Monday, August 10, 2009

USA 2003: 2nd time around - From West to East

enjoying his new toy while thousands of feet in the sky
Going back to the US just a few months after our last trip in Oct 2002 was a blessing indeed. Although Kelvin was only 3 years old then he was well-behaved the whole trip, from our flight from Singapore to Narita and Narita to LAX. He was contented playing with his matchbox and hot wheels cars. And, of course, his fair share of the orange juice served on-board. No tears, no tantrums. 

We had a longer time in the US that time around, spending almost a month visiting the opposite sides of the continental US. We travelled for 28 days in the months of July and August.

For the international leg of our journey, we booked Northwest (Singapore/LAX-JFK/Singapore). The airfare for one adult and one 3-year old child then was just $1,900.

For the domestic leg of our trip, we took Jet Blue (Oakland,CA - JFK,NY) which cost a hefty USD602 (for 1 adult + 1 child). This was sponsored by my Aunt whom we visited in the East Coast. (Thanks, Auntie Pines!).

Since we moved from one place to another, we had several accommodations in our list:
- In Downtown LA we stayed at Holiday Inn, overlooking Staples Center.
- In Sunnyvale, CA we stayed at Sundowner Inn
- In Manhattan, NY we stayed at Holiday Inn again (smaller room compared to the one in LA)
- somewhere in New York, for the rest of our stay there, was spent at my aunt's house 
- somewhere in New Jersey, we stayed in my other aunt's house to be with the family for a few days

Car rental fee at Avis for 2 weeks during that time was $995.88.

And here's our itinerary for a well-spent holiday with family:

Exploring the WEST COAST - California......

We headed straight to  Knott's Berry Farm  on day one and spent half a day in the theme park. That meant some rides and a chance to see Snoopy and friends. 

We visited Pan Pacific Park where Kelvin played in this big playground.

On Day 7, we drove to San Diego to visit Legoland  and boy, did we have a lot of fun!

Day 8, after driving his cousin and nephew to the airport, my husband picked us up from the hotel for an early morning drive around Beverly Hills to see the nice houses in the neighborhood. Passed by Rodeo Drive. Then headed again to San Diego, this time to visit Seaworld and Shamu :)
with Tita Nora who welcomed us to LA and brought us around town
On Day 10 was our long drive to Monterey Bay to visit the famous aquarium, see some sea otters on our first time riding an amphibious vehicle around town.

Day 12 was our time in San Francisco - the beautiful city of steep hills, Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars to name a few things that makes this city one of the top destinations in California.
waiting to catch our cable car ride at the turntable
Day 13 was an unforgettable eerie encounter at Winchester Mystery House. Talk about a sprawling mansion filled with history and mystery built for a very petite lady. 
one of the many rooms in this once ever expanding mansion
On Day 14, we were off to a nature adventure at Yosemite National Park to see the falls, the dome and some big sequoia trees.

On Day 16, we flew to the Big Apple that is New York, about 5hrs from Oakland. There in we met up with family members and explored the city that never sleeps. We stayed at Holiday Inn in the Tribeca area before staying with my Aunt in her cozy apartment for the next few days.

In New York.......

On Day 17, we visited Ground Zero together with my cousins. We could still see the shattered window pane from the building across where the Twin Towers once stood high. It gave an eerie feeling was we looked into the cross monument through the fences.

Day 18 was when were strolled along Times Square at night.

On Day 19, we headed to the top of the Empire State Building and rubbed elbows with superstars at Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum. 

On Day 20, we took a train from my Aunt's house near Pelham Station to the heart of Manhattan. That when we first set foot at the Grand Central Station. We also visited Statue of Liberty, Central Park and Intrepid Museum. 

Day 21 was the day we drove off to New Jersey where we stayed at my other Aunt's house. A visit to the Six Flags theme park was a treat.

On Day 22, my Aunt who works at the Readers Digest HQ then brought us on a tour of the grounds before we head off to Atlantic City.

On Day 23, we drove around the outskirts of New York and watched Finding Nemo in the cinema. 

Oh how we miss those days spent with family overseas. Time is always not enough when you're having fun. 

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