Monday, May 23, 2016

Our Trip to Maryland and New York City

After a long 9 months after our Hawaii trip, when Cheriamma came to US, we planned a week long vacation to Maryland and New York. We booked our tickets and our AirBnb Apartment. We were so excited about the trip, but a day before the actual trip, Tara had ear infection and fever and we were basically wondering what to do. We changed plans multiple times and finally when her fever subsided , we decided to fly down to Maryland as per original plans, but we cancelled our NewYork AirBnb reservation as Sree was not at all comfortable travelling to new york when she is not fully we decided to reach Maryland and then see how things look.

Day 1- Flying to Maryland

We started on our journey on Sunday 11th Oct. Through out the flight Tara stuck to Sree most of the times and he could hardly sleep. Cheriamma slept throughout. We got down at Dulles Airport and took our rental car. After that, we just drove down to 809 Royal Crescent, Rockville MD. This was the first time we were visiting my Aunt's new home and it was a beautiful space. It also had a Media room, which was completely set up with sound system and Sree was all excited about it and he made plans to sit there and watch Rockford files. We had dinner, chatted for a while, and then went to bed. We were given the entire basement floor. It looked like a Mini apartment!

Day 2- Lurey Caverns
Sree was still not comfortable to go to New York today as he wanted to give one more day before we take Tara. So we decided to go checkout Lurey Caverns which was a 2 hr drive from Maryland. The drive was so beautiful and we also saw small shops that sold apple ciders and wines on our way. There were beautiful houses along the roads with picket fences which was a treat to watch. It does really make you feel California is so so expensive to stay. We reached Lurey Caverns, had some sandwiches from the only cafe in the complex and then stood in the long queue to get it. Once we were in, we had a guided tour and the rock formations were awesome!other than the fact that Tara was cranky and would not sit in her stroller, we enjoyed the tour. We also had to carry the stroller the long flight of steps downstairs while entering the caverns. 
We came out, bought magnets and then visited the car museum and the Lurey museum in the same complex and then started our journey back. Again a beautiful 2 hr drive and reached Rockville. Awesome food again. After this me and Sree found a place in AirBnB to stay (link here) in Harlem New York. We reserved it immediately. 

Day 3- Drive to New York 

We woke up by 5:30 am today and started on our drive to New York at 8 AM. It was a long 4 hour drive with breaks in between. We stopped over at a gas station and bought some pretzel chips which was flavoured and cheriamma and Sree started calling it "Chakkakuru". We had these nice conversations thought out  the 4 hr journey. It was not that scenic, and fall colors have just started appearing. We reached Harlem around 1. Luckily we got a space to park and the. We met the landlady and she let us into a nice 1 bedroom apartment. It had a small kitchenette, a decent bathroom and a nice big bedroom. It also had a couch which can be converted into a twin bed. So Cheriamma could sleep on that. We ordered some pizza from a few places the landlady recommended and had that for lunch. Decent. Not the best I would say. Sree took a nap. Later around 4:00, me and Cheriamma took a walk to the nearby supermarket ( pioneer) and bought milk, bread , and jam. Then we all started off to time square. It was our first time taking the subway, but we were able to figure it out. The subway station was just two blocks from where we were staying and it had a working elevator. So we were lucky with her stroller. But we soon realized that this was one of the very few subway stations that had an elevator. Everywhere else it was so not stroller friendly. That was the only problem with NewYork that I found. They say the city is kid friendly, but I seriously don't believe they are kid or disable friendly. We got down at 42nd street taking line 2. Then we walked a bit and reached time square. The huge billboards and ads were fascinating to watch. We had some snacks from a nearby food truck, and also saw people dressed up, to make some money posing for pics or do some tricks. On the way to time square, we did make a quick stop at the New York public library. I thought the children's section there would be really nice for Tara. Well there were a lot of books, but for some reason I felt, it lacked the charm that we have in the library near our home.
We walked and walked to get to the 5th Avenue Apple Store. Since I work on the retail operations side of Apple, I wanted to visit this store. It had this glass enclosure with steps that take you down. I went down, I had to get a replacement phone as mine was not working, and the team was super helpful about that. After about an hour and half, we found a place to eat called Pizzarte. The food was yummy. Italian food. But Tara was a pain. She was crying and would not leave Sree alone. So we could not eat peacefully. After dinner, we spoke to some folks and figured out the Subway line and took it from Columbus circle, got down at 42nd street, and switched to line 2 to get down at 135th. Even at 12:30 in the night the subway was crowded. We got down at Harlem and walked home. We felt very safe. We reached home and then crashed.

