stay in hotels a little when traveling) . In principle, you will not find anything cheaper, but more expensive – please: both Hilton and Khayyat, but there are from $ 150 a night or more, and getting to Madison, if not 20 minutes, but 10, but it still comes out much more expensive.

I had to ride a yellow taxi from New York. Two hours on the road, and $ 255 including tips (in the States, taxi drivers charge 20% “for tea”). But she saw ordinary New York: the same brick houses, yellow school buses. Let’s just say this is not the New York about which the songs are composed. I got to Madison by taxi in 20 minutes, having paid $ 55, but was taken straight to the university.

Madison is a university city. Drew University is private. A beautiful campus with more than 50 buildings. All the same, brick. Wonderful park, alleys, fresh air. It is a pity that it was raining and could not walk around the university. Inside – renovation, wonderful paintings on the walls, a lounge with soft chairs, a fireplace, an assembly hall, an ultra-modern toilet, designed even for the disabled. Here everyone smiles and drinks coffee all the time. I was also offered coffee – with caffeine, decaffeinated, with milk. I met with scientists from around the world: from Russia, Chile, Germany, Austria, from other cities of the United States. The university has its own dining room, but the prices “bite”. From food – solid fast food: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, cola.

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