The United States

Three things that shape my characteristics and play an important role in my lifestyle are: English, traveling, and cuisine. American culture has a big influence on me. Everything I see, listen, learn, and feel, the knowledge I have gained, was somehow inspired by the third biggest country in the world. It’s just like a road that stays there in perpetuity over generations. If the U.K was pictured in my mind as a peaceful river flowing through an ancient village, the U.S was the most beautiful dream I have ever had.

The U.S is huge. One of the big mistakes of a traveler coming to America is they think they can go all the way around the states. The picture below is my travel route beginning from San Francisco to Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington D.C and ending in New York.

The U.S Travel Route

My close friend picked me up at the San Francisco Airport and we had quite a long drive to visit Standford University, Facebook HQ, and Google Plex. The Google workplace was surrounded by green; trees, grass, flowers, nothing to say of squirrels and birds.

Mountain View, Silicon Valley

Google Plex
Android lawn statues
A naughty bee in the honeycomb

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge is the iconic symbol of San Francisco. The breathtaking beauty of this construction could be experienced from any angle. Under the blue sky, the signature of San Francisco was even more magnificent. I had tried walking across the 2.7km bridge and atonished how big and long it was. I suddenly remembered I was standing in a place that was filmed in many movies. A recent one was the last scene of Bumble Bee movie (if you’re a fan of Transformers ; ) ).

The Golden Gate Bridge

Lombard Street is known as the most crooked street in the world which is also a famous attraction in San Francisco. It’s located somewhere on a hill in downtown San Francisco. What impressed me were the flowers planted by the sidewalks, not the street. ; )

Lombard Street

Yosemite National Park

The next morning, my friend and I had a 3-hour drive to Yosemite National Park. The destination was a camping site near rocky mountains, meadows, and forests. The area was said to be the habitat of black bears!

Welcome to Yosemite National Park

The scenery was deliriously picturesque. I heard birds, running streams, and the rustling sound of leaves.

Somewhere in Yosemite
Yosemite National Park

Every corner looks like an oil painting from the old days.

Yosemite National Park

The sceneries are breathtaking. Because this is autumn so I could not see the entire beauty. I bet this would look more gorgeous in spring.

Yosemite National Park
Acrossing the street with no vehicles
Yosemite National Park
with my friend

Downtown San Francisco

Days after going back to Downtown San Francisco, I enjoyed the cool breeze at Baker Beach close to Golden Gate Bridge.

Baker Beach
Enjoying the breeze with a Cappucino

I took the bus to Moraga Steps. It is a neighborhood project where people make donations to turn 163 stairs into an artwork. This place then draws a lot of attention from tourists.

Moraga Steps
Scenic San Francisco from top of Moraga Steps

There was a higher place that I could see the entire city but unfortunately it was covered the foggy sky that day.

Stairs to Grand View Park
On the way down from Grand View Park

Piers around Downtown San Francisco is another beauty. It was so much fun to see the magic street performance at Pier 39 at night. I enjoyed wandering by the river and really into the hustle and bustle though it was pretty windy and cold.

Pier 14 in Downtown San Francisco

One morning I spontaneously stopped by a bakery because the ridiculously long queue at the small shop made me curious. I had been waiting for 30 minutes just to buy a few cakes. It turned out to be the famous Golden Gate Bakery in the area of China town.

Freshly-made cakes at Golden Gate Bakery
People are queuing like waiting to buy new iPhones
Downtown San Francisco

Las Vegas, Nevada

Goodbye San Francisco, I took a flight to Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas is known as Sin City with many kinds of entertainment.

Fremont Street
Inside a casino
Light ceilings
LOL. Guess what! Vietnamese chili sauce right in Las Vegas!

Grand Canyon, Colorado

Next morning, I took a bus tour to The Grand Canyon. The bus just stopped by Hoover Dam for 30 minutes so I didn’t have a chance to explore the place and take some pictures. All I could do was quickly taking a few pictures.

Somewhere near Hoover Dam

The bus went through Route 66 which was said to be Mother Road beginning from Chicago, Illinois, going through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and ending in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. This is the iconic highway of The U.S.

Route 66 is said to be Mother Road beginning from Chicago, Illinois and ending in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

Grand Canyon is the biggest impression in my journey. I never thought I would have a chance to step on the rocks of this ancient place.

Desperate jump in The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon
Where were you a million years ago?

People always talked about the places they should visit before they die. Grand Canyon is the one. Not only it is the reward of Mother Nature but also that the more you see it, the more you think about the meaning of life. The history of the Earth is still going on and we’re just small pieces of dust in the air. I didn’t take many pictures because I just didn’t want. Sensing it was the way you would never forget. I was lost for words. Speechless.

Beholding the sunset in The Grand Canyon

Chicago, Illinois

All I can say Chicago is unique. It feels like something on the other side of the U.S. Weather, people, buildings and atmostphere are really different.

Cloud Gate

Chicago specialties you should try are Chicago-style deep dish pizza and Garret popcorn.

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza
Garret Popcorn
Chicago street
ESPN Chicago respondents are doing their job behind the glass
Enjoying the American cold
Skating activity at night
Chicago hotdog; OMG I love the pickled chili!
By the river

Washington DC

I am the person who easily gets astonished by huge things like architecture and history. I once got that feeling when standing in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican. This time, that feeling happened again in Washington D.C, the statues, the lake, the long way leads to Lincoln Memorial was the only thing taking up my sight.

World War II Memorial
The sidewalk from Lincoln Memorial

I swear I was feeling like in the battlefield together with the troop when walking by this Korean War Veterans Memoral and looking at the statues.

Korean War Veterans Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial

I had a chance to visit the Holocaust Museum whose history and images shocked me but the time budget didn’t let me see the whole presentation which was said to take at least 4 hours. I would visit it again if my next journey stopped by D.C.

National Air and Space Museum was the real deal. It presented everything about aircraft and space. Science, physics, aviation history, and rocket science were displayed (and taught for kids) from basic to more advanced levels. How a plane can fly; which forces keep it floating in the sky, how navigation works in space, etc. I wish I could have more time to read the details of the exhibitions. To be honest, I love it! This is the museum I love most on this trip.

New York

New York cupcakes
9/11 Memorial
Amazing architecture
Central Park
Central Park
Autumn in Central Park
Central Park
Central Park

Miscellaneous information

+ Timezone changed 5 times: Tokyo, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C and Taiwan.

+ 4 airlines: All Nippon Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Eva Airlines.

+ Kinds of transports:
~ SF: Bus, BART, Caltrain, cable car, metro
~ Las Vegas: RTC
~ Chicago: CTA
~ Washington:
~ New York

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