Salut! Finally writing down the last leg of my USA Trip. So sorry for dragging this series for too long. I have been busy at school trying to balance the surplus of assignments and projects before deadline. On my previous blog, we talked about our trip to Pensacola, Florida and to the US Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Today, I’m writing about our trip around Birmingham and to the Six Flags over Georgia then back to NYC and back to Manila.
*Note: I’ll be posting the website links of the establishments I’ll be writing about here at the end of the blog*
We started off for that day quite late as we were quite dead tired from our past day’s adventure. We decided to go somewhere near and off we went to the Birmingham Zoo. It was a bit of a long drive going to the zoo and the best part? We passed by the “fancy” houses of Mountain Brookside.
We saw all sorts of mansions and castle-like, monastery-esque style houses. My eyes had a total feast and all that I could utter were “ooh”, “wow”, “ahhs”. 😲😮
We finally reached the zoo at the end of the road and nearby was the Botanical Garden. We were suppose to go there as well, but time had constrained us and so we had to pick only one. We chose the zoo.
The zoo was huge and had a lot of divisions, there were even constructions on the way for adding up Asian species. They had far more animals that I have never seen on our local zoo which made me really excited to see them in real life.
They also have a quite interactive zoo which was really good for kids and adults alike to further understand this beautiful creatures.
We enjoyed every bit of scenery and learning about the animals too. We had pizza for lunch on their pavilion and although it shutted up my growling tummy, I was still looking for rice. Haha.
After the lunch, we went to the primates section then the aviary followed by Alabama’s local species. My favorite part so far were the flamingos and the lorikeets. They are such beautiful colorful creatures that are definitely an eye candy.
On the Alabama wilds section, we almost missed out the bear that looked so cuddly and yet deadly. They also featured old Southern houses that looks so quaint and homey.
The last part of the section were the barn animals and you can pet them too. Though I was a bit hesitant, I just enjoyed taking pictures and gazing at them. Haha.
After the zoo experience, we then visited my Uncle’s dad, Mr. Doug Phillips and even met Matt (my Uncle’s older brother) along the way. We had a great time chatting and ended it around past 6pm, passing by Ate Chariz (another Pinay who gave us biko, a Filipino rice cake delicacy) and went home dead tired. We had to rest early as our last adventure on will be on the Six Flags!
I have heard of Six Flags from my aunt before and I have been wanting to try out their death-defying roller coaster rides. I always love to give myself a mini heart attack during this rides. Sometimes I make poor life choices. Haha. We left a bit earlier than our usual and the as you can see the clouds looked ominous so we were really praying that we get to enjoy Six Flags before it pours.
The theme park was really huge and you need to plan out your rides to maximize the park. We, the adults decided to go the high rides instead while the kids take on the kiddie rides. Our first ride really made my innards jump. I was really short that the crew had to push me down to touch the flooring of the ride. Haha!
Some rides made me almost flew out of my seat and I had to hug on the bars for the love of my life! I also literally saw my saliva go up and down before dropping on my knees which made me laugh and drool more. Yeah, I was classy like that.
However, some rides made me nauseous too. Like this Batman ride that had a lot of loops. We had to stop for a while to rest and continue for the Goliath and Dare Devil. By this time, it was drizzling a bit and some rides were having technical difficulties, but thrill of riding exceeds my safety fears. Haha.
Thank goodness, my Uncle and Auntie were adventure-seekers like me and my brother. We rode the Goliath thrice and had a super great time together while the elders sat and rest. Sarreh mom and dad.
It then started pouring and we decided to ride the train and see more of the theme park while being sheltered from the rain. We went down on the first stop to roam around and look for kiddie rides for my younger cousins. Sadly, there were only a few rides open since it was raining. But we found one where we all enjoy and even had a contest of the getting the highest score. It was a great bonding experience.
Eventually the park had to close due to the rain and as we were on our way out, we saw the Georgia Cyclone, which was a wooden rollercoaster who was still running. We rode it three times and had the best time. It was juggle of a ride, it was bumpy and scary fun. I think I hurt my shoulder so bad from hitting but it was worth it.
Although we only rode a few of the rides because of the rainy weather, the good part was the short lines. I still can’t complain cause I get to ride Goliath, the Dare Devil, and the Georgia Cyclone who was put down by July 30. Huhu. I at least I get to try it thrice. 😦 We ended our Georgia adventure and ate at Arby’s and I enjoyed their burger/sandwiches a lot too.
We went home late and started packing our stuff. It was kinda sad to pack your stuff and know that it’ll take time before I get to see my cousins and Aunt and Uncle again. But we just chatted the night away and slept for the big trip tomorrow.
