A Summer in the United States of America

The United State of America was not part of my bucket list. I only wanted to go there because of studying. In 2004, I was admitted to Central USA to pursue a Master’s Degree and the second time was in 2017 when I applied for EMBA with scholarship. I did not pursue both. Maybe studying there was not really for me.
Last year I joined being a mentor for the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City. Somehow, I knew I would be going to the USA for the GSA Summit, an event for mentees and mentors every summer. I asked for assistance with an invitation letter last March and interviewed on the last 7th of May. After 3 days, my passport arrived with a multiple 10 years entry visa to the US of A.

I started planning for the trip to where I should go first. My initial plan was to stay on the East Coast. I was only planning to meet my friends from New York and New Jersey. I asked a friend to help me find a hotel there but he offered his place for me to stay during my New York trip. He started planning for us to go to Washington D.C. and to stay for one night in Virginia. He also told me to visit our friend in Dallas.
So I contemplated on where to go and then after a week, I asked some friends and they offered their place for me to stay. I chose to stay longer with my long lost closest friend from my F days, and then meet other friends separately. I filed a leave from work, finalized the days where I would be staying and when to meet friends and bought my ticket. The flights were Manila – New York – Dallas Fort Worth – Los Angeles – Manila from July 20 to Aug 5.

I arrived at my first destination at the wee hours of the morning at John F. Kennedy Airport. I took a cab and the taxi was caught by NYPD because of beating the red light. It was scorching hot when I arrived because of the heatwave and my friend Chester toured me to the City on a 94 Fahrenheit weather. I would give the details of the places I went to in another post and when I was alone. I also met Karen, my favorite client from UPMSI and Patriz’s family, one of our classmates in the UST Chem.

I attended the GSA Summit and met those people who organized the event, the different STEM mentees and their parents. I attended a seminar with Josh Henkins. I met so many wonderful people like Ann, Adrienne and many others.
I got lost while traveling alone, but it was easy to find my way in Manhattan. I saw so many different places in New York, enjoyed my time and the city. Enjoyed walking, the subway and the bus. I love the Museum Mile and Central Park where the apartment was located.

On the following weekend, we went to Washington D.C. to explore. Going to Washington D.C., the bus needed to go through the highways of New Jersey and Maryland. We spent the night in Virginia and went back again to New York the following day.
When I was having fun being a New Yorker for almost 8 days, and I had to leave the city already. On July 29th, it was time for me to go to Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Texas is like a laid-back place that is a part of Central America. It has a different vibe from New York City. Well, Texas is so huge that I feel I could be lost and I could not find my way back home. Every city and town I saw had their distinct beauty. What I love most in Texas was the old and historical McKinney and the museums.
I reconnected with my old friends Beah, Louvette and Robert and meet different people like May, Ted, Marissa and Mitchell and the whole family of Beah.

My friends decided where we should go. The best plan is when you have no plans at all and everything turned out well. Although there were some bumps in the road or should I say expected things that didn’t happen. It was a summer worth remembering.

I would like to thank all of my wonderful friends who managed their precious time to be with me, for letting me crashed their homes for a while, for those who had to take their days off and had to travel 1 to 3 hours to join me with my trip. Thanks to all the friends who sent me messages to meet them, I’d like to travel to different states but there will be next time. And just in case I decided not to come back. I already went to the East Coast and Central.  I had a glimpsed of West Coast thru Lax Airport. I went to 4 States and the District of Columbia. I fell in love with America with its chaos and silence. I fell in love with the United States of America.

For the USA tours click here

Taipei City, Taiwan

Listed as No. 1 in 2015 from a survey of CNN’s top cuisine in the world, a land of hot springs and mountainous terrain, a country of rich cultural traditions lies on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived in Taoyuan International Airport around 11PM and there are only a few and passengers were flocking from different airlines. Most tourists arriving were from mainland China.

Diary of Taipei II

We lined up for a taxi and told the driver to take us to Diary of Taipei II in Zhonghua road. The skyway was long and it took us about an hour to reach our hotel. The driver got confused though because he stopped in Diary of Taipei I, and not the Diary of Taipei II. He took the voucher of my hotel where there was a Chinese character of the hotel and the address and turned around to go back, just one block away from where he stopped.
We arrived at the hotel at the wee hours of the morning, luckily, the staff of the hotel was available 24 hours. Our room was also upgraded to a Family room instead of the Standard Room, and our room was located on the 11th floor. The room was okay for a budget traveler because we were upgraded, our room was spacious and artsy.
Breakfast was served at the 12th floor, a buffet of the traditional Taiwanese food. The hotel provided an MRT guide and a map of the Ximending area where our hotel was located. Just a five minutes walk from our hotel is the Ximen MRT. We bought an e-card and load it with money which you could use for both the train and MRT.

Lungshan Temple

Our first stop was the Lungshan Temple, one stop away from Ximen. There were signages that would direct you to the temple, so you need not worry about it. It was a Saturday morning and as early as 9AM, there were lots of Buddhist who were offering food and prayers.

Chiang - Kai Shek Memorial

From Lungshan, we went to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Along the MRT hallway going to the memorial hall, paintings hang on the wall that showcased the artistic sides of the Taiwanese.

A park with 2 enormous temple-like building awaits you and these are the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was at the far end of the Liberty Plaza with 88 steps going up the stairs towards the top, which was the age of Chiang Kai-Shek. The view from the Memorial Hall was also amazing as you could see the designed garden of flowers. Inside the memorial hall is a monument of the famous Chiang Kai-Shek, the founder of Taiwan.
We also walked through the garden with the lake before going to the famous Taipei 101, the tallest bamboo-shape skyscraper in Taipei.

Taipei 101

It was already past 12 noon when we arrived at the busy train station of Taipei 101. We proceed to the Food Court which was located in the basement of the building. The food court offers different cuisine but mostly Taiwanese food. We ate at a food stall where we ordered squid with beef and bean sprout, eggs and tofu. Afterwhich, my mother and I toured the Taipei Mall which was fully branded and signature shops while we wait for my brother to arrive.
When my brother arrived, we availed tickets to the Taipei 101 observatory, a promise of 360 degrees view of Taipei City. The entrance was 500 NT dollar. Tourists invaded the tower. The only problem was it started to rain, and thunderstorm swept across Taipei. We waited for about an hour in the observatory and when the rain stopped, we started to explore the different sides of Taipei 101 and took pictures of the scenery of the South, North, West and East of the city.

We then checked the level 88 for the wind damper. The mass tuned damper supports the Taipei 101, and it was designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors. The 91st where the Outddor Observation deck was located, was not open to the public during our visit.

Sun Yat-Sen Memorial

After which we went to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Sun Yat-Sen is another heroic figure in Taiwan. He’s the forerunner of the Republic of China. The memorial was built in 1972 in his 100th birthday. After which we headed back to Ximen and ate at the nearest mall in the station. The skyscraper Taipei 101 had a good view while your walking in the garden of the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial. We weren’t able to go inside of the memorial because there were activities happening at that time we arrived.

For other posts about Taiwan, please check: Yehliu Fishing Village, Taiwan and Maokong and Ximending, Taiwan