United States of America
Capital: Washington DC
Official Language: English
My friends and I were chosen to be part of a program from our University called Global Frontier. To travel for 2 weeks and do some advertising and tourism. We made a travel plan to drive in a van from New York -> Chicago -> Denver -> Grand Canyon -> Las Vegas to L.A. And from L.A. fly back to South Korea.
I flew on UnitedAirlines making a stop in San Francisco both ways. UnitedAirlines was actually very disappointing because it kept getting delayed a lot. On January 21st I landed in New York and it was sooooo cold. It was actually one of the coldest winters in 20 years. I later read that according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, February 2014 ranked 37th for coldest February on record nationwide. Here I won’t focus too much on our University’s activities but I’ll explain more about the touristic side of our trip.
So first we started with breakfast at IHOP, the international house of pancakes. And from what I experienced in this trip, America’s food size its just extra large all the time. Everywhere we went, we always had to ask to have our leftovers wrapped. We took the train towards Manhattan and arrived to Grand Central Terminal. Then walked down 5th Avenue towards Times Square. It had snowed heavily the day before so all the roads were filled with melting snow. It was still cold and I ended up with my boots soaking wet. There were so many stores. And not like the small cute craft stores in Italy but more like HUGE stores. So much to see, so much to choose from. In my opinion America is just a country with so much variety of products and too large portions of food.
I usually watch American beauty youtubers so I had heard of many american products. Also many typical places/restaurants that are always mentioned in movies and TV series. So I had decided that I wanted to buy/eat/try everything I could. I went to Sephora, Bath and Body Works, MAC, Victoria’s Secret, Forever21, Zara, Abercrombie and Fitch, Express, etc. Of course I didn’t go on a shopping spree but at least I got to see what all the fuss was about. After going around we went to TGI Fridays for lunch. Then we walked a little bit more and I wanted to go ice skating at the Rockefeller Center but it was closed. Also we didn’t get to go to the statue of liberty because we didn’t have enough time and it was too cold. For dinner we took Chipotle on the go and had it on the train on our way back.
** This was not my first time in America though. I had been in New York before for a family trip when I was little. I had gone to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Empire State Building, Chinatown, The Museum of Natural History, Central Park (this one was a very exciting one for me because I saw a squirrel for the first time in my life and took hundreds of pictures of it), etc. Basically all the main touristic monuments. America might not have such a long or unique history as seen in European countries like Italy and France since it’s made of multicultural nations. But it has integrated a lot of these different customs and made a unique culture of their own.
Next, we got on the road towards Chicago. The first part of the trip was actually a little dangerous since it suddenly started snowing a lot and at one point we had to stop the van. When we finally arrived to Chicago it was late at night and we had been invited to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance and Celebration Dinner.
The next day, to our luck, was the coldest day in Chicago. But we didn’t have time to spare so we continued with our planned schedule. We went to the Millennium Park which was completely deserted. So I guess that was one of the perks of it. We had a great picture with the Bean (Cloud Gate). Then we went to the Sky Deck in the Willis Tower (Sears Tower) at night. It was very scary to stand on the glass! For lunch we tried Chicago’s deep dish pizza and had cheesecake for dessert.
We continued towards Denver and little by little the weather started to warm up as we headed west. In Denver we visited The Garden of the Gods which looked similar in color to the Grand Canyon which was our next stop. Here we also got to try lobster at a sea food restaurant.
We arrived to Hotel Aspen InnSuites Flagstaff/ Grand Canyon late in the evening. The next morning after dawn we started driving towards the Grand Canyon National Park and stayed there for like an hour before it started drizzling. Then we headed towards Las Vegas. I took pictures of the Grand Canyon but they were not good at all. Even though it was after dawn, it was very cloudy so all the pictures looked dark. It was amazing though. It was completely quiet and somehow it made you feel very tiny in the world. Later I found out there was also a glass walkway but I don’t know if I would have dared to go.
The night before Las Vegas I had been looking for tickets for a show. Any show. Since Las Vegas is so famous for its entertainment. And luckily we found last minute tickets for Cirque Du Soleil KA at MGM Grand. I remember watching Cirque Du Soleil on TV when I was little. Who knew that one day I would actually get the chance to see them live. I don’t remember very well but I think each ticket cost between $50 to $80. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside but the show was really amazing. I ended up with very dry eyes because I was stopping myself from blinking so I wouldn’t miss any part of the show. XD Before the end of the night we walked around The Strip, went inside The Bellagio and also saw the fountain show. We stayed at the Riviera Hotel for one night. ** In May 2015 the Riviera closed down after 60 years.
The next morning we drove towards LA, our final destination. We went to Griffith Observatory to see the sunset over L.A.’s sky view. Then we walked around the Hollywood walk of fame. Honestly I don’t know what’s the fuss about this place. It looked really dirty and there were a lot of creepy people walking around. Or maybe it looked more creepy because it was late in the evening.
There is just soooo much to explore in America. It’s almost like each region is a different country. Different climate, different land and different people. Next time I will definitely make time to go see a Broadway Show in NY. Also I would like to experience the party beach life and music festivals in Miami. Not to mention Disney World and Universal Studios as well.
Many Americans that I have met along the way always talk about how America doesn’t have the historical/artistic/architectural appeal that many countries in Europe do. But I think that America has a different kind of charm that comes from people’s creativity, ingenuity and hard work. The constructions of great monuments, significant inventions, Hollywood, NASA, amusement parks, national parks, food culture, etc that have made a great impact in the whole world and that often people take for granted. Even though America might not have such a long history, it’s filled with many interesting and unique things that people have created. Safe Travels!