Sunday, October 16, 2011

New York - 5th Avenue (Deep Pockets Required)

July 2010

5th Avenue was just 2 streets away from my hotel and it's definitely the street that any visitor to New York must go, especially if you are really into shopping but a word of caution though ...deep pockets required else it's window shopping while drooling over the world of high fashion, catering for the the rich and famous and those with an expensive taste...

Unlike the shops back in Malaysia, these outlets close pretty early and hence the best time to go would be during the day and one day is certainly not enough.
The Apple Store located on 5th Avenue New York. This is a must go place for any fan of the late Steve Jobs. When we were there, Ipad was the `in thing' and I had my chance playing with one. Waiting period for delivery then in New York - 4 weeks !!!
For the ladies, this is definitely one building that you would want to check it out....LV, something that every lady would love to have or already have in their arsenal ....
"Money Money Money's a rich man's world"....time to get me a lottery ticket before heading back here for my next visit ....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Times Square - New York

July 2010

When one visits New York, several well known landmark is a must see, must go and must feel. One of this is the famous Times Square. Fortunately, our hotel is located just 5 minutes away from it. Seeing it on TV is one thing but physically being there is another thing all together.

The sight, the sound, the sense, the rush of bodies brushes against yours as they hurried somewhere important (..and I think that is generally that is the pace of a true genuine New Yorker unlike Asian tourist like yours truly who has all the time in the world and trying hard to absorb it all in) was certainly previous and memorable.

The huge brightly lit advertisement signboards were everywhere and every corner you look, someone is trying to convince you to buy something! It's world where money does talk and people listen .....
Times Square at night is equally exciting with ever busy (if not busier) streets and huge neon advertisement signboards blasting out the latest gadget, service, movie or broadway musical ....

It is also here that you will find the largest M&M outlet besides Hard Rock New York where you can drop in for meal or simply a drink and grab a souvenir just like I did.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York - 9/11 Remembered

Visiting New York is not complete without visiting ground zero nor remembering those who were killed as well as those who so valiantly sacrificed their lives in saving others.....

I remembered 9/11 well....

That night (on the other side of the world), I had just finished my dinner and was having my usual Guinness Draft at the Bernard's (Center Point Bandar Utama). I was on the phone with my girl friend who was in Bangkok then and while chatting, both of us were actually watching the TV in front of us.

What I saw was nothing short of spectacular...the TV was playing a `movie' where a airliner was shown slamming right into the Twin Tower with a massive explosion. I was like `wow'...what an incredible stunt...That it hit me...I wasn't watching the HBO channel..I was actually watching CNN!!! This is NO made believe! This is as REAL as it can get! At the same instance, my girl friend on the other end of the line asked if I have seen what she is seeing on TV...Moments later, we saw the second plane ploughing into the second tower...I just could not believe my eyes...I remember disbelieve and at the same time, a sense of panic knowing something real big is unfolding before my eyes....I told my girl friend to get on the next plane the next morning to come home....

9 years later, I was at Ground Zero where a massive rebuilding is going on with a new hope and a much stronger determination from every parties for greater world peace ....
I took the picture of this sculpture known as the `The Sphere'. It used to sit proudly between the two towers and ironically was put there to promote world peace. When the twin tower collapsed, this structure was battered, and twisted and surprisingly remained almost intact...It is now located at Battery Park, a few blocks away from where she was originally located...Once a mere sculpture, she is now a monument to remember that fateful day where so many had died and the world's politically landscape was changed forever ...
As I took this shot, I was deeply touched, remembering those who was killed when the plane slammed into the building, those who jumped from the highest floors when hope seemed lost, those trapped within the collapsed building and the families who have to endure life without their loved ones, loosing them so suddenly in what seemed to be so senseless ....

Rest in peace and the good Lord bless and keeps you all close by HIS side ....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New York - Not a very good first impression to me

July 2010

Been busy with the arrival of our new baby girl last month. Hence got really tied up with changing nappies and night feed...Yawwwnnnnnn........(visit my other blog at on our new baby girl and the pictures of our little princess...

Back to our travelling blog.

