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California Travelogue – (Part 2): San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street and Chinatown

Soak into the sights, sounds and smells of San Francisco. We did a tour of the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Park includes a magnificent fleet of historic ships, a Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and Aquatic Park Historic District.

It was an easy tour as the place wasn’t huge.

A short walk further down was the Maritime Museum which was located in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building.

Ghirardelli Square is a convenient stop for chocolate and ice cream while already visiting at Fisherman’s Wharf.

No trip to San Francisco is complete without tasting sweet chocolate from those chocolate dream-makers at Ghirardelli. Ghirardelli’s sundaes are real special.

We did not drive during our stay in San Francisco. Instead, we walked, walked and walked.

As you can see, the roads here were steep and it was a test of endurance and good form of exercise.

This picture is a good example to get a sense of how steep the streets were.

We did have the chance to see the splendor of the West Coast, here was what San Francisco looked and felt like.

Strolling down one of America’s crookedest streets in the form of Lombard Street is a blessing! The steep, hilly street was created with sharp curves to switchback down the one-way hill past beautiful Victorian mansions.

Lombard Street is definitely one of the most photographed spot in San Francisco. Tourists just couldn’t resist its charm and uniqueness.

 This street has eight tight hairpin turns through the neighborhood where guests can either drive, or walk, down for an interesting adventure.

After exploring Lombard Street, we walked to the Chinatown.

San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest one in North America (surprisingly well maintained) and covers 24 city blocks.

Trying out the delicious and yummy dim sum!

We finally found the the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory after getting lost! Located in Ross Alley, formerly called the “Street of the Gamblers”; the little factory here makes fortune cookies.

We had no idea why it was so popular among tourists. In fact, we don’t think there is anything special about fortune cookies. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant sight watching the lady sitting at the assembly line, folding and filling the cookies by hand.

Big and Small M at the Dragon Gate, the official entrance into Chinatown on Bush Street, where Grant Avenue takes you into the heart of Chinatown.

Another Macy’s in San Francisco 🙂

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Singapore Attraction – Time Out at National Orchid Garden

The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 160-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of Singapore’s Orchard Road shopping district and is the country’s first UNESCO Heritage Site.

A great place for family outings!

Why should you be here? Yeah, to explore the National Orchid Garden and take pictures of beautiful orchids.

This blog post will be flooded with many pictures.

Visitor Information

Opening hours

8.30am – 7.00pm daily (last ticket sales and entry at 6.00pm)

Admission Fee:

$5.00 for adults

$1.00 for students

$1.00 for senior citizens (60 years and above)

Free for children below 12 years

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Traditional Nyonya Food – Peranakan Inn @ East Coast Road

The Peranakan Inn Restaurant located at East Coast Road.

Despite being newly renovated, we could still feel the artistic touch and reminiscence of the rich and cultural Peranakan heritage. Diners will be immersed in sophisticated comfort and plush interiors.

 Developed by Chinese-Malay Peranakans, Nyonya cooking is the result of blending Chinese ingredients with various distinct spices and cooking techniques used by the Malay/Indonesian community.

A treasure trove of Nyonya cuisine that you should scribble onto your must-eat list.

This is a beautiful, historic-rich neighbourhood that is widely adored for its colorful rows of Peranakan shophouses. So take your taste buds on a culinary adventure, Peranakan Inn is the place to get your fix.

East Coast Road
Singapore 428909
Tel: 64406195
Open Daily 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm

 

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California Travelogue – (Part 1): San Francisco Cable Car, Powell Street and Fisherman Wharf

After our New York trip, we took a 6.5 hour flight to San Francisco.

San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It’s known for its year-round fog, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian houses.

Our first impression of San Francisco was its cleaniness. The tram was really clean and a big contrast to NYC in which it was not crowded.

Thanks to our friends staying in California, we were recommended to take the BART train to Powell Street.

So clean and fresh!

We would be staying at Axiom Hotel, which was just located above the Powell Station. It took about 2 to 3 mins walk to the hotel.

The reason we chose Axiom Hotel was it’s close proximity to the train station. The place was centralised to every tourist activities but we were cautioned that it was near to the Tenderlion neighbourhood where the streets were shady and you wouldn’t want to bump onto people you wouldn’t want to meet. Glad that there was a right soul who walked up and told us not to cross the street, else we would be venturing into the neighbourhood. Yes, the google map did fail us at times.

Cute robot to attend to our needs.

Burger King was beside our hotel.

