Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Exploration 3: Buffalo to NYC

Continued... 

27 Dec: We drove 7 hours from Philadelphia to Buffalo, to visit the Niagara Falls. Along our drive, it got really snowy and everywhere was covered with snow. It looked so beautiful settling on the trees and houses. Wonderful sight!

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Great scenery
28 Dec: We visited the Niagara falls, after which we drove over the rainbow bridge to Canada for a better view. View was more breathtaking at Canada, Ontario. It was freezing cold, my feet and hands were so numb with cold. I sneaked heat packs into my boots and the kids' gloves. The kids loved the snow, but after minutes, they realised the icy snow was too much for their hands to bear. So no snowman making. 

And of course, we tried the origins of the place, buffalo wings! We packed some wings from Anchor Bar to our hotel as supper. Not too bad, tastes much the same as any good buffalo wings from anywhere else.
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Icy snow fun
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Niagara Falls - American Falls from Ontario's view
29 Dec: This was a dreadful day, a supposedly 6 hours drive became a 10 hours drive to Woodbury. The road journey was icy, and for some reasons, the man followed a route guided by his GPS through some small and narrow roads. Barely 2 hours into our drive, the wheels of our car lost friction with the icy road, the man lost control of the steering, we skidded a 180 onto the opposite traffic lane and onto the roadside, before our car threw itself into a heap of snow. Love and hate with the snow. On one hand, snow made the condition bad to drive, and on the other, our lives and car were cushioned by a heap of snow.

Within that few seconds of intense shock, I was quick to look out for any cars from the opposite traffic and was ready to take cover for Jare as he was seated nearer the danger zone. But phew, no cars were oncoming and I just held on tight till this 'roller coaster' came to a halt. Man! I was in the most shocking moment of my life. In midst of these vast movements, the kids were still soundly asleep. I merely saw their heads swing left right left and it was like a dream to them. Their car seat belts must have restrained them from plunging forward. Always belt up!  

While stuck in the snow, we attempted to reverse our car, but to no avail. We knew 911 was our only help. My worry was how long we were gonna get stuck in the freezing cold with minimum food, and with two kids. Just as the man was conversing with a 911 officer, a fatherly bearded man pulled over, "Let me get you out." What a God sent angel! What would our suffering be if no one came to our rescue? Cold and hungry kids. 

The kind man dug out his chains, hooked them onto our car and his truck to tow us out. Within minutes, we were freed! We are truly grateful to the man who stopped by to rescue. Heartfelt thanks to him. I pray that his kind deed will be abundantly rewarded some day. It really makes a difference to offer help to the in need.

After this experience, we re-routed our journey to go by the thruway (highway) for a safer drive journey, where snow plowers were frequently on road clearing the snow.

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Drive within those wheel marks to lower chance of skidding
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Angel man hooking chain onto our car
I'm really thankful that we've been so well protected, even the car is unhurt. Worst could have happened. It's thankfulness beyond words. Life is precious!

30 Dec: And our agenda at Woodbury was yet another shopping spree at the Woodbury Common premium outlet. I love their range of brands here, but shopping could have been better during summer. It was -4 deg and we had to constantly get into shops to recharge our warmth. It's usually easier to park the kids in the bulky stroller with the man outside the shops, while I do a quick browse, but the cold winds was biting into our faces, everyone needs a hideout. I can't shop 'abandoning' them in the cold and I can't abandon shopping too. Ops!
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Little helpers sorting my loot
31 Dec: Drove an hour from Woodbury to New York City. We visited the Central park Zoo, it was Madagascar without the Lion, Giraffe and Hippo. A very small place, which you'll be done within 2 hours. After which, we checked into our hotel and hurriedly return our car. It was New year's eve, the world famous ball drop countdown was at Times square. Our hotel were minutes away and most roads were closed. We needed to return our car soon. Parking fees is robbery in NYC. While at central park zoo, we clocked USD63 for just 3 hours of parking! Metro stations were convenient to bring us around the next few days.

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Feeding the sheep in the children's corner

01 Dec: We visited the American Museum of Natural History, entrance fee is required. It's pretty much similar to that we visited in Washington DC. Hence, I don't find it as interesting anymore. We then visited Top of the rock, which gave the finest unobstructed view of NYC. Simply beautiful.

We had dinner at Sapporo, which was good. We ordered hot soupy ramen and Japanese beer. After dinner was chocolates at m and m's World. Love the colourful m & m they have, colours beyond what we can buy in the supermarkets.

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Night view of NYC
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Bagged off our colourful treats
02 Jan: We took a boat ride for a close view of the Statue of Liberty. A pity that construction works were in progress due to hurricane Sandy, we couldn't get off the boat to visit the statue.

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Hopping on for a boat ride
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Statue of Liberty
We walked down wall street and there, we found the bull! Queued 20 mins to picture with it. Hope we have a bullish year ahead. Then we walked on to the World Trade Tower site, which is being re-constructed with skyscrapers around it. 

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Huat ah!
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Wall Dedication to the 911 heroes
We had dinner at Grand Central Terminal. There were shops, restaurants and a market within. A very nice and grand looking historic place.

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Grand Central Terminal
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Ended our evening with a Ferris wheel ride in ToysRus
NYC is much about sightseeing and crowd. It's tedious to find elevators for our stroller when taking metro. We had to carry it up and down stairs several times.

03 Jan: Took a 5 hours flight to San Fransisco and home sweet home. Upon collecting our car from the hotel, the engine could not start! Battery needs a jump start and we called in the mechanic. While waiting, we had dinner at Maxs, which was great. Love their Lemon honey chicken. And we thought, it was gonna be some big money spent on getting our car started, but the mechanic told us it was covered under our car insurance. Phew!

Awesome to be home safe and sound. Holiday mood gets so drained when it's too long. I actually missed my routines and now I'm excited to get back to 'work'.

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