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Published:July 20th, 2006 16:17 EST
My Trip To USA

My Trip To USA

By Shakti Ghimire

I felt apprehensive in this USA trip; I don`t know why. As I recall now, I had a very wonderful trip. My journey had started from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. I took Qatar Airlines for the route of Kathmandu via Doha and Doha via London, UK. We took Virgin Airlines from London to USA at New York.

Our plane landed at Heathrow airport in London in the evening.  But our flight to the USA was the next morning, so we had to spend a night in London. We had applied for transit visa, but the immigration officer told us that Nepalese must take the transit visa from their own country. Since we did not knew this rule we had not done that. I had stayed for four months in London a year ago, so I had my passport to show them, and my business card. He had said that he would try his best, and went to talk to his senior; he came with a smile in his face. Then we moved to central London at Greenwich to my sister`s house.

In the morning, through Virgin Airlines, we went to the USA. It was a very exciting journey. I had bought a pen from the duty-free shop in the plane. Around mid day we arrived in JFK air port at New York.

There are three major airports that people usually fly into when traveling to New York. LaGuardia is the closest to Manhattan, located in the borough of Queens. JFK International Airport is also in Queens, but a little further from Manhattan. Newark is in New Jersey and is by far the furthest from the city.

We took a cab to go my sister`s house in Queen in New York.  On the way there, my friend asked lots of questions. Visiting a new place brings many inquiries. We had a very fruitful cab ride, looking around and learning many new things. After we reached to my sister`s house, we shared our journey`s experience with them.

The purpose of this trip was to attend an international human rights and youth conference. One week before the conference, I was in New York. So, within that one week period I visited Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the World Trade Center memorial site, Long Island & I even took a ship ride.

New York became the name of the state and the city. New York is the metropolitan city of the world, best known as The Big Apple.  It is both suitable for learning and for entertainment.  The city that never sleeps " includes a variety of museums, art galleries, popular pubs, night clubs, bars, Broadway theatres, and parks.  Also, from well known designer`s boutiques to the most remarkable brands of shoes, handbags, and clothes, we can shop in the so called Downtown New York and have the best shopping experience ever! 

I have noted some most important visiting places and things to do in New York.

The most important visiting place is The Statue of Liberty. We rode on the Staten Island Ferry to see the remarkable close up views of the Statue of Liberty. Our Tour Guide boarded us to the Staten Island Ferry, which provided a historical narrative of the landmark.  Currently, people do not recommend going to the Statue of Liberty until the crown is reopened for passenger access and viewing. The airport-like security line is very time consuming, taking up to 90 minutes before you board the ferry to go to Liberty Island.

The Staten Island ferry takes only one hour to complete and there is always plenty of room.  With the crown closed, the only attraction at the Statue of Liberty is the museum, which takes about 15 minutes. This was my first ship ride experience in my life. I was surprised by the security for the ship, also. New York police had escorted the ship. I had noted some reality of Statue of Liberty.

Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States and is one of the most universal symbols of freedom in the world. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924. The Statue was extensively restored in time for her hundred year anniversary on July 4, 1986. The Statue of Liberty is the most visited tourist attraction in New York City.  It is also the 2nd most photographed landmark in the United States, behind the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

There were many people who wanted to go up to the statue. Unfortunately, both the crown and the torch were closed to the public. In fact, the torch was closed in 1916 due to structural issues that arose after a bomb blast at nearby Black Tom Wharf during World War I. until September 11, 2001, visitors could climb to the observatory in the statue`s crown. The statue was reopened in December 2001, but the crown has remained closed due to security reasons.  Tourists may climb to the top of the pedestal (approximately 10 stories) and enjoy the view from there. Having this in mind makes one wonder why go to Liberty Island at all? You can go inside the base of the Statue of Liberty, but there is nothing more to do or see other than a close-up picture with the family.

Wow! Times square a colorful business place that has power to attract us. Times Square is located at the heart of New York City. Most people assume that Times Square is actually a square, but it`s not. It`s more of a triangle, or a mere intersection of major streets. Broadway and 7th Avenue cross at 42nd street, and is the busiest area in New Work City. Times Square got its name because the New York Times building was built there, long before it became a showcase for neon lights and digital big-screen technology. Our tour guide told me that The New York Times moved away, but the name remained the same. The New York Times also started the tradition of celebrating New Year`s Eve in Times Square, when it began putting on an annual firework display in the area. The countdown starts in Time Square and more than one million people gather every year on New Year`s Eve to celebrate the beginning of a new year in New York City.

