Thursday, March 29, 2007

the big apple.

the city of all cities.

to me new york city is a contradiction. at street level and below, you see the worst of worst. anything above you is magnificent, towering, grand. it's old, yet new. it's fast, yet slow. it's poor, yet rich. it's luxury, yet struggles to make ends meet.

to be finally standing in the middle of the screaming billboard ads in times square, it's a really strange feeling. surreal, unbelievable.

finally at the city of all cities. do i dare say, the capital city of the world?

let the tales begin.

for those who have heard me whine and complain, my flight to new york was canceled due to bad weather at JFK airport. so instead of having 4 full days in nyc, i only ended up with 2.5 days. and half a day was wasted due to exhaustion. bad start, but hopes were renewed upon stepping onto the streets of nyc. here, the sun rises over the stained glass of seattle-tacoma (sea-tac) airport. we're finally boarding the plane.

my first class window seat looks out to the beautiful morning.

not only the sun shines. the mountain range east of seattle shines majestically.

here a river runs through the eastern cascades. washington state is really beautiful.

new york state. nearing landing at JFK airport in queens. see the big patch of snow. the reason for my canceled flight. =(

on the cab to hostelling international. this is central park. semi-gloomy day. cold too.

chinese food for dinner at where else but chinatown! =) yes we are a bunch of homesick singaporeans.

not brooklyn. manhattan bridge. the police car was parked there so i just included it in the shot.

happy belated st. patrick's day! only derek is in green. from left: me, grace (my dearest friend on exchange in michigan now), danny (singaporean studying in university of western australia, on exchange at UW), jieying, derek (danny's roommate at UW) and jeffrey.

this is THE place to be. times square. land of consumerism bombards you with images from every angle.

it's such a joy seeing my dear friend grace in the states!! in new york city no less! i love traveling with this girl. =) *muacks!*

a morning in chinatown. seems like any other new york street here.

destination: dim sum. result: happiness.

after a hearty brunch, danny, derek, linda and i set off from chinatown and we walked all the way to battery park/ground zero. it was a pleasant walk. it was quite cold but manageable. the sun was bright and shining. and it was nice exploring lower manhattan on foot and doing lots of people-watching.

linda and i, in front of the supreme court (i think).

some building which i can't remember.

the sidewalk of broadway. broadway runs a really long distance. so the actual happening part of broadway is actually further uptown.

battery park lies next to the hudson river. it's nice and calm and quiet.

we see the lady a distance away. it's such an icon, you can't really miss it.

on the opposite bank of the hudson river is new jersey.

danny and me. he's hilarious.

derek and me. got to know him better during this trip. nice guy. although he makes me feel old. haha. he's only 19! heh. not his fault.

we left battery park for ground zero. this road is next to ground zero, where the world trade center used to stand. what amazed me is, other than that quadrangular void, everything around seems so normal. like if you never knew about 9/11, you would never have expected 2 huge 110+ storeys sky scraper fell to dust and dirt 6 years ago at the very same site.

all that's left. seen through a grid fence. construction for the freedom tower goes on. freedom tower is only one tower, and it stands tall among everything else in a unique shape.

along the fence big billboards reminds tourists of the tragedy that struck new york city. they vow to remember 9/11, forever etched in their memories.

at the WTC tribute center. here, the model of WTC.

the window of the plane that crashed into one of the towers. salvaged from the wreck.

other things from the wreck. including a soft toy. think it was a rabbit.

pictures of the victims who perished. in their happy days, with their loved ones.

as i weave through the exhibition, the walls had quotes and photos, and this one is my favorite. reading the quotes and experiences and stories and seeing all the artifacts really tugged at my heart.

"We are breathing the dead,
taking them into our lungs as living we had taken them into our arms."

if anyone ever wants to visit, it's just next to ground zero. if you can't find it, you're probably on the wrong side of the quadrangle, so just walk around the perimeter. you can't miss it.

one of my favorite photos. there was a photo essay on the aftermath of 9/11 hanging from the fences. and this one, of a malay woman in a tudung, in tears, is my favorite.

after ground zero, i went shopping-crazy at century-21, thanks to jiejie's recommendation. i bought 2 dresses, one skirt and one top. after that we continued to walk around, and i navigated to soho! this photo shows a street in soho, think it's broadway.

it's uniqlo! a japanese brand very much like hongkong's giodarno. prices were affordable. jiejie, the designs here are much nicer than what i saw in tokyo leh! i bought a tee from here, designed by a japanese artist. and i walked around somemore and bought another nice top. love soho. =)

another jiejie recommendation. i like dean and deluca too! it sells upmarket, gourmet groceries and fresh produce and bakery stuff!

oh yes, and chocolates too. yummmm.

after that we went back to midtown broadway to catch phantom of the opera! original, on broadway! it was very very nice. love it a lot. we paid US$66 for side view, front seats.

