Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(2 + 19 + 2) x (16-35 + 50) = 3000 + A great experience =)

First, interpretation of the title, which would explain where I disappeared to for close to a month:
2 days in London, 19 days in USA, 2 days in Niagara Falls, with my 16-35mm and 50mm, resulting in 3000++ photographs & a bag full of experiences =)

The route: Kuala Lumpur - Singapore - London - New York - Buffalo - Niagara Falls - Boston - Washington DC - Atlanta - Singapore - Kuala Lumpur

The first portrait of the trip turned out to be that of Phoebe, a Singaporean, who was getting her official portrait taken for the first time =) She was camera-shy and took quite a bit of coaxing before agreeing to pose for a shot =p

The trip began with Dawn's parents seeing us off at Changi Airport. They are sweet, aren't they?


We arrived Heathrow Airport in London at about 4am. Poor Mei Yen had to wake up really early just so that we would have a place to leave our things and be free to galavant London the rest of the day =)

Her boyfriend, Mark (I hope I got the name right), even made bread for us, and timed it so that the bread would be still warm when we arrive. Such hospitality!

It was a Sunday when we arrived, so we made our way to EEC, the church we both worshipped at when we were students. We passed by Westminster Abbey as we always did on our way to church. It was lovely to see it again after 11 years!

After the church service, we headed to La Tasca for lunch, with Richard...




Chris...and their twins...

Elizabeth, and...


...or was it the other way around...oh oh...

Yee Han, TT and...


We also celebrated Karen's birthday =)

And soon, it was time to part. It was interesting seeing our friends leaving with their little ones =)

In the evening, we met Cheong Loon for dinner and had yummy crispy duck!

We stayed over at Karen & Chris', and had the privilege of getting to know the twins better. They were simply adorable! =)

We only had two days in London, but it was great being able to meet up with old friends and do touristy stuff and take touristy photographs.

Much of the second day was spent with my family...Peter & Jane...

Aunt Ming Choo...

Wai Kheong...

and super radiant (and very pregnant), Mei.

Our trail? Covent Garden...

Trafalgar Square...

The Royal Guard...

Big Ben.

The poor lot had to wait for me everytime I stopped to take photos, but the prize goes to Dawn of course, who patiently waited for me as I took photographs throughout our entire trip!

Here's the lot of us!

And soon, it was time to bid each other farewell...

The last remaining daylight was spent relaxing in Kensington Gardens, a place we frequented as students.

As evening faded to night, it was time again to bid farewell. Farewell London...till we meet again...New York, here we come! =)


After a tiring flight and an "argument" with the cab driver who took us to our NYC accomodation, we were glad to meet up with Wei Ling and family. Friends definitely help make a place seem more friendly. We were given a quick introduction of the famous Central Park...

The leaves were not out yet.

Look at that! I can only imagine the shade the leaves will provide during spring & summer.

...then it was off to dinner at

Soon, we were figuring our way around Manhattan via the Subway.

Wall Street

hmm...thought this was an interesting sign to keep out vehicles...

I was intriqued by the shoe-shine industry

Ground Zero

We passed by many churches & cemeteries...

...but this one, St. Paul's Chapel, stood out amongst all. This was home to the extraordinary eight-month volunteer relief effort after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001.

The Brooklyn Bridge...choose your mode of transport...motor-vehicle, bicycle or foot.

Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge.

I was fascinated by all the stairs.

New York has the largest Chinatown I have ever seen!!

Everything was in Fahrenheit & Miles. Made it hard for me to figure out temperature and speed! I had no idea what the temperature was in Celcius, except that it was very very very cold!

We went up the Empire States Building when it was still bright...

...and stayed on till the sun set. We made sure we got our $20 worth of scenery before we went back down ;-)

Times Square

I was really excited to meet David, Julia and Rachel at Serendipity3, the restaurant made famous by the movie "Serendipity". They are famous for their desserts. There's even a dessert that costs $1,000!!!

Mac centre. Very cool!

I am amazed by the number of cabs there are in New York City.

