“Why is New York City called Big Apple?” Hitan asks
“I don’t know.” Ivy replies.
“As a tour guide, you really don’t know your stuff.” Hitan jokes good-naturedly.
“I’m not a tour guide. I’m the owner of the Ivy Tutoring Center. Since most of the bilingual tour guide companies around here went bankrupt due to pandemic, your company called me to show you around. All my employees are busy with other clients and today I am the only one available to show you around The City.”
“Which city?” Hitan’s buddy Jin budges in.
“We call New York City ‘The City’, as if it is the only city in the world.” Ivy replies. She was driving her van passing the Holland Tunnel connecting New Jersey with New York with three tourists from a financial company located in Kaohsiung. The three of them have flown across the Pacific Ocean not only for business but also for the vaccine shot. Ivy helped them to rent a house in Edison, New Jersey, so that they can stay for a month to get their second shot.
None of them have ever toured America before and each has questions, comparing New Jersey to Dubai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and other places he has visited before. Ivy has never been a tour guide before and she soon realizes that tour guide is an exhausting job. The three of them have all kinds of demands. One wants to go to an outlet shopping center, another wants to visit West Point, and all of them want to go to casinos.
It gets worse after Ivy parks the car in a parking lot charging outrageous parking fees. Ivy thought they would just see several places and call it a day, but she’s quite mistaken. The three of them have already planned a hectic day to visit as many landmarks as possible. It ends up they rush from one place to another. In each place, pictures have to be taken for the purpose of posting online to show to relatives back home. Ivy is the photographer and has to make many attempts to shoot a perfect picture according to each client’s whim.
The worst comes when they reach the Charging Bull sculpture at Wall Street. Ivy doesn’t want to go, but the three would not listen to her. Ivy wants to hail a taxi or get an Uber, but the three want to walk down the street of Lower Manhattan. When they finally reach there, each wants to climb on top of the sculpture to have the picture taken.
“It is illegal.” Ivy threatens. She doesn’t know if it is legal or illegal, but she’s so tired that she feels good just to stop them from one activity.
Two of them stop but Jin is already climbing up.
“Be careful. You are almost like 55 years old.” His two companions shout at him.
“I was an athlete and I think I still have it in me. Everybody has a bull picture to show off and I need one too.” Jin says.
The bull is slippery but the head is not very high. He somehow manages to scale the head. One of his companions records the whole adventure on his cell phone. Just as Jin’s trying to turn around so that he can ride on the bull’s neck, facing the front, all of a sudden, without warning, he screams and falls.
As Ivy rushes to his side, she thinks to herself with a sigh of relief that if Jin is unwell, they will have to take a taxi and they will have to call it a day.