Random images from my flickr stream...



East Coast Tour - Day 1

I had an amazing musical, festive weekend with a second dose of Transformers 2. Needless to say, I have a few pictures from the weekend but I need to post about the East Coast tour as well... So here we go... there was not much happening wrt to writing so this is going to be post with photographs and some relevant text around those... Enjoy !

I was initially thinking of driving to Niagara and back, but a friend at work recommended a tour that he knew was decent... I checked out the site, discussed with mom dad, took a few days off, got the flight tickets, booked the 3 days tour and was all set! The last thing I booked was the hotel, because I was in double minds about staying close to the airport and saving time in traveling to the pick up point, or staying a bit away from the hotel and saving some money! Chose the latter, and it turned out to be a nice idea as our flight out of Milwaukee was more than a few hours late and that meant that would get just about 4 hours to sleep before we were to leave for the 3 day tour.

Gotobus is a travel firm owned and managed by the Chinese and operates with some local travel shops attaching their buses with the central operator. Our pickup point was in Flushing, a small china town in NY suburb. From there a shuttle bus took us to China Town, Manhattan from where we were to board our tour bus.

Early morning experience on the otherwise very busy streets was interesting... It was like a city trying to wake up... about half an hour on that road was good enough to see how the number of people and speed of movement changes...

Does not look like NY does it? :) This is in front of LL Travels. The travel firm which manages most of these east coast tours starting 2 days to 7 days!

I really liked the yellow phones... Against the morning light and otherwise a few dull colors they were really visible and looked attractive...

Some street pictures from where we were waiting for our bus.

Mr. King (that's how he liked to be called) was our tour guide for the day, and You was our driver... No not you as in you! its you as in Mr. You. A very difficult English accent to start with, which later turned into a funny one :D as I got familiar with it. We started our tour with a 5 point rule for the tour

1. No using of the bathroom in the bus (I wonder why did they have one in it anyway, if the clear instructions were not to use it)
2. Don't be late at any visiting place, as the bus is not going to wait for anyone who is late
3. Keep Mr. King's phone number handy so that in case you are lost, you call him and he finds you.
4. Keep the bus clean
5. Absolutely no open drinks in the bus, not even coffee in lid cups! Strange rule though! It was told that this irritates Mr. You !

Our first stop was the Liberty Bell memorial in Philadelphia. For someone really interested in history of the cracked bell and its relevance to America, there is much available on Google, so let me stay from the details here. This is where I first felt like a tourist :) in a controlled group lead by a tour guide with a red umbrella! Was not sure at all if this is the kind of traveling that I like, but I was sure that this was probably the best way to get a taste of America and be at places, which I would not visit otherwise... so here is how the enjoying part of this trip started!

Mom dad in front of the Independence Hall and at places around the same grounds!

An interesting no parking signage!

Milwaukee has most of its traffic lights on poles and these lights on wires always catch my attention!

We were to cover about 12 visitor locations (phew) in the second half of the day and most of them in Washington DC. Mr. King gave clear instructions on what all we were going to cover and the time we were to spend at all of them. The interesting part being that we were going to see all the monuments which were at the back of American Bills.. right from the $1 bill to a $100 bill! Pretty interesting eh!

The first stop was the National Air and Space Museum! We got just about 30 minutes at the place which needs atleast 1 day to absorb! We did enjoy those quick 30 minutes though, quickly walking around two floors of the huge huge huge museum and then rushing back to the bus!

This is the place where Sam meets one of the decepticons!

Our next stop, not too far away, was the Capitol Building. Ideally you should be doing a guided tour of the capitol and know a lot more than you can do from a distance. We did get some photo opportunities to tick mark against another place we saw! Stayed there for another 30 odd minutes and moved towards the National Museum of Natural History.

This was another amazing collection of artifacts! One place where you should spend atleast 2 days!

These are jaws of a white shark! Real ! yes !

From this museum, we moved towards some official buildings and saw the National Treasury and the White House from a distance before we moved to the Jefferson Memorial build to honor the third president of America, Thomas Jefferson.

