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Published: March 8th 2011
Our last day, like the previous 3, was full of walking, which I loved! We started from our hotel towards 5th Avenue and walked all the way up to 74th Street to the Whitney Museum of American Art. But before reaching the museum we stopped at the Rockefeller Center to see the ice-skating rink and the famous GE building. The skating rink looks really nice with a golden statue on the wall in the center and flags from a lot different countries along the sides.
I see now why everyone thinks of the United States as "a mixing pot of cultures". In New York City I heard more different languages than I did in all of my time in Europe combined. There are so many people from so many different places. I think a lot of the stereotypes of Americans that I heard in Europe were based off of this city.
We walked further down 5th Avenue, which is lined with tons of major designer stores and skyscrapers, like the Trump Building. There was also a really cool skyscraper about a block off of 5th Avenue that kind of curved from a wider base up the sides. Further up
5th Avenue we arrived at the Grand Army Plaza, a square near Central Park with a few different statues. Keeping pace north we arrived at the Whitney Museum of American Art. We thought we would get to see some classic American paintings, but it was more like the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich with some really abstract art and a lot of them were structures built, not paintings. I didn't like it as much; I still like the older European paintings from the 1400-1800's and classic stuff.
Since this was our last day we wanted to make sure we got to see everything we wanted to before we left. We had finished every site on our really long list except for 2 "secondary sights", which were Carnegie Hall and going to the "Top of the Rock", as in the top of the Rockefeller Center's GE building for some awesome views. We decided that we would rather enjoy a nice, long, relaxing dinner instead and would rather not feel rushed. So we got lost in Central Park for a while to spend some time. We ended up seeing a cool mini castle inside called Belvedere and a couple small lakes.
It was all really nice except for all the dead plants and trees. I really need to see some parks and gardens this summer. I've seen so many in Europe over the winter and it feels like I haven't actually seen a nice, live garden in a while, well, actually last summer I saw the ancient gardens in Suzhou and the Summer Palace in Beijing, so I do have some nice memories of that. It's such a cool feeling, being in Central Park, because you're surrounded by nature, but if you just look up you see skyscrapers bordering the entire park.
We went back to the hotel to get our bags out of their storage room and took them to dinner with us, since both the dinner place and the bus station were both in lower Manhattan (China Town). We had a really authentic Chinese dinner in China Town that brought back the amazing tastes of the Orient. The restaurant was set up just like the restaurants in China; the chairs, tables, silverware, everything! From the outside it didn't look like much, but when we walked in a lady for the restaurant greeted us and took us upstairs. The
restaurant was actually on the second, third, and fourth floors, but they had a waitress waiting downstairs to take guests up in the elevator. We had some really good dim sum and then roast duck, shrimp, chicken, scallop, squid, and vegetable dishes for the main course. It was really delicious! The restaurant was called "The Golden Unicorn" (funny name, I know), but the food was actually really authentic, and tasty! After dinner we went to a Chinese bakery and I had my first bubble tea. It was sooo great! I got a honeydew flavored one and they have soy beans in the bottom that make it taste even better. You should really try one if you're in China Town.
We had a few ticket complications, but the bus left from China Town and we headed back to North Carolina. The bus line actually goes from the "Grand Asia Market" in NC to China Town, the driver is Chinese, and the first language on our tickets was Chinese. It's supposed to just be a regular state bus, but I guess it's somehow operated primarily by Chinese people. It was nice to get to practice some Chinese a little bit again.
Overall, it was a really great trip and I'm glad I finally got to do some sightseeing in my country.
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