Today has been a day full of sight seeing of historic monuments. First thing we went to see was The Statue Of Liberty. When you see it on the photographs you really dont get an idea of how big it is. Just standing at the foot of it looking up gives you an idea of how big it is. I don’t think any photo you can take will justify the scale of it. Secondly we visited Brooklyn Bridge. I have taken some fantastic photos of the steel work, to think that this was constructed years and years ago without modern construction equipment just makes the mind boggle. It was a fantastic sight of the skyline – however you will have to wait to see the photos of this. I’ve had a look at the weather and tonight is probably going to be our last clear night for Time Square photos. So I’m going to get up at 2:15 to (hopefully) get some fantastic shots with my tripod in a less crowded view. We shall see 🙂
It’s really hard to believe that I’ve been on holiday for only 8 days, I’ve done so much, it seems a lot longer. This is perhaps going to be the shortest post ever, as my feet are killing me, and my neck is aching from all the looking up I’ve been doing – so I’m just going to bullet point what we’ve done today. * Bus Tours around New York City * Empire State Building – both night and day. * Kosher beef and turkey baguette for dinner. Need sleep so will blog properly tomorrow. Night night.
I have it, my T-mobile SIM. It allows me to tweet/blog/upload photos on the move which in theory is brilliant – however T-mobile only offer it at Edge speed, and reception in the hotel isn’t brilliant. When in the city it’s fine, but not inside. One thing we do have up on the USA is that we do have much better telecommunication companies and better deals. Once again it’s going to be a short post, as I’m rather tired. We arrived in NYC, and it certainly is busy, the buildings are huge, and there are people as far as the eye can see, all walking, as the road is gridlocked. Today we just did walking around. I went to B&H – the largest camera shop I’ve ever seen, the best part was it was run by orthodox Jews. I bought a new camera, a Canon 60D – I tried for student discount, everything but I walked away without discount; however it’s still saved me around £300 on the UK price. A full review will be on my main blog when I get back (http://www.jonathanisaacs.com/blog) For dinner we ate at Kosher Delights and I had a steak sandwich, it was yummy – and very cheap! As we walked back we saw Time Square at night, that was spectacular. I’m going to get up for around 3am one day to get some night shots when there are less people, will probably do this on my last day so I can sleep on the plane to Miami. Anyway that’s it. Night night. Oh tomorrow I think we are doing The Empire State Building – so thats exciting 🙂
Its going to be quite a quick post today compared to yesterdays essay. Today we woke up and I went back to the Mall, where T-Mobile had an authorised reseller, Radioshack. It was a fantastic store, it had all the technology that anyone could want, however there was one problem, they didn’t stock T-Mobile SIM Cards. It would appear that authorised resellers don’t need to have SIM cards, they just need to be able to help you with your questions and provide top-ups; well that could be anywhere then!!! So sadly I had no SIM card with data for a second day. Luckily there is an T-Mobile shop 0.02 miles from our New York hotel tomorrow, so I can pop down there and get one (fingers crossed). All is not lost however, as we are staying in another set of Homewood Suites, which are an exact carbon copy of the Homewood Suites that we stayed in last night (however to Rachel’s distress there are no children’s books); that means that there is WIFI in the rooms, so I am once again using my MacBook Air to write my blog post and upload my pictures. As today we were mainly driving, we only had a brief walk to the Hudson River, it was really nice and warm, and once again a dry heat, so it wasn’t that bad. After the free dinner in the hotel, (that consisted of burger free burgers), I went to the gym for an hour, then in the pool; I was joined shortly by David, and then Rachel about 15 minutes later. Thankfully we had the whole pool to ourself as we were making a lot of noise, and splashing around. Rachel was able to lift me onto her shoulders and carry me around the pool. This either proves that I am very light, or I am of normal weight and Rachel is strong. Personally I think its a combination of the two. Anyway, tomorrow we are driving to New York city and getting rid of the car. If memory serves me right, we are doing The Empire State in the evening tomorrow. If we are then that should be quite cool to see the New York skyline at night time – will definitely take a few panoramas in HDR if we get a good view. Thats it for tonight, I’m going to head to bed and watch a few more episodes of Only Fools and Horses. Night Night.