cupcakes from dean and deluca! happy st. pat's day! =) love cupcakes.

me is very excited about phantom of the opera.

so while waiting for linda, take picture of the precious ticket.

the theatre was packed!! and they have shows everyday except mondays. and also matinees on weekends. that's 8 shows a week!

masquerade scene. =)

nice end to our new york city leg of spring break. =) stay tuned for niagara falls.

time for bed. before i go, let me share something.

this is one of my favorite photos. other than the one in the previous entry. the man you see here sitting on the floor - he was playing "amazing grace" on his flute, sitting beneath the board that spelt out the hundreds of names of those who lost their lives. it nearly made me cry while i snapped this picture. and as the parent pushes the stroller and looks out to the WTC site, the child sits in the stroller unknowingly.

life goes on. and may lessons learnt from each tragedy be remembered by the generations to come, and not vanish with my generation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

a moment of silence.

at ground zero. where the 2 mighty towers of world trade center used to stand.

now is a promise of hope and freedom.

all around, is a testament to the human spirit.

life goes on.

in transition.

there are tons of pictures to be showcased here. spring break was a great experience. coupled with tons of photos which i can't possibly upload everything here. so you'll only see a selected few photos, some of which have impacted me in a big way. some of which tell a beautiful story. that's the aspiring photojournalist in me. hurhur.

meanwhile, for some contemplative thoughts while i settle my subjects for spring quarter and stand in awe of spring's arrival.

while viewing the exhibits in the White House visitors' center in Washington DC, i saw something that literally made me stop in my tracks and ponder.

one of america's great presidents, John F. Kennedy said,

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people
with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies...
for a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market
is a nation that is afraid of its people."

so this is america's stand. on the other end of the spectrum, is singapore. so maybe the government is really, indirectly, afraid of us.

Friday, March 23, 2007


hey everyone! don't worry i'm still alive after traveling through seattle to new york city, then to buffalo, to niagara falls ontario, back to buffalo, and now at washington dc. it's a lot of plane rides. a lot of traveling and lugging the lugguage around (my lugguage seems to get heavier and heavier, i wonder why. haha). a LOT of security checks. at airports. take off coats, shoes, loose change, keys, scarves etc etc. and now at washington dc, almost all the major attractions require security checks.

oh well. it's the US.

but this trip has been a great learning journey. it has opened my eyes to so many things. so many cultures and ways of life and situations. so many beautiful sights, sounds, smells, tastes.

i'll update soon when i get back in 2 days. spring is here!! =)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

random. and ikea.

so some random photos tossed in with pictures from my ikea outing with suzanne.

first. i finished my exams! winter quarter is officially over. somehow thoughts about its end comes and goes and i haven't been able to sit down and collect my thoughts and write about it yet. maybe tomorrow, before i leave from the airport. new york, niagara falls and washington dc awaits. =)

things from home. the packet of spices. we're having emperor chicken and ba kut teh tonight!

recipes from jiejie! they took a longer time to come. but i have tried a few already! will really go and buy the ingredients when spring arrives.

this is for my other jiejie. as promised. picture of my stella mccartney sneakers.

spring is here!

the flowers bloom. more pretty pictures of flowers to come. all around campus and all around my neighbourhood. even the most abandoned shrub along the road blooms the most beautiful flowers. it's amazing. i wish singapore had the weather to have such flowers.

so as suzanne and i left for ikea on a relaxing friday with no afternoon classes, we saw this dog tied to a bicycle outside the library! so cute. so we went to play with it for awhile.

and as we walked past the red square, 2 ducks were quacking along, miles away from their pond. we reckoned that they were lost. and heading in the wrong direction. the ducks always hang out in pairs. one male one female. =) hee.

about an hour of bus ride we arrived at a city outside of seattle. called kent. reminds me of clark. clark kent. it's a small quiet town with absolutely no tall buildings at all.

the adventurers. in search of swedish meatballs.

and another 30 minute bus ride brought us to another adjacent town called renton! this is ikea! and as you can see, it's still blue and yellow. and still very very huge.

a very peaceful sight this is.

with beautiful weather. the big tall ikea sign. isn't my camera the greatest? haha.

and we got our reward. the thing i miss quite a lot. swedish meatballs with lingoberry jam.

for dessert we had this lingoberry mousse. very very good. and light!

and the apple crumbly cake with vanilla sauce. yum. =)

we bought swedish meatballs and some other stuff back. and decided to try the self-checkout machines! they really trust their customers. you just scan your stuff and swipe your card or insert notes or coins, sign or enter your PIN and get your receipt! i think in singapore they will seriously lose money.

the next day i brought some of my friends to the factory outlets again. bought stuff. again.

and what better way to end an entire day of shopping and bus-riding by eating iHop pancakes. banana flavored with bananas. yum. =)