Sunday, 12 January 2014

Of Cold Weather, Shivers and City Life I'd Missed Badly.

Spent my winter break by going to Rochester, New York City and Boston. These are what I'd learnt from my 10-day trip.

On the way to Rochester, NY
1. Talking to a random person sitting next to you in the flight can be super awesome. I met this one guy named Mark when I was travelling to Rochester, NY from Denver Airport. He was so friendly so we managed to indulge in conversation through out the four hours we spent in the flight. An electrical engineer who had just moved to Downtown Denver several months ago and he is planning on running his own audio company (Isn't that cool! If only I had taken up the TNB scholarship, I would become an electrical engineer too). Interestingly, he was reading a book called Faith in Christianity (or something like that. I can't recall) and we also discussed about religions. He said he was raised Catholics but for some reasons he doesn't want to abide to certain rules and beliefs that the Catholics do (I don't wanna say what the beliefs are because I don't know them in details), so he just considers himself as a Christian for now.

A beautiful lady sitting in front of me in the flight was also reading a book called "Discovering God". It's just awesome to know that a lot more people are in the process of discovering the existence of God and I pray that Allah will guide them to the truth.

2. Someone sitting next to me on my second flight (I had two flights before I reached Rochester) ordered a beer. I suffered through out the flight because I couldn't stand the strong smell coming out from his mouth when we were talking.

Hello Rochester, NY
1. No restaurants were opened on the Christmas night. Amalina's flight from Kentucky was delayed for another two hours and we were waiting for her in starvation at the airport :( 

Lesson learnt: Bring some biscuits or breads or donuts (Hey, Dunkin Donuts is so cheap here in America)

2. Rochester is colder than Colorado! Brrr.

3. Met two Arab guys when Manju and I were doing our own midnight tour around Rochester. They saw me wearing headscarf and came to us asking where we were from. (Eceh nak bajet muka arab ke apa ni)
Wow, they knew about Petronas too! Haha. Am regretting not asking which university they are from.
Rochester.

4. I hate spaghetti (Well, I don't like most of the western foods anyways). But Kak Qila's spaghetti sauce was quite good. Now I kinda like it I guess? :") 

Oh, Kak Qila is Amalina's cousin. She's currently doing her PHD at University of Rochester. They have super cool campus and hospital.

Romantic Niagara Falls, NY
1. We rent a cute, tiny Kia Soul and drove to Niagara Falls State Park which is about two-hour drive from Kak Qila's university. 

2. Not to mention that it snowed heavily and drivers couldn't drive properly 'coz the blizzard was super terrible.

3. Since I have motion sickness, I slept throughout the journey (But woke up to enjoy the excitement of seeing a blizzard)

4. Pumped up to see beautiful Niagara Falls from far. Hey, it's free to take a walk along there -- which is definitely my way of releasing stress.

5. Wanted to buy a fridge magnet as my souvenir but it was so bloody expensive =__="

But finally, I found a cheap one ^_^

6. Quite frustrated since we couldn't see the whole Niagara Falls because of the thick mist.

7. Did I mention that it also rained and four layers of clothes weren't enough? 

8. But overall, it was an exciting visit :") I have no regrets. 

9. I thank Allah for everything that He creates. SubhanAllah.

New York City, Here I Come.
1. We rode a bus from Rochester to New York City which cost us about 70 bucks. Didn't know that there was no proper place to wait for the bus.

2. Oh man, the bus had been delayed for two hours because it bumped into some problems at the US-Canada border (The bus was from Canada obviously).

3. We ended up waiting in the extreme cold weather for two freaking hours. Yes, I am so upset. They told we might get a full refund if we were to reach NYC two hours later than we were supposed to. And we did.
Now all I am hoping for is that they will return our money.

4. Sat next to the most unfriendly Chinese ever in the bus (because most Chinese I know are so nice to me). After trying to engage in a conversation with him, I simply gave up and slept for six hours =.=

5. After arriving in NYC, we were supposed to take a shuttle that would drop us off to our respective hotel. He wanted 8 bucks for a single ride. That's darn expensive. I felt cheated and truly deceived. We stayed in NYC for six days, so imagine paying 16 bucks everyday.

a) NYC - First Day
6. Left hotel at around 8 o'clock in the morning because we decided to have Statue of Liberty as the first place we would visit in NYC. Unfortunately, we ended up riding the tour bus for two hours before reaching the take-off place for the ferries going to the island.

7. Anyway, was stoked to find a cart that sells Halal food!! (Turned out the carts are EVERYWHERE in NYC).

8. Waiting in line to buy tickets for three hours in the cold. We found out soon that the tickets are sold out for the day, and we could only buy tickets for the next day.

9. Miley wrecked this ball.


10. Frustrated, we went for a walk at the Wall Street. Found a Museum of Finance which is open to public for free. Not so into finance and economy, we left the museum after approx. 10 minutes.

11. Since Brooklyn Bridge was only 10 minutes away by walking, we decided to just spend the rest of the evening there.

12. I bought three new headscarves on the way to the bridge. I wanted to buy more, hmmmmm.

13. The view of NYC from the bridge is simply awesome. This is really one of the perfect places to go for a honeymoon... <3 <3

14. Hey, we found a new Malaysian restaurant. I was jumping happily in front of the restaurant (I am serious). Oh my God, the food was gooood! Alhamdulillah.

15. Leaving the Malaysian restaurant for Madame Tussauds!

b) NYC - Second Day
1. Being wayyy smarter than we were yesterday, we went directly from the place where the shuttle bus dropped us to Battery Park (Ferries would take off to the island from here) by subway.

