A Travellerspoint blog

The BIG apple - New York City

Amazing

23 Dec - Today was our very first day exploring Manhattan and it was a once in a life time experience. The first thing I ate was a famous New York pretzel, which was seriosly dry and my tongue actually stuck to the top of my mouth. IMG_0156.jpg So I am not sure if this is the reason why they are so famous or is it just because they are sold on nearly every corner of every street. The first major thing we saw was time square. IMG_0280.jpgIMG_0165.jpgIMG_0170.jpgIMG_0172.jpg The lights are amazing it actually looks like daytime at night time just because of all the massive light up screens. Another thing which is really hard to miss is the amount of people. There were people every where and living in a country with a population of 4million and now visiting a city with 26million people, was a serious adjustment. We went to M&M world which are 3 floors of M&M stuff including M&Ms available in all the colours you can imagine, even pink (pink of all shades I may add). IMG_0159.jpgIMG_0160.jpgIMG_0161.jpg I managed to spot Hello Kitty amongst the crowd, ok she does stand out a bit, and she let me take a photo with her for $1.IMG_0158.jpg We went into Toys 'R' us which was huge and they even had a ferris wheel inside IMG_0293.jpgIMG_0292.jpg We walked home via Central park and felt like we were in a romantic movie for a second. IMG_0176.jpgIMG_0177.jpg The grounds were covered in snow and the lakes were all frozen. The park is really big and has 2 ice skating rinks where you need to take out a second morgage on your home to be able to afford the skate hire and rink entry.

24 Dec - Today we took the ferry to Staten Island because, it is FREE. We arrived at Staten Island and discovered that there is very close to nothing to see and do there, so we had lunch at Popeye's (which is like KFC) and took the ferry back to Manhattan. The views from the ferry are worth the trip. IMG_0198.jpgIMG_0200.jpgIMG_0214.jpgIMG_0231.jpg Back in Manhattan we went exploring. We walked down the famous Wall street IMG_0240.jpg, saw Tiffany's and Co which is in the movie breakfast at Tiffanys IMG_0247.jpgand visited Ground Zero (the site where the Twin Towers use to be). It is just a massive construction zone at this stage as they are busy building a structure which will totally dwarf the other buildings.IMG_0252.jpg Standing there looking at the big empty space made you realise how big those buildings were and what an impact the destruction of them must have had on the people of New York.

25 Dec – Today was Christmas as you all know so we did not get up to much as it was very cold outside. We slept in a bit and then went for a walk in Central park. We thought of going ice skating but the rink was so full that you could hardly see the ice. IMG_0299.jpg So we decided to watch the people fall all over the show instead.

26 Dec – The streets / Times square was packed with people again today and they were all shopping like crazy. It is the day after Christmas and it still looked like they were all doing Christmas shopping. People were carrying heaps of those paper shopping bags that you always see in shows like ‘Sex in the City’ when Sarah Jessica Parker goes shopping. It actually looked like some of them were losing blood circulation to their arms from all the bags packed on them. In New York you do not wait for the pedestrian crossing to turn green you just take a gap when available. Ps. This we learned from the locals so we just wanted to fit in. Anyway tonight we wanted to cross the street without the permission of the pedestrian crossing man and as we stepped into the road we saw a yellow cab driving up so we stopped. O I forgot to add that it was raining so when the taxi drove past us it totally splashed us with water from the side of the road. Just like in the movies – it was so funny and really cool to be a part of the whole ‘movie’ scene.

27 Dec – Today we caught the early train downtown to go and visit the Statue of Liberty. It is around a 15min boat ride to the Statue. Once you are close up and personal you realise that the statue is actually not that big and that it seems way larger in movies.IMG_0312.jpg From the Liberty island the boat takes you to Ellis Island, which is the island the first people that came to New York stopped at. In order to get on the boat to go to the statue we had to stand in a queue for about 40mins. Once we returned the queue tripled and people were standing in a queue which stretched for hundreds of meters. For lunch we went to an Indian restaurant which just opened so they had a 50% discount on all their food so we ordered away. I had a vegetarian dish which was the most amazing vegetarian Indian I have had. We then walked over the Brooklyn bridge and walked around in Brooklyn for a little bit.IMG_0320.jpg We walked over the Manhattan bridge on the way back and had some awesome views of the sun setting behind the Brooklyn bridge.IMG_0325.jpg There is a very popular cupcake store in downtown Manhattan called Magnolia’s bakery. Once there we had to stand in another queue in order to get into the bakery. We then bought 6 cupcakes of various flavours. They were really yummy and feshly baked.IMG_0331.jpg