From the Jefferson Memorial, we drove to Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. We were too tired now, and decided not to walk around but rest for a bit.... so pictures of any of the three I mentioned above...

Next was a dinner stop and then we moved for a 2 hour night tour. It was getting very tiring now, and thankfully the sights made for most of it. The first stop, Washington Memorial, was worth sitting around for a while. The breeze was nice and the weather comforting... we just sat around the place for a while before we drove to the World War II memorial.

The Washington Memorial...

World War II memorial...

Our last stop for the day before we moved to Holiday Inn, was the Roosevelt Memorial. It was a very very tiring day and none of us could wait more to reach the hotel and crash. Which we did!

Mr. King had a typical line he used to say everytime we boarded the bus, worth mentioning here :) He used to say "welcome be back to the bus!" and for a photo opportunity he would say "chak chak chak chak" and for a nice place or expression his standard dialogue was " OOOO la la"! fun guy !

All in all a very happening day... Managed to see a lot of places, though did not really experience any of them the way we wanted! DC is a place where one needs to spend at least 4 days if not less to see everything to some extent!

The next day was easy... We were to go to Hershey's Chocolate Factory and Corning Glass Museum! Will write about that day later!


  1. Oh Boy..that must have been a whirl wind of a tour. I am sure after that you need a vacation to recover from the vacation.

    I have never ever a taken a guided tour and always wondered is it worth the money.. It does save the time though you don't get enough time at every spot. But you cover lot of ground.


  2. Wow!!!
    I can imagine aap log kitney zor ke 'kharratey' marke soye hogay 'Holiday Inn' main...:P

    Pictures are really as always.

    And you know what, during 'that' scene in Transformers ROTF, I actually remembered the pics of National Air and Space Museum that you posted in one of your previous posts on Chai ki dukaan. I actually wondered if it was the same place that you visited with uncle and aunty. Aur lo! mera guess galat nahi tha :)

    Looking forward to read and see yummy pictures of Hershey's Chocolate Factory ...ummmm.:)

  3. err..btw, mera guess sahi tha ya nahi? Ya phir woh koi aur museum tha? :/

  4. oh la la !!! i could not read the whole post in one go....it is a treasure mine for people looking for travel info!!..am sure it will help many people

    museum of natural history, is amazing...remember taking aanza there for a day when she was little..she was overwhelmed..and we were exhuasted...phew !!!!!

    achha hai bathroom use nahi kiya..it can get quite stinky! in 3days :P

    participated in a guided tour in egypt...you have to have..an egyptologist there to give you a sense of what is going on...the gentlmen was awesome...so knowledgeable and funny...will give you his contact for your trip to egypt ;)

  5. and for the photos..dad is looking dashing in black and the shades !!ufff

    and love the street photos...the vignette on the photos against black background is a killer...and the leggs on the escalator...nice perspective :)..and tough to manange!!...good one!

  6. Welcome be back to putting up East Coast tour pictures!

    They are amazing, all the night shots are my favorites!

    Flushing, hey. I have seen that place being totally taken over by the Chinese. Every building that got sold was bought by them! I'm sure it has transformed even more in the past seven years!

    I like Philly! Bahut dhakke khayein hain maine wahan pe apne dost logon ke saath! Hershey gayi lekin chocolate factory nahin gayi!

  7. The National Mall is an amazing place: it remains the only place in the US that I have actually explored :) Amazing museums there... wish you had more time to see all of them.

  8. Wow..the pics as always are good..hope uncle-aunty had a great time!!
    Your guide looks funny n cute..
    oh n yeah,the reason for not letting u guys use the loo is, the crap in there has to be

    processed with a chemical(which is bhery expensive) before decomposing it.My taya ji has

    this carvan,he does the same (and believe its funny when he doesnt let us, the Kids use his

    Never the less its all good till the time you had a good time!!
    Hope ur parents stay was memorable!! God Bless!!

  9. these are a awesome set of pictures.

    they speak for themselves but your write up does compliment them.

    waiting for more

  10. Since your blog is about chai you might like this article.


  11. Usual comment: The pictures are awesome!! ;)
    Related to this post: Mr. You sounds facinating.. :)