Albany, New York and its million dollar staircase

 

From Toronto to Albany, 630 km driven, 2 coffee cups, 1 bag of chips, 4:30 am wake up call and a nice New York State Capitol.

 

The winter didn’t stop us from driving, since we have our trusted winter tires installed in the car. And yes, we used a sedan instead of a compact car or SUV. We were kind of worried if ever we stalled somewhere in the interstate but, we got insurance anyway.

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We parked at Sate street just near the Capitol since it’s  free parking on Tuesday in between the hours we arrived! It was really a lucky day to begin our roadventures!

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In front of the NY State capitol is the old building of State Assembly. The freezing weather is manageable since this is south of Canada.

We didn’t have any itinerary to begin with. Everything we did is just all about impulse with the help of TripAdvisor, stock knowledge of history  and slight experience of the area. All we wanted to do is take a picture of great architecture, find anything interesting and just go out and see different places. If we have the entire month to drive, we will definitely stay longer than a day in this city.

I wish the Assembly Chamber staircase in the 3rd picture is much more detailed than it is. The feeling of the light coming from the ceiling gives more emphasis on the carvings of the staircase. According to the brochure, NY State Capitol staircases are the most prominent feature of the building and we couldn’t agree more on that –

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And of course, the infamous Million Dollar staircase! It’s really called The Great Westerb staircase, they said there were a lot of restoration done to rebuild and reinforce the staircase and they’ve done a really good job in maintaining it for the future generation of New Yorkers!

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HA! Focus on the staircase handrail and you would really see that there are detailed carvings, some are actually faces (ex. Lincoln)

 

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Senate chambers where I feel like I belong (say hello to my destiny. lol) There’s an actual tour that we didn’t avail since we are heavy readers of brochures and we want to take our time certain section. I would love to visit and devour the interior architecture of the Capitol! Pictures can’t capture the ambiance and feeling when you’re in it.

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War Room Ceiling

Beside the Capitol, they have this performing arts venue called the Egg. Maybe it’s the shape of an egg, but for me it looks like a UFO

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The Egg

We never explored the area around the Capitol but it looks like there are more things Albany has to offer. I’ll definitely come and visit again for a full day if ever our plan to Vermont persist!

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How I became a Trusted Traveler

Coming in and out of Canada/US may not be a burden for Canadians/Americans but the volume of people is really hard to endure. Any Canadian/American knows how long an immigration line could be during Holidays.

I remember the time when Delta airlines used to have only one line for all flights going out of Toronto. This means that even if your flight is later than other people, you will have to line up with them. I actually had a first hand experience of this situation. I arrived at the airport 3.5 hours before my flight but due to the unsystematic line up the plane almost left me. 

I didn’t really bother to enrol at first since I’m not planning to go on a monthly out of the country trip. But unforeseen circumstances happen and having one became a need.

So, the first question is.. – What is Trusted Traveler Program?

It saves you time by skipping the long lines in immigration. Card holders are considered as low-risk and pre approved traveler. 

Is it easy to apply?

You’ll undergo background check -national identity, criminal records, and so on. It would take weeks for it to review the application. If you get cleared, you’ll get a conditional approval status and next step will be the interview.

After successful interview, they will send you your global entry card that you could use whenever you travel either by land, by air, or by marine. 

Limitations

If you’re traveling with a non-nexus person, you’re not allowed to use your nexus. 

It’s really a GREAT feeling to know that you’re being trusted by the country.Overall it’s worth going through all the process. 😊

Statues, Concretes and Streets of NYC

 

2 days in NYC is not enough. I fell in love with the city the moment I step foot in Manhattan. I’m always a fan of building architectures specially when there are pillars and statues (Who wouldn’t by the way). Manhattan, New York offers a lot of that from 21st inspired buildings to old concretes. I could stare in Wall St. buildings or City hall building for a day or just tour around MET.:) I would definitely go back to NYC this year! MARK IT!

