Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

 “You could travel the world but nothing comes close to the golden coast” – Katy Perry, California Girls

We landed in LAX evening of Nov 5, 2010 past 8pm in the evening. After 2 hours more going thru immigration we reached home for a shut eye by midnight but before that we munched that Alaskan crab and lobster that my aunt and uncle prepared for us…yummy!

So what else was new in our 2nd visit? We tried again all those stuff that we did in our first vacation and to refresh your memory go to this site: https://ellehctur.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/los-angeles-california/.  We revisited downtown Hollywood and took pictures in the walk of fame. We looked for Johnny Depp’s star but we cannot find it aaaargh! We had coffee at star bucks inside the Kodak Theater where those Oscars and Emmys held. From there you can see that hill where the famous HOLLYWOOD sign was standing. We also revisited Santa Monica beach and Disneyland in Anaheim.

Spending an afternoon in Universal Studio was a blast. Our first agenda was to go for a studio tour also known as The Backlot Tour and like our first time there, Desperate Housewives was filming and we are required to keep quiet in one of the spot of the trip. The war of the world set was still there, that scene with a commercial 747 aircraft scattered into pieces in a residential area. During the Halloween season, a combination of cast members and dummies are put in place as crash victims. The instantly recognizable Psycho Bates Mansion, but here’s a little trivia from wiki: While shooting a big movie on the Universal lot back in 1999, Jim Carrey dressed up as “mother” and leapt out from behind the Psycho house, scaring everyone on the tram, including the guides. The movie in production was Man on the Moon, and when Tram operators spoke to the film crew for an explanation, they said, “There was a break during filming and he got bored”)…Blah! Why this kind of spontaneous moment never happened to me? I love Jim Carrey! The Flash Flood scene from the Big Fat Liar, The Fast & The Furious: Extreme Close-Up where those cars from the movie doing a simulation of an action sequence, Whoville Comes To Life set from the Grinch movie, Also, I need to mention this new attraction in the tour-The King Kong 360 3-D, it was awesome and it was created by Peter Jackson. The tram enters a sound stage that looks like Skull Island form the movie. The tram we are riding on was attacked by two Venatosaurus and so we are shouting only to disturb Kong, who begins to fight them. The fight continues from one side of the tram to the other, as air and water effects are blown onto audience to further the illusion. Near the end of the experience, a V-Rex gets a hold of what is supposed to be the last tram car and pulls it from the train, throwing it down a pit. But it was not really the last tram it’s just and image of it because I was sitting in the last tram. Kong defeats the V-Rex and roars in triumph. As the tram passes the Bates Motel, we can see Norman Bates noticing the audience and walks hauntingly towards us with a butcher knife. Everybody was screaming because it looks convincing that he is going to harm us  just like in the movies, actually he looked like Mr. Schuester of Glee  only creepy because he is not singing, dancing, nor rapping . For real! He was playing the part and not smiling at all!  Nyahahahaha!

Apart from the theme parks we also made a trip to that famous zip code of Hollywood – 90210. Since we are discussing, I once wished to live there and be neighbors with the paternal twins Brandon and Brenda, and rub elbows with Dillon and Kelly and finished high school at Beverly High- good thing day dreaming was free otherwise that will really burnt a hole in my pocket. Anyways, this part of the hood got wicked cribs! It was sooooo fabulous!

Just outside of Beverly Hills was the Million of Milkshakes, if you watched a lot of E! You will get me. It’s Los Angeles funkiest milkshake bar located in West Hollywood. It is the latest celebrity bandwagon. This store allows you to customized you own overpriced milkshakes. They have ‘Celebrity Milkshake’, meaning milkshake customized by a celebrity it has become a celebrity hotspot with a long wait-list of actors, musicians, and athletes requesting to make their own signature shakes and I tasted Kim Kardahsian’s milkshake flavor yummy!

