Hannah and Je together

Sunday, 28 October 2012

US North East Trip – Maine

Our next destination was Portland, Maine. Maine is the state which is at the north end (and also east end) of America. It borders two Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. In many ways, Maine looks like Canada, which means it is so beautiful. Even I saw many of the manhole has marked “CANADA.”

Yummy Oysters

The very first thing we did was to find a restaurant and eat. Hannah liked the restaurant, but I did not. Oysters were good and fresh. She had lobster sandwich, and I had fish and chips.

Hannah’s lobster sandwich

Hers was fine, but mine was kind of horrible. It was supposed to be ‘fish and chips,’ but it was all chips (french fries) with a few fish bites.

This cannot be a fish and chips!

Anyway, I did not like my dish at all. But we went to the Head Light (lighthouse) in Portland which has so beautiful scene. It was amazing and it could be one of the most beautiful places in America (which is common in Canada).

Head Light in Portland, Maine

We saw a sign saying Henry Longfellow came to this lighthouse often to get some inspiration for his poem. I also sat at the same rock to get the same inspiration but in vain. But the beauty of the scene around make me so feel like to write a poem and sing its beauty.

Almost everything in Maine was beautiful, from  the winding roads to the shores and beaches. If I have to choose another place to live in America, I may choose Maine, and Hannah will definitely choose New York City for sure.

One curious thing in Maine I found is that the pavement there was glittering everywhere in Maine. I don’t know why. Can anyone tell me about it?

At the last day we left Maine, we went to Walmart in Auburn, Maine to get some bottled water, and we found a wonderful deal for meal whose name was PICK3. So, we pick three items and they put them in a huge box for just $10. Hannah and I ate that until evening!

Another good thing in Maine was that they have free parking even in downtown. Well, even though Portland is the largest city in Maine, in the aspect of size and population, it is nothing but a suburban city in other states.

One unpleasant thing in Maine was that the drivers are intolerable. I actually don’t understand this. Usually metropolitan drivers like in NYC or Chicago drives crazy, but suburban drivers are usually less crazy. But the Portland drivers are so much crazy even they live in suburban size city. For example, if I don’t start moving in 0.5 second after the green signal came, they honk crazy from the back. This, I’ve never experienced in NYC nor Chicago.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

US North East Trip – State of New Jersey and New York City

New York City – one of the world’s most famous city, background of so many films and TV shows. It is the icon of United States more than the Washington D.C, the capital of the nation. Used to be the centre of the world finance and fashion. Now it became the black hole of world finance. We stayed in East Brunswick, New Jersey because we had to pay almost three times more if we stayed in NYC.

Central Park Entrance, NYC

Everything costs a lot in NYC. Even we had to pay the toll three times on the way into Manhattan Island, totalling almost $30 one way. And paid over $40 for one day parking, which means we spent around $100 for one day transportation not including gas. I read on the web that someone paid over $60 for three hour parking, well I was lucky in that way.

Central Park

Traffic was not too bad when I was driving because I went into NYC before the sun rise (around 6am) and came back around midnight.

A castle, I forgot the name

We rented bikes for the Central park for four hours. Central park is the huge park in the heart of the Manhattan island. It is very wonderful and nice park. Many of the NYC lovers love this city because of this park. Central park opened during the civil war which surprised me more than the number of visitors and the amount of its budget. This park has 38 million visitors every year and spends again 37.5 million dollar for maintenance.

So nasty water in Central Park

There are lots of ponds in the park, and all the water there was so so so nasty. That was the one of the nastiest water I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

John Lennon Memorial in Central Park

In the park, we were able to see the John Lennon Memorial which has mosaic on the floor with the word, “IMAGINE.” It was supposed to have his statue, but Yoko rejected it saying it would be too hard for her to see him everyday. She is still living in the same apartment across the park where she can look down her husband’s memorial.

