Back in Rhode Island

After I visited Connecticut, I went back in Rhode Island. The reason I came back to Rhode Island is to see a pal who used to live in Ohio but left after he got a job in Rhode Island and be close to his family. It was about an hour drive to North Providence. It was a nice drive, not so traffic as compared to my trip to Connecticut passing through Bronx and Manhattan in New York. I arrived in his family’s apartment around 1400H. I met his family and they were accommodating and welcoming and treated me like part of the family.  They toured me around Rhode Island but this is my second trip in the state. I already visited Rhode Island back in 2016 when I tried to reunite with my cousin and that’s the reason why I Love Rhode Island as my previous blog entry.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

First on our road trip in RI, they brought me to Newport. It was my second time there too. Newport is really famous for tourists. The location is really good since it is in the seaside and it has popular mansions and some summer resorts. Newport harbors is one of the best in the country. It is still known as the sailing capital of the United States. We were in Bowen’s Wharf just checking the stalls and their products that they are selling. We went to this chocolate factory store. They sure have a good and delicious chocolate products.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

We went to College Hill after and visited Brown University. Brown University is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The school is also the first college in the nation to accept students regardless of their religious affiliation. The university’s location is filled with stores, restaurants, establishments, and etc. from blocks to blocks.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

When we were done in Brown University, it was almost 7 in the evening so, we headed out for dinner. We got back to North Providence and have decided to eat in a buffet restaurant. His sister, Becbec, suggested to go to a Korean buffet restaurant. It was the best suggestion since I love Korean food especially samgyupsal. We spent almost USD200 for 5 people. It wasn’t bad but I was full with unlimited grilling of fresh meats in different cuts, seafoods, side dishes, rice, and drinks.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

The next day, it was a relaxing day. I stayed in bed until late morning. I went out around 1130H and had lunch with my friends in a Hibachi buffet restaurant. I was really craving for seafoods, the reason why I ate all seafoods dish in the buffet. It was really good. I can tell the difference between the seafoods in Ohio and in Rhode Island. The taste of the seafoods in Rhode Island is very good. It was fresh, kind of sweet tasting, and I can smell the sea. We stayed in the restaurant until 1400H. We drove to a nice park in Providence. It was the Roger Williams Park.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

Roger Williams Park is a 427-acre landscape city park named after Roger Williams who is the primary founder of the state of Rhode Island. It is also listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The layout of the park contains 7 lakes and is one of the finest urban parks in the US in the 2000 annual report. It contains the Roger Williams Park Zoo, Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Botanical Center, Japanese Gardens, Victorian Rose Gardens, Casino, Dalrymple Boathouse and boat rentals, historical tours, Carousel village, bandstand, Temple to Music, Hasbro Playground, and many more walking paths.

(check for full story at http://www.thelonetravelercarl.com/2018/06/01/back-in-rhode-island/)

My back in Rhode Island trip was great. I got to meet my friend and was able to explore more of Rhode Island again. It was also nice to get out of Ohio once in a while. Rhode Island is one of the smallest states in the US but it sure never failed to amaze me.

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My ME Day 2016

Another year for my ME day and for the year 2016, I spent my ME day in the country of the north, Canada. Few months before it happened, I was torn between two places of where to spend my birthday. It was either Chicago or Toronto. But it ended that I have to choose the latter. There were many reasons why I chose Toronto. Thus, it was easy to prepare an itinerary of my whole trip while in Canada.

First of the many reasons was  to fly and check a new international airport for my blog. It would be a new entry under a new blog category which I haven’t had for a long time. I’ve arrived in Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). I explored it and I got to see Toronto’s international hub. Few hours after that, I got settled in Hostelling International Toronto: The Cavern as a HI member.

Second was to have a free and easy ‘O Canada’ trip within the streets of Toronto. The capital of the province of Ontario is worldly known as one of the must visit places. It has been on the list of the most searched destinations in the world in the worldwide web. Thus, it would be a great gift for myself as I turned a year younger that once in my life, I have sat foot in a famous city.

Third, what better to do when you are in Canada? Of course, that was to spend my birthday on a raging and powerful force of water falling from a thousands of feet cliffs. It will never be a complete Canadian experience if a traveler won’t visit the Niagara Falls. Here is how I spent that memorable day.

On the morning of my ME day, I took advantage of a discounted trip to explore the Niagara Falls. It was a bus trip for almost an hour from downtown Toronto. The Boat and Bus company which I got the day tour picked us up in our doorstep at around 0800H but we still have to transfer to a bigger bus since there were a lot of participants on that tour. Along with me in the bus tour were other tourists from different nations such as Brazilian, Americans, Germans, English, Russians, Mexicans and Filipinos. I got to meet a new friend while doing this tour. She was the only Brazilian and we got to talked about her travels. The engine started. We were just listening to the bus driver/ tour guide the whole time while we’re on our way to Niagara Falls. He was hilarious but informative about the country’s history.