Coming back from San Francisco, it was so traffic and you guessed it we were late! We came in half time. But no big fuss as we are the tardy bunch! We watched the NBA at the Staples Center- LA Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns. I’m not much of a basketball fan but this was NBA c’mon! It was nice to indulge once in a while for something that is so popular and big. The tardy bunch was rooting for Lakers to win but as always whomever we root for always loose. Now we are convinced… We are the jinx! How come watching them live they are not actually moving that fast but on the TV screen they are burning rubber, why is that? The crowd was so alive and most of them are wearing the Lakers uniform was it because they are that fanatic or they just have money to burn? It must be both!  And those cheerleaders… my oh my!  Why are those cheerleaders not cheering anymore they more like dancing now and in sexy moves? Must be trend! I also like watching the giant screen in the middle, during intermission; it will highlight an audience making fun of themselves while the crowd cheers! I also liked that the screen showed Will Farrell and Steve Carell in the crowd watching the same game.

I met my college friend here (thank you face book!) that I haven’t seen in a long time. She drove all the way from OC (Orange County) just to have dinner with me. She was the reason I was in this career and this career allows me to travel. I remember 5 months after graduation I was still slacking around and she kept calling me, chatting and pushing me to apply for their company. Many times I have ignored her offer because I wanted to work in the business district of Metro Manila and their office was far from it. One time, I gave in, so I went, I got accepted and somehow I feel she gave a heads up to the hiring manager and I was assigned to a telecom project in the business district of Metro Manila- just like I wanted! Thank you Icar, I know this is not a big deal for you; you were just envious of me bumming around while you are doing 9 to 6 hahahhaha! Just kidding, I really appreciate it, being friends with you did served that great purpose in my life especially my future…muah!

This famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign was created in 1959

“Shut up and put your money where your mouth is that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas” –Katy Perry

Nov 16-17  staying  in LA at my aunt and uncle’s place, they took us for an overnight stay in Las Vegas. These folks frequent the sin city as it was near to LA and they have membership in the hotel casino where they can avail the room for free. Another all expense paid trip – I don’t know if it’s just me and muah friends are such free loaders or the people in US are very generous?  One thing for sure, we really do appreciate the gestures and God bless them all for being a blessing to us.

The road trip as usual was a sore but the dessert scenery was grand. Once we reached the hotel we just ate lunch and wasted the whole afternoon in the outlet for another shop till you drop activity.

At nightfall we visited the strip, it was freezing so we just stayed  inside of the hotel lobby until 2am. Las Vegas Strip is a portion of Las Vegas Boulevard South that houses most of the largest and most important entertainment buildings including casinos, hotels and resorts.

We decided to retire early as my cousin wanted to take us to see Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon, that was 3 hours drive after Vegas. We are still contemplating on the idea, having travelled to NY by plane, San Fo and Vegas on a road trip our enthusiasm on seeing more of America was getting less and less because of the long drive.  We just then let the idea hang in there while we put our body to rest.

Sun up came and we arrived on a decision to fritter the day away in another outlet . So yeah, don’t throw stone at us because we decided to exchange Calvin Klein, 7 for all mankind, True Religion, Juicy Couture, Hollister, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, etc for a a ride  to Arizona and to see the 3rd wonder of the world that is ‘Grand Canyon’.  I know this sound stupid now, but believe me if you sit your butt to tour point A and Point B in this country – your ass would probably start to speak and get pissed at you! So anyway, no regrets, there’s always a next time… I still have 7 years validity on my passport and more friends to visit.

Strolling at the Las Vegas Boulevard on a freezing night was awesome. The glitz and glam of unrivaled proportions of the billboards and to bask in its glow was just wicked!  We watched the fountain show in front of Bellagio (just like the last scene from Ocean 11), visited Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, and Caesar’s Palace

 

 

Pink’s Hotdog

We had Pink’s Hotdog for dinner. It was actually a landmark hot dog restaurant in the Hollywood district of the city of Los Angeles but since the queue there is  always long, duh! like 4 hours waiting time just to taste this hotdog, we reckoned to try it here in Vegas. So what made this hotdog  famous was Hollywood celebrities queuing for it and sometimes they can be seen at the restaurant as well. Inside, there are many signed celebrity photographs hanging on the walls, some have signed more than one photo. The celebrity-named hot dogs are often versions actually ordered by the person in question, such as the “Martha Stewart Dog” with mustard, relish, onions, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, bacon, and sour cream. So there you go, it was tasty but i still want my tender and juicy -wink! wink!

