Sunday, June 28, 2015

US Trip - Miami

After the quick 'rest days' in Tampa, we headed to Miami via Megabus. Can you believe that we bought those tickets for only 1 dollar each? When I booked it online, I think it was on sale. Anyway, we reached our destination before 12PM. We checked in at 'Metropolitan by COMO' and I must say, the hotel is okay but not that great and it was a bit expensive when I booked it. We rested for a while then searched for a place to eat as were very hungry after the bus trip.

We found this place called 'Maxine's Bistro & Bar'. We were surprised with the serving, it was huge and we weren't able to finish all of them so we had a takeout.

We walked around the streets of Miami, around South Beach. It was raining that time so we really didn't enjoy it. So we decided to go back to hotel and rest instead. We also had drinks in the hotel's bar and ordered 'Singapore Sling' and 'Sleeping Volcano'.

The next day was more exciting. We had an early breakfast in the hotel. I think we were the first one in the restaurant. The breakfast meal wasn't that good. It wasn't a buffet so we had to order. We ate a simple omelet and a chicken/pork sausage. But the surroundings and atmosphere is kind of nice and properly designed.

After that, we walked around the beach. The weather was very good that time. We saw some tourists enjoying the water. We walked almost three hours and just enjoyed the sun and took some pictures. After that quick dip, we went to the streets and looked for some stores that are selling souvenirs. It was just a one day stay in Miami. We can't say that it was a great vacation but it was good enough to see this famous city. We will definitely come back to Miami but for sure it will be longer. See below video to see other pictures that we took.

Monday, June 22, 2015

US Trip - Tampa

After that quick tour in Washington DC, we flew next to Tampa, the "hometown" of Ne. We stayed for two days at their house. It was like a very smooth and relaxing two days as we only cooked and visited a Filipino store and a mall. I really liked the Ledet's house as it is very spacious and properly designed. I also liked the "old" stuff inside the house and their pool. I stayed in their guest room and Ne was kind enough to bring me new (newly washed?) bed sheets and blanket haha.

As I mentioned, we went to this Filipino food cafe named 'Filipiniana'. You can visit their Facebook page by clicking here. They are selling Pinoy delicacies and we ordered 'Halo Halo' that time. We went there with Ne's friend Sandy and her husband Steve.

The couple was very kind enough to drive us to one of the biggest malls in Tampa, the International Plaza. We just walked around the mall and checked some stall for some interesting things to buy but in the end, we bagged nothing. We really didn't spend much time to see other things around Tampa. Instead, we took the chance to rest and wash our clothes at the Ledet's mansion hehe.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

US Trip - Washington DC

From New York, we took a bus ( as early as 6 AM to visit the capital of the USA. It took us four hours to reach it. We headed directly to 'The National Mall'.  We spent almost whole day to walk around the park. Trust me, you must be prepared for a long walk but each stop was an unforgettable experience. The 'Washington Monument' was the first one who greeted us. It was actually built to commemorate the first American president.

Then we walked towards the 'National World War II Memorial', a memorial that was dedicated to the Americans who served during the World War II. 

Next stop was the very famous Lincoln Memorial; I have seen this place several times only in the movies but that time was a special one because it was just right in front of me. As we all know, it was built to honor Abraham Lincoln.

If you love watching thriller films that include the CIA, FBI or other security agencies, then US Capitol building should be familiar to you. Though we didn't get the chance to get inside, still it was a good sight and a chip of good memory for us. We were joking that every time we will see this building in movies, we can finally say to ourselves, "oh, I've been there" haha.

Of course who doesn't know the president's residential building, the 'White House’? Still, we didn't enter as it was impossible to get inside without an appointment with the world's most powerful man. But we were satisfied just to see it but it was strange to see that other tourists were waving 'Hi' to the building.

Then there was this 'Smithsonian Building' which was mentioned in Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol'. They also call it 'The Castle’ and was constructed of Seneca red sandstone in the faux Norman style. See below video to see more of the pictures we took in the national mall.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

US Trip - New York

September last year was my first time visiting United States. New York was my point of entry and from JFK airport, I met my very good friend Kristine (also known as 'Ne') who is a resident of Tampa, Florida. From the airport, we headed directly to our hotel. It was in Lexington Avenue where the cab drive dropped us. The hotel was DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Metropolitan and it was an expensive hotel and the room was very small. Nevertheless, after a few hours of resting (I had a red eye flight) we went out and roamed the big apple.

The streets are indeed very busy and a bit crowded. I was very amazed with some of the building architecture and at the back of my mind, I was trying to rewind some scenes from the movies and TV series that I have watched which had a NY location. We walked and walked until our feet brought us somewhere.

We passed by the Rockefeller Center where we rested (again) for a while. We also spotted the famous Radio City.

Finally, we reached the New York Times Square. Oh yes, the lights were astonishing and you can see tourists in every corner. The place is very famous for big screens and several stores near the area. We found a diner and attempted to eat there but once we saw the menu and the prices, we left and looked for a mini-store somewhere else haha.

The next day was more exciting. As early as 8 AM, we walked towards the Battery Park and bought tickets for a ferry ride. And finally, I saw the Statue of Liberty! It felt like I accomplished something big hehe. Seeing it right in front of me was unbelievable!

Our next stop was at Empire State Building and we were singing 'Empire State of Mind' all throughout the tour (of course we were not that loud). The view from the top was amazing and the weather was perfect. 

From there, we took the famous subway and looked for the 9/11 Memorial Park. When we reached it, it was raining so we just had a very quick look at the place. Play below video to see more pictures that we took during our New York trip.

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