Alicia Keys closed her eyes as she started feeling the keyboard on her piano. I can hear her hum and then the beat drops. Empire State of Mind playing on the background as the exit door opens for me at the Newark Liberty International Airport.
I breathed in and breathed out. Oops! Big city air. I smiled at myself and then I looked around if somebody saw me do that. I didn't know what was going on inside my head because all I felt was excitement.
Then a black BMW stopped right in front of me. The windows rolled down and I started screaming because it was Sweet Bella. She was quick to get out of the car so she can give me a hug. All I did was jump and scream for joy. Whew! As soon as my carry-on luggages have been positioned nicely inside the car, we went straight to the other terminal at the same airport because Sweetie Pie was arriving from Netherlands on the same day. It felt like Tokyo once more. All three of us in one place.
Outside Newark Liberty International Airport | L-R : VitoriVita, Monette ( Sweet Bella's cousin), Sweet Bella, & Sweetie Pie
We took a side trip to Rutherford, New Jersey as Sweet Bella's mom prepaed lunch for us tourists and because my original welcoming party got stuck in traffic. It was so nice to finally meet her family. They were so sweet and accommodating. Her dad cooked a big and tasty lobster I even forgot to take a photo of it.
Then my original welcoming party arrived! Woot!!!! Then off to NYC we go!
Rutherford, New Jersey is a 30-minute drive away from Gansevoort Hotel. That's without the New York traffic. I think it took us about an hour to get there which gave me enough time to get to know the groom-to-be, Andrew. When Kara, my best friend, and Andrew went to the Philippines for a vacation I hardly had the chance to get to know the latter. He was very shy and hardly ever talked. So I was quite surprised when he was very conversant during the drive from Jersey to New York. We went inside tunnels named after American presidents which Andrew gladly explained until sleep finally caught me. The sleepless layovers and flights knocked me off.
The Hudson River,on my right, with people jogging on the walkways as their skin glistens under the heat of the summer sun. On my left are rushing yellow taxis and a good number of cars honking at each other. This is the Big Apple!
I went straight to Gansevoort Hotel to meet up with our friends from the Philippines, Jen and Ric, who arrived a day earlier than me. My New Jersey-based friends, Nhover and Jose, gave the business-class flying couple a tour. While I was on the plane, I was envious already of their first day snaps in New York City.
We walked around Meatpacking District to look for some hunger busters and found a Turkish restaurant which I had to skip because I just did not feel like eating. Everyone else enjoyed a bottle of Corona while I had sensory overload. Too many things happening at one time. I did a lot of catching up with my best friend, Kara, while walking around the busy streets of the city. Took a lot of selfies then went back to the hotel for the much-awaited bachelorette dinner turned bachelorette night out at the scenic Gansevoort Hotel Rooftop Lounge!
VitoriVita hits scorching hot New York City wearing - Sunnies and Vero Moda shorts from World of Trout | Summer shirt from Zara | Purse from H&M | Fred Perry sneakers from Town Shoes
Me and my best friend on the streets of Meatpacking District in New York City.
The artsy side of New York City is the Meatpacking District and is the perfect spot for people-watching parading their latest Chanel purses.
Gansevoort Hotel Meatpacking New York City
Gansevoort Hotel at the trendy and hip Meatpacking District attracts the likes of Rihanna, Jay-Z, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicky Hilton.
View from the room balcony
Ric and Jen, owners of Fagioli Coffee Club Davao City, though tired from all the walking the day before were still looking fresh when I met up with them at the hotel.
It was a pretty chaotic afternoon with people moving around either they're looking for their dresses or getting in and out of the hotel room to get a Brazilian wax at the closest salon. While that was happening, I was asleep. I wanted to be ready for the party that night. I knew I was going to be the dancing Energizer bunny.
We held the bachelorette dinner at The Chester with all the girls showing-off our little black dresses. I kind of took the next level with Mickey ears that are so hard to miss. Such a total standout and always a conversation starter.
Selfie with the bachelorette in green outside The Chester!
We had a very lovely dinner filled with a lot of conversation. I just came to know most of the girls that night but it felt like I've known them for a long time. It also helped that I did not have data service because I was able to interact with the girls.
From left to right - Nena Rose, Anne, VitoriVita, Jen, Kara
Food was sooooo good!
When in NYC, you just have to give it all away. Skipped the calorie-counting and just enjoyed the sweetness of the night.
The smiles were more than enough to show how much we enjoyed the dinner.
From left to right: Kara, Nhover, Andrea, Catherine
After all the eating, what's next? Of course! The drinking!
