Monday, June 23, 2008

Newburry, Vermont: 8-11June08

Lovely and Serene ...

The smelly :) 18 years old dog, Princess, at the veranda.
It got very thick and long fur that, summer is too hot for him and it couldn't dry its thick fur fast enough during winter.
So it hasn't been taking shower for a while, even though it misses to swim in the river.
It is so old that, it goes with slow motion in its movement. :)

Humming bird feeding at the nectar 'tank' in front of the veranda.

The garden and Tish's house.

We saw a few deers some where at the grassland in the evening time.

In the village, each house is rather far apart.
Like many little small places, they recognized each other as, this is who's mom or this is who's daughter.
They give direction in the way that: Turn left a john's house.

Hairy cows.
I thought they were wild because one herd of them were just walking freely near to the wood and they just ran away when i got too near.
But unfortunately, they are been feed to be slaughter for meat.
The good thing is, at least they are not factory confined cows.

The shallow and very clear, clean river.

The horse at some neighbour's courtyard.

How many house is blessed with a small waterfall in front of the house?
How many of us has the sound of river or waterfall to accompany your sleep?
Tish and family got them all.

This is a very nice house number plate.

Thanks to Tish, i visited to the school where she is teaching, Oxbow High School, and witnesses their interesting and fun informal small graduation of the high school (not the real graduation ceremony).
The senior (the graduating students) marched into the hall with their funny costumes and later on, the junior gave them flowers.

The grassland beside of one of the neighbour's house.

My friend, Tish.
i enjoyed the stay at her house with her sister, Cathy and nephew, Philips, and niece, Alicia.

The beautiful sunset.
When was the last time that you enjoy a sunset?
You see a fireflies?
You see a stary night?
You enjoy watchings a lightning?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New York City, USA: 2-7June08

A Crazy, Colorful and Happening Metropolitan

i would love to visit here again, but it is a far too crowded and kind of noisy place for me to stay for long term.
Many visitors to New York City like me, don't stray off Manhattan, but in fact:
New York City = Manhattan + Brooklyn + Queens + Staten Island + Bronx

Brooklyn Bridge was the world's largest suspension bridge for 2o years.
i took this picture from the nearby Manhattan Bridge.

Central Park.
It is at Uptown Manhattan and it east side is called Upper East Side and West is upper West Side.
People come to this giant garden to jog, to play, to walk the dog ... or anything, just to escape from the busy midtown.

Museum of Modern Art or MoMA.

i personally found the things which i were enjoying was the colorful floor, the courtyard and Picasso's drawings.
It is an interesting place to visit, but if you have budget constraint (admission USD 20) and time constraint and you are not a very art person, you might want to just visit its shop instead of the museum.

May be, no trip to New York is considered as complete without a visit to The Statue of Liberty at the Liberty Island.
The security thing is kind of annoying but bearable.
I spent around 4 hours (!) in this island itself, joining 2 guided tour from park rangers (for outer and inner of the statue).
i am glad that i joined the tour as they are very informative. i have never know that, this statue is built in reconition of fraternity between then French and American.
The statue is made from copper (thickness only 2 dimes, it take 30 years for the copper to turn into the current green color) in France and shipped to America.
The same French designer of Eiffel Tower, shaped the face of the statue using his mother's face!
Also, the statue was actually in a walking position and not standing. Her right feet is actually breaking a shackle and she is holding a key stone at her left hand.
The statue is facing to the direction of Europe and the 7 'spikes' at the crown depicts 7 seas.

This is the inner part or the museum inside of the statue.
i join the free guided tour of the National Park Ranger and he gave me a free admission ticket to the observatory inside of the statue (One should pay separately for admission to the observatory when you buy the boat ticket at Manhattan).
There is an old or original torch of the statue inside her.
Time ago, they tried to make the statue into a lighthouse too (at the torch portion). Unfortunately, when the boat see the light, they would see Manhattan as well, so this wasnt working. In turn, the changes made the statue started to rust at the torch, obviously this is very very bad.
In the end, they replaced the whole torch area.
So what we see at the statue now (the torch), is not longer the original. The 'new' torch is plated with 24K gold (the flame).

