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Today,my brother-in-law went to work but his wife took a day off. She dropped us off in the train station to take a train to New York City. It's quite an experience riding the coastline of the NJ rail system. After more than an hour, we got off in Penn Station.

It's the coldest day for the whole vacation. We bought a day pass for the metro system. I could only find my son's beanie but nothing else (which I found later) so when we were at the bus stop and saw a K-mart nearby, we went in and bought a beanie for hubby and a headband for myself to cover my ears.

We did research thru computer the day before to map out all the routes and bus schedule but of course, nothing works according to schedule.

Anyway, we first took a bus to Empire State Building. There was lineup outside the building. At least just a bit around the corner and Thank God it's not that cold. We finally managed to move to the mezz floor for security check after 30 minutes. Oops, there's another line for security check. GRRRR! Another 30 minutes, we cleared the security and WOW WOW WOW, no lineup for purchasing tickets to the observation deck. Of course, then there's the long lineup for the elevators. Unfortunately, ESB was under renovation and there was those sharp metal cutting noise filled up the area. I don't know how the security work there can stay sane, especially at the bottle neck where you're about to reach the 2nd set of elevators. Anyway after like forever, we reached the observation deck. Of course, whole area was covered with people. Just after I got out of the elevators and trying to get my orientation, I was rudely pushed aside by a nicely dressed woman so she could reach a guy dressed in suit. :rolleyes: At least, the weather was excellent when we went out to take some pictures. My son was absolutely bored to death already by that time so we didn't stay long.

It's passed noon by the time we finished so we crossed the street and ate in MacDonald :lol: It's another experience that there's no tray to carry your food to the mezz floor :rolleyes: but the staff was highly efficient.

Next we took the bus to United Nation. Let's say it's a looonnngggg ride.

For whatever reason, all tourists picked that day to visit UN and many of the tour guides picked that day NOT TO WORK. So the normal tour was not available but a shorter version of 20 minutes which we really don't mind. But, again, line up to purchase the tour ticket took forever because they could not make up their mind what kind of tour to provide even there are signs everywhere all along the line up saying only a shorter tour would be provided. After we bought the tickets, there's time to look around so we bought a postcard and mailed to ourselves. Also, there's some exhibits around that we could look around. Anyway, our tour was up and the guide is obviously from some African country but his English is very good and he's very nice. We basically breeze thru the security council and general assembly. By the time we left UN, we knew we won't be able to make it back to Penn Station to catch the train before rush hour (our return tickets can only used outside rush hour) so we called the in-laws and told them not to wait for us.

We then took the bus to Wall Street. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! The bus took forever and by the time we reached Wall Street, it's dark and freezing. And we could not see the BULL!!! Ha! We took a pic and raced down the subway and went back to China Town. Honestly, I don't know why hubby wanted to go to these places. When we reached Canal Street, I noticed another BIG MISTAKE for us. Most of the shops along the street are for tourist and no place for an authentic wonton noodle that hubby yearned for. Still, he insisted walked around in freezing temperature plus high windchill. Finally, I said enough is enough and both my son and I were closed to freezing to death. Most of the eating places looked real dirty to us so we rushed into a small dumping place which looked pretty clean. IT'S SO GOOD TO HAVE A PLACE THAT'S WARM and had some hot food. When we finished eating, I asked the people there how to take the subway to Penn Station. BIG MISTAKE again. Because he pointed us to walk many blocks in near darkness to another line, the one other than the one we took to Canal Street. Because BOTH will get to Penn station, just opposite ends but who cares.

Finally, we are back to Penn station and it's rush hour. Walls after walls of people and we walked a long way to find the NJ trains. While we're sitting there, doing nothing and waiting for the rush hour to be over, I noticed we're a bit doomed. There's problem in the signal along the line, the last train during rush hour that will stop in all stops to Elizabeth was cancelled. The train we're supposed to skip all those stops now had to stop at every fucking stops. To make things worse, we were stopped to yield right of way to another train for reason unknown because the time we had to stop and wait, we had ample time to pass the crossing. Finally, we arrived the train station and NOOOOOO, my brother-in-law was not there. It's really cold out there you know and my stubborn husband insisted we just wait. I said what's the problem of calling him since he has a cellphone and we have a cellphone. So after 10 freezing minutes in the parking lot of the train station, hubby called his brother and voila, HE WAS WAITING FOR US ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACK. OK, that guy has a PhD from MIT in physics. Really smart guy but why he would wait for us on the side of the track for trains heading to NYC is really beyond me. *sigh*
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