At 1130H, we finally arrived in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is the collective name of three waterfalls that straddle the international border between Canada and the United States, specifically in the province of Ontario and the state of New York. The first waterfall is the Bridal Veil Falls. It is the smallest waterfalls of the three. It is located on the American side and an island separates it from another waterfall which is the American waterfall.

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American waterfall in the left while Bridal Veil in the right

American Falls is the second biggest waterfalls in the Niagara Falls. It is entirely located in the United States side. The height of the falls ranges approximately 70 to 110 feet. This falls is viewable head-on in the Canadian side.

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American Falls with the Maid of the West boat

Lastly and the most biggest falls is the Horseshoe Falls which lies mostly on the Canadian side. It is also known as Canadian Falls and the most voluminous waterfalls renowned both of its beauty and as a source of hydroelectric power.

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Horseshoe Falls

We may fall in love with the falls but we should not disregard the river where all the water came from. The Niagara river flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and it forms part of the border between Ontario and New York. Approximately 90% of the river flows over the Horseshoe Falls and 10% over the American Falls.

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Niagara River

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Niagara River with water heading to the falls.

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Niagara River flows over the Horseshoe Falls

In general, Niagara Falls is so massive and powerful that it showed how great nature is. It was one of the best presents I got for my Me day. For tourists who really want to get closer to the waterfalls, you can partake a ferry ride with two companies. If you happen to be in the American side, you can take Maid of the West while if you are in the Canadian side, you can use the Hornblower service.

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Niagara Falls

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Maid of the West with blue ponchos

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Hornblower with red ponchos

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Niagara Falls

As it had been mentioned a lot of times that Niagara Falls is the border between two great nations, thus, a traveler can see two sides that the falls separate.

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Niagara Falls State Park in NY state with the Maid of the West boat tour

But even Niagara Falls lie in between the Unites States and Canada, these nations have been linked through the rainbow bridge. The Rainbow Bridge or officially known as the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge is an arch bridge across the Niagara river gorge that connects both the cities of Niagara Falls, NY and Niagara Falls, Ontario. It is a world-famous tourist site.

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Rainbow Bridge

Since I was in the Canadian side, I got the opportunity to explore the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

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Journey Behind the Falls Exhibit Centre

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Toronto Power Generating System

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Old and Deserted Building in Niagara Parkway, the Toronto Power Generating Station

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Niagara Falls view from Toronto Power Generating Station

I went back to the city centre to see what it looked like and it appeared like an amusement park with restaurants, rides, hotels, and more. But I took a bite first in Queen Victoria’s Place.

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Queen Victoria’s Place

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Queen Victoria’s Place with the Skylon Tower

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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

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SkyWheel

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SkyWheel

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Some popular restaurants

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More stores

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Niagara Falls street view

At 1430H, I came back to our rendezvous point and I was reunited with the rest of the tourists from the bus. The next stop was in an old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Cenotaph and Clock  Tower in Niagara-On-The-Lake

It is a Canadian town in Southern Ontario where the Niagara river meets Lake Ontario. It is called as the loveliest town in Canada. Niagara-on-the-Lake teems with historical plaques, many national and provincial, reflecting its significance in the establishment of many of the province’s institutions. The town has plenty of National Historic Sites in Canada but unfortunately, we only have few minutes to roam around the town.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake beach

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Yachts in Niagara-on-the-Lake beach

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Old castle in Niagara-on-the-Lake beach

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Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake

In just 25-30 minutes, we headed back to the bus and the operator drove on our next destination which was a wine tasting. We have arrived in Niagara College Canada in just a few minutes.

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Niagara College Canada

Niagara College Canada has four campuses with one of it located overseas. We were in the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. The campus is enveloped in an ecological band of wetlands, vineyards and gardens, and becoming a laboratory for the students’ thriving environment and horticulture programs. We spent the time in the award-winning Niagara College Teaching Winery. We got to taste some of their products made, enhanced and studied by the students of the college.

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Wines for sale in an affordable price

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The sweet and delicious Ice Wine of Canada

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Niagara College Canada Vineyard

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Wine tasting

After the wine tasting, that concluded our day tour and we went back to Toronto. We arrived in Toronto around 1900H.

