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Old 6th January 2010, 06:51   #1
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Default Niagara, New Jersey and New York

This travelogue is about a trip that I did few months back. Was lazy/shy not to pen it down. Lazy cause I am a IT Professional (not generalizing) and shy as I am not good in this travelogue writing stuff.

************************************************** ****
One fine evening having tea and garlic bread, a conversation started:

Wife: My friend is inviting us to New Jersey.
Me: Sure, ask her to send us the flight tickets!
Wife: Be serious Gaurav. Have we ever stepped out of Texas!
She was right! (at least this time). I had covered most of Texas (pending Big Bend and north-western areas), but had never been to any other place in the US.
Me: Ok I will try, but getting leaves.. expensive tickets etc…
Wife: Well we can also visit Niagra, meet Vijay (my younger brother) and see fall colors (she was quick to show me the carrot!)
Me: Ok, let’s plan then.


Being off season (October), flights to Buffalo-Niagra and Newark-New Jersey were within budget. So reservations were made and tickets were booked and the countdown began.

(TIP: One can bid for accommodation on priceline.com. Sites like BiddingForTravel.com - Message Board - Yuku are very useful for getting the latest bidding information for priceline. Say I bid for a 3 Star hotel accommodation in priceline (the name of the hotel remains undisclosed till the time you win and book a deal) and get a deal, I will post the bidding results (which Hotel, location, rate etc) in biddingfortravel website, thereby helping others to bid around that price range with more certainty )
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Old 6th January 2010, 07:33   #2
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Day 1 (Chargers, Medicine and Butternut Squash Soup)
*****************************************

Plan for the day:

1. Board the evening flight for Niagra from George Bush Airport, Houston (Stopover at Chicago).
2. Checkin to our Hotel and get a good night sleep.

How the day actually went:

Alarm rang at 6:40 a.m. Was up and ready by 7:30. We had finished most of the packing the previous day itself (please note that “most” is a very confusing/dangerous word).

Me to Wife: Have I packed my Laptop Charger?
Wife: It’s in the front zipper of the backpack.
Me to Wife: Hmm.. What about the GPS Charger.
Wife: It’s in the same place.
Me to Wife: And what about the mobile charger.
Wife: I have kept one in the other bag.
Me to Wife: And my camera charger.
Wife: I don’t know. Check your camera bag.
Me to Wife: What about your camera charger.
Wife: I don’t know and I don’t want to know. Don’t eat my head, I have plenty of other things to remember/check. Why can’t we have one single charger for all devices……


I reached office and tried to concentrate on the work piling at my desk. But no use, I was too excited to think about work. Checked and rechecked all important print-outs (air-tickets, hotel reservations, car-reservation etc). Got last minute “Gyan” from my team mates about what to see, what not to see and what to see alone!

Left the office around 15:00, picked up wife and was at the airport sharp at 16:40. Security check was quick and within minutes we were waiting in the boarding area.

Me to Wife: Arrey.. I told you na I was forgetting something.
Wife: What have you forgotten.
Me to Wife: I forgot the USB cable (the one used to transfer pictures from camera to laptop)
Wife: But our laptop has a memory card slot.
Me to Wife: Not in this one. I had even asked you in the morning if I had packed it or not.
Wife: You said nothing about the cable, you were talking about the chargers.
Me to Wife:(Muttering)Charger.. cables.. wires..all same…you should have reminded me…now how will I empty the memory card..

(Which was not a problem after all as our friends had laptop with memory card reader and I was able to transfer the pictures using their laptop.)

We boarded our flights and were on our way to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. (which btw is one of the biggest airports in US)

Some time pass pics:

Clouds:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-above-clouds-color.jpg

Blue Sky:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-blue-sky.jpg

Sea of Clouds:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-sea-clouds.jpg

Sunset at 30,000 feet:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-sunset-30000-feet.jpg
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Old 6th January 2010, 07:45   #3
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Day 1: Contd...

Soon we landed at Chicago. Wife was not feeling well, had some cough and congestion. I was not carrying much medicine, so tried locating a medicine shop:

Lady at Counter (LAC): Yes, Can I help you.
Me: Is there a Chemist shop around, I mean a Pharmacy.
LAC: Nope, but you can check the gift shop, they might have some medicine.
Me: Thanks. (Such a big airport and not even a single pharmacy)
Me to LAGC (lady at gift counter): Do you have cold/cough syrup.
LAGC: No. But we might have some Cough drops, check over there.
Fortunately I was able to locate cough syrup and the LAGC was surprised that they had it in stock. Gave the medicine to wife, she was feeling a little better after some time.



