Passport to Poconos -The Subway Experience

After adjusting to living in the wide open spaces of the Poconos, surrounded by nature, going to the City and taking the subway is a whole new alien experience. What once was familiar in my life become strange.

I never gave subways a second thought until now, when I realize that subways have their own special subculture.

In Barcelona, my original hometown, it is modern and clean, with easy to follow routes and stops. When I first went to New York, I was surprised by the dirt and decaying stations as well as the rats running along the tracks. The signs in the New York City are confusing. If you don´t know about local and express trains you can stop on the wrong one and wind up in Harlem or the Bronx in just a few stops. Everybody jokes about the messages from the conductor. ¨ What did he say?¨. It suddenly seems like everyone in the car is hard of hearing.

In Barcelona it’s different. Last time I was riding the subway there, I heard a voice of the driver coming through the speakers, “Beware of the woman at the right front door of the first car, grip your hand bags.”  I was in shock.  I didn’t realize the driver could view cameras of the whole train and was telling us he had spotted a pickpocket.

As modern as the subway is in Barcelona, there is also an epidemic of pickpocketing that the police can´t seem to stop. I tell whoever goes, “It’s a beautiful town but keep an extra tight hold of your wallet if you want to have a good experience”

The offenders are rarely from Spain. The open borders of the European Union have made it difficult to control who is where.

In New York the subway is quite another experience. I’ve always felt safe there. It is a New York adventure. I’m fascinated how New Yorkers squeeze at rush hour to get in. And no matter how crowded, they are deep in thought or listening to their I Pods or reading their e-books. The tourists are in awe of everything and nothing seems to bother them. They always smile, chat animatedly with each other and consult their maps.

Then there are the beggars that come through looking for money or food. It makes me sad. I don’t know what to do. It’s not easy to beg and sometimes it’s about real poverty.  I carry $1 bills and help when I can. Last time I didn’t have cash but I had a snack to offer.  It was gratefully accepted.  There are also the musicians and singers who either make my journey more fun or make me want to scream for them to stop.Going back to the Poconos, I feel free again. My space and nature and fresh air!

Christina´s radio show with a Latin flavor is every Sunday morning at 8:00 AM on Pocono 96.7. Tu Voz con Christina. Email:

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