Seeing the Western Hemisphere for the 1st time

(May 27, 2018)
While I’ve been to Europe twice in my whole life, I haven’t been to the Western Hemisphere. Got really close though, when I was in Barcelona, Spain in 2016.

So in April 2018, I applied for a U.S. tourist visa to be able to visit that country. I flew to Los Angeles the following month. Not only did I see the Western Hemisphere, I also crossed the Pacific Ocean for the first time!

IMG_4528It wasn’t a direct flight – there was an almost five-hour layover at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. Ah, I miss Taiwan. That’s another story though.

I arrived at my hotel in Los Angeles before midnight. I thought of going to some place to take pictures, but since I was tired, I decided to just look for a store to buy supplies such as water and chocolates.

I did take a picture of a Sunset Boulevard street sign, which was close to my hotel. Nothing spectacular, but it’s my first ever U.S. photo.

IMG_4530

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Writing about the 4th and 5th continents I’ve visited

Now I have more time to write about my recent trip to the USA and Brazil. North America and South America – the fourth and fifth continents I’ve visited. It’s the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to see the world.

I will use the tag “twoweekusabraziltrip2018” in all posts that I will publish in the next few weeks. It’s akin to the tag “twoweekeurotrip2016” that I used in the posts related to my trip to Europe two years ago.

For quick reference, here are links to the posts that I wrote while I was actually in the USA and Brazil:

Goodbye Hollywood
June 9, 2018 – Saturday

Seeing F.R.I.E.N.D.S. mania with my own eyes
June 8, 2018 – Friday

San Francisco layover
June 7, 2018 – Thursday

Washington DC on foot: a side trip from New York
June 6, 2018 – Wednesday

Back in New York City
June 5, 2018 – Tuesday

Last day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Ipanema Beach
June 4, 2018 – Monday

Christ the Redeemer amid clouds and crowds
June 3, 2018 – Sunday

With Brazil visit, I’ve now seen 5 continents
June 2, 2018 – Saturday

Mother Nature allows me to see Statue of Liberty
June 1, 2018 – Friday

Bad weather in New York forces me to change plans
May 31, 2018 – Thursday

Flying from Los Angeles to New York
May 30, 2018 – Wednesday

Hollywood Walk of Fame ain’t a walk in the park
May 29, 2018 – Tuesday

Taking that money shot of the Hollywood sign
May 28, 2018 – Monday

 

Goodbye Hollywood

(June 9, 2018) I was supposed to visit Beverly Hills today, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it without spending too much. I wanted to go there through a combination of subway and bus rides, but the really bad Internet connection at the hotel wouldn’t allow me to do a decent search.

Anyway, I went to an easier-to-reach place instead; I returned to Hollywood Boulevard.

The Hollywood sign can be seen from a mall called Hollywood & Highland. The view is much smaller though than when you’re up there on the mountain. But I felt it’s a good way to end my two-week US and Brazil trip. It started with the Hollywood sign, and ended with the Hollywood sign.

Seeing F.R.I.E.N.D.S. mania with my own eyes

(June 8, 2018) There was no doubt that the most awaited part of the Warner Brothers Studio Tour today was the visit to the Central Perk set used in the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

People waited for their turn to have their pictures taken in Central Perk. They didn’t mind the long line. And this was for a TV show that had ended 14 years ago!

I will write a longer post about this in the near future.

San Francisco layover

(June 7, 2018) I had an eight-hour layover today in San Francisco before flying to Los Angeles. It was intentional on my part because I really wanted to see San Francisco, albeit for only a few hours.

I thought that that length of time was enough. I was wrong. I don’t think anyone would be fast enough to cover all bases in San Francisco in less than a day.

But at least I saw Transamerica Pyramid and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Washington DC on foot: a side trip from New York

(June 6, 2018) I spent most of my time today in Washington DC. The train ride from New York City to Washington took about 3 1/2 hours.

I explored the capital city of the United States on foot, as all of the attractions are clustered around the National Mall or located close to it.

Some of the most popular sites among tourists were the US Capitol, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the White House.

Back in New York City

(June 5, 2018) Today my flight from Rio de Janeiro to New York City ended, and I’m back in the Big Apple! The weather is much better now compared to my first time in New York.

Better weather means better views!

Last day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Ipanema Beach

(June 4, 2018) In a few hours I will be returning to the airport.

That means I still have time to see Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I headed to Ipanema Beach, wearing a jacket and a cap. Quite weird for the beach but the weather still wasn’t good, and I didn’t want to get sick while on tour.

Christ the Redeemer amid clouds and crowds

(June 3, 2018) I feel so blessed to see the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Up there I had to contend with the foggy weather and the other tourists, but I was not surprised that there were lots of people. After all, the Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

With Brazil visit, I’ve now seen 5 continents

(June 2, 2018) Today I accomplished something that I’ve always wanted to do: to see all of the inhabited continents in the world.

I’ve visited Asia, Europe, Australia, North America and South America. I also planned to go to Africa next year, but something really big came up recently. I don’t think I would be able to visit Africa in the near future because of that.

But seeing five continents ain’t bad. And right now I would just like to savor the moment of being here in South America, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro in particular.