Tag Archives: Holiday

The One With Europe ’11 Day 1 – The Colours Of London

At Tower Bridge

I couldn’t have asked for a more eventful first day of my holiday. Who else can do all the following within one day?

- Trawled my way to Portobello Market and discover a little known Spanish church in Notting Hill
- Ventured into a swooning bakery called the Hummingbird and bought the most delightful muffin, ever
- Consumed eight cookies, five doughnuts and four grande coffee
- Stood out like a sore thumb among the suited bankers at Canary Wharf
- Dipped into the world of said bankers by having lunch at Morgan Stanley
- Mistaken the Olympic 2012 council building as the Mayor of London’s office
- Enjoyed the best of winter in London by strolling half dressed along River Thames
- Visited Tower of London and its endless (what else?) towers after two unsuccessful attempts two years ago
- Struggled to remain awake while being serenaded with Pachelbel Canon at Covent Garden
- Gaped like an idiot at the largest Apple store in the world (three storeys, man!)
- Being all nonchalant at dinner while the gorgeous Jessica Michibata and her F1 driver boyfriend Jenson Button canoodled at the next table

And London was not even my actual planned itinerary.

Okay time to get lost in the medinas!

The One With The Farewell To The Big Apple

The Statue of Liberty, New York

And so, my ten days adventure to the United States has come to an end.

In another few hours, I will be onboard a CX flight back to Hong Kong. Back to the grind and hustle & bustle of real life, after experiencing one of of the most “real” travel experience of all my journeys.

New York has been an inspiration and a disappointment in equal measure. Can I see myself living in the city? Yes. Can I see myself integrating into the community here? Yes.

But the question would be – do I want to?

That is one I would need to ponder in the months, if not years, to come. Till then, I have a real life to build, in the city of my choice, Hong Kong.

I will be back very soon, folks. Dim sum?

The One With The Day Trip To Philadelphia

Chinatown at Philadelphia

After a short break at home post-visit to Princeton University, we made the 1.5 hour car ride down to Philadelphia! For those not in the know, Philadelphia was the birthplace of the United States government. It was the seat of the U.S. Capitol prior to its move to Washington DC. In its fourth century of existence, Philadelphia is a unique blend of modern excitement and colonial charm and history.

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The One With A Visit To Princeton University Campus

Vincentown Diner at New Jersey

So my fourth day in the States dawned bright and early, after a good night sleep. Nothing beats a good night sleep after such a exhausting start to my trip! Had a true blue American-style breakfast at a nearby diner with mummy dearest.

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The One With The Wide Expanse of New Jersey

Ah, Sunday in New York City. How nice could it be? The nice lads in my room, once again, rose early in the morning, and with them I woke up from my intoxicated slumber too. Hey, eight in the morning is really early when you only hit the bed two hours before!

So after a quick breakfast at a nearby Starbucks, I checked out from Chelsea hostel and head down to Chinatown to meet mummy dearest! It has been three years since I last saw her, so it was with great relief and exhilaration when I met again.

The Trailer Park at Edgewood Place

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The One With The Village Radicals Tour At West Village & Greenwich Village

Christopher Street at West Village

The West Village made a natural starting point for the first of my many walking tours, since I was staying at Chelsea. This was also where the fictional Becky Bloomwood (of the Shopaholic series) lived with her then boyfriend Luke Brandon, and I was eager to experience the bohemian district in all its glory.

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The One With The First Glimpse Of Times Square & Broadway

Views of Midtown New York

Despite a fairly late night the previous date, I was up at eight in the morning. Not by my own choice, but because my dorm mates were all up early, catching a football match at a nearby pub.

Football match! Nearby pub! Eight in the morning!

I am only saying.

Since I was already up, I thought I will make my way to New York Broadway to get tickets to my favorite musical – Mamma Mia!

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The One With The First Evening In Chelsea, New York

Views of Chelsea, New York

As I ascend the steps from the dismal-looking subway station to the ground of Chelsea, I could smell the icy-fresh wind and the occasional whiff of spring. I can’t believe I am here, in New York! When finally the best of Chelsea came into view, I was stunned into a broad grin that I couldn’t wipe off my face.

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The One With The Journey To New York City

Hong Kong International Airport

You know what they say about how you start a journey of a lifetime with an experience you’ll never forget? Well, mine started the night before (details of which I would rather not go into, tee hee) and as a result I was sleepy and starving as I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport. I was told that my seat will be 40D and my departure will be at Gate 4. The silly me went to Gate 40 instead, got puzzled why I was to board a plane destined for Mumbai before I realised my mistake.

And what a mistake it was! I had to walk a big round the airport to find the right gate. Good thing was that I made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, what with the warning about Easter weekend crowd and all.

The Bureaucracy of US Customs & Border Protection

The flight was uneventful as my previous other flights. Just that it was incredibly long, and I couldn’t sleep more than three hours combined over the journey of 16-hour. So I watched movies… Avatar (yay!) and Kungfu Panda made the cut. I also watched all their episodes of Friends Season 8.

I mean, how apt was that, to watch a TV series which got me dreaming about New York in the first place?

It was past one in the afternoon when I touched down at JFK Airport. The queue for immigration was incredibly long, and it was here I encountered the tedious layers of US Customs bureaucracy, which include some forms and a “special interview” at in a “special” room”.

I knew that there would be a red carpet treatment for me.

Howard Beach Subway Station

The airport itself is impressive. Consisting of seven terminals, connected by a frequent air train service, going from one terminal to another was a breeze… but not if you are looking to go to the subway (in my case, the Howard Beach station). After making some rounds on Air Train, I found the subway, at which I realised to my dismay that I was 27 stations away from my final destination!

Talk about a long train ride. On one that is not that impressive either.

The journey to Chelsea, where I would be staying for the next two days, took almost an hour. But thank god, what a different that district had made on my impression of New York!

More photos of my first day in New York here.

The One With The New York City

The One With The New York City

Twenty four hours from now, I will be high up in the air, crossing continents and seas, making my way to New York City.

New York… what is it like? It is tall skyscrappers, dizzying grid-like streets, breakfast at Tiffany’s, big yellow cabs. It is Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park. It is about the lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe.

Most of all, it is about my mother. The last time we spent time together was in 2006 when she came home for a month. My mom, the pillar of my family, has been living in the States for the past ten years.

Visiting New York has been a dream for me. It has now become a reality. For that, I am eternally grateful to the One above.

If you like, add me on Twitter or Facebook to follow my journey through the Big Apple.

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