Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tips for Indians, Traveling first time in New York

Here are some useful tips from my experience if you are a first time visitor to USA from India.

1) 7-Day Unlimited Pass - If your travel duration in USA is more than 5 days, I will strongly recommend you to purchase this 7 days Metrocard pass. This will cost you around $39 and this pass is good for unlimited subway and local bus rides until midnight, 7 days from day of first use. You can also have 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard as well depending upon your travel stay. Subway Network is very wide in New York. A single ride cost you $2.50 and because of their widespread network in New York, Subway is a great way of commuting from one place to another. You can save money and hassle both by opting for 7 days pass.

2) The Subway Network works differently than what we have here in Delhi Metro. On the same platform, you will find same train (N, R, S etc..) coming from left and right. Which one to choose? Better to get a printed version of Subway Network map with you and confirm from others about the place where you want to reach. People are quite friendly and they help you.

3) Using Automated Machine - Below is the snap of automated MTA Vending Machine. You can use this machine if you want to recharge your Metro card. In my case, I found it little confusing in first chance, but from 2nd and 3rd trial, you can get familiar with it. It accepts currency coins as well as currency notes. The machine accepts cash quite fast and you need not to insert the notes number of times. The mechanism is good.  It has the option of single ride, specific amount to be added and other options as well. If you want a single day ride or need 7day/30 day pass, you can purchase it from nearby counter (every station has that). When stuck anywhere, ask for help from nearby person.

3) Try spending some time in TripAdvisor and read about the places famous to visit in New York. You will get lot of advise and feedback about which things are to consider while planning for the site visit. 

4) If you are a vegetarian person, I will suggest you to take lot of fruits (you will get different kind of fruits over there), salads, flavored yogurt (look for egg contains). I will also suggest you to look for any Indian restaurant nearby. There are plenty, (though I have found only 1 near my hotel) and get their phone number for home delivery. Because it could be possible that you might reach late due to work (site seeing). So better to get the home delivery in hotel before you reach. Check for the ingredients as all items clearly mentions the ingredients used in making.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Day 9 - Niagara Falls

Day 9 (12 July): The last sight seeing place in my 10 days US Trip and this 2 days tour was one of the largest waterfall in the world - Niagara Falls

"Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States; more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. They form the southern end of Niagara George.

Located on the Niagara Rover, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m).  The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power."

- Wikipedia

While preparing yourself to board the cruise which will take the visitors to the fall, you will feel that something special is coming to your way. Tour guide took us to the cruise and it started to take us to the place. Well, it was a great experience to witness this gigantic water fall. The water droplets coming from the fall will make you drench and you can find number of rainbows. 

Taking pictures - Important information - While on the cruise, you can take out of your phones, camera to take the snaps, but the water droplets coming from the fall, might destroy the screen. But still, be brave enough to capture the scenic beauty. I was carrying my Google Nexus Tablet and taking some pictures when a fellow visitor came and request me to untied the dress provided by Niagara Staff. While helping him out, I put my tablet under my arm and it fell down on the floor during the juggle. When I opened it out - the glass broken from bottom. I spent around 14K INR (when I got back in India) to get it fixed. What is the learning then? Here is what I can tell you:
1) Always purchase insurance when buying an High End Mobile Device.

2) When at cruise (while at Niagara Falls), take care of your device when taking snaps.

3) Put the device in your bag, when you are not taking snaps (or not using it)

4) You can take couple of snaps and then put the device in your bag. And just enjoy the fall. You will love it.

5) Take Phone number of your Tour Guide. Since the place is crowded, you can easily get lost. It's always better to take some numbers of Tour Guide, fellow members to call them and get the location of assembly point, in case when you cannot spot them. It happened with me as I was not able to locate my fellow bus members or the tour guide. I even didn't have their number. I thought of getting lost in the crowd. After spending around 30 minutes to find my crew, I returned to the place which was the main entrance of the park and there I spotted my fellow bus mates to get regrouped with them. You need not to repeat such mistake and get the tour guide phone number while you are in a long trip like this.

Here are the snaps from my visit of Niagara Falls:

Indian Flag, Indian Restaurant? Yes, you spot it right. You will find enough Indian presence in Niagara Falls.

Bridge - Connecting US & Canada

The other side is Canada

Mother Nature!

Wow! Gigantic View

View from the Top

Day 9 - Niagara Trip - Fort of Niagara

Day 9 (12 July) - Next attraction after Niagara George Park was visiting the Niagara Fort. Fort Niagara is a fortification originally built to protect the interests of New France in North America. It is located near Youngstown, New York, on the eastern bank of the Niagara River at its mouth, on Lake Ontario. If you are a history buff, this place will excite you. We spent around 2 hours over there and I clicked number of photographs.

"Inside the Fort, you'll tour original buildings where Native American, French, British and American soldiers lived and worked from the 18th to the 20th centuries. During the summer months you'll witness musket and artillery firing demonstrations, go on a guided tour, see artisans at work and learn about life on the Niagara Frontier during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

"The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years. During the colonial wars in North America a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River was vital, for it controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, however, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished. It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century." -

Enjoy the snaps from this place:

Main gate to enter the fort

Me with acting French Soldier

"The three flags flown daily above the parade ground symbolize the nations which have held Fort Niagara. Each competed for the support of a fouth nation: the powerful Iroquois Confederacy.

The French established the first post here, Fort Conti, in 1679. Its successor, Fort Denonville (1687-88) was equally short lived. In 1726 France finally erected a permanent fortification with the construction of the impressive "French Castle." 

Britain gained control of Fort Niagara in 1759, during the French & Indian War, after a nineteen-day seige. The British held the post throughout the American Revolution but were forced, by treaty, to yield it to the United States in 1796. Fort Niagara was recaptured by the British in 1813. 

It was ceded to the United States a second time in 1815 at the end of the War of 1812."


Day 9 - Niagara George State Park

Day 9 (July 12) - We stayed in a Hotel in Rochester for overnight. Next day, we left early at around 8am and headed to 2nd attraction in our Niagara Trip. The place was Niagara George State Park. Quite a decent place to be in. The greenery was amazing and I felt nice to be here. 

"Niagara Falls State Park is the most visited state park in New York State.  The park had over six million visitors during the summer of 2010.  The park isn't really known as a hiking mecca as other state parks might be.  The park has a nice paved trail system that is at times overlooked because of the other attractions.  It is one of those must see places." - Wikipedia

Next attraction was: Niagara Fort. Will talk about it in next post. But first enjoy the snaps from Niagara George State Park: