Day 1 : Ottawa - NYC
New York City was, as per usual, insanely crazy to drive into. I don't understand how there are not more car crashes but oh well, Dahlia handled it like a champ, even when she got flicked off by some New Yorker.
We finally arrived at the hotel which was located in FiDi aka the Finacial District part of the island. The hotel was the W Hotel New York Downtown and it is a VERY posh and modern hotel. The room came equipped with an iPod dock, a flat screen tv, Bliss bathroom products and a see-thru shower which we all found hilarious. The view from our window was amazing as it overlooked the construction of the new One World Trade Center and the Memorial Reflecting Pool. You literally could not get any closer.
After getting refreshed and changing into different clothes we decided to head to times square. We decided to take the Subway from the Rector stop and we all paid the minimum 4.50 purchase so that we had a return trip after. The subway was a relatively quick ride and extremely easy to navigate.
Once we got to Times Square the camera whoring began. Not only did we do some shopping and sight-seeing but we got to see the famous naked cowboy! While Dahlia and her sister had a caricature of themselves made me and Khizer decided to head back to the famous red stairs for our own mini photoshoot (see left) which was awesome! Even met some "sexy, single, French" boys (see right). As we were heading back to see the girls and their caricature it started to rain so we quickly speed-walked back to the subway station to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.
Ninja restaurant for a private room to celebrate Dahlia's birthday but of course they had no such record of that so we ate in the dining room. The food was still amazing but the service was sub-par, our waitor tried to make the situation better but his efforts only made some things worse.
I had a Sapporo beer which was actually really tasty even though I'm not much of a beer fan. For the meal I ordered the Yukimura special course menu. The first course I had a garden salad with ginger which was served in a bamboo bowl with a roasted parmesan chip on top that we all had to "karate chop" when the server gave them to us! Really tasty and now a fan of ginger salad dressing! Next I had the terijaki beef sushi rolls and this was the first time I ever had sushi but it was really good but extremely filling. So filling in that the third (and final course) which was 3 kinds of terijaki chicken (breast, thigh and wing) that I could only eat one! Wish they had told us this as Dahlia, Khizer and myself now had 2 extra pieces of chicken each that we did not even touch.
After leaving the restaurant all unimpressed we decided not to go out clubbing as previously planned. Instead we decided to get a good nights rest so that we could go back to Times Square the next morning and then head out early to Hoboken!
Day 2 : NYC - Hoboken - Seaside Heights
We all woke up relatively early and packed up so that we could head to Times Square. We first went to the 9/11 memorial as we were extremely close to it. It was kind of emotional to be beside the towers where so many people lost their lives but at the same time it was very touching. There were tour groups there but it is a free site to visit and easily accessible by metro or walking (like in our case).
From the memorial we decided to cab to the Nintendo Store as it was just as cheap to to cab there as it would be for 4 people to buy individual metro passes. The store was located off of 5th Avenue near the Rockefeller Plaza. The store was 2 stories full of Nintendo products, both old school(donkey kong and mario-kart) and modern (pokemon and wii). It was really fun to see all the products and Khizer even bought Nintendo monopoly (which we definitely played when we were all not feeling well in New Jersey).
After the Nintendo store we did some minor browsing along 5th Avenue
but Dahlia's sister wasn't feeling well so we cabbed back to the hotel in order to get ready to leave. The drive to Hoboken was really quick as it is just across the bridge past Jersey City. We saw Carlo's Bakery (Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes) and even though there was a line we decided we would wait it out in order to go in. The line up was about an hour and a half, and the wait inside the store was even longer, but apparently it was "short" according to some of the employees who said the initial wait outside the store is usually 4 hours. Since it was a Sunday Buddy was not working but we did see Lisa (his mom) and lots of their employees. I also saw this amazing cake that I definitely would want to have someday (see above right)! I bought a red velvet cupcake, a white chocolate dipped strawberry and some cookies for my parents. The cupcake and the strawberry were delicious!
After having tried our baked good we decided to move on to Seaside Heights which would be another 2ish hour drive away but it was not as crazy as driving into New York. When we first got there we checked into our motel Seaside Sands Inn which was a block away from the infamous Boardwalk. We did a quick tour of the Boardwalk stopping in at the Shore Store and snapping some pictures as well. Unfortunately I had some chicken fingers which we all determined must have been deep-fried or made with some weird batter because both me and Dahlia's sister got sick, and eventually so did Dahlia and Khizer which we all blame on the fried foods.
Day 3: Seaside Heights
Today I decided not to go with the group on a shopping excursion as I wanted to stay on the beach and not waste time or money. The outlets they went to were all high-end and let's face it, my student budget barely affords my inexpensive stores let alone high-fashion ones!
I originally had wanted to spend the entire time at the beach to tan and swim but then I noticed that you had to pay $5 to even enter the beach! I decided I was going to wait till the next day so the entire group could go together.
I first decided to get henna done on my foot which looked amazing (now I know I like the look of a tattoo on my foot for when I eventually get one). There are lots of places along the boardwalk advertising Henna and they all basically have the same designs. The one I went to was on the right side of the Boardwalk from the Sumner Avenue entrance. It was one advertising a "$5 HENNA, WHY PAY MORE?" sign. It cost me $10 as mine was on my foot and a medium size but compared to the prices I asked the night before $10 was better than $15-20. The girl who did my henna also recommended to me some places to eat in order to avoid the fried foods as every restaurant boasts fried something.
I walked along the boardwalk from end-to-end looking for the best deals on their main souvenir items...custom shirts as made famous by the Jersey Shore television show. I eventually found a store where I got an amazing deal. First off, all the stores will say the price of the shirt(or other article of clothing) without any printing. Most stores told me $20 for a top and $30 including the printing, but then they will all offer discounts. If you find a store that is empty they are most likely going to hawk you for business and offer you discounts which is what I did. More than one employee will try to get to you to offer their deal so that they get your business and not a co-worker. My original deal was 2 shirts, with printing, a gloss over top and an additional "jersey shore" decal at the bottom of one for $35(no tax). In the end I got 4 shirts for $40 as they screwed up on the images for the 2 different size tops I had so the owner sold me the 2 mistakes for $5. So even though I now have 4 shirts, 2 of each design but in different sizes there is NO BETTER DEAL to be found. The best deal you are likely to score is 2 for $30 which is a deal I scored the 2nd time I came around, with my friends, so he was happy I brought him business. (see above left for tshirt and design, although I did not buy it at the Shore Store in the background). It is also extremely hard to find the typical souvenir gifts such as postcards, shotglasses (my collector item) or pens/pencils. I was able to find 2 places that had very limited postcards and the shotglasses I did find were overprices and not very impressive.
|Us girls relaxing on a bench on the Boardwalk|
|After the beach "closing" time I took some pictures on the beach as it was |
still gorgeous out and the sand was not as hot as one may think.
|All of us at the Spicy Cantina|
Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to get ready as we were going out dancing at Aztec (a famous bar the Jersey Shore cast frequents on the show). The club was EXTREMELY busy and there were TONS of guidos with blowouts.. I had to hold back from laughing. On the upside, I got one of them to buy me a drink which is always fun. The night ended early as it was a Monday and the club closed early.
Day 4: Seaside Heights
|Dahlia's sister, myself and Khizer battling the waves|
Eventually Dahlia and Khizer made it to the beach and they joined in on some of the fun. The tides came in very fast and we had to move our towels several times before we left. The worst part of swimming in the ocean is definitely having to wash everything as soon as you get back. Sand gets everywhere (especially in your hair), you clothes smell of salt water and the towels get super dirty.
Eventually the day brightened up and we went back to the boardwalk so the others could pick up their souvenirs. I took them to the places that I thought had the best deals. I also redid my henna as the 4-6 week recommended time they originally gave me had barely lasted a day so another girl redid it for free. We also saw the house where the Jersey Shore cast live when they film and it is literally attached to their work, so when they complain about having to get up to go to work, they literally just walk through the backyard to a back entrance into the house.
For dinner we decided to go back to the Spicy Cantina and we thankfully had the same waitress. I had the salad again which was delicious. Afterwards we decided to visit the other pier which was the Funtown Pier. We all decided to go on the ferris wheel which we were told was a typical Jersey Shore amusement ride. It was great and even though it was at night we had a great view of the boardwalk and the ocean.
Day 5: Seaside Heights - Ottawa
Today we had to pack up early and leave for home. Our first stop was in Newark as Dahlia's sister was flying back home to Toronto instead of joining us for the road trip. Our trip consisted of several pit stops for shopping including the Carousel Center in Syracuse and eating at an Indian restaurant which was made up of an old train car in Pennsylvania.
At one point on the way back home through Pennsylvania we also hit a really bad rain storm which caused us to pull over to the side of the highway as there was absolutely no vision. It was kinda scary but we all made it home safe!