After the excitement of yesterday we needed a break, I nice restful day, luckily we had just that ahead of us. Firstly we had to eat breakfast, and even though we were not quite in America, as we were so close to the boarder, clearly their choreography of this meal had hopped over boarder control and taken up residence. There was everything that you could possibly want and more! They had a cue for you to order your own omelette containing the ingredients you wanted, toast, muffins, fruit, yoghurts, cereal and pancakes – I had to sample everything, so two plates were on in order. After breakfast was consumed we needed to cross into the United State of America, the land of the free. Having said that it was the land of the free, our movements weren’t very free for the first hour as we were consigned to immigration and boarder control. The guys in boarder control were mad, one of them was playing ‘everybody dance now’ on loop, I felt sorry for his colleague who was sitting next to him, however the music mad man was right up my street, had a voice and an opinion! Our passports were stamped, and we made our way to the airport to collect our car, the car is amazing as well. Air-vents in the back, electric operated doors, GPS, reversing camera and enough room for me to stretch out as far as I wanted. A few hours drive in our car aided by the SatNav (and occasional corrections by mum) we arrived at our Hotel. We clearly seem to be doing a tour of Hilton Hotel Partners, the Embassy Suites were Hilton Partners, the Homewood Suites are also Hilton Partners. Mum and Dad have their own room; David, Rachel and I have another. There is of course the obligatory swimming pool and gym – both of which I used. After the bags were dropped we went for a walk along a river, the weather was very warm, and it was a nicer heat compared to that in Niagara, as it wasn’t as humid. I don’t mind the heat as much when its dry, I’m just not a fan of humid heat. Having seen Niagara falls, the river was tiny by comparison, however the view was still good. I needed to get my mobile data sorted, as my credit from my Canadian Rogers SIM had expired (as I had been using it on roaming for a good few hours in USA) so I wanted to get a US SIM. I had several options; AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. I only wanted a Pay As You Go plan. AT&T offered this however said that Apple had done something to their phone that prevented mobile data being used on the Pay As You Go Plan on the iPhone 4. We tried this, and the agent was correct. I really doesn’t sit right tho. Apple was partners with AT&T from the very beginning of the iPhone launch; you would have thought that they would have been able to find a work around. The second option was Verizon, however even though my iPhone 4 was unlocked – UK iPhones work on the GSM frequency, whereas the Verizon network uses CDMA, so that option was out. The last option is T-Mobile; I have looked online and they seem to offer a package that will work, tomorrow we are going back to the Mall to investigate. I really do hope I can find some mobile data, WIFI coverage has been available in all hotels that we have stayed in, however the majority of them are only available in the hotel lobby, and I want to have data in my room, and whilst in the room. When I was in the pool I spoke to a young man (sorry I don’t remember his name – so if your reading this please do let me know), who was 22 and going to do a PHD at the local university. He told me the in’s and out’s of the US education and health systems. Firstly the education system, his undergraduate degree has so far cost him $240,000 – so quite a lot. However he has been given a scholarship for his PHD allowing him free tuition, and he gets a grant for $27,000 a year. Although he has had to pay, university education is available free for a large number of students, so it would appear that from a students point of view, the US education system is better than that of the UK. The health system shocked me. I knew that it was all private, and that you needed medical insurance, however I didn’t know that if you have medical insurance, and your life is in danger, all a hospital has to do is to stabilise you enough for a certain amount of time. It does seem harsh, especially as this doesn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions. The person who I was speaking to said that his health insurance was $4,000 a year, and that was for a fit, healthy, 22 year old, non-smoking male; can you imagine what it would be like for someone with a pre-existing health condition!!! Anyway, as you can probably tell, the hotel we are in tonight does have WIFI in the room, hence I have written my blog post on my MacBook Air. I have looked at my website, and it would appear that the blog integration disappears sometimes when the Tumblr servers are down for maintenance. The blog can still be viewed from the original Tumblr page so it may be worth making a note of this link (click here). Thats it from me this evening, I’m off to watch an episode or two of Only Fools & Horses in bed. Night night.
