Vikki: The last 3 days in New Jersey have been great. We've met more family, eaten great food (again) and seen much of the local sites. It's a lovely area, very green with many small farms and huge houses. Where we are staying backs onto one of the local golf courses (or Country Clubs) so a lovely view out, especially as the fall leaves start to turn.
A visit to the local outlet mall gave us our first view of shopping, and though we made a couple of small purchases we'll wait till the end of our States visit to cram the suitcases last minute. We went down to Atlantic City, checked out the Atlantic Ocean and beach and visited (me & the kids just from the outside) the casino's which line the board walk, along the coast. A great area and lots of fun. We also went to up Philadelphia and learnt about the history of the USA, visiting the National Constitution Centre, and getting an understanding of how the country was founded. Really interesting though quite complex. The words "We the People" are now better understood by all of us.
I'm now looking forward to heading on to New York, reading one of the kids books about it there is so much to see and do, as there has been here, that I'm sure the next week will fly!
Raj: The quite easy paced nature of Washington has continued into New Jersey. The history of the beginnings of America is rich in this area as well. I've enjoyed learning more about the development and principles of the Constitution and American democracy in general. While politics is usually a subject which bores me, the US story is fascinating, though complex.
It's been fantastic to meet more of my family and again their hospitality and generosity has been overwhelming. We've been well looked after and as usual I've been eating too much (yes, American meals are big, like the cars and houses). Also, Halloween is big. One house near us has the most amazing makeover with a display covering some 200m2. It's nothing like you would ever see in NZ.
Atlantic City was fun (lots of casinos) and provided a prelude to Las Vegas (our last stop at the end of this month and our trip). The gambling rules and variations are hard to grasp for a novice, but I can see how addictive betting can be for people. Seeing normal everyday looking people placing bets into the $100s was surprising. It doesn't take a genius to know that the casinos only exist because the house always wins in the end. Still, just watching others was entertaining. My small flutter ended neutrally, and I don't think I'll be winning or paying off the holiday in Vegas!
Harley: We've been in New Jersey for the last few days. Yesterday we drove to Philadelphia which is in another state (Pennsylvania). There we visited the National Constitution Centre. It taught us how America was founded. First we watched a movie called Freedom Rising which explained how the states came together to form America. It also talked about the people that wrote the constitution, which is the rules for running the country. It starts with the words "We the People". Then we saw the 42 bronze sculptures of the men who wrote and signed the constitution.
Kalpesh (dad's cousin) gave me an ice hockey puck to keep and take back to NZ. It was played in an ice hockey game. It's pretty cool!
Anouk: 3 days ago we took a Greyhound bus from Washington DC to New Jersey to stay with my dad's relatives. On our second day we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant called South of the Border with my uncles, aunties and cousins. There was a lot of food and we got free refills of coke. I liked the food and I got really full. After lunch Kalpesh drove us to Atlantic City. We walked around and went into a casino, but only to the entrance as kids aren't allowed in. My dad went inside and gambled a little for fun. We walked along the beach and looked out at the Atlantic Ocean. I saw lots of little jelly fish and a few bigger ones. We went into some shops and Harley and I bought some America bubble gum for 99c. We thought that we would be able to blow massive bubbles with it but we couldn't. For dinner I had an enormous chocolate and vanilla ice cream.