2. Not many people were seen lining up to buy tickets this early in the morning. SHOULD HAVE COME AT 9 AM YESTERDAY.

3. I love ferries and boats!!
P/s: I don't have seasickness :") Just car, though.

4. It was raining heavily and was super cold :( I was shivering like crazy and I had cuts all over my fingers because my skin was too dry, no matter how much lotion I applied. Couldn't take much pictures of Statue of Liberty too.

5. Waiting for an hour just to board the ferry back to the mainland (NYC). Hmmm.
Wet all the way.

6. We once again made a mistake by choosing to ride on the tour bus. We were supposed to go to the Main Street where Hollywood movies tour was held. We signed up to join the tour several days before we came to the Big Apple.

7. Raining caused a very bad traffic jam and we were stuck on the bus for countless hours. It was kinda boring too, since we couldn't see anything from inside the bus. Amalina called to cancel the appointment. Me? I slept all the way till we arrived a few blocks away from the main street.
P/s: Well, I can sleep anywhere, remember?

8. The Hunger Games started. No halal restaurants were seen nearby where the bus dropped us off. So, we just went into a random diner to have lunch (or dinner; considering how late it was).

9. Coz I have a super duper huge interest in Picasso's paintings, I persuaded them to go to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Although MoMA featured a lot of Pablo Picasso's paintings, I was actually disappointed because no paintings from the Blue Period were displayed :(
P/s: Google Blue Period if you have no clue about it.

10. Rockefeller Center was two blocks away from MoMA. It wasn't that far. Saw two pretty girls trying to have a selfie in front of the building. One of them suddenly greeted us with a big smile and offered to take our picture. Then, she quickly said to us, "Could you now take a picture of both of us, please?".
More like an order. And our picture turned out to be quite bad, not to mention blurry too. *sighed*

11. Went to visit Top of the Rock. Staff warned us that because of the hours of rain, it was near zero visibility up there and asked us to just come back when the weather's good. We refused to go back tomorrow since we already had other plans.
Oh yeahhh, we couldn't see any buildings at all from the 70th floor :/
But hey, at least we got this!

c) NYC - Third Day
1. Third day already? How time flies.

2. Manju wanted to see exhibitions at American Museum of Natural History.

3. I like this uptown better! It's just so peaceful here. Not too crowded.

4. Okay, maybe now I should believe in the existence of dinosaurs. (I never had)

5. Bumped into Nazran again! Hehe pretty excited to see familiar faces here.

6. So, we decided to watch a Broadway show at least once.
Because someone said, "Never consider you've been to NYC if you ain't gonna watch a play".

7. Thanks to Elisha, we found a place where you can get up till 60% off for the Broadway tickets. The counter opens at 3 pm, but people had been lining up since 2. IN COLD AND DESPERATELY NEEDED TO USE THE RESTROOM. Nasib baik boleh jamak Zuhur and Asar hihihi.

8. Tickets for Wicked, The Lion King and all other known plays were sold out :(
So, Nazran, Manju and I decided to watch A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. Show started at 7 pm. Got it for 80 bucks (Still mahal but it was better compared to 160 bucks, right? 50% off.)

9. Listening to Nazran's love story can be so sweeettt you could die of diabetes. (I hope you understand that I'm exaggerating).
Hmm, his face was beaming with joy gitewww.

10. Walked a couple of blocks to the Empire State Building. The queue was unbelievably long so we gave up. Oh, Turga was walking with us.

11. Saw Museum of Sex from the opposite road while walking. *terkejut*

12. Starving. Red Lobster, here we go!
#PissedOff #WaitingForSoLong #HeyIJustWantedShrimps #LateToTheatre #Sobsss

13. Oh my God, the play was fantastic!! The voices, the songs, the storyline.

14.  Dah malas nak tulis ni sebenarnya. Hmm.

15. Waited at the back door so we could take pictures with the actors (or whatever you refer them to).

16. Didn't even use up to $178 for the entrances to places we had visited. Shouldn't buy the New York City Pass from the beginning.

d) NYC - Fourth Day
1. Went to Central Park!

2. So peaceful, I cry.

3. Went back to the Malaysian restaurant to meet a few Malaysians. They are all from Taylor's University although I never knew them before hahaha :)

4. Nasi Ayam (Chicken Rice) was super good.

5. Went to Main Street again to watch ball drop, for the New Year's Eve. Polices had blocked several roads so we had to walk, like a few blocks away just to go across the road :(

7. FOUND A HALAL RESTAURANT THAT SELLS CHICKEN WINGS. Wait, I had a funny experience.

6. Been standing for three hours for the freaking ball drop.

7. Kak Qila gave up and went back to the hotel alone.

8. Finally, ball drop! We've made it, yay! I would never recommend anyone to go haha. And personally, I would never go again.

9. Sakit kaki :(

e) NYC -Fifth Day
1. Too tired to wake up. Legs were too painful to stand up right. So we didn't go anywhere this morning.

2. Going to Boston by Amtrak.

3. Menyesal tak beli cheesecake dkt Madison Square Garden :"(

4. 5 hours to Boston.

5. Zzz.

Boston
5. It was snowing in Boston. Heavy snowstorm just started. Haihhh.

6. Visited MIT and Harvard University.

7. Met Angela and her boyfriend who is studying in MIT!! :O

8. Why did it snow? :(

9. Went to Boston Airport the next day. Flight got delayed for over an hour. Hmm.

10. Well, my friend's flight was delayed for two days so I shall not complain.

11. I will definitely go to Boston again.