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by Lisa Ann Hickman nee Lobo

The moment I stepped off the plane at JFK, New York, I was completely bowled over by the magic of the world?s most exciting city.

To begin with, the drive through New York to New Jesey was amazing. The gorgeous landscape took my breath away. The variety of trees, with flowers of every hue that line the roads, add a special touch to the beauty of the place.

The food is absolutely delicious. The pizzas with their mind-blowing toppings of cheese, onions and salami are huge - not simply large. The ice creams were so good that I could not dream of ending a meal without them. Before them, ofcourse, came the unforgettable burgers, hot-dogs, milk shakes.... mmmm

The sprawling shopping malls drove me crazy. To begin with, they are so massive that even about six to seven hours would not be enough to cover all the stores in the mall. The quality and the prices make the goodies an irresistible buy.

I visited Florida, Epcot and the famous Universal Studios. But my favorite memory is of my trip to Disneyland. I had great fun playing with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and the other members of the Disney family. The roller-coaster rides chilled and thrilled me completely, while the 3-D rides scared me to death as they were meant to!

I also experienced the American way of holidaying when I went camping with my family and cousins. We went on a fossil hunt and found images of plants that lived millions of years ago imprinted on rock. An interesting lesson in evolution!

Now let us get down to discussing the Americanos! What amazed me most is the willingness of each one to work for the welfare of the society and the improvement of the environment. The tree-lined avenues are are spick and span. Planting trees is an obsession with the Yankees. It is no exaggeration to say that it is almost a matter of status.

Americans are a friendly lot by nature. I was initially taken aback by total strangers saying hello to be. But once I saw the warmth behind the friendly smiles and the curious looks, I gave back the same - full blast. The entire trip was like a beautiful dream. Says who, that dreams don?t come true?