Our other destination was the World Trade Center Memorial Site. Replacing the World Trade Center would be impossible, but New York City is working on plans to build a single tower on the site the twin towers occupied until September 11, 2001. The original Freedom Tower and Memory Foundations complex plan has been abandoned and new plans are in the work. It is expected that a single tower will be built at the site, and that it will be the tallest building in the world when it will be completed.

The tower and mast are expected to reach an astonishing 1776 feet (541 meters) into the sky. The height of 1776 feet was chosen as a reference to the year of American independence.  The decision of how to rebuild the World Trade Center has been a difficult one in light of political and security concerns. Visitors to New York City can tour the World Trade Center site and see the early preparations being made for this "monumental" project. We can walk over to the site to see artist renderings of the proposed tower.

Each of the original WTC towers had 110 stories. The heights of the towers were 1368 feet (417 meters) (tower one, the North Tower with a broadcast antenna on top) and 1362 feet (415 meters) (tower two, the South Tower with the observation deck). When the towers were completed in 1972 (tower one) and 1973 (tower two) they were the tallest buildings on earth, 100 feet (30 meters) taller than the Empire State Building.

However, the World Trade Center was the tallest building in the world for only a brief time. Before the second tower was completed in 1973, work had already begun on the Sears Tower in Chicago, which would ultimately climb to 1,450 feet (442 meters). Now that the World Trade Center is gone, the Empire State Building again became the tallest building in New York. Before September 11, the World Trade Center towers were the fourth and fifth tallest buildings on Earth, and they remain the sixth tallest buildings ever built by man.

In the 9/11 accident these tower were demolished, where more than 2000 people had died. I can`t even remember it, all the pain that people had suffered during that time. I have developed a sentiment. We must be developing a culture of peace and non-violent society in this world.

After visiting WTC memorial site, we moved to see one of the most popular attractions on our journey. That was the Empire State Building. One of the Seven Wonders of the World offers a romantic nightcap and an opportunity to watch the stars coming out over the greatest city in the world. Built in 1931, the building has 102 floors and stands 1,250 feet tall. It is currently the tallest tower in New York.

We couldn`t pass up a New York Helicopter Charter tour, the only way to see all the breathtaking sights that New York has to offer touring all in one day!

If we are in New York on business or for pleasure, however, we should see the bustling Big Apple in style. Experience the Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium-Home of the New York Yankees and many other famous landmarks in a fascinating and unimaginable way! Get a bird`s eye of Manhattan`s famous skyscrapers Ellis Island, George Washington Bridge, and more. Hey! Do not miss this unique opportunity to get pictures of New York`s sites from a Helicopter.

Central Park is the largest park in New York; it`s located in the middle of this busy city, and offers a wonderful tour. Through this tour we had the chance to see flashes of New York`s culture and their way of natural entertainment.

Circle Line Downtown experience their one-hour narrated tour of lower New York Harbor and watch the downtown skyline glitter on their twilight tour from Historic Battery Park. They also offer the only transportation to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Similarly, we went to the brighten bridge, that was nice bridge, where the shooting of many Indian movies were done.

On 7th August I had a schedule to go the Connecticut for the conference; so the transportation from UNESCO came to pick me at JFK airport around 2:30 pm in New York. This conference was excellent. At University of Connecticut in Connecticut a green and peace area, had empowered and developed us as a global leader.

After the conference, I came back to New York. Then I visited rest of the places. I was interested to know about New York`s nightlife, so I requested my brother to go Times Square and the area close to it. We roamed to different places till midnight, and had American style dinner and went back home to Queens.

As the working day started, everyone was busy with their own jobs. During that time when I was alone, I used to go to the cyber, Chinese Cyber was the best in Queens. They cost only $2 for an hour.  Before going to the cyber, I usually went to McDonalds or KFC. An appealing lady was chatting to someone in the cyber. After a moment, she started crying. She did not care about other people in the cyber. It was disturbing to me. I assumed that she was chatting with her husband. This is an example of many people where lots of loved ones are far from them. There I realized that when we are alone and in a new place, we really miss our dear ones.

The U.S.-- a developed country with democracy, respect for human rights, freedom of expression and other important factors broaden ones` perspectives. These types of American systems, culture and environment will open the door to actual life, if anyone visits and pursue it. From my visit to New York & Connecticut, I learned many interesting things. It was a life time experience for me.