TJE 27: Leap to the East (On the Road in a Big Country… Again! Part 6)

(Start from the Introduction or read the previous post)

The first plan we thought of was to travel across the US by land, from west (California) to east (New York). The problem was the season. It was winter and none of us had experienced driving on icy roads. Plus, our schedule in New York was only advantageous to me, for I was to fly back to Korea from there. But for the others, they needed to go back to Los Angeles before flying to Manila. So that idea was scrapped, and this last part does not include a road trip. We just leaped to New York.

January 11, 2014 – I rode on a limousine for the first time, ever. When we asked the hotel staff for recommendations for our transportation to LAX, he called a limousine service. Since the price was acceptable, we took it. So there, I felt all fancy just going to the airport, LOL.

New York City! This city gets so much publicity in that it doesn’t even have to try sometimes. Backdrop of movies, subject of songs, I get the impression that a lot of people romance about the big apple. Though I don’t fancy New York like that, its iconic stature is what made me curious to see it.

I was excited as we arrived, though not in hyper mode, for by this time my body clock’s still messed up. How long does one get over jet lag anyway?

Seeing the JFK International Airport, I felt better for our very own NAIA 1. It’s not alone in its category. LOL. Okay, I love my country and I really hope NAIA’s renovation would be a hit. And JFK’s not that bad, it’s just obviously old.

We hired a van to bring us to a hotel, driven by a nice guy who hailed from Bangladesh. It didn’t take long for us to see the diversity in New York City.

We checked in at The Time Hotel, which as the name suggests, is conveniently near Time Square. It’s also just several steps from Broadway. The hotel is even in front of Ambassador Theatre, where Chicago’s playing at that time.

TJE 27 a

My relatives were 2 weeks ahead of me in the US, and by that time they had enough of American/Western food. When I mentioned there is a Korea Town (actually, just a street, Korea Way) in NYC, my aunt insisted that we go there. So I was a Korean resident, vacationing in New York, eating Korean food. What? It was no big deal anyway. Besides, food was good.

TJE 27 b

When we rode on a taxi to go back to our hotel, the driver asked if we ate at a Korean restaurant. “We smell like it, don’t we?” I asked. Ha ha! The aroma of Korean barbecue has already conquered the world.

Every one wanted to rest, but my cousin Jeff and I still had energy to stroll. So the two of us went out of the hotel again and took a walk in the nearby areas, sort of a teaser for Manhattan. It’s apparent that New York was designed for walkability. And that evening, we confirmed how convenient our hotel’s location was.

TJE 27 c

TJE 27 d
What is that hidden in the mist?

The next day, we started late (as expected with this family trip). We went to Time Square again, had lunch and later on went to Central Park – New York’s sanity keeper, and then had dinner, and then went to Time Square again for more photos. 🙂

TJE 27 e

TJE 27 f

When we passed by Time Square again after lunch, there was a group of Thais having a rally. So the police guarded Father Duffy.
When we passed by Time Square again after lunch, there was a group of Thais having a rally. So the police guarded Father Duffy.

TJE 27 h TJE 27 i TJE 27 j TJE 27 k TJE 27 l TJE 27 mThere’s one thing we got disappointed about on our second day: the food. The food at TGI Friday’s during lunch and then at Applebee’s come dinner seemed… rushed. I mentioned it because one already has expectations for chain restaurants. So, if at one branch what you expected to be good was not, then there’s something wrong, right?

January 13, 2014 – I woke up early on our third day, as I wanted to take a quick walk and see some of the famous buildings in Manhattan. It was Monday, so the streets were busy at the early hours. It felt good. At this age, I prefer living in lively and crowded cities – the ones with appeal of course. 🙂 “If only there are engineering companies here…” I thought.

TJE 27 n

TJE 27 o
Top of Chrysler Building

TJE 27 p

TJE 27 q
Inside the famous Grand Central Terminal

TJE 27 r

TJE 27 s
The Empire State
TJE 27 t
Time Square, again 🙂

Then later that day, I joined the rest of the family as we went to more places in the city, the lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. We arranged for a city tour with the same driver we hired at the airport.

TJE 27 u
Flat Iron (Fuller) Building
TJE 27 v
Lower Manhattan viewed from Brooklyn
TJE 27 w
Brooklyn Bridge
TJE 27 x
Freedom Tower, former site of the World Trade Center

TJE 27 y

And we even went to New Jersey, just because. Since we had time and it’s near enough, we went to this big outlet-shopping destination: Jersey Gardens. I didn’t plan on shopping anymore, but outlet stores in the US are just phenomenal! So I ended up buying a few things.

You may wonder, amongst all the pictures, where is the Statue of Liberty? Well, we didn’t go to Liberty Island.  Though I’ve seen her from afar.

When we went back to our hotel, we couldn’t think of any other place to dine. So we went again to the same restaurant at Korea Way. It’s worth mentioning that their haemul sundubu jjigae (seafood soft tofu stew) is fantastic!

January 14, 2014 – we all went together to JFK, as my flight was just less than an hour ahead of theirs. It was time to say goodbye again to my family, and to the big country.

The reason I went to as much places as possible on this second visit to the US, is that I do not know when I’ll come back again. Sure, there are a lot more places to explore, but I want to experience other countries next time. I may change my mind; anyway, US visa’s valid till 2022.

To the big and amazing country, whose roads I come to love, I’ll see you, when I see you.

End.

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