In what is becoming a rapidly evolving tradition each anniversary, we left town last weekend to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. Our first anniversary was celebrated in Dubai, while the second was in New York. This year, our destination of choice was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is pretty neat, feeling somehow like a young town with a number of quaint streets laden with European-style pubs and off-beat shops. It also has tremendous significance in American history, as the city is home to Independence Hall, where the American constitution was signed, the Liberty Bell, the first US Post Office, and the home of Betsy Ross, who is said to have sewn the first US flag, among other things.
Touring on a bus that converted into a boat was an exciting way to see the city and the Delaware River. While on the tour, our guide showed us Will Smith’s house, right on the river. According to our guide, the residents of Philly know Smith is in town when they see flags mounted outside the house. Smith’s dad, who lives in the house year-round, puts out the flags whenever his son comes home. I guess this makes life for Smith’s stalkers much easier. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
One of the most unique places I have visited in this country so far is Williamsburg, Virginia. What made this place special for me is it the vast amount of history associated with it. During our two-day visit there a few weeks back, I received a crash-course in American history.
Thanks to our quick museums tours, I got to know about the Revolutionary War, the victory in Yorktown, the Boston tea party, what taxation without representation is all about and the daily doings of the early immigrants who formed the first colonies.
Visiting Jamestown, which is right down the road from Williamsburg, was pretty eye opening as well. I laid my eyes upon the original location of the first colony that gave birth to what is now the United States. It was exciting to see the early haunts of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas, two characters that for awhile I thought of as mere fiction.
Downtown Williamsburg was the most enchanting part of it all. It was a bit surreal for me to wander down cobblestone streets alongside people dressed in colonial clothes, speaking in colonial accents, while listening to colonial music and eating colonial food. It was a trip back in time in every sense of the word.
Dining in Williamsburg was out of this world, as we savored a colonial dinner in the dark using only candles for lighting — just like the good old days. Overall, it was a memorable trip. I will let the pictures — taken by the super talented husband — speak for themselves.
When the husband told me of his desire to take me to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia I answered saying: "Great. But no roller coasters." "We’ll see," he said under his breath.
As soon as we arrived, the first thing we did was ride a roller coaster, the park’s legendary Loch Ness Monster. I have no idea how he convinced me to do it. I just succumbed so quickly — with no resistance. The experience was terrifying in every sense of the word. I was so scared that I decided to close my eyes during the ride and pretend that the whole roller coaster experience was just a bad dream. As soon as this near-death experience came to an end, the beaming husband asked me how I felt. "I need a beer," was my reply.
The day rolled on with still more adventures including haunted houses, bumper cars, Halloween shows, water rides and one more roller coaster. Yes, I succumbed one more time. "I want to you to share my love for roller coasters," he said in his latest attempt to convince me to ride another roller coaster — this time the Big Bad Wolf. I obliged for I’m too weak. This second ride was as terrifying as the first except that this time I decided to conquer my fear and keep my eyes open. I did not conquer anything. I was scared to death.
By the end of the day, yes, the husband wanted to try yet another roller coaster. This time I resisted. "Come on how can you keep doing this?" I asked a bit annoyed.
"Well I’m like Grissom in CSI. I love riding roller coasters," he explained.
"Did he say that in the show?" I asked.
"Oh yeah," the husband said smiling. "Do you know when I was about fifteen, my friend Steve and I once rode the Loch Ness some 25 times in one day."
After three years of marriage I discovered something new about my husband: he rides roller coasters.
We spent this past week at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach for a big family gathering. Among the many unique experiences I went through during this marvelous vacation — besides spending quality time with family — was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. It was a first for yours truly.
What was so exhilarating about this activity was battling the "ferocious" waves and eventually learning to ride/surf them. If memory serves, I don’t recall ever facing high waves while swimming in the Red Sea – the site where most of my outdoor swimming experiences took place. Is this what distinguishes a sea from an ocean? I wonder. I must admit, being whacked by a strong wave can be painful but it’s loads of fun.
Another fascinating moment was watching a fisherman catch a shark, drag it and gut it out to get its meat. I was not the only spectator either, as many tourists gathered around the fisherman to take pictures of his most recent acquisition. However, I was the only one who asked the fisherman: "Is that a ‘real’ shark?" Somehow the whole thing was just surreal. Anyway, I’ll let the pictures [they enlarge on click] speak for themselves.
I think this picture speaks for itself [Yes, it enlarges on click]. Last weekend was simply out of this world. I never thought I would do something like this in my lifetime … ever! It was something I used to see in the movies. But after some planning and encouragement from the husband, I decided to embark on my very first whitewater rafting experience on one of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River in West Virginia.
I have to admit, though, I was dreading it. I was so worried the night before that I stayed awake almost all night. I kept thinking I would end up clinging to a tree after the boat flipped, just like in the movies. But I didn’t! With our friends: Sarah, Elliot,the husband and me, the whole experience was absolutely exhilarating. I would do it again in a heartbeat. What a weekend!