My first visit to United States

1st Oct 2010
Photo of My first visit to United States by Shaunak Bhattacharjee

Well, travelling to the land of opportunities, the United States of America is a dream for many us, and luckily for me, I got to relive it at a very early stage. Had to bunk one week of school and Durga Puja but its the US, well, it needs some sacrifice.

There wasn’t any direct flight. We flew to New Delhi on the night of 30th September 2010 and had a connecting flight at 2 a.m. the next day to JFK Airport, New York.

Day 1


We reached JFK Airport on 1st October, 6.30 a.m. local time. We kept New York for a later date and headed to La Guardia Airport for the next leg of our journey. From La Guardia we headed to Washington D.C. followed by a two hour road trip to Richmond.

Places Visited:

New York


La Guardia

Washington D.C.


We were staying at a relative’s place. It was getting too tiring now and on top of that Jet lag had bitten me very hard. On reaching there, I headed straight to my bed without bothering much to freshen up.


Day 3

We decided to see the city. We went to the Downtown area of Richmond, grabbed a bite at the Burger King, visited the Dollar Tree, where every item is priced at one dollar and a famous Jewelery Shop named Bachrach’s.


Photo of Richmond, VA, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 4


We visited a Costco mall. This is basically a wholesaler place. But I wasn’t really interested in shopping. Instead my attention was completely to the free food samples that were being offered. Usually people try to sell their homemade products like cookies, ice cream, fruit juices, chocolates, potato crisps etc here. They will even allow you to try a free sample. I had my lunch sorted from those free samples!

Day 6


Spent the morning and afternoon visiting malls. Evening was spent in leisure.

Places Visited:


Twin Hickory

Book People

Barnes and Noble

I bought the book, The Da Vinci Code from Barnes and Nobles. I was searching for the book for a long time but the book was out of print in India.

Twin Hickory

Photo of Barnes & Noble, West Broad Street, Richmond, VA, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 7



We went to the Virginia Beach. It was a 2 hours journey from Richmond. Had a great time by the beach with cousins. Dined at the McDonalds. Also evaded the eyes of the cops at every checkpoint since we were 9 people in a car, permissible limit being 7. It was fun when my uncle used to notify us about an approaching checkpoint and my brother and my little cousin sister started hiding underneath the luggage.


Photo of Virginia Beach, VA, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 8


Visited the Short Pump Mall. Its an open roof mall and its so big that usually people take two full days to see the place. We did our best to cover some portions. I found a wishing well too. Made a wish too!

Wishing Well

Photo of Short Pump Town Center, West Broad Street, Richmond, VA, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 9


I was stunned to see how cheap the electronic items are in the US! I wanted to have a laptop for a long time and it didn’t take me much to convince dad to buy me one. But then, dad is a typical Indian. We visited three stores before finally deciding which one to buy. The laptop was available for USD 346 (INR 16,500 at that time), the same model was up for INR 64,000 back at India. And you know the first thing I did with my laptop? I opened a Facebook account! 

Places Visited:

Crate & Barrel

Colonial Trail Elementary School

Day 10

DAY 10.

The next day we went to the capital, Washington D.C. Let me tell you that the traffic at Washington is no better than that of India.

Places visited:

The Pentagon

Capitol Building

Washington Monument

The White House

United States Botanical Garden

United States Anthropological Museum

The best thing about the city is that there is no entry ticket for the museums. Now, D.C. was half visited. We planned to stay two more days here. Cab fares are extremely high and a distance of 1 mile can fetch as much as 10 dollars! Thanks to the waiting time in the traffic.


Photo of Washington, DC, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 11

DAY 11

Places visited:

Space Exploration Center

National Museum of Natural History

Photo of Washington D.C., DC, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 12

DAY 12

Places visited:

Department of Energy

Department of Agriculture

The Smithsonian Institution is responsible for the maintenance of the museums of national importance. These buildings are so big that usually it takes one entire day to see every exhibit on display. We somehow managed two per day.

Day 14

DAY 14

We went to New Jersey after having one day break. We stayed at Morris Plains, a place famous for Grizzly Bears and Deer, which we got to know about later on though. It took us the entire day to travel to New Jersey and then to Morris Plains. Hence we decided to spend the day indoor only.

Day 15

DAY 15

We decided to explore the city the next day. We visited the local Bengali area. There was a supermarket run by Bengalis only named Mina Bazaar. We then visited a Gujarati community where there was a festival being celebrated. On our way back to Morris Plains, we made a quick visit to a T-Shirt Factory.

Gujarati Samaj at New Jersey

Photo of Meena Bazaar, Oak Tree Road, Edison, New Jersey, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 16

DAY 16

Places visited:

Times Square

Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Photo of Staten Island, NY, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 17

DAY 17

We loved Times Square so much that we wanted to have another look at the wonderful place! I don’t think there is a single building at Time Square which isn’t a skyscraper. You cannot see the sky, you look up and all you see is buildings.

Photo of Times Square, Manhattan, NY, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 18

DAY 18

We went to Manhattan the next day. We took the NJ Transit instead of car to get a taste of the train journey. On our way back we went to the Rockefeller Center.

Empire State Building

Photo of Manhattan, New York, NY, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 19

DAY 19

Halloween was just at the doors and the streets had started being decorated. We went to a place to see Halloween decorations called Christmas Tree Shops.

Places visited:

Dosa House, a place famous in NJ for huge dosas.


Church of St. Christopher

Dosa at Dosa House

Photo of Mendham, NJ, USA by Shaunak Bhattacharjee
Day 20

DAY 20

It was time to pack our bags. We had our flight from JFK Airport at New York to New Delhi on 21st. We planned to halt for a day at New Delhi and came back to Kolkata on the 22nd.

The trip lasted for over three weeks. The best trip I ever had at that time. However it lost its ‘being the best’ status 6 years later to Singapore. But that’s for some other day!

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