USA

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The USA, land of the free and self-appointed protector of the world is an interesting amalgam of people, places and experiences. In many ways, it is a contradiction in terms. It’s united in so many ways, but the recent 2016 elections proved it’s completely divided. A so-called class-less society, there is an obvious split between rich and poor, black and latin. Yet there’s a patriotic fervor here like no other. It’s these tensions that make it an interesting study in humanity – the world looks to it for leadership, trends and ideas, yet they mock it for its exclusionary attitudes. Strange for a country that was a beacon of hope and attracted generations of new-comers to find freedom in the place that was originally (like Australia), a dumping ground for criminals and miscreants.

The best way to experience the United States is to split it up into manageable bite-sized chunks. Start with the obvious coastal cities and the bright lights of Vegas, and then start digging a little deeper to see what makes this such a weird and wonderful place to visit.

Review: Brew & Brew, East Austin, Texas

The hunt for a good strong coffee is never ending. Especially when you’re out on the road. The same can be said for a good craft beer. Luckily Brew & Brew on 5th Street in East Austin delivers on both counts. Round One 32 hours in Austin. Where do you even start? Coffee. Perfect. We’re up and on the hunt at 8am and take advantage of a voucher for a free coffee...

Barbecue, Texan Style, Austin

As Aussies, we think we’re the barbecue kings and queens of the world. Americans, on the other hand believe (and are blissfully oblivious of most other cultures anyway) that their barbecue cuisine reigns supreme. So when we hit Austin, the Barbie capital of the south, it was top of our things to do list. A good Aussie barbecue is about the quality of the steak, lamb...

People watching in Bryant Park, New York

In the heart of midtown’s high stress and high traffic stands Bryant Park, a much-needed escape and an oasis to take a moment to refresh and watch the world go by. Bryant Park is as close to the middle of Manhattan as you can get. Bordered by Fifth and Sixth Avenues and 40th and 42nd Streets, it’s one block from Times Square. The New York Public Library adjoins it...

Chelsea Market, New York

Chelsea Market is a collection of boutiques and eateries in the midst of the bustling New York hot spot, situated between the Google Headquarters and the Highline. New York’s Chelsea Market is the home of hip eateries, farm to table restaurants and artisinal fare. Housed in the gut renovated National Biscuit Company factory (I never realized that is where the...

Casa Bacardi, Puerto Rico

Casa Bacardi, the home of the famed rum is a pleasant tour just minutes from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. We took a few hours out  to sample it in its natural habitat and in the perfect setting – overlooking the harbor and walled city of Old San Juan. I (Bernie) have never been a big spirits drinker. The occasional single malt, a speakeasy cocktail, but never to...

Mermaid Inn, Greenwich Village, NY

If you’re a fan of fresh seafood, the Mermaid Inn Oyster Bar in Greenwich Village really delivers. It’s home of the Sunday Lobsterpalooza (it tastes as amazing as it sounds) and the legendary Oyster happy hour.   Coming from Australia’s east coast, we were brought up on prawns and tropical and reef fish. Lobsters and shellfish were a rarity – definitely available...

Christmas in New York

There’s no place as magical at Christmas as New York. The city has been in a festive state since Halloween and there’s no reason to stop, with the one-two hit of Thanksgiving and then the cold change of early December, where the mercury plummets and the thick coats come out of the mothballs. Pumpkins on stoops and dried corn cobs are replaced with boughs of holly and...

Wrigley Field, Chicago

Chicago’s Wrigley Field is one of America’s classic baseball stadiums. Dating back to 1914, the home of the Chicago Cubs is hallowed ground. Literally. It was originally part of a seminary!  Sadly, it has been home to the most cursed team in the league. Starved for professional level baseball in Australia, since moving to the U.S. we have completely embraced the...

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Everybody’s favorite action hero and archeologist, Indiana Jones spent half of his movies exclaiming, “It belongs in a museum!”. But how many of the things you use on a daily basis would you expect to be found by the archaeologists of the future? Luckily you needn’t wait for posterity. There’s a museum made up of the now. The Cooper Hewitt is New York’s very own...

Dumbo, New York, NY

There are no flying elephants to be seen, but Dumbo is one of New York City’s buzz neighborhoods right now. Its name is an acronym for Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Dumbo was coined in the 1970s by locals, who wanted a silly name to throw off developers, who at the time were looking for the next potential zone of urban renewal. The area, formerly...