So here’s the best compliment I ever got moment… At Pink’s Hotdogs in Las Vegas, I ordered for a beer. The cashier asked for my ID to see if I was legal to drink. My friends all laughed when they saw me handing her my ID and she was smiling when she returned it back to me –I was born 1974! Nyahahahaha!

Given the chance I would like to hang about for a few more days in this neon city and stay at those fancy hotels just to witness  drunk bride and groom married in a chapel, watch all that Broadway shows and concerts, pace the strips until my feet sore, and win that ‘slut’ machine! Viva Las Vegas!

Previous Las Vegas blog: https://ellehctur.wordpress.com/category/globetrotting/usa/las-vegas/

“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.”– Lois Wyse

San Francisco Trip 2007 — https://ellehctur.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/san-francisco/ 

One of the advantages of the social network was to reconnect with old friends – you know those people who were there and vanished just because and later on you will find out they are living in another  country… Just like my friend Kathy, she was there and then she was gone. I was trying to recall when was the last time I saw her but my memory just retrieved a big blur. I’m having those memory gap moments recalling it. One thing I cannot forget though was how I met her. It was the early 90’s, no internet, no mobile phone and the landline is the only medium of communication unless you’re psychic. A friend of hers dialed my number wrongly and I was feeling chatty. We then decided to meet up and she tagged along Kathy. I tried to hook Kathy up with my friend but she ended up with my other friend… so there you go…clear as a mud!

I gave her a heads up of our visit and she was unselfish enough to give us her weekend. Coming back from NY to LA she picked us up from LAX  in the wee hours of the night and let us stayed at her crib to rest and prepared for the road trip to San Francisco, that’s 8 hours drive. Along the way there was nothing much to do but sit, sleep, wake up, and looked at view – sit, sleep, wake up, looked at view and occasionally pee. It was long ! Everything in America is drive, drive, drive, roads, roads, roads it was unending stretch of  mass of land!

As we almost reached San Fo we stopped for few hours at our fave spot– factory outlet or just the ‘outlet’ as my friend corrected me – outlets are for high end labels at low price and this is what we loved about the US.  Without this the vacation will be such a dull. Anyways, as the climate was freezing, nighttime came early. We reached the fisherman’s wharf by 6pm for dinner. The place is a tourist attraction located in pier 39 with a lot seafood restaurants and souvenir stores. It’s famous for its clam chowder – the best tasting we ever had by far. We retired at Marriott near the airport.

In the morning, we went to Twin Peaks, the two hills situated at the geographic center of San Francisco, California. They form the second highest point in San Francisco, after Mount Davidson. It’s the best spot if you want to have a look out of the city.

Then we went to a tower located at the Telegraph Hill named Coit Tower. The tower, located in the city’s Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 at the bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit to beautify the city of San Francisco. As per Wikipedia:  Lillie’s fortunes funded the monument four years following her death in 1929, as she had requested. She had a special relationship with the city’s firefighters. At the age of fifteen she witnessed the Knickerbockers Engine Co. No. 5 in response to a fire call up on Telegraph Hill when they were shorthanded, and threw her school books to the ground and pitched in to help, calling out to other bystanders to help get the engine up the hill to the fire, to get the first water onto the blaze. After that Lillie became the Engine Co. mascot and could barely be constrained by her parents from jumping into action at the sound of every fire bell. After this she was frequently riding with the Knickerbocker Engine Co. 5, especially so in street parades and celebrations in which the Engine Co. participated. Through her youth and adulthood Lillie was recognized as an honorary firefighter. Her will read that she wished for one third of her fortune “to be expended in an appropriate manner for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city which I have always loved.” Two memorials were built in her name. One was Coit Tower, and the other was a sculpture depicting three firemen, one of them carrying a woman in his arms. Lillie is today the patron saint of San Francisco firefighters