Leaving Washington, the capital of USA which is well organised, clean and where the pace was much much slower, arriving the JFK Airport was a totally different experience. Everything is moving at a much faster pace and sadly, the people are less friendly. In fact some are downright rude! (Is it because we are Asians or Chinese or Malaysian, coming from a Muslim country? Go figure!)

The taxi ride from the airport to our Park Central Hotel was a harrowing experience to say the least. I thought taxi drivers in Malaysia are `rude'. You should try taking a ride with NYC cabs. They are not exactly a courteous lot.

I was telling my wife that I prefer Washington anytime and was doubtful whether I would be enjoying my stay at New York for the next five days.

We were booked at the Park Central Hotel which is just 5 minutes walk away from Times Square and 5 minutes walk from the famous Central Park. Definitely a recommended hotel if you are thinking of staying in NYC.

Now that we have checked in, I was excited to see and explore NEW YORK!

First stop....the ever famous TIMES SQUARE !

Friday, July 8, 2011

La Tomatoe Bistro, Dupont Point, Washington DC - first date for Chelsea Clinton

Washington DC has excellent city tours. The one I particularly like was the Hop on and Hop off Old Town Trolley Tours. This quaint little trolley-like tram has three routes that basically take you to almost every visitor must-go sites in Washington DC. I took this for all the days that I need to travel in Washington DC.

One of the routes that take me to the National Cathedral passes by the famous Dupont Circle and one particular Italian bistro caught my attention…the La Tomate Bistro ….
Why? Because this was apparently the bistro where Chelsea Clinton has her very first date…Just can’t imagine the level of security and the number for special agents that must covered the area to secure it….. I just can’t imagine being the date, with dozens of security personnel covering every corner of the building….emmm…must be hell of an experience, and a pretty weird one too I assumed….

One of the drop-off point for the Old town Trolley is pretty near to this bistro. Hence, I just hop off and headed there for my lunch….

The restaurant setup is very comfortable. I was seated near the windows looking towards the street. Though the sun was shining in and was a little too bright, it was still nice to be able to see what’s happening outside….

I ordered a risotto and a bottle of Peak Organic Beer Nut Brown Ale, a beer brewed out of Portland, Maine. ( The risotto was good and the beer, excellent.

At least, while I was in Washington DC, I had lunch where Chelsea Clinton had her dinner while on her very first date. I read that she was married recently. Just wondering whether her first date turned out to be her husband ultimately…..

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Capitol City Brewing Company, Washington DC

Located just across the street from Grand Hyatt Washington DC is a restaurant called the Capitol City Brewing Company. I noticed that this place was always full during the lunch hours and even more so during dinners…..

So, I have decided to give this place a try and to find out for myself what she has to offer.

For one my dinners at Washington DC, I walked across the street and I made it a point to arrive early as I have not make any reservation. It is easier to find a seat when you are dining alone.

I was seated at a nice cosy corner. The restaurant was already about 40% full with many tables seemed to be reserved for the soon to arrived dinner crowd.

The menu selection was interesting and appetizing. Being a keen beer drinker and ever ready to try out new local brewed beers, I was looking forward to see the selection of local beers that the restaurant was offering.

They are a couple on the menu, namely the Pale Rider Ale, Capitol Kolsch, the sexy looking Amber Waves Ale and the mafia type Prohibition Porter. Being a foreigner, I have absolutely no idea what to order and hence I went with the waiter’s recommendation of having the Pale Rider Ale.

The Pale Rider Ale is n American style pale ale brewed with English pale and German Munich malts with American Simcoe and Amarillo varieties. It has a floral nose with a smooth finish.

It was good and I had two for the night.

For my main, I ordered the BBQ Pork Ribs and man, was I shock when it was served….IT WAS HUGE!!!!! And I’m Asian, a small eater and I’m all alone. The portion served could have easily served four where I come from….

The pork ribs were good though a little dry..

By 7:30pm, the dinner crowd was already pouring in and soon the place was packed. Soon the noise level became a little unbearable for a man drinking alone and it’s time to leave….