Wife to me: I am hungry.
Me: So am I. Let me see what can we get.
Me: We can have pizza.
Wife: My throat will pain more after having pizza, anything else.
Since my wife is a vegetarian, we had to settle for a veg (ghaas-phoos) sandwich-sub (subway style). The sub was cold and sad. This pissed my wife even more.
Wife: I wan’t something hot.
Me: Starbucks?
Wife: No coffee please. Why don’t you get me that Soup. The one that reads, Butternut Squash Soup.
Me: More ghas-phoos. OK I will get it, but don’t get mad if it is not good. How can squash soup be good anyway.

I had to eat my words. This soup was one of the best soup that I had. Wife was happy and contended. I was relaxed. So my advice, if by any-chance you land up at O’Hare airport, thinking about something hot to drink/eat; skip the coffee, take the Soup. You won’t regret it.

We boarded our flights and within hours were at Niagara International Airport. There was an information console at the airport itself using which I called up the Hotel and they picked us up. We checked in to the hotel and slept immediately as next day was for sightseeing. Little did we know what mother nature had stored for us.

Learning’s and TIPS:
1. Always take basic medicine along with you (I bet most of us do)
2. Butternut Squash Soup is worth a try.
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Old 6th January 2010, 08:34   #4
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nice n interesting.. keep going!
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Old 6th January 2010, 12:33   #5
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You need not be shy. The travelogue is coming out really nice.
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Old 6th January 2010, 13:08   #6
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Excellent, clean crisp narration. Who told you were not good at travelogues?
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:12   #7
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Wonderful narration dude. Always carry a medicine kit. It comes very handy for us. You will realize the importance of that when a new member joins your family.

Abhi
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:40   #8
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Good narration. keep them flowing.waiting for more picture.
Its good to carry some common medicine during travel.
i specially carry a medicine pouch with some common medicine.
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Old 6th January 2010, 17:55   #9
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Nice travelogue and narration to start with. The photos of the clouds are good. Do post more photos and the time you took in the travel so that we can relate. I am sure you are covering Niagara in detail. waiting..
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Old 7th January 2010, 07:09   #10
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Thanks folks for the encouraging remarks.

*******************************************
Day 2 (Niagara, Snow and 252 Horses)

Plan for the day:

1. Check out early in the morning, pick up rental car and visit Niagara Falls.
2. Spend the day at Niagara Falls State Park.
3. Leave Niagara around 3:00 p.m. and drive down to Parsippany, NJ (around 400 miles) to stay with our hosts for next two days.

How the day actually went:

Got up early and check out by 7:30 a.m. Got a shock (literally) as soon as I stepped out from the Hotel Lobby. It was freezing cold, around 0 Deg Celsius. I started regretting my decision of visiting in this season. The shuttle drop service guy told me that this low temperature is pretty unusual for this time of the year. I started cursing myself more. 0 Deg Celsius and Niagara Falls (water everywhere) did not looked like a good combination. To make matters worse, it had started getting cloudy!

Anyway, the shuttle service dropped us at Hertz Rental Location. I had rented an economy car from Hertz on a one way rental (pick up from one location and drop at other location). An economy car from Hertz could be a Ford Focus/Corolla/Mazda 3 etc. I wanted to book a bigger vehicle, but the fares of one-way rental were 6-8 times that of a “same location” rental (add tax, insurance additional..). But guess what, it was not that bad a day after all:

Me to Lady at Hertz Counter (LAHC): I have reservation.
LAHC: Let me check. Can I see some id proof please.
Me to LAHC: (Gave her my license) So which car am I getting today? (I generally don’t ask this).
LAHC: Well Sir, you can have a look at our parking lot and choose which ever car you like.


I was stunned for a minute. Initially I thought she was pissed off and was joking, but when she pointed towards the parking lot, I knew it was happening. I literally ran towards the parking lot, with joy and expectation of a child. There were Camry’s, Kia’s, some Ford’s etc. (There were no SUV’s though). But my attention was caught by a Saturn Aura XR. This baby was fully loaded, having a 3.6 L V6 power plant, generating 252 horses on demand. Atleast some things were going right for me..

