Monday, April 2, 2012

21 Days In USA

Just came back from a 3-week holiday in the US with my family to visit hubby's brother and his family who live in Seattle. For the past few years, either my son or my daughter would be sitting for a major school exam and we couldn't go on an overseas trip, except for this year...which is also the year when hubby and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding there was much excitement and preparations for the trip.

It was towards the end of winter when we landed in Seattle after a 4 hour flight to Taipei, 3 hours of transit and then another 12 hour flight to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Realised that most of the jackets we brought couldn't keep us warm enough and my brother-in-law brought us to a thrift shop where we could get second-hand clothes in good condition for as low as 99 cents USD.
Hello Kitty clocks in Taipei Taoyuan Airport
Bins where we had to dispose of some aerosol sprays,
namely deodorant and hairspray which were not allowed
into the airplane, even in check-in luggage
We spent 4 days in Seattle, then flew to California and rented a car. Spent 5 days in Los Angeles and headed for Las Vegas, then to the Grand Canyon. Flew back to Seattle and spent another week there. Hubby drove while I kept a close eye on the GPS, and it was quite an interesting experience travelling on the right side of the road and having everything opposite of what we have in Malaysia...the fast lanes were on the left and the indicator switch was also on the left, so many times hubby ended up switching on the wipers when he wanted to signal to make a turn!
Angry Bird about to be launched from the
Seattle Space Needle (something like our
Menara KL)
The weather changes from day to day and we always had to check the weather forecast. It could be rainy or even snowy one day and  sunny the next, but the temperature was generally 10 degrees Celsius and below for the entire 3 weeks we were there..brrr!
McDonald's Angus Burger...beef patty with lettuce 
and slices of bacon and tomatoes...fabulous!
Sometimes we bought frozen food for dinner
from the supermarket to reheat in the
motel microwave and yummy.
My first taste of a fresh blackberry :)
This ice-cream is really, really good!
SweetTeen and I went for the
Pacific Northwest Ballet company
performance of 'Snow White'
Visited Universal Studios, Disneyland and Hollywood in California. It is indeed a sunny state. Las Vegas was really an eye-opener as the casinos were in every hotel lobby and parents with children could just freely walk by and watch people gambling although the age limit to play is 21. Our hotel lobby had a small stage with a very scantily clad girl dancing on it, right next to the check-in desk!

It was snowing when we reached Grand Canyon, around -7 degrees C, and it looked like a winter wonderland. It was quite an experience for hubby to drive on icy roads as snowflakes fell onto our windscreen. 

View of the sea from Whidbey Island near Seattle
Lots of tall pine trees in the state park
Doesn't this photo look like a postcard picture?
Sunset view of the Pacific Ocean
Seattle is a large city but the pace of life seems a little more relaxed than Los Angeles or Las Vegas. People are generally polite and friendly...whenever we entered a store the sales assistant would greet us with "How are you today?" . There is so much land and many State Parks where nature is preserved, and driving around is quite easy once we got used to the road system as people are courteous and would give way whenever we needed to change lanes or make a turn.

The Apple Store in Seattle was full of people
with the launching of iPad 3
You can pay for almost everything with the credit card,
even the parking meter!
We also saw the not-so-pleasant side of US with many people out of jobs and homeless people sleeping in the parks, parts of the city in Los Angeles where there are fences and grills on the windows ( homes are usually without fences and grills in the US, unlike in Malaysia) and young men hanging around at street corners looking very suspicious in their attire and behaviour. 

Strangely, the toilet cubicles in the ladies' restroom
all have rather large gaps between the door and the wall,
which is why Americans don't queue for the toilet
in front of the cubicles, unlike us Malaysians!
It was a good 3-week break for us from our busy lives but it also makes us appreciate what we have over here...not having to shiver when we step out of the shower, our large air-conditioned malls and the variety of local food available...just to mention a few.


YuinTing said...

WOW!!! Your family had a great holiday in USA!
I have problem planning for long holidays too...apart from 3 kids' major exams that usually fall on different years, it is hard for my hubby & I to leave our business for 3 weeks in a stretch. Wish I can retire earlier!!!

Sunny-Cookie said...

Hi YuinTing,
You might not be able to go away for 3 weeks now but you never know how things will turn out in the near future. We also never imagined that we would be able to travel to the other side of the world for a holiday but sometimes life brings about pleasant surprises :)