I walked across the street with a full and satisfied stomach…back the hotel lounge to have another couple of drinks before I drag myself to my comfortable bed…all ready for another day of exciting sights, sounds and taste of Washington DC…

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hard Rock Cafe Washington DC

We have always made it a point to shop at Hard Rock wherever we go and bought gifts for some of our friends and relatives. So Washington DC is no different. I have tasted great food at Hard Rock Cafe Hong Kong, Hard Rock Cafe Sentosa Island Singapore and the Hard Rock Cafe Penang.

So, on our first day, after all the walking about around Washington DC, we thought of having a drink as well as our dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.

Unfortunately, the experience that we had there were far from pleasant. Firstly, we were placed at a corner to cater for some other guests. Service is mediocre to say the least while the food we ordered were far from what we would have expected from an established restaurant.

The drinks we ordered fortunately did not let us down.

The Lincoln's Waffle Shop, Washington DC

About 5 minutes walk away from my hotel (The Grand Hyatt) in Washington DC, I found this little cute unpretentious local diner aptly called the Lincoln's Waffle Shop. It is located directly opposite the Washington DC Hard Rock Cafe and the Ford Theatre.

It was not at all impressive from the outside but I was drawn to the fact that I would love to try something very local in the States.

Operated by Chinese Vietnamese, the menu is straight forward and the price - local and affordable (please do even attempt to convert to Ringgit). For our first breakfast on the very first morning in Washington DC before we embarked on our city tour, we ordered a very typical American breakfast.

Verdict: The food is simple and GOOD and free flow aromatic freshly brewed coffee! Heavenly.

If it is local fare that you yearned for, I would strongly recommend this joint and you get to have your meals among the man and woman who live and work in Washington DC, right from blue collar workers, rough and massive construction workers to a few good old friendly Washington police officers...

I love this place so much that I had ALL my breakfast there for every morning I was in Washington DC ....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fire & Sage, Marriott Hotel Washington DC

Before I move on to my next destination after Washington DC, I would love to share a little on the restaurants, food and diners that I have the privilege and opportunity to try out while I was in Washington DC.

On the day of our arrival, we were too tired to really walk about to look for food. After a short walk from the Grand Hyatt where we stayed, we came across this fine dining restaurant located at the Marriott Hotel called FIRE & SAGE.

The menu looked inviting and so, we stepped in to give it a try.

I'm not sure whether the food is expensive by US standards as I think they looked ok in USD. Of course, if you start converting them to Malaysian Ringgit, they will look exorbitant.

Starters and appertizers starts from USD10 which I thought was pretty reasonable considering that this is a restaurant located in Marriott Hotel.
The starters were superb and delicious and I in particular loved the fire roasted pear salad. The crab meat cake was also another succulent dish. Unlike some other places where crab meat cake is more cake with flour than meat, we can literrally taste and have crab meat here....
Being a meat person, I am always interested to try out steak dishes wherever I go. Happy to say, the steak that I ordered did not disappoint. The risotto with pan seared scallop was another yummy main course that did not disappoint. Overall, we had a great meal and I actually went back one more time before I left this great city.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Washington National Cathedral - Magnificent and Breathtaking Architectual

July 2010

Another location that one must visit is the Washington National Cathedral. It is truly a magnificent and breathtaking building, built in classical Gothic style which makes it looks like it was built somewhere in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Construction started in 1907 but was only completed in 1990, taking a staggering 84 years to complete. The cathedral is also known as the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul. It is 301 feet high and 517 feet long. This limestone building was built with minimal concrete and structural steel but medieval techniques were used.

When I walked into the main hall, the high ceiling and her structure amplifies her grandness and the feeling is simply awesome. There are many halls and different chambers and each with their own uniqueness and stories to tell. Besides being a venue where several past presidents' funeral was held, the most recent being the funeral of former President Ronald Regan, it is also a venue where many famous have preached from her pulpit.

A wooden garden chair in the garden at the back of the cathedral surrounding by beautiful and serene greenery. I wonder who would have sat there over the years .....

Iwo Jima Memorial - a simple Moment captured and remembered eternally

July 2010

The Iwo Jima Memorial (also known as the US National Marine Corps War Memorial) was built to remember those who have fought so bravely and fallen in that historical and one of the bloodiest battle of War World II at the Pacific.