Next stop is the most winding street in the world the Lombard Street. Surprisingly there’s a lot of tourist who visits this place. We passed by this crooked street to experience the curve. The houses were as fabulous. Afterwards, we had dim sum lunch at Chinatown and the rest of the afternoon we took pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I met an old friend for dinner at Boudin Bakery –known for its sourdough bread (called the “Original San Francisco Sourdough French Bread”.  It was more than a decade since I last saw her and thanks to Facebook I was rubbing elbows with her again. Just to note, I was actually surprised with a lot of friends, relatives, former classmates, and colleagues who after commenting in FB I was in the vicinity, they message me that they wanted to see me – touching really! Anyways, back to my friend Edna. I knew her back in high school, well actually the whole student body knew her because she was that popular and she can make everybody laugh, she was too funny to go unnoticed. She was ahead of me but we happened to share friends and hanged the same  group during our early college days.  I remember going to a road trip, she sang bohemian rhapsody from the foot to the top of the  hill with feelings and with facial expression (that was the  first time I heard that song and is now connected with her by memory). She can make that  crazy conversation that goes in circle that somehow you’ll end up confused and she gets it. After dinner the celebration continues at a karaoke bar where we witnessed Manny Pacquiao beat the hell up Margarito.

I don’t mean to be mushy but my 2nd trip to San Francisco made me realized that indeed It takes a long time to grow an old friend they are hard to find, hard to lose, and impossible to forget… and there’s  no distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth…So thanks friends for sharing with me the best weekend @ San Fo (where i hope to live in my next life).

“New York!!!! Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do, Now you’re in New York!!!
These streets will make you feel brand new, the lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York” – Empire State of Mind ,  Alicia Keys

New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world’s most important and influential cities. To most Asians it is also synonymous with Friends, Sex in the City, Gossip Girl, and plot for most disaster movies. New York City (also referred to as “New York”, “NYC”, “The Big Apple”, or just “the City” by locals), is the biggest city in the United States.
Most of our of itinerary was concentrated to visit Manhattan. It is one of the five famous Burroughs (the other 4 are Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island) of New York City. It is home to some of New York’s and the world’s most famous landmarks, including the Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Broadway, Wall Street, and the famous universities New York University and Columbia University. Manhattan was also home to the famous World Trade Towers.

Coming from Jersey City we travelled via subway to reach this city. We came off at one of the stations and walked along 5th avenue. It was an awesome sight…just like in the movies. The most people I have seen were in this city and the crowd was much diversified. It truly was an ‘urban jungle’ with its skyscrapers and congested population and buildings. We are in luck, as the veteran’s day parade was also in progress in 5th avenue as we arrived.

The Empire State Building

Our first stop was the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street- The Empire State building. Just citing the name of this building only one movie comes to my mind and No! It’s neither King Kong nor Sleepless in Seattle. It’s ‘Love Affair 1994’ (Warren Beatty/ Annette Bening). This is one of the best romantic movies I have seen and the stars are real life couple. To summarize the story: The two of them meet on a flight to Sydney which is forced to land on a small island. Both are engaged to others they become romantic on board the ship sent to take the plane passengers to a larger island. Before parting ways they both agreed to meet on the top of the Empire State Building 3 months later to see if the attraction was real. And then… I suggest you see the movie and I promise it’s worth your time.  So when we reached the front of the Empire State Building all i can say was the famous quote by Terry McKay (Annette Bening) from that movie ”I was looking up”.  That’s all I could do… looked up at this 102 –story landmark and enter its revolving door. Aweeesoomee!

The Rockefeller Center

More leg work as we walked and walked along the parade with the veteran soldiers. I was cold but I am having a blasts. How often do you take that afternoon walk and doing it in the streets of New York? Priceless right? Our next stop was between 48th and 51st streets- The Rockefeller Center… an ohhh… to make this thoughts documentation complete we stopped for a tea at McDonalds because the cold is freezing our butts off. Really we picked the wrong time to come up here why we didnt schedule it on spring?

Rockefeller Center was named after John D. Rockefeller, Jr., is a complex of 19 commercial buildings.  Since 1933, NBC has been located at 30 Rock. Past and current shows produced there include “The Tonight Show,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Night Live.” The “Today” show is shot across the street. Also this is where you can find Radio City Music Hall, New York City’s largest theater.