That morning was a silent one, we were trying to not be emotional and did some last minute packing too. Mims (my Uncle’s mom) came over and helped us. She even sent us chocolates and jerkies to snack on the train back to NYC. By the time we were leaving, my cousin Raicelle got really sick and so she had to be left at home. We just gave her a kiss on her forehead and big squeezy hugs and few words of wisdom before we left.
We laughed on the car ride as we didn’t want to be emotional. We checked in our baggages but somehow the Amtrak in Birmingham wasn’t too strict with the 50lbs rule per bag. It was a small station so we had to wait on the hallway and the train got delayed for hours. We were a bit worried cause we have a flight to catch and time zones to compute whether we’ll make it to the flight.
We were all praying that we won’t miss the flight. Honestly, we ate almost all of the snacks that Mims gave us at the lobby area of the station. Haha. When the train arrived, everybody was a bit cranky due to the delay but we were more of emotional than irritated.
Goodbyes are one of the most painful things in this world. But, the hope of seeing each other soon gives us the antidote to the pain of leaving someone we love behind. Goodbye #Alabama and thank you to the Phillips Family for their love and warm hospitality. To Pops for fetching us on the train station and allowing us to enjoy the use of his house at Gulf Shores. To Mims and Aunt Kathy for the yummy meal we ate as soon as we arrived and the snacks to take home. To my Uncle Tep and Aunt Cecille for being our tour guides and warmly accepting us into your home, for all the experiences we shared. To Raicelle, Tate and Tahlia for giving us the joy of playing and hanging out with them. To all the Phillips family, for the kind words and welcome. We hope to meet more and all of you on our next visit. Till we see each other again! #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica
When the train finally arrived, we were all crying. I was bawling and so was my uncle and what made my heart break was to see my aunt and little Tate cry. Typing this now even makes me cry. We truly enjoyed our bonding with them and saying goodbyes are too painful. It really pains me to hear Tate say “I don’t want you guys to go.” So instead of goodbyes we instead said, “See you all soon”.
We had puffy red eyes as we board the train and slept most of the train ride. The train crew gave out free complimentary drinks and snacks which I think is because of the four hour delay. They also opened the cafeteria and had free unlimited coffee (we had to pay $3 during our first ride). We just give the server a tip as a way of saying thank you for the service, though the meals and pastries are still paid for.
By the time we reached New Jersey, we got delayed again for some problems by an hour or so. The air conditioner even shut down and it was really hot in the train. I was in pain that day too as the “flow” came in with a good timing and worried about our flight. We reached NYC and had to wait an hour before our baggages were released from the baggage section. My dad and I were computing the number of hours left for our flight plus the fact that we need to ride the subway going to the Airtrain.
It was a true amazing race in any sense. We were even debating which train to ride whether we had to go uptown and downtown. Thankfully, I found the signboard and we all boarded the train. I told my dad to look for people with baggages and follow them as for sure they were going to the airport as well.
We thought we’d be able to settle calmly on the train and guess what? The train operator suddenly announced that there were some changes on the route and some stations that we’d only pass by. The “good” part was that he removed the screen signs and instructed us to listen to his announcements. The “best” part was that I couldn’t understand a word he says. I could only pick on few words but most were gibberish. I could literally feel panic creeping in.
I am just so thankful for the man who sat beside us and noticed that we really confused and told us when to go down and what the operator said. Which was a big relief for all of us, I mean I understand English and can speak English well, but with differences in accent, I find myself confused. Nevertheless, we reached JFK airport just in time for the check in and finally settled down. We changed clothes because, hygiene and had a small meal with whatever snack we had left.
It was the year of 2000 when my dad resigned from his work at the airlines. The first thing I said to my mom was "How are we going to the States now?" Fast forward to 2017, that little girl's dream to visit America came true and went even beyond that she could imagine. This was the longest 19 days of my life that was filled to the brim with fun and goodness. I am most thankful to the Lord for all the blessings and surprises He has in stored for me and my family through out the entire trip. #LesVoyagesdeNica has come to an end for now, but as always, till our next adventure! #USA #NewYork
The flight home was more relaxing since we all sat together and thank goodness for China Airlines’ yummy meals which filled us up till our flight back home.
Overall, the US trip was an exhausting, sleep-depriving, body clock wrecking, adventure-filled memory of a lifetime. I am hoping and praying that we will go back and see more of the United States. But for now, my blog series ends here. I do hope you guys enjoy our trip and see you all soon for the next #LesVoyagesdeNica!
Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!