John Lennon & Yoko Ohno’s Apartment

She still hangs a candle twice a year – on John’s birthday and on the day he was killed.

Where John Lennon was killed

John was killed on the street by his apartment. I was told that lots of other famous people are living in that apartment, but none of them I’ve ever heard.

Lego Store

Left is in the lego store made by lego, and the right is the actual statue. Lego store had so many wonderful crafts by lego.

Dragon by Lego

Nearby buildings by Lego

Hershey and M&M are side by side on NYC broadway

Who can resist the temptation of sweet Chocolate? Hersey and M&M are side by side on broadway. I think Hersey is better because they gave us free samples.

In NYC, we can easily find street performers. The drummer was very good, he does not even have real instruments, just the buckets and pots, and other kitchenwares. And the b-boy like young boys were good too.

After the 911, fire-fighters became another icon of NYC, and every souvenir shop has sexy fire-fighter calendar. And of course, NYPD is another famous tour attraction – even Hannah as NYPD hat from Korea! These two officers were standing there almost whole day, and just out side of the picture, people were lined up to take photo with them.

“What’s you guys’ job here?”

“Taking photo with you guys.”

Time Square is not square, rather than triangle! Then why they named it time SQUARE?

Gorgeous Church

World’s Most Romantic Building

New York Stock Exchange

NYC has so many and so much things to do and see, from quiet park to the loudest street, from the world’s most romantic building to the craziest traffic. Don’t know why that is world’s most romantic building? Watch some films, then you’ll know.

Inside the theatre

From most modern building to the age old historical place. From the street performers to the famous Broadway Musical. So we watched a show – Mary Poppins. It was so so so good. It was my first NY Boradway show, and I just realised why people say Broadway show is world’s best.

The ticket was $70 per person and we were seated on the ground floor by left of the Orchestra which we had real good view. And I was told my sister-in-law paid the same money and got the seats on third floor. Hannah knew where to buy the discounted tickets. She is very good at that – smart!

Before we bought the tickets, we went to ground zero and saw two churches.

Two neighbouring Churches but quite different

The Church on the left picture is Trinity, the world’s richest Church. It owns most of the Wall Street and other lots of land in NYC. Except New York University, it owns biggest lands in the city, and collects huge amount of rent from all the buildings.

It was rich from the beginning even before United States was made. All the rich people were attending there and they did not like being mingled with poor people. So they build a small Church three blocks away which you see on the right, the St. Paul’s Chapel. The rich told the poor, “You guys don’t have come all the way to the three blocks to Church. Just go to the Church we built for you guys, and don’t come here.”

I think God loved the small Church more. George Washington was supposed to be inaugurated in the big and beautiful Church, but right before that, the big Church caught fire and burnt. So the most important in the US history, probably one of the most important moment also in the world history was made at the small Church.

The Seat where George Washington was inaugurated as the very First President of the United States of America

God made the most important moment in the small Church. And also in 911, as some of you may know, the small Church is right next to the twin buildings, just across the small road, and still it did not get smallest damage from it. Not even one stone on the yard was touched while the Big Church got damage and still repairing as you can see on the picture up above.

Presbyterian Church in New Jersey

While we spent most time in New York city for a few days, we tried New Jersey too, and found it is very quiet place. We found the tax is lower in NJ than in NY (for hotels, NJ charges 15% and NY 18%) and also the gas was very cheap – cheapest than all surrounding states.

We went to Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, NJ. It was very active Church helping neighbours and playing important role in their community. They also said their community is just bedding place for NYC and Philadelphia which I already found.

I met an old gentleman there and he has been republican for all his life and his support is very firm and his son is congressman for democratic. Other people said the father and son never talks about politics because they experienced endless debates very many times before.

My advice for someone planning for NY Tour is, use Free Tours by Foot. For the bus tour, you may pay for the charted bus abour $15. But it was very good to me. If you meet the same guy we met, you must be satisfied.

Second advice is spend at least about four days, a week if possible.

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