Day 4 - Statue of Liberty and One World.

I am writing this entry after two months, so I don't remember every detail. But we did wake up, take up the subway to Battery park. It took us 45 minutes to battery park. Then we got tickets for the ferry ride to liberty island. We got into the ferry, there was exiting to clear! Most inconvenient. This is because of 9/11. 
We hoped on to the ferry dock and then started on our journey. It was a 20 minute ride. The view from ferry to NewYork city was beautiful. 

We reached Liberty island. We collected the audio tour , which was useless. We got some food from the cafe there. Kutty was hard to manage. We took some snaps with NewYork skyline in the background. Walked around, made someone take some pics in front of the statue, went to the gift shop there and decided to start back on the ferry back to mainland. We had to wait a bit in the queue and then got into the ferry. I sat upstairs and Sree and Cheriamma and kutty sat down. She was a bit fussy. 
Got down at NewYork, walked around Wall Street, took pics near the wall street bull 

We had lunch and then walked to one world. One world was nice too. It is the freedom tower built in place of the twin towers. We also went to the memorial. It was sad to see the people who lost their lives in 9/11 and there were Indian names too. 
On top of one world was a magnificent view. I think going here was a better bet than Empire State. It was beautiful. We spent a good two hours there and we could see the day view and night view and then came down and walked. 

We walked towards grand central. It was a long walk, but we finally reached. It was  awesome to see inside. Such a big station. We went to the Apple Store there. This was one of our flagships too and I was happy to see it. 

Then later we went down and most of the places to sit down was closed. We grabbed Togo to eat and decided to walk down to Bryant park to sit and eat. We sat in Bryant park and had a peaceful dinner. Loved that. Then we walked and took the subway back to 135th and walked home. 

Tiring and long day

Day 5: lunch and Central Park 
We had lunch at this restaurant very near to our Airbnb of this famous food network star called Marcus. I'll jot down the name of the restaurant later. Ok got it. It's Called Red Rooster in Harlem

The food was amazing. We enjoyed it. Then we took the subway right from there and got down at Central Park. 
I thought I would be very impressed with central
Park, but I wasn't. We walked around for a while and then stopped near a play area for a bit for kuttu to play and then walked more. After a while we walked back and took the subway back to the Airbnb. 
We checked out from here, and then started on our way back to Rockville. We had a break for refreshing coffee and then chatted all the way back. Cheriamma liked he black tea. 
Reached Rockville in the night.

Day 6 - 809 Rockville
Woke up and enjoyed the media room at chinnamma's today. We watched 1983. Roshu came today and also gifted kutty with a magnetic writing board. We all went for dinner out to a Japanese place. The guy was cooking right in front of us and also shows some gimmicks. 
I also woke up and made deepu take a video of my practice

Day 7 - meeting Geetha Aunty, and going to ash burn
We met Geetha Aunty today. Her house was really pretty. She gifted kutty with a talking doll. We were there only for 30 minutes. Then we got a sim for Cheriamma. Later we had lunch and left for Ashburn. This is where Deepu has bought a place. Very nice townhome. 
We watched a bit of a Malayalam movie and had dinner. Roshu left to rockville.

Day 7- last day. 
Cheriamma left for Ohio early in the morning. Sanu and Sree dropped her. Then we had breakfast chatted for a bit. We then packed and it was time to leave for our return trip to SFO. 
Deepu and Sanu dropped us and then we had a nice trip back. I could even catch a movie! That's a luxury with her. 
Hemal was at the airport to pick us up and when we reached home we were greeted with awesome food Varsha had packed for us.