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We arrived at the harbour of Long Island on Sunday morning 10 o'clock. The Statue of Liberty, which is amazingly large and almost like a tower, was admired. And what a swarm of boats and ships. And the houses: twenty to thirty floors up. Well man, what an experience. The third class passengers were not allowed to leave before Monday morning but we were released at 2 p.m. Each looked for his own luggage which was briefly checked. We didn't do too bad even though we brought more cigars than was permitted.
An old man from California, who had been to Zwolle, was less fortunate. He had far too many cigars and was fined for 10 dollars. The old gentleman got the box with cigars and smashed it to the ground in such a way that cigars were flying all over the place. The boys immediately grabbed them since they were standing right next to it.

Escorted by a steward we went to a hotel where our luggage was also dropped. Our tickets were exchanged to railway tickets (in Rotterdam we had purchased tickets right to Holland, Michigan). In the evening we were taken to the night-train. Most of the time these are express trains. One can get all sorts of things in those trains but we were comfortable with what we brought along ourselves. The wagons are all the same, no first, second or third class. All seats are upholstered the same and you can turn the back around. That way one can always ride forward but also opposite of each other.
We didn't sleep much that night because it was a bit winterish, all snow and ice. We had not count on that because when we left home Rienk de Haan was allready planting potatoes here. At sunrise, we saw a lot of new things again. My, what a different world compared to our standards: rough woods, water and swamps, then a tunnel and vast fields where nobody lived and then a big city. We only stopped three times that night, in Albany, Syracuse and Rochester. Later, in Buffalo we had to wait and the next morning at 10 o'clock we were at the Niagara. The train stopped for about ten minutes on a huge bridge allowing us to take a look at the falls from a distance. In between a Yankee Doodle showed up who started talking all kind of languages but of course he was not familiar with ours. However, we had some sort of travelling guide given to us by the travel agency and with a pencil and paper he made us understand what he wanted: have a closer look at the Niagara. Skipping a train would cost us half a dollar each. When the train stopped he beckoned a buggy driver and sure enough, there were the three foreigners on their way. Two black horses pulling a big sledge because there was nothing but snow, snow and snow all over. We drove through the city of Niagara and crossed the huge suspension bridge at the Canadian side. He called a photographer who had a nice view at the falls. That photographer wanted us to go up but Jasper didn't like that. He said: "For all we know he can slam the door behind our rear and than what?". The man did not understand this at all. He started speaking all kind of languages, except for Dutch of course, and let us quickly hrough the back-door. The waterfall was frozen at the time. Even though water was falling down, the foam was frozen and ice-floes, amazingly big, dropped down. Not only the foam was frozen but so was the circle section. Those huge halve circles, almost as high up as the upper side where the water falls down, one can walk up to and have your picture taken. We did not do that because we were scared to death that the whole bit would collapse. We had seen enough and had us taken back to the railway station. We had to wait a long time before the train arrived.

And on our way we were again, via Canada's province of Ontario to Detroit where we were supposed to be transferred in the evening. A couple of passenger trains of more than ten wagons long were placed on a ferry just like that and it took us across the lake in about three quarters of an hour. At the other side locomotive engines were standing by and finally we had touched Michigan soil. The ferry was a paddle-boat and was not towed by a tug-boat.
Next morning at 9 o'clock we arrived in Grand Rapids at a station that was way out of town. We were supposed to wait till 1 p.m. for a train coming from the north that would take us to Holland. We were not amused by this enforced delay. While we were sitting there, discussing our situation a gentleman entered the waiting-room, looked at us shortly and then said: "You are Frisians, so I hear". "Yes, and so are you, right?" we responded. "Yes, I am from Hallum". We introduced ourselves and told him to whom we were going. "Oh, I know him very well". He used to be a hand on a tow-boat and now he was an agent for an American newspaper. His name was Jan Schaafsma and he was married to a daughter of Sjoerd de Groot, a cousin of my mother. The same person Sjouke de Zee wrote about when he stayed at their home in Grand Rapids. At the time he was involved with it Frysk Selskip there. Sjoerd de Groot had a chicory factory but it was said that he drank too much whiskey. He told us "You must wait such a long time that it will be better to take the streetcar to Central Station. That way you can be in Holland between 12 a.m. and 1 p.m." He accompanied us to the streetcar and informed the conductor of our destination. Right in the middle of the city we had to switch to another streetcar that took us to Central Station. Once there we met fellow-countrymen who were also travelling to Holland and knew where old Dirk Miedema was living. We figured he would be waiting for us at the station but he wasn't. We were pointed to the direction of his house but the door was locked. Then Ibele, from Frans Valentijns and Sytsche Visbeek, his wife, came along and called: "Come on over". The old lady was out for a visit and the old man, who had been posting at the station for the past three days, was in town for a shave. The old man's daughters invited us to the house and so we did. Not long after that the old man himself arrived. "Well, where did you wanna go?" he said. "Anyway, here you are. You must be one of Marten's, I can see that". Then eating, telling our stories and asking, asking hundreds of questions.

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