The day hasn’t ended yet and it was still my birthday. The fourth reason of traveling to Canada on my Me day was to meet a friend who I haven’t seen for a long, long time. We have planned to meet up in Eaton Centre and to have dinner and talk about what we’ve been up to for the last decade. It was surreal to meet your friend again and not in your home country but in a different nation where she considered it now her home. I brought with me my newly met friends in the hostel and we had fun the whole night just getting updated and exchanging about different cultures of different nations.

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Dinner at Pickle Barrel with new friends and old: (L-R) Chihiro (Japanese), me, Katharine (Fil-Canadian), and Caroline (Brazilian)

At almost 2200H, we departed ways and called it a day. It was indeed memorable and joyous birthday for me. The next day was my fly day back to the United States.

The last and most important reason for me why I travel to Canada during my Me day was to have my passport stamped that I have been to another country. Through this, it will be beneficial for my coming travels to other destinations that I’ve been eyeing to go.

To sum it all up, my ME day was a success. I met all the goals I have set for that trip and it was without a doubt one of the best my ME days. Next year at 2017, I’m looking on the possibility to cruise and be a Pirate of the Caribbean ;). By 2018 with God’s grace of good health, I’m planning to go to my last name’s home country. Hope it turns out well. Keep on traveling guys coz traveling never ends!

Back in NYC

Somebody said that you have never been to the United States, if you haven’t gone to New York City. That is the reason my mother asked me to let her see and visit the Big Apple. One of her special requests so, I made sure to put it in our itinerary before she even got her in the Land of the Free. I am also comfortable showing and getting around NYC since I’ve been in this city that doesn’t sleep just last February. But this time, my mum will be with me to explore it. Thus, I re-visited, I re-conquered and I’m back in NYC to check those which I haven’t explored during my first visit. Continue reading

Searching For Miss Valentine

February is considered to be the Heart Month for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is Valentine’s day that falls on February 14th which was the other day and everyone celebrated it. On that day, people tend to be more romantic and some were looking for partners. Since I’ve been a loner and single for quite some time, February keeps me longing for someone to fill my somehow empty heart and have come up with an idea to just go with it. Thus, I have decided to set on a journey in searching for Miss Valentine.

To look for Miss Valentine, I needed to set a location to hunt for her and what better place to do that than on a city that never sleeps. Three days prior to Valentine’s Day, I have traveled a long way in a grueling ride of 13 hours. I was in a bus in Pittsburgh on my way to Philly and found 3 gorgeous ladies but they were too young for me, so, I just ignored them. I got into Philadelphia but there were no traces of her, too. Few hours later, I sat foot in the busiest city of the United States, New York. I got out of Port Authority Bus Terminal in West 42nd Street and I have been wandering around to find her but unluckily, I didn’t see her. Then, I got into this famous hive within Clinton Hell’s Kitchen area to get some snooze to continue my search to finding Miss Valentine.

In the morning of February 12th, I was re-energised and headed back to the street. It was freezin’ cold at 9 degrees Fahrenheit or -13 Celsius but still it didn’t stop me from finding her. I went all over NYC. First, I had my search in Times Square. They were not too many people around since it was really icy cold. During the morning, Times Square is really pretty. It’s a busy NYC landmark but organised. Tourists are everywhere and police officers are visible, too.

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Times Square during daytime

When the sun is out, everything changes. Times Square becomes alive with bright lights from billboards/ advertisements and people just walk here and there. It looks chaotic but it’s not and you will love it. Times Square has been one of New York City icons aside from Statue of Liberty. It is a major commercial intersection and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan. It is also sometimes referred to as, ‘The Crossroads of the World’ and ‘The Heart of the World’ since it is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions and the busiest pedestrian intersection.

 With a massive visitors in Times Square, there is no way I could bump into her. So, I ended up going to another location. I went to a place where most people meet. It is the Grand Central Terminal and still in 42nd Street. The terminal serves commuters traveling within New York state. The building itself is magnificent with its intricate designs both inside and out. Being magnificent, Grand Central Terminal is also one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city.

Even in Grand Central Terminal which is a common rendezvous, I haven’t seen her even a shadow. Then, I made up a decision to try at places like museums. Since museums are also famous here in New York City. I headed to Ripley’s Believe It or  Not which is the largest Ripley’s odditorium in the world, housing over thousand of authentic artifacts and interactive exhibits. And I also went to Madame Tussauds which is a famous wax museum. They have Pope Francis wax in front of the museum along with Lara Croft and the rest of human like figures. To get inside, you need to shell out some few bucks. Untitled-1Untitled-2Both of those two museums were off limits to a thrift traveler and seeker like me who doesn’t want to spend a dime. She might be inside but I would rather search on streets than on establishments with a fee. I continued my journey and visited the Philippine Embassy. I don’t know what I was thinking but I was wondering she maybe also looking for me.