 Times Square

Moving on we also visited the Times Square at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. I will never leave Manhattan without taking my picture at this prominent sight. This was still lucid in my head while logging in  a social network site I saw a picture of a friend of mine standing at this famous landmark I was inspired by the photo and said to myself “someday…” Today’s the day and  thanked God for bringing me here… to finally set foot and have my picture taken where all broad way plays premiered and the site where the annual ball drop and New Year’s Eve countdown took place. Priceless!

 

 

The  Central Park

We took one of those yellow cabs to go between 59th and 110th street and between Fifth and Eighth Ave. also known as  The  Central Park. Just a quick trivia – Wy New York Yellow Cabs are yellow? Because John Hertz, the company’s founder, read a study that concluded yellow was the easiest color for the eye to spot.

We were freezing in this park but I could not forget the color of the trees and to describe it in detailed …it seems that nature has one last fling before settling down into winter’s sleep the green colors of the leaves was transformed into the vivid autumn reds, oranges, gold, and browns before the leaves fall off the trees. The colors are truly breathtaking. Central Park was ‘the mother of all parks’ someday…perhaps, I will have the chance to roam this place again.  

At this park we never leave without trying — The New York Hot Dog. Vendors all over the city sell hot dogs with pushcarts on city sidewalks and in parks. It’s a must for tourist and surprisingly the taste was delicious.

Facts about Manhattan:

Manhattan means “island of the hills” in the language of the Algonquin Indians

Muppet creator Jim Henson and Sesame Street director Jon Stone regularly dined together at the now-defunct Oscar’s Tavern in midtown Manhattan. One day they were served by an extraordinarily rude, grouchy waiter. They were so amused by the experience that they decided to immortalize the gentlemen as a character on Sesame Street. They dubbed the puppet “Oscar the Grouch”.

Times Square is named after the New York Times Building

“…Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” – lines from the sonnet ‘The New Colossus’ by Emma Lazarus – engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty.

Having been in 15 hours flight coming to this continent somehow the 5 hours flight from LAX to JFK in the morning of Nov 8, 2010 was a breeze. The airline process was a mess but one thing funny though when the flight steward made the initial announcement regarding the plane’s individual monitor he goes…. “Please be reminded that what you have in front of you is a ‘touch’ screen not a ‘punch ‘screen…”  and  prior to this announcement I happened to hear his colleague asked him if he was ready then throws imaginary ‘fairy dust’ all over his body… fairy dust! fairy dust!  her motioning like the blue fairy, and him turning around accepting the dust… hmmmmm…life is such… 

The freezing cold greeted us on the way out of the airport, to add more inconvenience to our end the weather was gloomy with occasional rain showers and one of our travel companions was sick. Well, all of us want to slip into a comma with this kind of unforeseen temperature. My kiwi friend from Christchurch who came for a visit  already mentioned to me that it was cold…. so note to self: if a non Asian friend told you it was cold in a country you are vacationing…he is not f*cking kidding! Bring more protection than a leather jacket, idiot!

We managed to book an airport service to bring us to my friend’s place. We passed by New York going to Jersey City where we are going to park for 4 days. I had a glimpsed of the Brooklyn Bridge and passed thru tunnel connecting NY and NJ and the sight was wicked because it was just like in the movies.

My friend Tesa was kind enough to accommodate us and show us around. Her friend Sonia lends us her apartment for the rest of our stay. It was as overwhelming as we never really knew her except for our common friend.  Nevertheless, we are very grateful for this hospitable act, nobody does this every day right? Handing their keys to complete strangers? I need to mention that her place was so cool it was so ‘American’, the same apartment you’ll see in TV series and the newly renovated kitchen was just perfect!

@ Ellicec's place New Jersey with some TDAS

I met Tesa (or Aset, Mam Tesa in the earlier days) back in May of 1997; she was my boss, ‘the boss’ and project manager of my first job. She was the head of the TODASIN and when she speaks everybody  listened (TDAS is the project we are working on for a client and so we called our group TODASIN in honor of the 70’s gag TV show TODAS). Sometimes I wonder… if I haven’t landed this job and not being in this group I wouldn’t probably survived the workforce.   All I can remember was being in this team always made me want to come to the office even on a Mondays. Although I can’t remember the details and some of the stuff we’ve been thru was blur now. all I know that it was all fun, the out of towns, the gimmicks and the bonding.  Long after the project was over, long after the team got scattered and some ran and worked in the US, we all became such good friends and hang once in a while.

