When: 14th August – 7th September 2014
Where: Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia and New York City
Cool people I met: Leanna, Phil, Colleen, Jake, Ben, Scott, Simon, Evan, Jason, Lilly, Tessa, Will
After a good two months on the west coast it was time for me to head east again so that I could see Shan and my American family again. I spent 3.5 weeks on the aforementioned states. It is nice to be back here in summer as it is warmer and everything is so much greener! So here is the run down of what I did.
One of the first things we did when I arrived was have a picnic. I had been craving wine and cheese for a while and now I was finally getting to satisfy my craving. So Shan, Leanna, Phil and I picnicked on Leannas apartment grounds which were just beautiful.
2. Atlantic City
After the picnic Shan, Leanna and I drove to New Jersey where we stayed in a beach house in Briganteen. We spent the day on the beach and then had cocktails at the beach club. That evening we pregamed with a bottle of Kraken while sitting on the porch watching the sunset. Then it was time to hit AC, we caught a cab in and first went to Cesars, good thing I didn’t gamble because I was in no state to make decisions haha. We went into a club they have there but it was only 10pm on a Tuesday night so we were the only ones inside. Afterwards we went to Ballys but they didn’t accept my ID so we made the executive decision to go home. Lovely taxi driver stopped at Wawas on the way for our late night drunk food. It was a fun night and cool that I got to experience AC.
4. Marks cooking and Ben&Jerrys Tastings
So Shans stepdad mark is an amazing cook and they have a vegetable garden which is full of fresh vegetables. So each night I was there we had a smorgasbord of delicious fresh food. I swear we picked and ate 20 tomatoes a day! After our deliciously healthy dinner we would continue my icecream addiciton by eating Ben&Jerrys, but we didn’t only have one tub, we had four and would all stand around with spoons trying all of the flavours. Here in the great USA you can get 4 tubs for $12, which is the price of one at home AND they have such a bigger and better variety of flavours. On my last night we had a big family dinner and then they surprised me with a Ben and jerrys icecream tower, 6 tubs of Icecream for our one last icecream tasting!
5. College Experiences
So was here at the start of the college year and lucky for me Shan was helping out on some campuses so I got to go to Temple University’s Open Day and look around. Wow Aussie unis have nothing on these places. So it’s not just a campus it is a whole town! Massive buildings for classes, university housing, grocery stores, fast food, bars, food trucks, book stores, banks…anything you can think of it was here. Plus being there on the open day mean I got to see all the crazy clubs and organisations including the sorority girls and frat boys! What we see on the movies is real, I felt like I was in a movie the entire day.
I was in Charlottesville, Virginia for the first UVA game, this was another college town. So the night before the game we were at this Fridays after a five event where there is music, food and beer. At the end of the night the cheerleaders and marching band came in and it was like a pep rally with everyone chanting UVA songs and then they introduced the football and basketball teams. Most people were dressed in Navy and Orange, their colours, and just so proud to be part of UVA. We didn’t go to the game the next day but we defiantly experienced it, everywhere people were running around in UVA gear and drinking and cheering. Crazy.
I did get to experience a college football game, it was Temple vs Navy at the Lincoln Field. I went with Scott, Shan and Jason. We went in at like 10am and tailgated, which is so much fun. It is essentially a big pre-game party in the parking lot where people drink, play beer pong and corn hole, have bbqs and the band/cheerleaders walk around hyping people up. We saw the bball team and wow they were like celebrities haha. We went into the game a bit after kick off and holy this stadium was massive! It was a lot of fun even though these are not the best teams haha. Each team had it’s own full marching band, mascot and cheerleaders. Each time temple got a touch down everyone stood up and did a chant, so crazy. There was also a halftime show along with things like Cute Cams, Muscle Cams etc. gosh I love American college life!
6. Visiting Katie and Alec
So Alec and Katie, who I travelled throughout Central America with were home in Charlottesville Virginia and I went down to see them! It was so much fun, Charlottesville is a cool town. The first night I went out with Katoe, Lilly and Tessa to the Biltmore which had $2 rails (cheap liquor) so that was fun! We got very drunk and danced the night away. Katie showed me around UVA, which is a way nicer campus than Temple. We got Bodos bagels which I had heard so much about. We went to visit Alec’s mum at Waterperry estate where she was staying, it had all the gorgeous gardens, a swimming pool, a pool house and a great view! After we visited her we got wine drunk and home and played Mario party! We attended a wine tasting and Fridays after five which I mentioned above. It was great weather while I was down there so one afternoon we went to Sugar Hollow which is about half an hour outside Charlottesville and has some awesome swimming holes. It is mountain water though so it was freezing! We had breakfast at Bluegrass cafe which was probably the best breakfast place I have ever been to. That evening we went and saw Yonder Mountain Strings which is a Bluegrass band. It was so much fun, bluegrass is awesome. And it was inside his beautiful old theatre. On my last day we went to Chiles Peach Orchard and picked fresh peaches which we then ate, yum!! We also had fresh peach frozen yogurt which was to die for! Afterwards we went and did a small hike up humpback rocks, it provided a beautiful 360 degree view of Virginia, so green and gorgeous! That night Alec, Katie, will and I went to Katie and wills parents for dinner which was fun. It was so awesome to be able to go and see those two and Charlottesville which I have heard so much about! Can’t wait for them to come to me!
7. Drinks drinks drinks
So i am finally 21…woohoo! We went out either in Manayunk or Pheonixville. In Pheonixville we went out with Jake and Ben who are Shans highschool friends, that was fun, the Americans look after me so well. We went out in Manayunk a few times with either Leanna or Scott and Jason. Our favourite place to go was Taqueria Feliz, which is a funky Mexican bar. We always went for margaritas! They had an awesome chili margarita which was right down my alley. We also went to Manayunk Brewery where I had many beers, so happy that I am now in the world of beers! Haha.
8. Family Time
I have coined Shans family my American family. They look after we so well and it is so much fun to hang out with them. I got to be there for Alex, Shans stepbrothers, graduation party which was cool. I was also there for Christian and Jessie’s first day of school. It is nice to be around kids who are a similar age to Ryder and Kiya. I spent some nice time with baba and learnt about her life in Austria which was amazing. Having to say goodbye to all these guys was so sad, I defiantly can’t wait to come back!
9. Booked a plane ticket home
After much deliberation and looking for ways to extend my trip I bit the bullet and booked a ticket from Panama – Gold Coast on the same day my little sister leaves Panama. I would love to stay on this side of the world and continue on my travels but as I am starting university in January next year I decided it was probably best if I booked a ticket home for late November so I can settle in before a year if study! It is crazy to think that I only have 2.5 months left of my trip!
10. NYC for a day
So Anastasia now has her own place in NYC and said I could stay there the night before I flew out. She picked me up from the bus station and we walked past Apollo Theatre then we went to a soul food place for lunch, mmmmm fried chicken! Afterwards we went to her place which is super cute and we went to the rooftop and lay in the sun for a while. It was a beautiful day out. Then we got changed and headed downtown. We went down 5th Avenue, stopped at Bryant Park, saw State Library and Grand Central Station and then went to the Brooklyn Bridge. The views from the bridge were incredible, we walked across the whole thing. Then we caught the subway back home and went to Maison Harlem for dinner which was a beautiful French resturant. What a nice way to spend my last day in the US!
So that was the east coast…again. Tomorrow I fly off to Nicaragua to begin the last part of my journey. Stay Tuned.