We were glad that the cable car station was outside our hotel. During peak hour, the queue could linger till late into the night. The ticket cost $7 each.

We are going to the Fisherman’s Wharf. Fisherman’s Wharf, on the northern waterfront, is one of the city’s busiest tourist areas. Souvenir shops and stalls selling crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls appear at every turn.

The streets of San Francisco was just amazing. It would take a lot of energy just to walk up the slopes and they were appearing at every junction we stopped.

Slopes again. How to survive without owning cars here?

No experience is more uniquely San Francisco than a ride on a cable car. A must-try experience here!

It’s convenient to travel here and we don’t really need to drive.

The Ross store is a great place to find cheap stuff.  

Love these laundry buckets so much (only $13) but how to bring back home 😦

The crab meat and prawns were very juicy. It cost about US$70.

Spent the afternoon exploring the streets.

If In-N-Out Burger comes to Singapore, it will beat all the fast food restaurants hands down.

Our favourite pasttime. Buying a loaf of cheap bread when visiting the harbour to feed the birds.

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New York Travelogue – (Part 3): The High Line, Chelsea Market, Subway, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square

This was our final day at New York City. Our main goal was to cover two attractions. Some say The High Line is a must-go attraction and we shouldn’t give it a miss.

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

Saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design.

Elevated 30 feet in the air, this former railroad has taken in a form of a beautiful stretch of pathway.  The walk is about a mile and a half in length and takes you from Gansevoort Street up to 34th. We arrived just when the sun was setting and took some beautiful shots.

The Chelsea Market was near to The High Line. An indoor food hall, most of the shops in Chelsea Market were food related.

A suitable place for cafe hoppers also, not to mention there was a variety of shops selling gifts, spirits, groceries and more. The building was formerly used to be a biscuit factory, which was why much of the interior and aesthetic was a reminiscence of its past.

Intrigued to see the Youtube office here..

Not surprising to see the Google’s office here as Manhattan’s Chelsea Market building was bought over by them.

So, that wrapped up our New York vacation. We hope to have more time to visit Pennsylvania and Washington DC. Maybe we will do it next time 🙂

Ending our Big Apple vacation with some memorable pictures.

Definitely not to our liking, we were still figuring out how to take the subway in NYC before we left. Absolutely confusing.

Big M at the vibrant Manhattan’s Chinatown, where when you are in food hunt, you know you will never go wrong with dumplings, pork buns and hand-pulled noodles.

You have all the reasons to walk the famous Brooklyn Bridge. It is likely to be crowded but hey, who cares? We are talking about the epitome of Big Apple.

 Who says you can’t find pockets of spaces to connect with others in one of the most densest cities in the world?

Dazzling with lights all day long, there’s a magnetic pull about Times Square. One of the most visited places in the world with over 360,000 pedestrians daily, we just loathe this place, wondering why Singapore can’t replicate it. This little adventurer was totally mesmerised. The next part of our journey would see us at the west coast of America – California where we would see San Francisco, Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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So, your kid is getting a watch? OJOY A1 4G Smartwatch is Fun!

We all know how important it is to be conscious of time. But when the watch is packed with extra features that allow parents to stay connected with their kids it would be a bonus. Thanks to innovation, OJOY A1, claimed to be India’s first 4G VolTE smartwatch for kids, was recently launched.

Look at the happy beneficiary of OJOY A1 smart watch. Small M just couldn’t contain her excitement upon receiving the watch. It was indeed a worthwhile investment considering what OJOY A1 is capable of doing.

Why you should be hooked to OJOY A1 watch?

(1) Nope, it’s not just about telling the time.

  • It connects parents with their kids. Location tracking and two-way voice calling lets you keep in touch with your kids  You can set up to 10 members in the family list  and unlimited numbers of friends in the contacts. The device comes with a SIM card slot for calling and supports 4G LTE and 3G connectivity.

(2) It has cool and aesthetic appeal.

  • It comes with a 1.4-inch display and 320 x 320 pixels screen resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass protection. Under the hood, the device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, along with 512GB RAM and 4GB internal storage.
  • The IP68-rated waterproof kids smartwatch features a 2MP front camera with an 84-degree wide-angle lens. It is powered by an 800mAh battery.

(3) Be busy, but allows you to stay organised

  •  Calendar lets kids save schedule for school. You can also assign tasks to your child and give them reward stickers in the watch.

(4) Radiation-less and safety

  • While radiation couldn’t be avoided with the use of smart devices, the company says that the smartwatch is designed to have much less radiation, making it safer for kids. Further, the company adds that the materials used for the watch’s body and straps are tested to be free from any hazardous materials.