28 Dec – Today Dan wanted to try the Pastrami sandwhich Mike recommended from a Jewish deli. The sandwich cost $22 (Just to give you an idea of how crazy it is to pay $22 for a sandwich, you can buy a pair of jeans at Walmart for less) anyway once he received his sandwich made of gold we could not believe its size and the amount of meat / pastrami it was filled with. IMG_0335.jpg He got some stretch marks around his mouth when he took his first bite.IMG_0334.jpg He said it was really delicious and the pastrami was excellent but maybe just a bit on the expensive side. I also wanted to be as adventurous as Dan so I had a spicy peanut butter with pineapple jam and grilled chicken sandwich for dinner from the Peanut Butter company. They advertise the flavour of the sandwich as a chicken satay skewer from a Thai restaurant. In all honesty, it tasted nothing like it and it was actually quite disguisting but still interesting.
We also visted the public library today, which is absolutely huge. There are hallways and stairs everywhere and the roofs are covered in art. It would be a really cool place to study. Along the way we bumped into a $ store. Everything was so cheap and obviously full of stuff no one needs but it was still pretty exciting.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 19:36 Comments (0)

Roadtripping to New York

Luckily we have a GPS

Photos taken while leaving Michigan.
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21Dec - We had lunch at Big boy today which is an old school diner. IMG_0124.jpgIMG_0125.jpg We also went over a really cool looking bridge IMG_0128.jpg8IMG_0123.jpg

Dan bought a GPS just before we left Marquette as we would need a large quantity of maps to be able to drive around the US. At one point the GPS told us to turn left which was clearly marked DO NOT ENTER, WRONG WAY. Dan's comment at the time was "That thing (referring to the GPS) just tried to kill me" - Did you notice the way he used me instead of us ;-) Anyway we totally stressed out as it was night time, we are driving on the other side of the road, driving in a car which does not belong to us and driving in a place we have never been before. We eventually, after seeing another car go down that Forbidden street realised that the signs are just angled very badly and that they actually refer to the road next to the one we are trying to enter. We then, very daringly entered that road and managed to survive yet another day.

22Dec - When we left at 7am this morning on our way to New York (10hour drive away) the car was totally covered in snow. IMG_0134.jpg All along the way was snow and it was snowing at some points throughout the journey. I also drove today which was actually easier than I thought. IMG_0145.jpg I guess if you go straight on a motorway, it doesn't really matter which side of the road you drive on. We passed a very slow car at one stage and Dan (the one with the gray hair) made the comment that it must be a gray haired person driving. Now he knows what every one in New Zealand feels like when he gets behind the wheel ;-) I had a cupcake milkshake today which was very interesting and decorated very pretty. During our long journey from Michigan to New York we managed to cross 4 states; Michingan, Ihio, Pennsylvania and New York. IMG_0135.jpgIMG_0132.jpg

Entering New York is the worst nightmare you will ever have. Trust us, we experienced it. There are roads, cars and signs everywhere and it seems like no one really knows where they are going. Even our GPS got totally lost and confused. It can be due to us taking the wrong exit all the time and it having to recalculate at a tremedous speed or because you need a navigational degree in order to be a GPS in New York. After 30mins of being honked at a few times and saying bad things to the GPS we managed to get to our location. We took a train from where we parked the car (New Jersey) into Manhattan. Mike (a friend of Dan which he met while studying at Canterbury uni) met us at the station and helped us to get to the apartment we are staying at for the next 10 days. Thanks Mike you are awesome. We then went for dinner at a Ethiopian restaurant called Queen of Sheba. 1IMG_0150.jpg At first I thought, what could you possibly serve at a Ethiopian restaurant but I was pleasantly surprised. The food was amazing!!! It all comes out in a big plate and then you have a pancake type savoury thing you use to scoop up the food - no utensils just your hands. They call it the tradional style.IMG_0153.jpg Ps: This was the food that went in, not out IMG_0151.jpg

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 06:38 Comments (0)

Magical Marquette - Cross country skiing

What a workout!!!

snow

17Dec - We decided to cross country ski over these two days as we haven't been running much and we wanted to enjoy the snow fully. So we rented some skies and took on the fit loop on the first day which is in town. It is a little forest type location which has a beginners 1km and intermediate 1.5km loop. We did both loops and had a lot of fun. I spent most of the downhills on my bottom as the closer you are to the ground the shorter your fall (in other words, you decrease the pain factor dramatically by being closer to the ground). Going up hill on skis are quite a challenge. Remember skis are smooth and live for the downhill so going against gravity on a slippery surface requires a lot of muscle. Dan tried to teach me but for every one step up I moved about 3 backwards. He says I look like Bambi trying to walk for the first time - good one Dan :-)

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18Dec - Today we went to Forestville for some skiing and decided to do 20km. We asked the lady at the check in desk if there are any wild life we need to be concerned about and she said there are some bears and wolves but they won't bother you - What the .... That is not the response we had in mind - we were hoping for something along the lines of "no don't worry there is nothing out there" anyway my arms and upper body is seriously sore from all the skiing which means I will come out of this expedition with huge muscles ;-) I also need to mention that we came across a serious downhill and thought we were good enough to take it on. Um we were totally wrong as we both face planted on the way down. Dan even had snow in his ear.

