There's some wonderful little voodoo shops as you might expect, but the best ones can be found away from the main tourist drag. There's a teriffic one on St. Claude Avenue but I can't remember its name.
Voodoo potions and lotions make great gifts and they have a earnest kitsch asthetic that I love.
Just like a big regular grocery store but stocked full of the finest local and international produce, they even have a lobster tank! It's the most unpretentious, inexpensive food store ever - Waitrose could learn a lesson or two!
710 Veterans Memorial Blvd
I have had the strange honour of living in every hostel in Hawaii. I worked at some in trade for my room and I was able to island hop as much as I wanted to.
There are four hostels within a block or two of Waikiki beach in Honolulu. The most expensive one is only $27 a night.
You might think visiting South Beach Art Deco area would be expensive, but there are actually hostels right in the middle of it all. One of those hostels is the South Beach hostel. It has a great location and a bar right in the hostel. At only 20 dollars a night, it is probably the best price in Miami.
The crookedest street in the world? You're all wet! Lombard Street is prettier, but Vermont St., stuck up against the James Lick Freeway in an industrial area, is the real answer.
The area is far from touristic, and couldn't handle an influx of curiosity seekers, so this place doesn't figure in tourist guides, and maps don't even indicate it's not straight. And be warned, you can get stuck here if you're not careful, it's that crooked!
Vermont St. between 20th and 22nd, Potrero District
Good for the Vegas beginner. The rules are simple, just place your chips on your lucky number and hope for the best. You can also shorten the odds by betting on the ball landing on odd or even numbers or red or black.
Unlike poker or blackjack, it's pure chance, so the novice is as likely to win as a Vegas veteran.
Approaching one of the poker tables can be quite intimidating if you don't know the rules. However, nearly all the casinos offer free lessons for beginners - anything to start you losing your money.
Any of the big casinos
For decades, Sweet Auburn was Atlanta’s black downtown - a city within a city where African Americans created the institutions they were excluded from by white Atlanta. Though the construction of I-75/85 in the 1940s cut the neighbourhood in half, it became the hub of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s and has remained the centre of Atlanta’s black life and culture.
Several of the neighbourhood’s early 20th-century churches, homes and commercial buildings are in good shape, making for an excellent walking tour. One of them houses the African American Panoramic Experience, known as Apex, which has several exhibits on the area’s history and a movie about the neighbourhood. Several blocks of Auburn Avenue have been designated part of the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site, in honour of the civil rights leader who was born here in 1929. King’s birthplace is open for tours.
A block west is Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached. Across the street is the Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Non-Violent Change, which has a visitor’s centre and exhibits on the civil right’s campaigner’s life and work. King’s tomb is on view at the site.
I found the best deals are in the discount and factory outlet shopping centres. 35 minutes north on the GA400 is Dawsonville, where you will find North Georgia Premier Outlets and some 100 stores, including big names such as Bose, Ralph Lauren Polo, Adidas, Nike Factory Store, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Eddie Bauer, GAP, Hugo Boss, Royal Doulton and much more.
If you have teenage children then this place is a must. My girls were able to purchase Nike, and Adidas trainers for a fraction of the cost in the malls. This outlet had something for everyone: acres of parking space, toilets (restrooms), ATM machines and good cheap food. A shopper’s paradise and a must if and when you visit Atlanta.
Tanger Factory Outlet Centres in Dalton and Locust Grove offer more than 150 stores.
Horizon Outlet Centres in Calhoun, off interstate 75, features more than 55 retail stores.
Contact the British Consulate if you lose your travel documents.
Good to know as most folks won't know where the British Consulate office is, and Atlanta has over 32 streets named Peachtree.
Georgia Pacific Centre, Suite 3400, 133 Peachtree Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30303;
tel: 404 954 7700;
In winter, the pond in Central Park is turned into an ice skating rink (skate hire is available). Even if you don't want to skate, the viewing platform above the rink is highly recommended - the skyline in the background is familiar from many films.
Central Park, Manhattan
Spectacular Thai-fusion restaurant in Williamsburg. A key destination in the hipster enclave of Brooklyn (think Shoreditch, but less twattish). When you enter the restaurant and are greeted with mirror balls, transparent chairs hanging from the ceiling and leather bean bags to one side and pod-like toilet cubicles shrouded in the centre of the bar area to the other side, you could be forgiven for thinking that you're in the chill out room of an uber-cool techno club. Oh no. Order yourself a fierce mojito or one of their speciality martinis (lychee was particularly tasty, I recall) relax and wait to be seated.
