USA / Cities

Disclaimer: my opinion on some cities can be biased and completely wrong since we rarely stayed more than 2 days in one city.

New York

What I’ll remember: the smell of urine and garbage in Manhattan, the New York subway, African Americans jumping over people (show).

When you imagine New York, you most often think of Manhattan and Central Park. You think of luxury apartments with a view of the park and limousines waiting for guests at the entrance. Only when you go out into the street, the smell knocks you off your feet. An inexpressible smell of urine and garbage.

Central Park itself is very cool! In the morning there are runners everywhere, in the middle of a day people have their lunch and in the evening they watch movies on a big screen outside. Well, there are a lot of tourists, of course.

At night, you can see raccoons. Some of them even wanted to snatch our phones but changed their mind. Probably, because we are Russians. It is a pity we did not have time to take a photo. Try to imagine a raccoon standing on its hind legs with diluted paws.

Everyone says the subway in New York is confusing. We were using Google Maps and have never made a mistake. The subway is very old, with its own history and character. Here are a few videos:

I thought there are different activities on Time Square every day. But in fact, every day it is the same show - African Americans jumping over a few people they randomly choose from a crowd. Before they actually do the jumping thing, they ask each of these people to give them some money (~10$). And with the never-ending flow of tourists, they basically have a stable monthly income! Good for them!

Philadelphia

What I’ll remember: ice cream trucks.

Unlike New York, here ice cream trucks ride through the central streets with creepy music at full volume:

I must admit that ice cream itself is delicious!

Also, you can climb the same steps Rocky Balboa did in his movie.

Baltimore

What I’ll remember: not a single white person.

For the first time during the trip, I felt uncomfortable. And it’s not because of the lack of white people, although it also adds fuel to the fire. In New York, everyone is constantly in a hurry and they seem super busy. In Baltimore, everyone is standing on the street doing nothing! And they look at you with an appraising look, as if counting how much money they can get if they rob you.

Washington

What I’ll remember: free cool museums, Lincoln Memorial.

We visited only one - National Air and Space Museum. But even there the gentleman, who looked like Batman’s butler (Alfred), gave us a magnificent tour of the museum.

Atlanta

What I’ll remember: skyscrapers in the fog.

Dallas

What I’ll remember: the first time I saw so many transvestites.

Austin

What I’ll remember: hipsters, cafes selling smoothies and vegan menus.

In general, Austin is said to be a city for young people. There are more activities, bars, and nightclubs. Next to this city is San Antonio - a city for an older people.

A couple of places that are recommended by locals:

  • Barton Springs Pool
  • Rainey Street Historic District (Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden & THE BLACKHEART)

San Antonio

What I’ll remember: canals like they have in Venice, many people of old age.

Grand Canyon

What I’ll remember: everything.

Landscapes from the top are impressive only at first. This is on condition that before you haven’t been in similar parks (antelope canyon, death valley). Real beauty appears when you descend into the bottom of the canyon. You can go down and up in one day (or even half a day). Totally possible. But it is better to take a tent or stay at Phantom Ranch for a few days. We chose the latter. We went down via the South Kebab trail (3 hours). We went up via the Bright Angel trail (6.5 hours).

Bonus for readers: you can swim in Colorado River. If you go from Phantom Ranch, cross the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, turn right and go ~ 1 km, you should be able to see a place where the channel is temporarily divided into 2 parts (one with fast, the other with a slow current). There are a small sandy beach and a stone from which you can jump into the water.

Las Vegas

What I’ll remember: nothing.

I was in Macao (Chinese Las Vegas) before. After it, Las Vegas is just another city with casinos.

Los Angeles

What I’ll remember: free shows, a lot of people filming something.

San Francisco

What I’ll remember: a room, full of arcade machines, and an American bar.

Too high expectations are rarely justified. So it happened with San Francisco. I thought that this is the city of future, where everyone travels on Tesla and pays using Apple Pay. It turned out that 90% or more of cars are still on petrol. In general, credit cards are not accepted.

On the pier, where the submarine USS Pampanito is moored, we found a room, full of arcade machines!

And we had a launch at the most American looking bar (at least, how I would imagine it) - Tommy’s Joynt:

Anton Kaliaev

Software engineer, blogger, public speaker, traveler

Ulyanovsk, Russia http://homeonrails.com