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After the skiing we had a big feed and then got ready to go to the ice hockey game between the Wildcats (Northern Michigan university) and the Michigan Tech team. Once we arrived the Wildcats skated out onto the ice and the crowd went wild :-) It was such a great atmosphere and everyone got right into it. It was a pretty close game up to the last minute as the score was 1 each. At the last minute the Wildcats shot another goal and the crowd (Uni students) went absolutely crazy. Our highlight of the match was, when ever they squashed each other against the glass, just like in the Ducks movie. O I forgot to mention we got these tickets free as most of the uni students are out of town for the Christmas break. We also had the best student seats as it was the ones right next to the glass.

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19Dec - Tim and Chris came over for dinner tonight as Dan and I had a big cook-up to say thank you. Dan made an awesome roast chicken and we had some veggies and roast pumpkin (which the Americans usually have as a sweet thing)
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20Dec - We left at 8am this morning for New York. We went via Toledo and stayed in Toledo for the night.

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 16:48 Comments (0)

Marquette - Michigan

snow, snow and more snow

13Dec - We arrived in Marquette at 6am today and we were very lucky that Tim came and collected us as there were no taxis or any form of public transport in sight. We will be staying in Marquette for approximately 1 week and we are staying in Ida and Mel's appartment which is above Tim and Chris's house (the landlords). Thanks again guys. IMG_0071.jpg

We did not really do much today as we were really tired from an all nighter on the bus so we slept most of the day and visted Tim and Chris later that afternoon.

Marquette is beautiful as everything is covered in snow. It looks kind off like a ski resort with a magical touch to it. Many houses are decorated for christmas and they are all covered in REAL snow. Due to the beauty of Marquette I am not going to write a lot but rather present it in pictures, as a picture is worth a thousand words ;-) IMG_0070.jpg IMG_0074.jpg IMG_0035.jpg

14Dec - We had an amazing lunch at the Wild Rover Irish pub today and bottomless coffee, which is a must in these cold conditions. We also went and saw the movie Invictus in an old school cinema. The seats were all skew and squeeky and a great rocking motion could be obtained by sitting on them. There were only 4 of us in the cinema but the movie was good and we (one being from SA and one from NZ) could relate to it and recap that awesome day in history, where South Africa WON the world cup 1995 :-)

It also snowed big time today and we had to walk in deep snow in order to get back home. It is quite a workout but great fun. IMG_0030.jpg IMG_0022.jpg IMG_0021.jpg

15Dec - We woke up this morning and there was a lot of snow, magical! We spent around 3 hours in Walmart today which is a giant shop with heaps and heaps of cheap clothing and well everything and they also have a supermarket section where we bought some supplies. For dinner we had Thai where Dan ate a chilly saying it is not hot at all, after about 30 seconds I could see his eyes watering and then the hotness hit him. It was quite an entertaining thing to watch. Chris took us on a little tour of the town tonight which was very helpful.
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-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 12:32 Comments (0)

Milwaukee - Wisconsin

Just passing through

We arrived in Milwaukee around 11pm as the train had some issues along the way. We then caught a shuttle and arrived at Red Roof inn (our hotel) around 11:30pm. Everything is covered in snow around here as well.

12Dec. We will be taking the bus to Marquette (Michigan) at 10pm tonight so we basically have today to explore this town. The main priority for any visitor to Milwaukee is the Harley Davidson museum, so that is where we went after breakfast.

PICT0395.jpg PICT0400.jpg A tandem motorbike. PICT0393.jpg PICT0392.jpg PICT0396.jpg PICT0397.jpg A pink Harley Davidson :-DPICT0398.jpg PICT0399.jpg This was my favourite bike and has been used on some movies, have you seen it? it is covered in thousands of red, white and blue crystals as the owner had an injury and was stuck at home and bored. So he decided to customise his Harley.

We really enjoyed it and there are hundreds of bikes to view, from the very first model up to the latest. They also have some interactive sections and a lot of history which was really interesting. Definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in Milwaukee some time in the future :-)

-Jane

Posted by funkyfairy 10:37 Comments (0)

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