Zerzura, the rooftop lounge of Gansevoort Hotel was gorgeous. It is among the top five rooftop lounges in New York City because of its 360-degree view of the Hudson River and the city skyline.
Before we got so drunk in love!
But of course, VitoriVita gets all the boys!
I had such a great time on my first night in New York City. It was one for the books. You have to stay tuned for the rest of my vacation documentation because it surely was amazing.
Tell me what you think about what I did on my first day and night at the Big Apple. Do you think it was fun? Hahahahahaha!!! Because if you ask me? I can start to narrate it over and over again.
August always excites me. It has become my travel month unintentionally. Japan and Canada happened in August. And this month? Its the United States of America.
I've always thought that there's no way I was born to just pay bills and die. I knew I had to go to places and experience it with my own senses. That the stories you hear from other people who have traveled far and wide are as interesting as your own adventures. I feel that I have a story to tell and the world is now willing to listen.
The major reason I was going to the USA was for my best friend's wedding. We've talked about it years ago and it never materialized that it would be happening soon until I got the invitation in February this year. Click HERE for the previous post.
I booked my flight in May after being granted a US Visa on the same month in Calgary. I had to make sure I get the best deals. Tina, my friend from work suggested that I book my flight through Redtag. I've also searched Vayama but I was going to pay for it in US Dollars which I thought was a bit inconvenient. So I proceeded booking my flight for New York on redtag. I should say that I got the best deal on Redtag (link) and they were very easy to deal with especially when I had to change my return flight from Los Angeles instead of New York. They made sure that all my concerns were addressed. I am so booking my future flights on Redtag and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants the same convenient booking experience. Of course, can't thank Tina enough for the recommendation.
I was too excited for the trip that I had sleepless nights before the date of my flight. It felt like I've waited so long for this trip and there was no way of stopping me. I couldn't get myself to shut up when New York is the topic of the conversation. I've noticed how some of my friends did a countdown days before I left for my vacation. That got me even more excited and giggly!
My flight from Regina to New York had two stops - Calgary and Toronto. You might be wondering why I took this flight with so many layovers. First, I was actually looking into the earliest flight out of Regina available without having to skip work. Second, it did not matter to me how long the flight will be as long as I get to be there in time for the bachelorette night out for my best friend, Kara.
My one hour and a half flight from Regina (YQR) to Calgary (YYC) was via Air Canada Express - Jazz. To be honest, I've always dreaded small planes. But I remember a friend telling me about how chances of surviving is much higher in smaller planes than the bigger ones. The thought always consoles me on bumpy rides and the girl speaking in French telling me to fasten my seatbelt calms me down.
I had a three-hour layover inside Calgary International Airport (YYC) and I couldn't be more thankful for their reliable free WiFi! My data service with SaskTel did not fail me too though. Its just that I prefer using the WiFi because cellular data kind of eats up a big chunk of my battery life. The internet just makes the waiting a lot more bearable. Plus the gorgeous airport gave me some good snaps that are Instagram-worthy. Tim Horton's always saves the day too! Their bagels are my favourite.
I had to endure a four-hour flight from Calgary to Toronto via a bigger Air Canada airplane. That flight felt like forever. I had a Mexican seat mate who kept on asking me about the time we were expected to arrive in Toronto. We had a little chitchat but sadly I was not in the mood for chatting at 1:00am. It felt like forever but I guess I had a good sleep at the plane because I hardly noticed the flight crew handing out some snacks. Touchdown in Toronto was at 7:00am.
I thought Calgary had a beautiful airport but Toronto had a more gorgeous one with a lot of natural light coming in. That gave a me a lot of optimism. I knew I was going to have a fabulous day!
As soon as I got off the plane, I went straight to look for the next gate where I'll be boarding my next plane. I almost forgot that I had to go through the US. Department of Homeland Security where I had to remove all things metallic from my body including my shoes. My pair of white socks were not prepared, I should have worn black but of course it could have been a fashion disaster. Hahahahahaha!!! I got interviewed by a hot guy from Homeland Security and was mistaken as someone who works in the fashion industry. I just couldn't stop smiling. I knew I was killing it with a little classy cleavage popping out.
When boarding was announced quarter before ten in the morning, I had taken enough selfies at the airport already. Most of it I've sent to my friends through WhatsApp and Viber plus not to mention the much needed update on Facebook.
My one hour and a half flight from Toronto (YYZ) to Newark (EWR) was a smooth one on a small United Airlines Express plane.
The moment I stepped on US soil or in this case US concrete ---- PARTYYYYY TIME!!!!!
Click HERE to check out Redtag to book for flights, vacations, hotels, and more.
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