As there are occasional showers and the day was glum we decided to stay and rest to keep ourselves warm. So  our first day in New Jersey  was spend at Sonia’s Kitchen  reminiscing and catching up stupid things we’ve done in the past and still doing, people we once knew and gossip about. And to top it all , while we are all having the best conversations of our lives we are eating Chinese takeout and now I know why the gang of big bang theory loved Chinese takeout so much. The food was tasty!

The next day, we went on a ferry trip to Ellis Island, a small island in New York Harbor located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast. On our way to Ellis Island we passed by Miss Liberty. We positioned ourselves in the top deck of the ferry to prepare ourselves for this awesome sight and I was star struck and gawking at this famous landmark. Though I asked why in most disaster movies the destruction of this statue symbolizes the end of mankind and why she or NY City is the first to hit by the meteors, the tsunamis, Godzilla or the UFO making the viewers more convinced that when the world ends, this place is  going get it! Big time!  Well at least, I have seen it while it’s still standing, in  all its glory and let me tell you this, no matter how many movies and photos you have seen of this lady … up close she continues to be an amazing site.

Ellis Island

Samuel Ellis purchased the island in 1770 and from 1892 to 1954; over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. Despite the island’s reputation as an “Island of Tears”, the vast majorities of immigrants was treated courteously and respectfully, and were free to begin their new lives in America after only a few short hours on Ellis Island. Only two percent of the arriving immigrants were excluded from entry. The two main reasons why an immigrant would be excluded were if a doctor diagnosed that the immigrant had a contagious disease that would endanger the public health or if a legal inspector thought the immigrant was likely to become a public charge or an illegal contract laborer.

Today, Ellis Island is a museum. The once was gateway to America made its walls rich with stories. The voices and faces and the promise of freedom for thousands of real immigrants can still be heard and seen in this land mass.

Inside, I was struck by one quote from an Italian immigrant who said: “They told us America was paved with roads of gold. When I came to America, I found out 3 things: there was no gold, it was not paved, and we were expected to build the roads.” 

The Statue of Liberty

After a couple of hours in Ellis Island we took the same ferry to Liberty Island. To get a closer view of a statue of an upright woman dressed in a flowing robe, wearing a 7-point spiked crown said to represent the seven continents or the seven seas. My friend try to book tickets to get inside and top of it but the tickets was fully booked until January.

Lady Liberty holds a torch high over her head in the right hand, and holds a tablet close to her body in the left hand. The tablet contains the text “July IV MDCCLXXVI” meaning July 4, 1776, commemorating the independence day of The United States of America. In the movies she seems very big but standing in the island she was not that big at all. Lady Liberty’s color is now green because of a chemical reaction process called oxidation that happened between the metal’s reactions to the seawater that surrounds it.

The statue was a gift to the United States from the people of France, a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law). The statue was built from copper sheets mounted onto a steel framework. The massive steel structure that holds the ‘Statue of Liberty’ together was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel is the same person who designed the world famous ‘La Tour Eiffel’ (Eiffel Tower) of Paris. The Statue of Liberty’s face is said to be modeled after the sculptor’s mother. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States.

The statue rapidly became a landmark. Many immigrants who entered through New York saw it as a welcoming sight. Oral histories of immigrants record their feelings of exhilaration on first viewing the Statue of Liberty. One immigrant who arrived from Greece recalled, “I saw the Statue of Liberty. And I said to myself, “Lady, you’re such a beautiful! You opened your arms and you get all the foreigners here. Give me a chance to prove that I am worth it, to do something, to be someone in America.” I realize, she has that effect you know, not just for those immigrants even for tourist like me, her presence made a big impact.  

For a quick trivia : The Statue of Liberty faces southeast and was strategically placed inside of Fort Wood which was a perfect base for the Statue. The Statue’s position was also perfect for ships, entering the harbor, to see her as a welcoming symbol. Some say, she faces toward France, where she comes from, and in France they have a 38ft tall replica that faces right back towards Miss Liberty in America.

