Why Not ?!?
02.04.2013 - 11.04.2013
When I booked my flights I was planning on going to SE Asia and Australia only, I happened to ask about coming home via New York ... turned out it wasn't much more, so I thought .. why not?!? I am trying to remember when I last came to the states and I think its been 20 years (I was very young)
Brilliant decision ... I am loving every moment of the States. As I added this on I didn't really have a plan, except to see New York. Everything's a bonus. I quickly decided to add Boston to the list after hearing what an amazing place it is to visit. Then different people I met along my travels 'suggested' other places which they had been to and so I added them to the list: DC, Philly, ... , ... I love listening to other peoples travel stories and I have now visited some amazing places because of them. Thank you xx
24 hours of travelling Brisbane to New York, in a seemingly lo-ng day as I crossed the international date line (first time!), queued through LAX to catch my connecting flight (which waited for me - phew!), jumped in a cab, headed to a friends and ventured into Manhattan for dinner and drinks. I slept so well that night. New York was cold and crisp, under 10oC, so I was thankful I had packed shoes, coat, jumper and had bought a scarf! It actually felt amazing to wrap up warm on a cold day and walk through the streets of New York underneath blue skies with the sun shinning down. I have missed the cold ... I know that is a weird thing to say however its true. My favourite time of year is 'spring' and it was a proper 'English spring' day ... I say English as the temperatures rose the following week to mid 20's and that is when America said spring had arrived .... I had a few days of beautiful crisp weather before the flip flops came out again.
I must confess, I went to Philly and I didn't eat a cheese steak ... "What?!?!" I know! Ah well, now I have a reason to go back Philadelphia is a beautiful and friendly place, full of interesting people. Philadelphia is the home of 'Independence'. I'm sure most of you knew that however my American history (like the rest of my world history) was poor before coming here. I got my ticket and stood in line for my tour of Independence Hall; my knowledge increased ten fold on this tour, it was well worth the visit. I visited Elrifths Alley, Washington Square, Magnolia Garden (very impressive Magnolia's), Rose garden (lacking in Roses), some shops ... , Jefferson's printing house, the Old Post office, 1st church, and many more. I balked at doing the National Constitution Centre as I had spent hours at the Franklin Institute the day before. At the Franklin Instiute I walked through a heart, went to outer space, took flight, and so much more. I ended the day by visiting the Titanic Exhibition which had replica corridors of the different class accomodation and the grand staircase. They gave you a card with a story of a person on board when you entered, during the exhibtion you could find out more about the person; why they boarded, what their life on board would have been and finally whether they lived or died. My card held the story of a mother, Catherine, and her two young children whom were in 3rd class. I thought I knew their fate, 3rd class and all, however when I came to the end covering one wall were the names of every passenger and crew on board and whether they lived or died. Everyone was crowded around with their cards trying to find the names that they wanted and I was the same craining my neck to see see around people ...
... nearly 200 people out of 500+ from 3rd class survived. I was surprised at how many people survivied from each of the classes and crew, I mean yes, percentage wise 1st class was the highest, however about the sam enumber of people from 3rd class were saved as in first class. Catherine and her two children were among those from 3rd class who survived.
DC - Washington DC, Home to the nation for all bar 10 years. Philadelphia was home for the first 10 years, Washington's presidential years. DC saw the return of my skirt and flip flops The temperatures rose to a glorious 'spring day' of 30oC. The Smithsonian Museums are free which bascially means you can spend days in DC without paying for anything except food and accomodation ... great for the budget travellers! I spent 2 1/2 days here and I went to:-
The American History Museum which had an impressive exhibition of the Modes of Transport though the ages and the First Ladies and their dresses - i'm a girl, I found this very interesting. My favourite was the Jackie Kennedy Dress.
The National History Museum - The ice age and the origins of Humans exhibitions were great. The early human replicas were impressive, they had placed them in cases at the height they would have been so you can wander between them and see how tall they were compared to you. I visited their under water exhibiton to which was explaining about coral reefs, having been at a coral reef less than two weeks ago I found this fascinating, they had (living) fishes and coral in a tank, the person behind was eagerly taking pictures and saying (loudly) 'Dory, its Dory' 'oo Nemo!' These exhibits are for people all ages as she was somewhere in her late 20s.
The Holocaust Memorial Museum - It was towards the end of the exhibition that I was emotionally touched by this, when I heard and saw the stories from the survivors. Before that it was factually interesting, explaining about Adolph Hitlers rise to power, how the war progressed and what aid the other countries gave. I had a story of an individual, Susan, a survivor, and her experience to read interactively as I went through the 3 floors of the exhibition. The message of the museum 'For the dead and the living we must bear witness'. Since my travels started I have born witness to the effects of war; in Laos I met a victim of UXO and I saw its maiming results, in Vietnam Agent Orange and brutual killing methods, In Cambodia The Khmer Rouge which, in simple terms, i'm not sure how this differed from the Nazi's except they kept it within their boarders....
The musuem invited us to make a pledge. I Pledged: 'To open my eyes and those of the people around me'.
What would you pledge ?
The air and space museum - which took me once again into outer space in their planetarian. I would recommend it if you're visiting. I took a visit to the past with the Wright Brothers and back to outer space and the first missions to outer space and walking on the moon.
All the museums I visited are interactive and great for adults and kids alike.
I took a walk through the Cherry blossoms, I was in time for them, and they are spectacular. I saw a deomonstraion held at U.S. Capitol on Immigration, visited lots of memorial including Lincoln, Martin Luther King, War Veterans, walked past the white house which is much smaller than the buildings around it, I was surprised by how well hidden by them. It is impressive though.
Next, New York again !!