PANORAMA: DOWNTOWN and another weird incident

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Nathan Philips Square

Kids and even adults are enjoying their skates. If only I’m not scared to break my knees again I would definitely try it on a negative two digit temperature. I’m amazed how they can tolerate the wind chill knowing they can feel the breeze of the cold air while skating.

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SKATES and SNACKS

They also have skate rentals in case you don’t have your own. And  also a snack bar if you feel hungry or just want something to chew 🙂

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Yonge-Dundas Square

After I stroll around Bay, Adelaide, and Queen Street, I went back to Eaton Centre for DAIRY QUEEN! I was craving for their chicken strips that I recently saw in a commercial but it saddened me that the only DQ they have in the mall is only a kiosk that only sell ice creams. I ended up eating in A&W with their TEEN BURGER that I forgot to ask for them to remove the cheese, so instead, I remove it myself. After eating, I went for a walk, and a funny thing happened when I wanted to get inside H&M store. There was a man in early 20s, lying on the ground with eyes closed (maybe unconscious). People (not that too near but not distant) were trying to revive him, it didn’t caught my attention at first since I was talking to my mom about what happened in the interview I just had. I was standing in the concourse while waiting for our conversation to end, I didn’t notice that the man was already up and he walked towards the trash cans near me. I just felt like he was walking near me when people try to draw their attention near the spot where I am standing. He lost his balance again and fell unconscious on the top of the trash cans. People were very concern about him but not necessarily feasting over the scene, they kept their distance (Private space is really observed). A man was about to throw his trash and felt (okay, maybe) concerned that he somehow, tapped the guy on top-slash-blocking the trash cans. So, I went back to replying to my mother’s relentless questions until I felt that something or someone is slowly walking towards you -human instinct. And then I started to run but I kept my voice down even though I really want to and SHOUT so loud. After realising that I ran away from him, he walked towards an old woman (well not that VERY old) and hugged him from the back, maybe to give him support while standing. And the old woman was shocked and some man tried to call his attention that it’s not appropriate and some guy called police/security/911. I feel like he’s on drugs, intoxicated or really sick/helpless. The people didn’t judge him, they were really trying to help him. I hope he’s okay now.

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INDIGO BOOKS

“The world needs more Canada” – This was written in the wall of the stair case. I was overwhelmed by books and I wanted to buy everything I saw that really caught my heart. I’ll be back for it and will surely buy everything I need to fill my new SOON to be library! HAHA!

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Old City Hall, Queen Street

It’s just beside Nathan Philip Square. This was taken first among all those pictures uploaded in this entry. 🙂 This sums up everything that happened in my day. A coffee, great buildings/architecture and courteous people around. Towards a positive 2014!

P.S.

I love how Toronto Police ride a horse rather cars! It feels ancient, cool and some real authority is showing.;)

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SINGAPORE 2013: USS

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GOOD MORNING SECOND DAY. Woke up around 8am after a very long night. We pull ourselves up because we know we have to make it early on the bus terminal for the rebooking of our reservation. Went to beach road around 10am then headed to Vivo city for USS. Just a tip though, you can buy your tickets to universal in the venue itself cause the line in vivo city is too long for you to wait. And if you have a singaporean friend, or an expat friend or someone who’s living in SG you could ask them to help you purchase the EXPRESS PASS for only SGD74 compared to the normal price of SGD 76 with no express pass and SGD 133 with express pass ( i hope you get that)

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We ate lunch first right after we went in. You could choose MEL’S DINER if you want delicious burger, they also have chinese in the 2nd floor across mel’s diner. But because RC loves pizza and i’d rather choose pasta than rice, we ate at Loui’s.

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They also have other choices on salads, kind of pastas, baked ziti, lasagna and so on. The price is a bit high but its worth the food we ate. You must also try the restaurant near Shrek’s castle and in the Lost world, I’ve heard they have good food with an affordable price. You could also purchase their cute bottles (each attraction also sells their own jugs or bottles which i think is close to their price too)

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After eating, we immediately go to TRANSFORMERS ATTRACTION, which I can say is one of the “DONT MISS THIS” ride.

