Saturday, May 05, 2007

Foreign Journey: New York, New York 3: Woodbury

In the outskirts of New York City, lies this famous factory outlet stores. Probably one of the largest in the world.

For shopoholics, it is quite a paradise, due to cheap prices in relative to the flagship store of the same brand in downtown New York, or any other major cities. However, their quality, selections, are pretty much limited, perhaps explaining their cheaper prices. In addition, visitors will have to travel some distance from the city to get here. A Greyhound bus, for a return trip, cost a whopping USD39. So in the end, not much savings might occur.

It may be a shopping area, with hundreds of stores and thousands of people. But it is surrounded by hills and forest, providing a contrasting scenery.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Foreign Journey: New York, New York 2: Travelling

Not only is New York City a cool place, even the car license plate are cool as well.

The license plate of one of the diplomats.

However, owning cars in New York City is an expensive affair. It requires much more money for parking fees than Singapore. To illustrate the point, an entry cost USD12.66, excluding the 18.375% tax. And this is a parking space located near NYU, New York University.

In sophisticated Fifth avenue, the prices are astronomical. A month of parking rent cost more than renting a condominium in Singapore.

For exotic cars, which are aplenty in this city, it cost an additional USD100.

Another alternative is a taxi, which cost USD2 for a mile of distance traveled. And tipping is customary.

The cheapest way to travel is by the New York subway, one of the more complex subway system of the world. And a few million New Yorkers travel on them everyday, making it the top 5 busiest subway systems in the world. It cost USD2 per ride but a day pass for unlimited ride cost USD7. For a week pass, it cost USD24.

Known to be dangerous and dark in the past, it has seen improvements in the recent years.

It may not be the nicest place, with some parts looking old, with some unknown pungent smell, and rubbish and dirt all around. But it serves its purpose well enough-efficient travel.

Grand Central, the famous station.

The subway is an interesting to experience the vibes of New York City. Not only are the trains crowded, with people rushing in and out of the trains, the variety of people is astounding. From sophisticated office lady, to tourists holding and looking at their "Lonely Planet" and maps, to weirdly dressed people, as well as street performers in the subway stations.

From the Chinese flute player near Chinatown area, to some youngsters doing their dances, to keyboard and guitar players, to even people singing along their way and also while listening music in the headphones, it must be concluded that these people are talented, really talented. For the singers, from the initial encounter, they might be even better than the contestants of Singapore Idol. True street entertainment, random, unlicensed, talented, unforgettable thrill.

For some reasons, NYPD sounds cool.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Foreign Journey: New York, New York: Downtown

New York City, the city with many nicknames; "Big Apple", "The City that never sleeps", "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere", "Centre of the Universe". It holds the status of being the arts, culture, financial capital of the world, and basically the capital of the modern world.

Like in every major modern city, travelling in New York Cityit is bound to be expensive. However, the Staten Island ferry to Staten Island is free. Something which might be surprising to visitors, especially Singaporeans.

Being a free ferry ride, it is expected to have loads of crowds.

The ferry passes the most famous icon of New York City, the Statue of Liberty, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Due to security reasons, no visitors are allowed to land on the Liberty Island.

The ferry also allows visitors to view the downtown district of Manhattan from the sea.

The state of New Jersey can also be seen. A contrasting view, which very much explains why New Jersey is always considered second rated under New York.
After the ferry, a walk around the financial district of New York City, or the financial centre of the world, is an unforgettable experience.

The famous New York Stock Exchange, and the Dow.

Although this might be a modern city, the history and heritage is still not forgotten.

The tragic incident of the fate of WTC.

The rebuilding at the World Trade Centre site, for the Freedom Tower. A tragic incident it may be, it has become another attractions, where many vendors set up their stores around the area for an extra tourist buck.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Maple Farm in Ontario

Maple, the symbol of Canada. Horton Farm, located at the north of Toronto. (31st March)

Canada produces most of the world's maple products. With that, Quebec manufactures most of it, while Ontario produces a more modest amount.

The forest in the early spring.

The sugar maple, one of the few trees that secrete their sap out. It is only in early spring that the sap start to flow out from the trunk. It requires freezing temperatures at night, and above freezing temperatures during the day to produce a pressure within the trunk, that allows the flow of the tree sap. Why most trees, but the maple donate their precious sap, is still an unknown mystery.

The natives shared the secret of the sugar maple with the early European settlers. They were an important form of energy, especially during the winter months, in this part of the world, during that period of time.

The sap that flows out is a clear, slightly sweet liquid.

It requires heating for hours, to vaporise the water.

It requires a lot of effort, energy to produce the maple sugar. Thus explaining the high cost of the maple syrup. The maple sugar, where water is completely removed, is 10 times more expensive than sugar from cane. However, people are willing to pay much for maple sugar due to its distinctive smoky flavour as well as it is the healthier form of sugar, with its health benefits, almost akin to honey.

The beautiful forest, beside the maple farm.

The great view from the Inuit Art Museum, almost like a first rated home with a forest view.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Foreign Journey: Ottawa 2

The bridge linking Ontario and into Quebec, the French Province.Ottawa, Quebec, in sight.

Once reaching Quebec, all signs change from English into French.

In the Museum of Civilization, where they showcase the history and transformation of Canada through the centuries, including the Canadian identity. Probably hockey and skating defines some part of the Canadian identity.

A church in Ottawa.

The Ottawa River.

The same Ottawa River, on the very next day, exact spot, yet within a day, the view changes quite drastically.

The streets of the beautiful city of Ottawa.

It means, 'I will remember', the phrase inscribed on all cars in Quebec, probably for Quebecquois, is to remember their history, but for travelers, it also means remembering how beautiful this land is.


Site Meter