07.07.2008 - 10.07.2008
I’ve always had the impression that if you lived in the Big Apple, you can confidently claim that even if you haven’t done it all, at least you’ve seen it all. And after my long-awaited visit to New York, I realized that it was true. I loved New York. It was just like I expected: diverse, cultural and chaotic. New York although at first a bit intimidating to some, won’t fail to fascinate you. Old musty buildings and modern polished skyscrapers seem to get along with each other. The countless billboards, enormous ads, colorful screens and yellow taxis flooding the streets make the city unique. The only disappointment was, we looked and looked, hoping to see some landmarks from Sex and the City, and lots of fashion conscious gorgeous looking people, to no avail. So we decided that half of what we saw in our beloved TV series was in fact B.S. The good news is, we managed to quickly get over that, and moved on.
The easiest building we could get to the day we arrived to get a bird view of the city was Rockefeller tower, on top of which you get an amazing view of all the madness and beauty. Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum was interesting although it was too packed with visitors trying to take a photo of themselves holding/kissing/groping their favorite star. Time’s Square and Wall Street each lived up to their reputation, while the Statue of Liberty looked on from the middle of nowhere.
To my surprise and contentment, we found out that there was no sale tax on clothes priced under hundred dollars, which, because of the weak American dollar, makes New York a shopping paradise for Canadians.
Our second stop was Washington DC. We visited the Capitol Hill as well as some of the one thousand not-so-great-looking memorials and monuments soaring up in every corner. Washington, DC is green and looks clean (well, the main streets) but it lacks charm and a welcoming personality. In short, it’s boring, just like its Canadian counterpart, Ottawa. The highlight of the trip to Washington DC was watching a scruffy man camping in front of the Capitol Hill, dozing away his 12th days of huger strike to express his opposition to Iraq war and the potential war with Iran.
Our third stop was Philadelphia, which looked historic and friendly, with a feeling of a little town just getting a little bigger. The old traffic lights, small little restaurants and the picturesque city hall, the biggest and tallest in the U.S. were nice to see. We had looked forward to getting on an open-topped double-decker city tour bus, but had to, frowningly, settle for a single-deck bus, which turned out to be for the better because it started pouring and people on the double-decker buses rushed in and crammed inside the lower level while we watched. One of those guilty pleasures!
Our last stop was beautiful and romantic Atlantic city which is the second biggest casino/gambling city in the U.S.A. Romantic perhaps because of the beach/beach-front bars/restaurants, and beautiful because of the neon lights of the casinos and the waterfront street and upscale shopping mall where we saw a brilliant water show. It was amazing to see a dull little fountain turned into a fascinating dance of water with light and music.
On the way back to Montreal, we had a short visit to the Woodbury factory outlet, the biggest in North America. But we were disappointed by the prices and the styles. We wished we had shopped more in NYC instead. So we decided that we should start planning occasional weekend trips to NYC for the sole purpose of shopping. Whether or not it will actually happen, I’m not sure, because I’m now back in Korea and well, the future is a mystery.