My ride for the rest of the day (Sorry didn't take many pics of the car)

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-mean-machine.jpg

By the time I finished with the booking formalities, it was 9:30. We rushed towards Niagara Falls State Park.

Me to Wife: Let’s have some quick breakfast.
Wife: Yeah, I want to eat Chinese.
Me: Chinese! We won’t get Chinese at this hour, it’s too early. Let’s go to Burger King (BK). (We tend to snack out at BK a lot as we get a proper vegetable burger “BK Veggie” there).
Wife: Nope, I want Chinese.
Me: OK, find a restaurant using the GPS.


Wife took a long time finding a Chinese restaurant, which eventually was not open. So she reluctantly agreed for BK. The sky was still cloudy.
BK was only serving Hash browns and drinks in the morning. So ordered hash browns and Tea. Yeah you heard right, Tea! And that was the worst thing that I drank in my entire trip. (Was given a tall glass of warm water with Tea Bags, milk was given on asking).

But things were slowly turning good, first the car upgrade and then the sun came out a little and the best part: Wife started feeling better (maybe the Tea was not that bad after all ).

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-way-niagra.jpg
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Old 7th January 2010, 07:58   #11
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Day 2: Contd...
********************************

After some spirited driving, we reached Niagara Falls State Park. However got lost finding a place to park. Actually there is a large parking lot right next to the park entrance. Anyway, finally parked in a separate parking lot. Decided to eat something before entering the park. Found a food court and had hot hot soup (Chinese cuisine! my wife got what she wanted afterall).

Key attractions in Niagara Falls include the Maid of Mist (a boat that takes you close to the bottom of the falls) and Cave of Winds (Wooden walkway that takes you close to Niagara Gorge). Inside the food court there was a helpdesk, selling tickets for both the locations. The guy at the counter was literally forcing people to buy the tickets saying that only a few tickets are left, the last boat is about to leave etc. Please do not buy tickets here, they are trying to fool people into buying tickets at nearly double price.

Instead we walked into the park. The park entrance was beautiful with trees showing signs of fall colors.

Near Entrance

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-niagra-entrance.jpg

Garden at Entrance

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-garden-middle.jpg

Fall Colors

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-fall-bench.jpg

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-tree-middle-1.jpg

Desi Chick in Pardesi Land.

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-desi-chick-pardesi-land-1.jpg

Beyond the Fields

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-beyond-fields.jpg


We bought tickets (2$ per person) for Niagara Scenic Trolley (good way of going around the Park). Once inside the park, I was surprised with the shear amount/gush of water flowing through the Niagara River.

Emerald Waters:

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-blue-waters.jpg

We took the trolley to Maid of Mist boarding area.

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-trolley.jpg


Maid of Mist boarding area is at the bottom of the observation tower and the ride costs $13.50 per person. The observation tower had a nice view of the river.

Into the Mist

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-into-mist.jpg

Horse Shoe Falls

Niagara, New Jersey and New York-niagara-falls.jpg

Last edited by TSEA : 7th January 2010 at 07:59. Reason: formatting
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Old 7th January 2010, 09:01   #12
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Good snaps and narration, waiting for more
there is Tesla statue on both sides of the falls. Happened to capture any?
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Old 7th January 2010, 10:38   #13
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TSEA.. great photos. Just reminds me of the days when I was a student at Cleveland, all my friends, my roomies's friends whoever visited us, we made sure had a Niagara darshan. Fall is the best time to visit North east. It looks totally different from dry Houston weather. Keep continuing waiting for other pictures.
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Old 7th January 2010, 17:44   #14
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Hi TSEA

Thanks for reminding me of 2001 memories of trip to Niagara Falls, though that one was from Canada Side and it was indeed awesome. Went in the Maid of the Mist as well as behind the falls. Was fabulous experience.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to more pics.
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Old 7th January 2010, 21:26   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajesh1868 View Post
there is Tesla statue on both sides of the falls. Happened to capture any?
I think I missed it Rajesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
..we made sure had a Niagara darshan. Fall is the best time to visit North east. It looks totally different from dry Houston weather.
True, it is very different. One harldy gets to see Fall Colors down here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelle View Post
...from Canada Side and it was indeed awesome. Went in the Maid of the Mist as well as behind the falls....
Chevelle, Niagara is best seen from Canadian Side. I heard that the "behind the falls" tour is awesome.
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