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The ride is like “The Mummy” but it’s more fun especially for the car lovers because you play as a new recruit of the transformers. ADRENALINE ALL OVER. And of course we will not miss the USS most awesome ride, CYCLONE and HUMAN. The best ride in the whole USS. you should not miss those 2 roller coaster. We really wanted to repeat that ride the whole day but we have to keep moving, and go to THE MUMMY. this one well, scares me because i dont like dark places plus sometimes its scary. It’s a good ride because you can actually feel the heat, coldness, and fire when the environment or setting change. Its a very thrilling and full of surprise ride.

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After a very long walk and the heat of the sun is streaking.. we decided to REST. and the best resting place in USS? SHREK’s CASTLE!!

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SHREK 4D. Well it speaks for the title itself. 4D.

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And because we’re tired and we dont want to go to any ride anymore since we already experienced rides in USS. we just waited for WATERWORLD. dont sit on the blue and green areas if you dont want to get wet.

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Then we just roam around to take some pictures and rest for a while.

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And if you want to get some souveniers. Do not forget to stop by in the USS shop.

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They sell fancy things, shirts, keychains and so on. It’s a bit pricey since its universal studios but its a good buy though! You may ask the store for sizes of shirt you want and you could ask them to contact the attraction store if you wish to ask for items there.

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Overall, went to USS for the… i dont know how many times already but this one is the most memorable because i went there with my bf celebrating my birthday.

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SINGAPORE 2013

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RC and I went to singapore last June 6 to spend my birthday there. This is the first time that I went to singapore without my mom there and it’s his first time to go abroad without family. It’s a milestone for us that we both went to singapore (and malaysia, later on i’ll post) together.

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OC attack, paid the Travel Tax (Php 1620 or 50 i forgot) and checked in our luggage. I’m really well prepared for the trip cause I really waited for this BIG day. Then we headed straight to the immigration and paid boarding fee (Php 600 or less). Waited for our flight for just an hour and it’s a good thing that we were there ahead of time. We were really excited the whole time. As we prepare ourselves for the take off, I asked him if he’s happy traveling with me, he just smiled and said “Yes.”

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We arrived in Changi airport around 5pm, and during our walk in the tarmac, you cant explain the excitement on our faces. We were actually ABROAD together.

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We couldnt take pictures of ourselves because we had to get our bags immediately. After we finally got our bags, we looked for forex, thankful that its just walking distance because im too tired to walk far. We exchanged our bills with SGDs. And for our emergency money I withdrew money from the atm.

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We took a cab going to our hotel. And since it’s rush hour, traffic was so heavy. It costs us SGD 26 for the cab ride. Imagine how much it is in peso, but rule of travelers, do not compute it in your home currency. We arrived at the hotel around 730pm, and we immediately called our friend, Jeps to pick us up in the hotel. She arrived with mich (another friend) and we went to ion to have dinner.

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We both ate hainan chicken and it was OK. well, we should’ve tried other dish but we were tired deciding and looking for food. But it was really good for our starving stomach.

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Who wouldn’t miss the infamous ONE DOLLAR ICE CREAM.:) thanks jeps for saying yes after forcing you to buy us ice cream. Haha.  And for the LADURÉE fans out there, the legit, LADURÉE french macarons are available in takashimaya 2nd floor!

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After a long walk in orchard and passed by the high end stores (LV, Prada, Hermes, Cartier and so on) we headed straight to where our friend works. We had teh tarik, and yes it’s one of my favorite drink, thanks raine and your friend for making us.:)

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Then went to TCC (which i think sells alot of delicious food in the wee hours of the night) for raine to have dinner.

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We had the a great and long night with my highschool friends and thank you for making our first night in SG worth remembering.:) Second day in USS will be next!!;)