(5) Hey, it is waterproof!

  • No more fret if the kids were to wet themselves while washing their hands or get caught in a rain.

The Ojoy A1 4G VoLTE Kids Smartwatch comes in two color options — Blue and Pink. Check them out!

OJOY Smartwatch for Kids

Website /  Booking: https://www.theojoy.com/sg/shop/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ojoykids/

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New York Travelogue – (Part 2): Brooklyn Bridge, Charging Bull, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Washington Square, Times Square and Bryant Park

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center. Beautiful view of the city’s skyscrapers at the skydeck. The hotel’s snack bar has unlimited flow of canned soft drinks, coffee, nuts and snacks for guests.

The hotel was located near to the 9/11 Memorial and the vicinity was not as congested with human crowds as Times Square. The skydeck overlooking the reflecting pools.

And so we took a 3km walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River.

Popular pop-up food stalls in New York City.

The kids soaking themselves in the sights and culture on each stop.

Travelling to New York on a budget. It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip if you kno whow to avoid paying too much money. Avoid pop up stalls selling simple food we thought it was expensive. Instead of signing up for guided walking tours, we thought it would be better to explore by ourselves using google maps.

At the start of the bridge walk. The bridge is a quite popular tourist attraction the best time to be here is early in the morning so that we can avoid the crowds later in the day.

There was a bike lane at the bridge in which a steady steam of cyclists never fails to utilise that lane. We were blessed that the weather was about 15 degrees else we would be sweating by the time we finished our walk.

This is the best place to catch sunrise and sunset. Photo-taking was a challenge as the crowds began to build. We chanced upon a camera team recording MTV.

Just to note that the pedestrain walk is made of wood. Reality is often different from what you see from social media where tourists dressed in tip-top costumes and high heels just for sake of taking the insta-worthy pictures. Hope the heels did not get stuck! We would suggest to forgo vanity for practicality when walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull, is a bronze sculpture that stands in Bowling Green in the Financial District in Manhattan, New York City. It is the symbol of the US Stock Market.

The jetty was a short walk from the Charging Bull. With the tickets we purchased from 9/11 Museum, we would be taking ferry to the Liberty Island.

It was freezing cold! Visitors could opt to sit at the balcony or the sheltered basement.

Getting closer to the Statue of Liberty..

It was not a wasted trip. We thought of the possiblity of viewing Statue of Liberty from the mainland but decided to pay a visit to the island. It wasn’t expensive and by getting near here would mean we could take decent pictures.

It was also a perfect place to view the Big Apple from another angle.

To our pleasant surprise, we did not know that our tickets also included a visit to the Ellis Island. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

We learned about the history of early immigrants. Actually we were not big fans of museums.

Once we returned to the mainland, we hopped onto the subway to Washington Park.

This place was basically an outskirt from the busyness of the city. Not much attractions but it would be a charming place to immerse ourselves with the life of locals.

And we were being interviewed by the college students who were doing a social experiment.

We tried McDonald’s 🙂

Some said NYC is a city of endless possibilities. We were amazed upon reaching Times Square. It was so beautiful!

Located in the heart of New York City, Times Square is home to some of the most famous attractions New York has to offer.

We were just trying to find sweet spots for photo-taking.

Exploring the stores.

Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located on Herald Square in Manhattan, New York City.

Big M got what she has been looking forward to.

Amazon Books located on 34th Street (Manhattan).

The prices were not cheaper than online. In fact they were priced the same.

The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. We did not go up as that would mean paying for expensive tickets.

Located in Midtown Manhattan between 7th and 8th Avenues from 31st to 33rd Streets, the Madison Square Garden is situated atop Pennsylvania Station. If one were to wonder why it is so famous, this is the home ground of the famous New York Knicks.

Up next is the Bryant Park. Surrounded by skyscrappers, Bryant Park is Bryant Park is visited many people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in NYC.

The ice skating rink would come to life during Christmas. What an atmosphere!

There’s no better place to chill out other than Bryant Park.

Next to the Bryant Park was the Whole Foods Market which offered a full range of high-quality and natural food. It is overlooking the beautiful Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.

At 43,000 square feet, the store has two levels of retail space that will host a full range of high-quality natural and organic goods, as well as the “News Agency,” a coffee and juice bar, which will pay homage to the look and feel of the city’s classic newsstands. Here’s our order. Microwave ovens were provided for diners to warm up their food.

We love the Big Apple!

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