Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh, Chicago!

Chicago, Illinois
(Dec. 13-14, 2010)

our trip started with an about 15 minute walk from the house towards the train station. it was about 6am and still dark and cold and snowy everywhere. i pretty much enjoyed the sights around me while trying hard not to slip and fall.
Amtrak was a bit delayed and took us almost 4 hours from West Lafayette to Chicago. but I couldn't sleep the entire time because i was excited.

the sun was shining brightly in Chicago when we arrived. we went to Chinatown after checking in at the hotel and had brunch/merienda. ee walked around and looked for cheap souvenirs but couldn't find any so we proceeded to Adler Planetarium which offered free entrance fees just for that day (Tuesday). ;)

temperature dropped later that day when we got to the Millennium Park. the scenery was breathtaking but it was just so darn cold and the biting crisp breeze didn't help much at all. one of the main attractions there was the "cloud gate" also known as "the bean" because of it's bean-like shape. it is made of stainless steel and has a polished exterior you could very well see your reflection in the surface.

moving around Chicago is fairly easy with their reliable and efficient transport system. a one day ride all you can ticket is priced at 5 USD. you can use this for all train lines including buses around the metro. and unlike New York subways, most of the stations are above ground albeit a bit rustic and classic-looking too.

Day 2 found us starting out early again to check out more parks and museums. We first went to Shedd Aquarium. I love aquariums and i really wanted to add this in the aquariums of the world that I have been to. It was indeed huge and i marveled at the many more sea creatures we saw there including some piranhas and beluga whales and otters. We also saw Polar Express on 4D.

From the aquarium we went to the nearby Fields Museum which again offered free entrance fees for that day. I'm not much of a fan of museums and ancient artifacts, i find it stuffy and a bit stifling i'd sometimes find it hard to breath when i'm around them. It still amazes me somehow that at least we still get to see and know about them.

Late lunch consisted of spaghetti and deep dish pizza from the famous Giordano's, at least I felt the experience more complete having trying out Chicago's famous pizza.

We set out for one last yet hurried walk around the city up to the river for more sightseeing and photo taking. I say hurried because it was so darn cold and my left knee started cracking and aching i could barely walk!

Anyway, we finally headed to the Union Station to catch our 545PM train back to West Lafayette.

West Lafayette

my happy place

snow surrounds them.
but here in the dead of winter
she felt his warmth all the more.


i got on the NY subways and the air train towards JFK. became fascinated (but felt more like an idiot) with the self-service kiosks of Delta. good thing i checked in online and printed my boarding passes beforehand that entry became quite a breeze. till they checked my luggage twice because of my cans of sisig and a jar of garlic chips, and the heat packs i brought all the way from Japan.

the flight to Detroit was about two hours and yes, there was wifi on board!

i rode the tram from gate A75 in Detroit towards gate 25 for my next flight to Indianapolis. the flight took about 40 minutes and T and his friends met me up at the airport and we then all headed to West Lafayette, about an hour's drive from the airport.

West Lafayette is a city Indiana, northwest of Indianapolis and is home to Purdue University.

it was definitely colder that NYC but it least there were no gusts of wind which was more chilling and unbearable. being a university town, it isn't as crowded and as busy as any metropolis. life here is simpler, quieter, more serene.

snow, snow everywhere!

there wasn't any snow yet when i reached New York. it was cold alright and the wind could blow quite harshly but there wasn't any snow.

when i went to Indiana though it's an entirely different story. i couldn't quite contain myself with the excitement that yes, there's snow! i didn't waste any time for me to actually touch it with my bare hands.

and yes, i was finally able to make my very first snow angel, even if it was past midnight and freezing that time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

on subways

the New York subways is generally not for the faint of heart. it could get daunting not just with it's quite intricate system but also with its dank, dark interiors. i was a bit shocked at first, i knew it was a bit old but i didn't expect it to be that old and seemingly rickety.

after having gotten used to it though, i somehow learned to appreciate its charm and character.

Brooklyn Bridge

a free "exhibition" of Van Gogh's Starry Night at a Fifth Ave station

just right out at Wall Street

Fifth Ave. and 53rd St. where MOMA could be found

"Can you see me now?"

and though the system could be quite tricky with all the many lines, stations and destinations to choose from there's a for that. with the said website it's but easy to determine our routes by merely inputting our locations and destinations.

and unlike our own MRT, people there are more organized. except maybe for a few isolated altercations with fellow passengers, some could get extra grouchy you know.

so hop on, hold on tight and enjoy the ride. and hey, say hi to some ratties in case yo see them scamper around huh! :p

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My US Invasion

How i would i even start to blog about everything that took place the last three months? whoa! anyway, here's a quick look at how my sched was:

Nov. 19- left for HKIA aboard Cathay Pacific just right before i watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the day before.

Nov. 20- after a quick stop over at HKIA i had the first breath of American air at the JFK.

Nov. 25- my first Thanksgiving dinner with fellow Pinoys in NYC

Dec. 9- West Lafayette, Indiana

Dec. 16-17- overnight stay and sightseeing in Chicago, Illinois

Dec. 22- trip back to NYC

Dec. 26- First snow day in NYC which intensified into a blizzard!
-overnight trip to Stamford, Connecticut

Jan. 3-5 Washington, DC

Feb. 7-16 West Lafayete, Indiana

Feb. 25 Philippines, my Philippines!

in between those places i was just lazing, couch-potatoing in front of the TV or walking around, pigging out and exploring the streets of New York. Such a grand holiday indeed. I'll come up with more detailed stories soon, hang on tight. ;)