US launched an offensive on Iwo Jima with 70,000 soldiers on February 19, 1945. Capturing the island which was the base where the Japanese was launching kamikaze attacks on the US warships was crucial to the Allied Forces both to stop the launch as well as to prepare a base to launch Allied Forces bombing raids on Japanese mainland.

Defending the island, a total of over 6800 Allied Forces and 23,000 Japanese soldiers were killed. On the 23 February, Allied Forces captured the Mount Suribachi, the highest point at Iwo Jima. A group of 5 Marines and a Navy corpsman raised the American flag and the historical moment was captured and immortalised by news photographer Joe Rozenthal, which ultimately became the symbol of the war in Pacific.

Incidentally, 3 of the original 6 soldiers who put up the flag that historical moment did not make it and were later killed in Iwo Jima.

As I walked round the memorial, I just can’t help to feel sad that so many has to die to defend freedom and tyranny and all rather unnecessarily if only the human race knows how to control their greed for power, fame and pure insanity.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Jefferson's Memorial, Washington DC

July 2011

A short distance away from the Lincoln Memorial, located at the West Potomac Park along the banks of the Potomac River Tidal Basin is the Jefferson’s Memorial, built to commemorate President Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States.

Construction started in 1939 and finally completed in 1943.

Within the memorial stands a 19 foot tall bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson looking out towards the White House, added in 1947.

The walls of the memorial are engraved with Jefferson’s writings, most prominent being the excerpts from the Declaration of Independence written in 1776.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

National World War II Memorial, Washington DC - the Price for Freedom

July 2010

Right after the Washington Monument and just before the long reflecting pool leading to the Lincoln Memorial, stands the National World War II Memorial.

This memorial is to remember the more than 16 million braves who have fought in the devastating World War II and the over 400,000 who have given their lives in the fight for freedom and against tyranny.

One side of the memorial was dedicated to those who have fought so bravely at the Atlantic while the other is dedicated to those who have braved the fierce jungle and islands of the Pacific.

There was also a Freedom Wall, on the west side of the memorial, with a view of the Reflecting Pool with a total of 4,048 gold stars, each star representing 100 American soldiers who have died in the war. In front of the wall, is inscribed the words, “Here we mark the price of freedom” and a heavy price it was….

I wish that the powers in the world would stand before these 404,800 braves and resolute to maintain freedom and peace without ever paying such a heavy price ever again …but then again, Man is a creature of greed and ambition, both a powerful fuel to the current never ending struggles, conflict and war around the world ….sad isn’t it …..that we will never ever learn …..

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC - where dreams become reality

Of all the previous presidents of America, almost everyone would definitely remember the great Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President who fought the American Revolution, opposed black slavery and was so famously assassinated while watching a play.

Hence, the Lincoln Memorial has become another MUST SEE attraction when one visits Washington DC.

The White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial are all aligned in a straight line. Walking from the Washington Monument, one will come to the World War II Memorial, where the braves of World War II are remembered. While I was walking along the reflection pool towards the Lincoln Memorial, I could not help the sense of excitement of finally `meeting’ this great man.

As I walked up the steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial, I stood at the very same spot where in 1963, (5 months after my birth) the great Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous `I have a dream’ speech to over 250,000 people, one of the greatest political gathering in history. As I stood there, looking over the reflection pool and towards the Washington Monument, I can vividly imagine being right there with the great Dr Martin and hearing him proclaimed proudly, “ ….. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character….I HAVE A DREAM TODAY! ..”

As I walked into the monument, I am dwarfed by the huge statue of the great Abraham Lincoln, sitting there with such awe and seriousness, looking out to the Washington Monument, as if he is there to watch over the nation that he gave his life for. The two great speeches by Lincoln was grafted on either side…the famous Gettysburg address and the second inaugural address….

Again, as I stood before this great man, enveloped in his great presence, I can almost hear him proclaimed ….`Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation …….that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

I came excited to meet one of my idol and I left humbled and touched by remembering two great man in the history of mankind who gave their lives for something that they have a deep convictions on ....

What a better place to affirm their love for each other than in front of the great Abraham Lincoln ....