It was raining when Itai's plane touched down in the John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York. The rain continued pounding down as he made his way through customs and baggage claim, and by the time he was sitting in one of the city's famous yellow cabs, he was drenched. The ride to Manhattan cost more than he had expected, and unlike in Israel, he couldn't haggle the taxi driver down to a more reasonable price. The only positive, as far as the tourist was concerned, was that the rain had stopped.
His first step was to check into the hotel he'd already made a reservation in, and after a quick stop at a money changer, Itai Benari headed to the first coffee shop he noticed, which happened to be a Starbucks. He'd heard of it before, from friends who had visited America before, but had never been in one before. He didn't have high expectations. From what he'd heard, Starbucks wasn't exactly the cream of the crop when to came to American coffee shops.
Entering the store, he squinted up at the menu. He was fluent in spoken English, but reading it was another ball game altogether, and he wasn't sure if it was better to ask for help or just order a plain coffee and pastry. Eyes still focused upward, he joined the line, unsure of what he'd do when his turn came.