Tag Archives: United States

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 Ten Years Visa

Do you believe in dreams?

Ever since my mom moved to the States, and after watching endless reruns of FRIENDS, I had always wanted to go to the New York City. But the fear of the visa application process, of being rejected, of being blacklisted, had always put me off.

Until this year.

An opportunity came along at work to visit our US rep office, also located at the Big Apple. So I took a deep breath and plunge myself into the deep (but effective) bureaucracy of the United States General Consulate.

It wasn’t smooth flowing unlike the majority of people. After rounds of preparing the necessary documents for the application, I waited for some time at the embassy for the biometric printing and interview… only to be told that they needed more time to review my application. The yellow letter they gave me was ominous looking enough… it listed a multitude of (implied) reasons on why my visa might not be approved.

That, plus a warning that travel arrangement should not be confirmed at that time. By then it was too late; I had already bought my plane tickets.

So I prayed. And waited. For that faithful phone call. And that package delivery.

The whole process made me anxious beyond belief. So much so that I even dreamed of the entire process. In my dream, my visa was approved with a ten years validity. I awoke from that dream with sweat on my forehead and my heart racing.

Don’t be silly, I told myself. You will be lucky to be granted a visa for that ten-days visit, never mind a ten year period.

It came today. My passport. With the much-prized visa.

The One With The Ten Years Visa

Yes, you saw that right. It was a visa valid for the next ten years. For the next 120 months, I am free to go to the States anytime I want, be it for leisure or business.

I was elated beyond measure. New York City, my mom, my fantasy… here I come.