New York – New York

My last stop in the USA was New York City. The bus drive from DC to NYC was roughly 4 hours. As a cliché as it sounds, my first glance of the city was its skyline. As we crossed through Jersey into the Lincoln Tunnel I got a perfect view of the its skyscrapers.

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NYC view from the Rockefeller Centre

I got to the city around 4pm on Thursday, so as soon as I got off the bus I walked my way up to Harlem (where my Airbnb hosts were waiting for me).

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On my way through Central Park I passed by Broadway, Times Square, the Museum of Modern Art and a lot of tourists. After leaving my bag at my room, I decided that I’d get to know the city just by walking around it. My hostess told me to buy a one week subway pass, around USD 32, super helpful in order to hop on and off the subway if needed.

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Harlem, near Central Park, my temporary ‘Hood’

 

Little China and Little Italy were obliged spots to visit. Little Italy had all these restaurants and grocery stores that would drive any cooking enthusiast like me crazy. I sat down at Sofia’s Little Italy and had a glass of white wine and a wee plate of seafood, as if trying to “blend in” with the locals. Well, the Italians know how to interact with the peasants, it was funny and creepy at the same time how this middle age restaurant host talked to a group of tourists trying to convince them to have a bite at his establishment.

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However, Little China was something else, it was crowded and louder, full of aromas and colours, with produce, meat, fish and other goods literally protruding from their stores into the streets. After almost four years, I finally had a steamed bun with lamb just like the ones I had in Auckland, NZ, soft, tender and full of flavour (as you can tell, food is always the highlight of my trips). Go to Grand St and Chrystie St, and just get in the Ken Hing Food Market or Nam Son, that’s a good taste of China Town’s foundations of its cuisine.

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On Friday night I met up with my friend Patricio (another Mexican abroad) at East Village. We had dinner at Cafe Katja, lots of food, great prices and lounge-ish ambiance. Right after we went to the Il Laboratorio del Gelato where I had an amazing vanilla-cinamon-lavender something gelato, glorious.

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Little Italy

 

Of course, as an International Relations enthusiast (and that’s saying little, I’m passionate about human rights and international relations), I had to got the United Nations building, Ground Zero, Trump Tour (aye, you bet your arse I said “Hi” to the orange dude), the Natural History Museum, among other historical places.

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New York City indeed amazed me, it is bright, loud, flamboyant, liberal, multicultural, epic. In times of Trump and desperation (Aye, those words do go together), NYC, just like San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, DC, serves as a beacon of solidarity, diversity, tolerance and freedom.

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Aye, go to Joe’s pizza, it is famous for a reason.

Ps. Trump finally became the 45th president of the USA… I have a bad feeling about this.

 

 

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Washington D.C, Burgers and Mezcal

After my cousin’s wedding I decided that crossing the border into the “US and A” could be a great idea. And it was.

So I took the bus from Toronto to DC (and it was a hell of a long drive),  where I’ll spend at least a day, and then I’ll find my way to New York City by bus or train. Sure thing, greyhound seemed like a good option, but Megabus was far much cheaper, reliable and had more runs, so that’s my recommendation.

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I got to DC on a Wednesday morning at its beautiful Union Station, my first impression about DC is that it was built by and for giants. Must confess that I’ve never been fond of my American neighbours and their nationalistic love for overwhelming monuments and beacons of their glorious history; however, DC is a gorgeous example of grand architecture devoted to enhance the past.

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My good old Mexican friend from University, Sergio, picked me up from the Station and took me to one of Obama’s favourite burger places in DC, Good Stuff Eatery. I helped myself with a “Hillary”, because at that time, mid October, the elections were still on. Beautiful burger, you should definitely try the Prez Obama Burger or their Good Stuff Melt. Serious stuff.

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After that “breakfast” I was on my own, Sergio told me to walk down from The Capitol all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, going around the Tidal Basin by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

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Jefferson Memorial at Tidal Basin

This is such a great path if you don’t have enough time in DC, as no matter where you are at the National Mall, literally you get to enjoy a great view of everything!

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The Lincoln Memorial is magnificent, as it crowns the National Mall bringing a sublime balance to the whole landscape, overwhelming Capitol Hill as it aligns in perfection to the Washington Monument. It was at the stairs of the Memorial where  I sat down to rest, while hundreds of tourists like me were doing their best to capture a picture of Lincoln’s statue, trying not to hit each other with their selfie-sticks. After a while, I headed to the White House, choosing to walk by the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

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I look so full of freedom and democracy

That afternoon I had beers and burgers (DC loves its burgers) with a great friend of mine. She is a smart-ass good looking journalist, one of the few people who appreciate my nerdy sense of humour and laughs at pretty much most of my jokes. That was the night of the last debate, mezcal was mandatory in order to hear Trump’s now famous quotes of “Bad Hombres” and “Nasty Woman” (which we all agree are great names for rock bands). Spoiler alert: Trump won the election.

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Or a great Eau de Toilette brand name

Washington DC showed me a different and refreshing face of the “US and A”. Even though I’m a Mexican used to the American “culture”, experiencing something different from LA, Minnesota, or Texas, was needed.

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On Thursday morning I had this wee piece of heaven at the Pretzel Bakery – gorgeous

All that happened in one day. On Thursday morning I was again at Union Station, ready for NYC, and that’s for another post.