The ice rink at Rockefeller Centre

Grand Central Station

We spent 2 nights at Julia's place and got to know Rachel better. Apparently, she likes cooking!

Bundle of joy!

The sun's rays above the Statue of Liberty were amazing. I contrasted the photo to make the rays stand out.

And was time to leave NYC...sigh...


We flew from New York to Buffalo. From the Buffalo airport, we took a bus to the US border, then crossed the Rainbow Bridge by foot to Niagara Falls, Canada.

The sky was wonderful wonderful wonderful! It starts out cloudy in the morning, then the clouds will slowly disperse as the hours pass to reveal the magnificent blue sky! But don't be decieved. It was freezing!!!

We stayed at The Oaks Hotel - Overlooking the Falls. The view from our window was awesome! ;-)

It was so cold that we would head back to the hotel before it got dark and temperature drops futher.

We had to have our head gear on just to keep warm.

Well, soon it was time to leave Niagara Falls and continue our journey in the USA. Next stop, Boston!


Boston! Harvard and MIT land!

Natalie came all the way to the airport to meet us! =)

And was FREEZING in Boston!! Here, we not only contested with the temperature, but also the biting wind! So, headgear, everyone!

One of the few things that remain constant in every state we visited...the school buses..they were all yellow and ancient looking =)

The next would be these....err...dunno what you call these...

Quincy Market

I love the effect of the setting sun...

...on our shadows...

The contrast of old and new.


I adored the old houses at Beacon Hill. I was told that the lamps here are lit 24/7.

We met two froggies at Boston Common.

We convinced one to pose for a photo with us ;-)

Stumbled upon this very big open-air bookshop. Quite cool!

Now, for something a bit more solemn. This is the Holocaust Memorial. It consists of six, large towers of glass. Each of these towers represents one of the sixth death camps (Belzec, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sobibor, Majdanek, Treblinka, and Chelmno)

Each tower is made out of plates of glass that are etched with white numbers, which represent the registration numbers of victims.

Time to say goodbye again.

The next day, we took the Amtrak train to Washington D.C.

The journey took us 9 hours, but the ride was comfortable and lovely.


It was cloudy and wet during our entire duration in Washington D.C. So most of the time, we had the umbrella up! Good thing for us, this is a land of museums and monuments-large-enough-to-provide-shelter! (well some of it, anyway...)

The White House. This is the closet I can zoom in with the 16-35mm, and I was not about to change to the 50mm in the rain!

I found this "welcome" sign quite amusing =)

U.S. Capitol

Lincoln Memorial

Vietnam War Memorial. Here, people who have lost loved ones would place notes, items, etc.

At the National Gallery of Art, we saw this old lady reproducing another painting on exhibit.

Someone, pleasee tell me the name of this flower. It's all over Washington D.C. and on grey days, it plays a huge part is brightening up the day =)

It was the National Cherry Blossom Festival on 11 April 2009. It's a big thing here with activities running for 2 weeks.

Free Hugs in Washington D.C.!! Want to know how it started? Read here. Quite interesting =)

Cherry Blossoms surrounding Tidal Basin, with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

And finally, the Washington Monument. You can go all the way up to the 60th floor. Admission is free, but you'll have to que early for your timed tickets. The ticket counter opens at 8.30am, and tickets are usually gone by 9.15am!


Finally, we are in Atlanta! Warmer weather! Land of the Fox Theatre...

The Centennial Olympic Park (Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympics)

It was lovely to see the kids playing. The aim is to get to the middle of the ring without getting wet, unless you intentionally want to get wet, of course. We braved ourselves to try it once and succesfully stayed dry! ;-)

CNN Centre (this is the international headquarters). The tour was interesting but photography was not allowed =(

Georgia Aquariam (the largest aquarium in the world)

And most importantly....the World of Coca-Coca!!! =) The tasting station is so cool!

Like they say, all good things must end. Will leave you with this interesting sign I came across in the City of Decatur, Atlanta =)

Oh...and one more of us with our 3D Coca-Cola glasses! Cheerio!