Near to the Liberty Island is the Ellis Island Immigration Musuem.
It is an interesting place to find out about the immigration history of so many 'now' american.

The American can find the 'origin' of their ancestor over here or have the name of their ancestor to put on the "Wall of Honor" at a fees.

Little Itally.
i am surprised to fine out that, Italian, like Chinese, is very much a 'immigration' force.
There are almost "Little Itally" at every big city as like for Chinatown. :)

The biggest Chinatown in the world. :)
Cheap sourvenirs, cheaper Chinese food ...
This is a very self-sustained community with the lowest crime rate in NYC. They even have their own community police.

The American Musuem of Natural History.
This replica of the dinosaur from the filming of Jurassic Park, at the main entrance hall, reminded me with the movie "Night in the Museum" (or name like this).

i like this museum very much, there are so many interesting things to see, from the Dinasaur Hall, the Hall of Biodiversity to the Hall or African People to .... just too many to mentioned.
i spent like 4 hours here (due to time constraint) and i think one can easily spend a whole day here.

The Hall of Ocean Life, this is a replica of the blue whale.
It is huge ye ...

The former World trade centre ground.
What they left now is merely a construction side of "Ground Zero".

View of New York City from the Empire State Building.
Now the tallest building in NYC.
The golden top spike building is the Chrysler Building.

The Metroplitan Museum of Art, another of my favorite.
Well ... you can spend a few days here!

I like this painting by Piccasso, The dreamer.

This is the Chinese art area.
There are American Wings, Egyptian rooms, Asian Art galleries, 19 century galleries, European paintings ....

Wall street.
Behind is the historical neo-gothic Trinity Church.

Time Square.
There are many shops selling cheap touristic stuff, such as, souvenir T shirt at 7 pcs at USD 10.99 (Indian price!).
There are always many people at all time!

Upper West Side (the musical West Side story supposingly to be happened here.)
i stayed here, but i think it is better to stay downtown as more tourist sites and places like Chinatown and little Italy are all there.
If you want a cheap accommodation, it is better to book online, as it is cheaper than walk in. Some backpacker lodging don't take walk in as well.

i found these car plate thing interesting.
Different state with different color and slogan. Eg: New York is "The Empire State".

42th Street or Time Square Metro (underground train).
This is kind of interchange. The metro line looks complicated in the map, but in fact, it is very easy.
Any place go North is considered as going uptown and go South as going downtown.
From East of West or so, it is better to take bus.
Every entrance is USD 2 no matter how far or near it is, so for a visitor, it is better to take a week pass (USD 21).
It can be used for both bus and metro and this saves you the cost of been double charged if you get out from the wrong station and need to get in again.

NYC City Pass

There is this thing called city pass which gave you the access of 6 sights at USD 74.
One of the 'advantage' of this pass is, you can cut the queue to go to a 'special' counter for admission (well ... eventhough the normal counter looks long, but normally the queue clears fast.)

My 'thoughts' as a budget user.

1.) Empire State Building - Admission USD 18, it is good to get an audio guide (better than the map thing USD 8) at USD 6 = USD 24
The audio guide is covered by city pass.

2.) Ellis Island and Liberty Statue - Admission USD 12 (you gained admission to the observatory free of charged if you join the very good free 45 min ranger tour, which unfortunately, most people don't) Otherwise, the admission to observatory is another USD 6 and not covered by city pass.

3.) The Museum of the Modern Art (MoMa) - Nothing much to see unless you are a real modern art person. Free admission on Friday after 4pm. (Admission at USD 20)

4.) Guggenheim Museum - Many are interested to see the building. The building is impressive consider it is build in year 1959, but, in compare with the building nowsaday, it is just another modern creative building. Modern art exhibition, so nothing much to see for me. Admission is pay as you wish on Friday after 5pm. (Admission USD 18)

5.) Metropolitan Museum of Art and Natural History Musuem. i think admission is at USD 18 each and this is a must!

If you have a student card, you get student price for the musuems.
Check the website for admission fees, may be my memories failed me.