Travel

The Tale of Four Cities

Augusta: My first grown up view of the great land of America… People call it the blessed country… now I don’t know much about much, but when I saw those big roads lined with those beautiful trees in their autumn splendour and that clear bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds… I understood. The grandness isn’t just in the structures and lifestyles, it starts with their nature…. so impressive.

I didn’t see much of the city, since we were really busy with the wedding, but what little I did see.. to me seemed very random. Yes I know random seems like a really, well random adjective! Let me try again… the lack of big buildings, traffic infested lanes people walking around the side walks… it made me feel like I wasn’t really in a city. Even the roads, when we went to a mall, seemed like we were driving down a highway.. because they were such big roads I guess!!! And the mall, it was just a bunch of one level structures where each store had their own space and were not piled up on on top of the other into one grotesque building like what we have here. In fact when we went shopping in Orlando, we had to take the car from one store to the other and re park!!

Of course the house we stayed in was huge. And huge is an understatement.. it was part of this really fancy community homes with a 18 hole golf course in the middle! I guess the city could handle that kind of space.

And the funniest thing that happened here was, we asked our cousin to take us to a park so we could shoot out video and she takes us to this amazing forest land with a river running thru it… and thats what they call a park! There were families and runners all enjoying their “park”!!

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Atlanta: This was a surprise trip. We were supposed to spend a few days in a beach house at Hiltonhead and then to Charleston, but the hurricane messed up all of those plans and rather than staying in Augusta.

Atlanta was fun, because it was the first place we got to explore by ourselves. We had one and a half day there and decided to make the most of it. The first day we walked around and found a fantastic burger joint… we ate and realised we can never do two meals between us! The quantities of food are grossly large! The next day we visited the Georgia Aquarium, One of the biggest aquariums in the country I believe. And it was an amazing experience… they have managed to keep and segregate so many varieties of sea animals and plants and have really tried to give the people who visit a great understanding behind each one of them.

The city is easy to get around, it even has its own metro rail… however it was cheaper for us to take an uber… and doing that we met two really nice people who drove us round. One of them dropped us off to the Piedmont Park which was like a mini central park!

The house we stayed in was my aunts apartment in this super fancy building, the entire house had a full glass facade and we could see pretty much the entire city!

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Orlando: The city of Disney! Honestly I expected more at the airport… like a big Mouse walking around or something! There was just one poster and one store… Boring! Again the roads and the trees and the sky, its awe inspiring!

We stayed at my sisters place,a little out of the main city and closer to the parks,  a really pretty house in this gated community with a lawn in the front and a huge lawn in the back and they even had a little pond near their place.

The city was fun! Especially for people with kids, we went to a put put and played mini golf, we went to the malls, I went crazy at Jo Anns and Target and Party Centre… because of Halloween all these places were buzzing! We ate out so much! From thai to burgers to mexican to chinese… it was awesome! I guess being a tourist city, it really catered to a lot of people and tastes. And theres was this one street called International Drive that we drove by that had crooked house and a house that looked like it had got displaced by an earthquake… crazy!

Of course the parks themselves were so so so good! Disney with its magic and Universal with its rides… we were amazed! And everything is so organised and simple… I loved that..At the point where you got into the line for the ride, they inform you of the wait time, and give you a designated spot to park your strollers. No mess, no confusion.

We also drove down to Daytona beach. there was so much confusion on the weather, but we went anyway… and the water was freezing! The wind was so strong, I spent most of my time there wrapped in a big jacket and occasionally a towel!! However, there were a bunch of girls in their bikinis… so hey I’m not the best judge on weather!! The cool things about daytona was that they were hosting a biker week and we got to see some pretty mean machines… what was really cool was when I was showing Siddy the bikes some of the bikers even waved at him and he was so thrilled!

We didn’t see much else of the city as such, we did go to some outlet mall to buy clothes an gifts.. but apart from that we never really ventured into main orlando city.

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New York: I think the thing about New York was that no matter how much you imagined it to be… the first sight of those gorgeously designed skyscrapers when you get off a subway.. that sight just blows your mind away and its really nothing like what you had imagined. I think the first day we took the Path train from Jersey to WTC.. and we were walking looking for the next station… we walked so slowly.. because we were so busy soaking it all in!

It actually feels like you’ve landed on the sets of like a 100 movies that you’ve seen… the buildings, the signal lights the sign that says walk, the cops and their cars, the hot dog stands, the shop names in neon lights, the yellow taxis, the big trees, the crowds of people in the subway looking like characters, the singers and musicians, the suits and the hippies… it was insane!

We fell in love with the city, with its fast pace and intriguing people. We went to central park had a picnic saw the penguins and all the crazy but madly interesting people either showing off their singing talents or dancing or doing something or another that got everyones attention… There were people shooting their wedding pictures, a high end fashion shoot a kids 2nd birthday shoot… it was amazing! We walked around a lot… a lot lot. Like a crazy lot! And I think that was my favourite part.

My favourite place? Easy… the High Line…Its a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. We got on at 23rd street and walked all the way down to 16th street and ended up right next to Chelsea Market which was one of the best places I’ve been to!!

We didn’t do any of the typical Empire state building, Statue of Liberty kind of touristy things… but we did visit the WTC Memorial and I have to say, what they have built for what they have lost, is kind of goose bumping-ly amazing.

We were staying with friends in New Jersey, which also I loved by the way.. I know “true new yorkers” would laugh, but i kind of liked the chill vibe and slow pace.. and the best part was their home was right next to the path  station which was one station away from WTC … so inside of ten minutes were in bang in the middle of New York! Their home was so cute.. small yes, but hey its just a young couple, and they made our stay there so comfortable!

Till the last hour of our having to leave New York we were doing something. Shopping eating seeing a sight we weren’t going to ever forget… we just tried to squeeze in as much as we could of this truly amazing city.

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Its crazy how each of the cities was so different from each other… I’m sure all across the world the small cities and big cities have this massive gap in their pace and culture and general vibe… But here we got to actually experience the changes from a small city to the biggest one!

I have to say I loved New York the most mainly because I can relate to its vibe… but Orlando with that amazing house with its backyard, close proximity to the beach and hey the whole city has got this sense of magic all through it.. it was a very strong contender!

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