WOW WHAT A DAY!!! Niagara Falls is one of the wonders of the world for good reason, it is magnificent! Having got that out of the way I’m going to tell you what we did today. Firstly we woke up and transferred to Niagara from Toronto, the drive was about 90 minutes and allowed for sleep catchup time. We quickly dropped of our bags at the Embassy Suites and went to get wet! You can’t go to the Falls without going on The Maid Of The Mist, we got so close to the falls that you could feel the rumble of the water crashing down in the pit of your stomach! After that we went to see Niagara’s Fury – a 4D film that involved pictures filling you 360 degrees, and having water/snow/wind blown at you when the scene changed. If that wasnt breathtaking enough, there was a firework show over the falls, it was simply breathtaking. Honestly, so far this has been the best experience ever, and if you ever come to Canada you need to come to the falls!!! Bed time now. Night night.
Going to be a quick post today as I’m shattered as we have walked for miles today! Got up had waffles for breakfast, then walked to the Caribbean festival. It was very loud and very colourful, think I got some nice pictures. Walked back and went to the gym, yes I did, I went to the gym!!! Ate, took some night shots of the skyline and then got into bed. Going to get an early night as tomorrow is Niagra. Meaning we need to be up at 6:00. Night night.
Second day in Canada, and it’s been filled with big things. Big breakfast, big tours, big building, big walks and big dinner. The first big thing was the breakfast. Luckily we are right next door to a fantastic vegetarian restaurant which serves the most amazing food, breakfast was eggs, hash browns and toast – YUMMMM! We then put on our shoes and went on a big walk, we were hunting for the Hippo, not just any Hippo, a tour bus Harry Hippo. This hippo tour bus traveled around the city showing us the sites, then transformed into a boat and took us on the lake! Then it was CN Tower time. I found out that ‘CN’ stands for Canada National, and it certainly is something for the Canadians to be proud of. The view was amazing, you could see tens of miles. According to the literature, on a good day you can see over 120km, which is the distance between Leeds and Manchester! After CN Tower we walked back to the hotel, and I had a swim in the hotel pool, and returned to our Vegetarian restaurant. In the evening they weigh your food and charge you based on the weight. To say that the food was fantastic would be an understatement. There was everything you could want, including a ‘non-meat-ball’ which was yummy. Desert also followed the same system, only it was a lot harder to restrain the urge to pile your plate as high as the CN Tower with this course. Tomorrow our plans are to have a look around the Caribbean festival that is taking place this weekend – which should be interesting. Anyway I’m off to sleep now as I’m shattered!
Well, at the time of writing this I am laying in my bed in The Delta Hotel in Toronto. As you can probably tell by the photographs (http://www.holiday2011.jonathanisaacs.com) travelling down was quite an adventure. The flight ran smoothly, the food was fantastic, and most importantly no luggage was lost. Upon arriving in Canada we travelled straight to the hotel, it has everything I wanted, a pool and Internet connectivity via wifi. Sadly the wifi didn’t extend to the rooms. So I purchased 125mb worth of data from Rogers Communication for just over €20, this micro-sim will go in both iPad and iPhone allowing data for uploading of photos and blog posts on the move. $20 is much much cheaper than roaming would have ever been! There is a shopping centre in walking distance, so we had dinner there tonight. I had some flaffel platter thing which was nice. As we were all rather tired we came back to the hotel, I went into the jacuzzi, then uploaded my photos, whilst Rachel watched her dream program; Cupcake Kings Tomorrow we are doing the CN tower, which should be great (weather permitting). I will try and upload some photos each evening, and a blog post outlining what I’ve done, but all of this will be energy level permitting!
David: What’s the weight limit for our luggage? Jonathan: Its 21kg. David: Oh I’m 5kg over. Dad: How can you have more stuff than Rachel? David: Well I do have 2, 5kg dumbbells packed. Dad: Please tell me your joking? David: No why? Mum: I’m not paying excess baggage for you to transport two lumps of iron transatlantic! David: Oh, I’ll only take one then.