This place is big, mega-busy, but worth waiting for. As you're led through into the restaurant itself, you're met with the centre-piece of the room; a reflective pool of water with a Buddha statue presiding over it. The cosy tables alongside the water feature are quite romantic, while the cool design of the space and the various nooks and crannies also allow for bench style tables that can accommodate large groups of friends.
The place is always buzzing and the food is first rate and reasonably priced. More of a south-east Asian fusion than strictly Thai (hence the SEA name) the usual red/green curries and pad thai noodle dishes are all sublime while the fresh fish and sea-food specialities are awesome too. A very cool restaurant in one of the more interesting neighbourhoods of New York.
114 N 6th St (between Berry and Whythe St), Brooklyn, NY
Take the L train to Bedford Ave station (the first stop in Brooklyn when leaving Manhattan); tel: 718 384 8850
Legend has it, this was once some sort of illicit opium den. Perhaps an exaggeration, however it certainly feels like you're entering a crack den as you're casting one eye over your shoulder at the dealers on the street corner whilst looking out for the unmarked entrance to this once illegal (inevitably now legit) after hours drinking den in Alphabet City.
Tip: look out for the yellow liquor store sign, enter the apartment block next door and go upstairs. Trust me, you wouldn't happen upon this place by accident! Inside is awash with chandeliers, dim red lighting, and comfy sofas (if you're they're early) an ominous looking mannequin behind the bar and a mischievous atmosphere.
Due to the sheer challenge of finding this place, you're invariably going to find great music, cool bar staff, plus a like-minded, fun-loving, up for it, and good-looking crowd. Open very late and when busy (always) it may feel like you’ve unwittingly forced your way into a random person’s loft party just as things are getting messy.
Avenue B, between 13th and 14th
This hotel is in a great location - so close to many attractions, yet also away from all the hustle and bustle on a quiet tree-lined street. A couple of blocks one way and you are in Times Sq and a walk away from Grand Central Terminal, MOMA, the Empire State building and the shops of 5th Avenue and Broadway. A couple of blocks the other way and you are by the Hudson River, taking in the view of New Jersey.
A warm welcome from all the staff in the hotel, a light breakfast served every day and a good sized bedroom with en-suite. All rooms were just getting fitted with brand new flatscreen televisions as we were nearing the end of our stay as well. Hope to go back here the next time we're in NYC. Very good value for money.
This is theatre just for children, but parents will love it, too. Great for those who may be still too young for Broadway manners. This troupe takes stories, written by children, and sets them to words and music. Very talented group, full of imagination and fun.
Shows on Saturday only.
The Drama Bookshop on 40th Street & 8th Ave, near the major shows; shows are on Saturday only; www.storypirates.com
Remarkably fresh oysters - some taken from the water the morning they are served - available any way you can think of and shucked (opened) fresh after you order. The best clam chowder I have ever had - made with fresh clams as well as other great cooked seafood meals. All set looking over the harbour amidst some other fine restaurants. Best eating I have had in three months of travelling.
The Ferry Building at the very end of Market St;
Europeans are rarely going to want to visit American churches - they are, after all, just recreations of ones "back home" but St. Bart's is something special - the Byzantine-style mosaic tile interior is incredible, as are many of the stained glass windows. There are tours available but just wandering is best, maybe followed by tea in the church's courtyard cafe. While enjoying this building remember that all of this section of Park Avenue is built on columns above the double-level trainyard of Grand Central Terminal.
Park Avenue (East Side) between 50th and 51st Streets. Subway - 6 (Lexington Avenue Local) to 50th Street.
Do you need to go to Stamford Bridge to watch football in London? No, and you don't need to go to Yankee Stadium, packed with rude suburbanites, to see baseball in New York.
Shea Stadium is out in Flushing, Queens and is the home of the New York Mets. It’s also witnessed two World Series, the birth of Joe Namath as an American football star, papal masses and the Beatles’ most famous concert.
It's cheaper than Yankee Stadium, much more family oriented, and has an interesting feature - jets taking off from LaGuardia airport fly directly over the stadium. Don't expect to hear much except for the loudest yells.
In Flushing Meadow Park on the Number 7 train (from Times Square and Grand Central Station), the station is Willet's Point/Shea Stadium
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