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Consulate General of the Republic of the Philippines in 556 5th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Untitled-13Still she wasn’t there. With my desperation, I was aiming on skyscrapers. Not that I would jump from them but I was thinking of using those coined operated telescopes on top of those really tall buildings to find her. First on my list was the Empire State Building. It is considered an American cultural icon and has been ranked as the number one of America’s favorite architectures. Its name was derived from the nick name of New York, the Empire State. It has 102 stories and when you are on top of it, you can see the whole view of NYC. I really wanted to take pictures of the building but taking shots as tall as Empire State building is hard.20160213_104509Untitled-u1Even in Empire State building, I failed again. The next skyscraper I visited to was the Rockefeller Centre. It is considered a landmark building in New York. It has been declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. But with so much history, it still didn’t help.20160212_17324720160212_173319

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Rockfeller Centre Ice Rink

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Thus, I just randomly walked where my feet take me and I got some really interesting skyscrapers and street photos.

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Radio City

20160213_10251220160213_10341620160213_103325I got exhausted from searching and I still felt empty. Then I stopped walking and when I looked where I’m at. I was back in Rockefeller Centre and when I stared across the street. I saw some really comforting figure. I went in and was amazed and felt at ease. I was in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.20160213_105735

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The next day, I got so tired from doing that. So, I just called my New York friends to meet up and spend some time to console my longing heart. Then, my friends brought me over to the Queens, New York and I got to eat my fave childhood restaurant, Jollibee. The Queens is on the other side of NY. The easternmost and largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City. Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world and is accessible thru subway. It was my first time to try their subway station.

My friends and I just talked the whole day, catching up on what has been going on with our lives. That day was a great day. We got the time to reminisce school days when we were still in the Philippines, pursuing our dreams and now, we have come all this way to meet up in a foreign land. We ended the day by celebrating the Holy Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After the mass, we have decided to dine in one of those Chinese restaurants near Rockfeller Centre to counter the cold weather by sipping some hot and delicious soup noodles.

While savoring those hot noodles, we talked about our personal lives and it appeared that we have grown in terms of being responsible. We can classify ourselves as independent, financially stable adults who can pay their monthly bills but we also have same problems. We still didn’t find love and we are still searching for our partners. Some of my friends are in an open relationship and some are just in a blur. While me on the other hand has nothing at all. The chit-chats just goes on and on. The night was getting deeper and we had to exchange goodbyes. I headed back to my hotel while they went to their apartments. It was fun.

Then, Valentine’s day came. It was also my schedule to go back home in Ohio. My entire search was a failure but I was still positive that I might meet her on my way back home. The trip started in Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City with frequent stops in Mt. Laurel, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Harrisburg, PA. When I was in Harrisburg, PA, the other bus heading to Pittsburgh had an emergency and all commuters on that bus need to transfer over our bus to get to Pittsburgh. I was taking a nap and suddenly this girl sat right next to me. She was wearing a black cloak with a back pack and a book on her hand. She was also wearing a white beanie. I didn’t see her face because I got used to not stare at people. But I usually glanced at her and I noticed her really nice nose, her hair and white flawless skin. I really wanted to talk to her but I am not good in starting conversation. When we were in Lemoyne, she fell asleep and almost fell from her seat. I said, are you OK, but unfortunately, she didn’t hear me since she was on her headset listening music from her phone. So, I went back to sleep. Never had I realise that we were in Pittsburgh, PA, she took off the bus while I was sleeping and I didn’t even get the chance to talk to her. When I saw her empty seat, she left her checked in baggage stub with her name on it. I told to myself, does this mean something? Because when the time she sat on that seat, I felt different. So, I tried to reach out. I got her name and searched her on Facebook and I sent a private message to her which turned out that she is already in a relationship with a guy from Abington. She then told me that she accidentally left the stub and just throw it. The conversation was short but the emotions and the imaginations I had were really outrageous and overflowing. It only means that I need to find a partner soon. I got her photo (without her permission) and this will symbolise that in this world, you will find a good heart that will fit the vacant spaces in between your fingers to hold and latch on. A person who will share your lifetime may it be better or worse. The whole journey was a big flop. But I learned that you don’t need to look for your Valentine, they will come in the right time. All you have to do is wait because if you force it, you might end up with the wrong person. As of now, I’m still looking forward to meet her. But my search for Miss Valentine is still going on. So for now, all I can say is hope you had a happy Vday!