Is the Statue in New York or New Jersey?  The Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island, federal property administered by the National Park Service, located within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York. A pact between New York and New Jersey, ratified by Congress in 1834, declared this issue. Liberty Island is situated closer to New Jersey that to New York (but is a part of New York).

The following are my flashback upon seeing the Statue Liberty:

  1. The dramatic ending of Planet of the Apes 1968
  2. Superman 3 where he rescued Lorelei on the statue’s crown but it’s actually a plot by Lex
  3. Ghostbusters 2  the statue came to life and saved metropolis
  4. And lastly, after a visit in NY in 2001 of a colleague of mine and telling me that the Statue of Liberty’s color was mint green… I dismissed the information because I always believed it was white and I remember saying to myself “one day I will see it for myself”…and so 9 years later I did! And thanked God I did! And I gladly admit I was wrong… It was indeed mint green (as per my research the statue was not green from inception, it turned green due to atmospheric conditions, the main being acidic rainfall.)
SF bridge1

Golden Gate Bridge shot from Golden Gate Park

“San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.”

October 2007 – The road trip to San Francisco was butt cracking but it was all worth it when we passed the Golden Gate Bridge – the longest suspension bridge over a strait between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city with Marin County. The bridge was designed and built in 1929-1937. Irving Morrow acted as consulting architect and Joseph Strauss was the designer and chief engineer. Completed during the year 1937 it has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. 

San Francisco Pier

San Francisco Pier

In 1776, the Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission named for Francis of Assisi. San Francisco is the most European of all American cities; the residential streets are a row of nearly-identical Victorian houses. Although the general public often incorrectly refers to a Victorian era house as a Victorian “style” house, Victorian era refers to a time period and not to a style.

Victorian Houses

Victorian Houses

We went to Golden Gate Park to take pictures of the bridge. My cousin said we are so lucky, her countless trips to SF was always foggy and this is the only time she seen the bridge in its full glory. From the park you can also see Alcatraz Island, commonly referred to as simply Alcatraz or non-locally and theatrically, as The Rock, is a small island located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison, and finally as a federal prison until 1963.

The city is very compact, hilly, and scenic. So everything was there, and it seems everything was near. If you go down the street there’s the pier and bay area where we hang around and a few miles up is the financial district and if you turn left the residential area where opposite that are the park. I envy the people who lived here I hope someday I will get a chance to be a part of this awesome city.

Las Vegas

Posted: August 3, 2009 in Las Vegas, USA
Tags: , , , , , ,
Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” – Jeff Candido and Jason Hoff, advertising slogan written for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 2002

During my vacation in LA in  October of 2007 we took a road trip and spent one night in Las Vegas – The Entertainment Capital of the World, famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. The city’s tolerance for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of Sin City, and this image has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films and television programs

Las Vegas offers a lot of shows, concerts,  and plays to watch but the major attractions are the casinos. The most famous hotel casinos are located on Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Las Vegas Strip. Outdoor lighting displays are everywhere on the Las Vegas Strip and are seen elsewhere in the city as well. As seen from space, the Las Vegas metropolitan area is one of the brightest on Earth.

We watched the fountain show at the Bellagio and played pachinko pushing our first time luck but that machine was really hard to beat, we just burned our dollars on that piece of crap! In the morning we invaded another factory outlet to release our frustrations. 

List of films I’ve seen set in Las Vegas

  1. The Hangover – 2009 Bradley Cooper and Heather Graham
  2. What Happens in Vegas – 2008 Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz
  3. 21 -2008 Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey
  4. Ocean’s 13 – 2007 George Clooney and Brad Pitt
  5. Ocean’s 11 – 2001 George Clooney and Brad Pitt
  6. Rush hour 2 -2001 Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker
  7. Pay it forward – 2000 Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey
  8. Con Air – 1997 Nicolas Cage
  9. Indecent Proposal – 1993 Demi Moore and Robert Redford
  10. Rain Man -1988 Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman
  11. Over the top  – 1987 Sylvester Stallone