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blue pin: visited; yellow pin: transit;

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 16: Washington DC (USA) - Tokyo (Japan) - Singapore

Holiday had ended, and we were going back home. I was kinda like the feeling, too many holidays already. :P It will be quite sometime before I plan for another trip.

Dulles Airport
We arrived there early, checked in our bags and straight away went to the lounge. We had some sushi and Nissin cup noodle for breakfast. I didn't know why the Nissin cup noodle tasted so good, maybe because it's from Japan?

ANA lounge

Hey manufacturer, make up your mind.. "naturally and artificially flavored" so which one it is?

Our airplane from DC - Narita

We were lucky, the economy class was so empty and the business was full! Hahaha.. each of us had the row of seats to ourselves.

Narita ANA Lounge
It was similar to the one we went few weeks ago but it was indeed a different one.

The flight from Narita to Singapore was also empty, those who were paying business class ticket would be pissed off. :P

I am so glad that we made it, everything is running so smoothly except for the not so good weather in some of the places but that's nothing we can do about it. My few hundred hours staring at the computer researching for this trip is paid off handsomely. It is the most difficult trip to plan since public transport is not so convenient, but with detail planning, who needs self-drive? :P

Fridge magnets for this trip

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 15: New York City - Philadelphia - Washington DC

We took another Megabus from NYC to Philadelphia, the fare was only USD 3.50 for a three hour journey. Like the one we took from Boston to NYC, this bus was excellent too.

Philadelphia (or Philly in short)
Everybody told me there is nothing much to see in Philadelphia, so we just transit for a few hours before continuing our journey to Washington DC. On the contrary, we enjoyed Philadelphia very much that six hours did not seem enough.

Subway (SEPTA)
Much cleaner and brighter than NYC subway.

Betsy Ross
She is the flagmaker of the first American flag. The flag might have been made in this house.

Betsy Ross House

The first American flag with 13 stars that represent 13 states at that time.

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

City Hall

Philadelphia was not as small as I thought, I'm impressed!!

John F. Kennedy Plaza / Love Park

The famous Pennsylvania Railroad
It is not a coincidence that there are so many Penn stations.

Philly cheese steak

That's my lunch. Yummy!

Independence Hall
We had a tour in Independence Hall and Supreme Court. Quite boring and confused after awhile since we didn't know anything about their history hehehe..., but it was the only way to go in and see how it was like.

Compare the painting with the real Independence Hall.

The room where representatives of the 13 states signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The stationery

First US Supreme Court

Liberty Bell

The cracked bell

Chinese Abraham Lincoln

Washington Square

The fallen soldiers of Washington's army are buried here.


Road name in English and Chinese characters.

Dim Sum Garden
This restaurant is just a few meters away from the Chinatown bus office. Many newspaper reviews were pasted at the entrance, so we gave it a try and ordered their xiao long bao. The bao was bigger than those I had in Singapore or Taipei and contained so much soup. It was really good!

The condiments

USD 6 for eight baos.

Chinatown bus condition was in par with Greyhound, but the young driver was crazy. I didn't know whether he was speeding or not but it was really really fast. I was quite worried actually. Luckily we didn't join the Chinatown tour, if not I would be worried sick for the whole trip.

We arrived safely at DC Chinatown and went for dinner before going to our hotel.

Ornate Chinatown gate

Tai Shan Restaurant
We went in because of the many awards at the entrance. But this is the worst restaurant ever, we ordered a wonton noodle soup and roast duck noodle soup. Both are very salty, so we asked the waitress to add more water. It still blah, we had a few bites and left. We checked again the awards when we left that place. They were given more than 10 years ago!! So moral of the story, don't just see the awards, check the year too. And we also realised, we were the only Chinese there, so don't ever come to a Chinese restaurant without any Chinese customers.

Look alright until you tried it.

Hyatt Arlington
Love this room, very very cosy.

iPod dock

Since we didn't eat much during dinner, we ordered a room service. The pizza was great but there were too many service charges. The charges came up to be as much as what the pizza cost. :P

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 14: New York City

Cathedral of St John the Divine

American Museum of Natural History
The museum where the movie Night at the Museum was shot.

This is the T-Rex that appeared in the movie.

Central Park
The oasis of New York City

Boating is very popular here.

Strawberry Fields
A section in the park that is a tribute to John Lennon. Not as the name suggested, there is no strawberry here.. :D

The trishaw man told the girls, "Are you kidding me? Three of you for the price of one?" :P

Ray's Pizza at 50th street
Not a glamorous place at all, but frequented by many movie stars for its pizza.

John Travolta and Keanu Reeves in pictures.

So plain but still so good

Buffalo wings, marinated with very spicy sauce that tasted like Tabasco. Not my favourite.

Fifth Avenue

NYC other names - Big Apple

Disney Store

Louis Vuitton

Cute advertisement on Volkswagen

Many people were crowded in front of Abercrombie and Fitch so I went there to take a look. A bare chested male model in jeans stood in front of the store, accompanied by a girl carrying a polaroid camera. The guy is very good looking with his mixed blood look, eww.... I regretted that I didn't take his picture. :P

Inside the store, the lightings was very dim and the music blaring like a disco club rather than a clothing store. As I walked around I noticed all the male store assistants were quite good looking too and have the physique of a model. What a good marketing ploy to attract girls to shop hehehe... It's really the best shopping experience I ever encountered. :)

Trump Tower at Fifth Avenue
Donald Trump sells everything under the sun. Count the Trumps!

Three floors of dining area

Memorabilia from his reality TV show "The Apprentice"

Trump Vodka

Trump Golf

Trump as a fashion label

And his restaurants:

I really couldn't think of any other businessman like him. :)

Rockefeller Center
I love the open air area at the Rockefeller Center. There are many outdoor sitting area around the plaza for us to take a rest or simply to admire its Greek influenced sculptures. When Christmas is approaching, the place is converted to a skating rink with a giant Christmas tree in front of the GE Building (remember Home Alone 2?) As for the interior, the ceilings were painted almost like Sistine Chapel, hehehe... The GE Building is 70-storey high and has an observatory level to view NYC skyline. The ticket to Top of the Rock (that's how they call it) was pretty expensive, so we decided to give it a miss. Maybe next time if we come back again.

GE Building at Rockefeller Center

The Atlas

Garden in front of Rockefeller Center

Times Square at night

Games on billboard

Legally Blonde in musical

M&M on top of Empire State Building

Famous road names in NYC

This was the last day of our stay, overall I enjoyed NYC as a tourist destination. Many attractions are available to entice the tourists, but if to stay here for a long period I would have to think it again carefully. It wasn't a nice place to live in if you are not seriously loaded. The majority of people who work in Manhattan are staying outside the city because of the high standard of living here. Only a fraction is staying in Manhattan. That may sounds cool, but with the traffic jam in NYC even if you own a Lamborghini will be useless. It is faster to take a subway or if you want really fast, you need a helicopter. Like what I saw Donald Trump always did on his reality TV show.

What I learned from Sex and the City episodes didn't give me a very true impression of NYC. It isn't really that cool after all.