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The new entertainment channel from E4 is exactly that, its hours of entertainment every night. On E4 your able to see new episodes of Ally McBeal, Trigger Happy TV – which is one of my favourites and popular shows like ER and Friends that have been knicked from Sky One. Don’t worry if you don’t have digital though because all of these shows will finally be available on Channel 4. E4 is also the place to catch channel 4 favourites like the award winning female comedy show “Smack the Pony” and the very funny “So Graham Norton Show”, but E4 also has its own home-grown stuff. My favourite home grown E4 programme is “Show Me the Funny” it’s on Mondays and Wednesdays, you vote on the E4 websites for comedy clips, it’s very funny. I think E4 is one of the best quality digital TV channels around, and today we don’t seem to have many Entertainment channels except for sky one. The channel is available in most base packs for digital viewers, but people with ntl: have complained that you have to subscribe to the “Fun pack” to receive this channel. [Update] It started with so many promises but now the channel seems to of lost its charm. The live coverage and extra shows for Big Brother was brilliant but now all that’s over and now that they've added extra broadcasting hours the channel at times just feels like a dull repeats channel, programmes like So Graham Norton and Trigger Happy TV are now being milked - they've been repeated too much and they're charm is warring off. I think what the channel now needs are fresh new programmes and new ideas, it needs to look back to its roots to why it was launched.
I was in New York just two weeks ago now and it was one of the best holiday trips I’ve ever been on, New York is a marvellous city that I definitely will visit again. I have been to London, I've been to Paris and I've been to New York and New York has got to be my favourite. New York is huge and has plenty to do there also everything is very well priced. I went to New York in a group of 18 - it was a college trip. On the very first day we arrived it was late in the evening, we landed at New Ark airport and took a bus – which was pre-booked on a journey through New Ark. On to New York, it was rush hour, traffic was everywhere but we got to see all the amazing sites like the Manhattan sky line of the twin towers and the Empire state building all lit up in the dark, it was amazing. [Update] As we all know now that the Twin Towers are no more after New York's terrorist attack, the twin towers were a big part of the New York skyline and they were a big part in people's lives, I cant believe they are no longer there. We arrived at the hotel and decided to take a little stroll, the amount of shops and restaurants, coffee shops and bars was outstanding – we ended off going to Mc Donald’s, we didn’t feel like going far so we just stuck with Mickey D’s. The Mc Donald’s out there is the same price but you get more for your money, everything is much bigger. The next day it was up at 7 and straight to breakfast, I decided just to have a fruit salad on the first day as I ate loads the day before. At around 8.30am we went on the subway, which was great value, and simple and easy - we went to Battery Park where we got our tickets for the ferry to go to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The ticket prices were just $3 amazing value for one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. The Statue of Liberty was not as big as it seems on TV and in the films but its still a
break taking sight, I was smitten to be so close to it. After Liberty Island it was back on the ferry to go to Ellis Island, this is where all the immigrants came. There was a museum on Ellis islands which not a lot of us found Interesting, mainly because we had to do work there. There were some good exhibits there; even a computer where you type in your family name and see all the people who have came into America via Ellis Island. On the ferry going back, you could go up on the deck and look at the skyscrapers, great opportunities for pictures, some of the pictures I took of that are stunning. That night we went to the Empire State building, we were told that going in the night is a totally different experience to going during the day, both sights are spectacular so next time I’ll go I’ll go up there during the day. The night view though was stunning, all the lights and watching the city down below was great. Trip to the top cost just $9; the very top was closed off though because the wind was very high. Thursday we visited the Tenement Museum, which is a visit you have to do, a tenement is what immigrants lived in when they first came to New York. You go into a room which is one of the only original tenements in America, there is a woman in there who pretends to be an immigrant and you can talk to her about being an immigrant, the experience is so real and better than any museum – this was real. Later that night we walked up into Times Square, all the screens and lights are spectacular. We were going to start to do some shopping but then we were approached by a woman who asked us would be like to go to a talk show in a stretched truck limousine, so of course we went. The whole 18 of us went down Times Square in a huge limousine and were taken to the Queen Latifah show (I don’t know who she is either, apparently she was a famous singer or something, while we were over there she was on The Fresh Prince of Be
l Air). All of this experience was FREE, and you can pick up talk show tickets for FREE practically anywhere, but we were lucky when we were approached by this woman offering to take us in a Limousine – but things like this would only happen in New York. The Friday was our last full day, because our trip was a bit educational we had to visit the Police Academy museum, it was very small but interesting. After that we went back on the subway and unto Times Square again where we would so some shopping. We went round most of the shops there were loads. We went in Macys, which boasts it’s the largest department store in the world, it definitely seemed so it took up a whole block and was around 9 floors high. The shopping got a bit too much for me though and I just couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel and have a rest. Later that evening we decide to go for a meal in Harlem, waiting for a taxi we were approached by a man in a Limousine who said I’ll take you for $20 so of course we agreed and travelled in style, again. Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem specialised in Southern food, things like southern fried chicken and all other kinds of meats all southerly cooked. The food was plentiful and you definitely get your money’s worth. On the last day we all split into small groups, my group decided on going to Central Park to ice skate. We travelled in a taxi this time. Taxis in New York are very easy to get and are very cheap to travel in, but be prepared to give directions to them because they haven’t a clue where anything is. Ice-skating in Central Park was always a dream and it was fantastic to actually do it. Ice-skating is also easier than I thought and I would definitely recommend you having a go. Well that was my whole trip, an amazing trip; I’m now hoping that I’m able to go again next year! COST: New York Trips are now becoming more and more popular.
The average price for a 4-day visit seems to be around £400 – this includes flights and transfers, hotel and travel to and from the airport. Food is not included in the price but its so cheap out there I wouldn’t worry about it. Advice: New York can get very cold at winter, so thermals and loads of jumpers are needed, but anything you forget you can of course buy over there.
In my opinion the fastest and best way to get around New York City is to buy a metro card from the Subway, the card is just $4 and with that you can ride the subway and the bus all day – its simple just go to the subway and get them from the machines. Your Metro card comes with a little pocket thing to put it in which opens out as a subway map, easy to find you’re way around. The subway can be a little intimidating, but if you keep your wits about you and make sure you don’t get on the wrong side of people you’ll get on fine. We went on the subway as a group of 18 and whenever we got on a train there were amble room for us all, the whole subway seems to be bigger and much better than the underground back in London. Riding the subway I felt quite safe, at the rush hour you usually find that police patrol the subway, but I wouldn’t ride the subway at night because it can get quite dangerous. Some advice; try not to make eye contact with people or stare at people, don’t use the toilets at the stations as they are said to attract drug pushers even if there attendants there. In my opinion though I do think that the subway is the best way to travel around New York, its very cheap, easy and safe. There are stations everywhere, stations are a bit dirty but that’s New York for you.
American airports are known for being unorganised and when departing from New Ark airport I could see why. When leaving Gatwick there was a huge check-in area, which was lovely, and modern, at New Ark it was scruffy and simple with many of the staff playing on the conveyable-belts and just looking gormless. My flight was cancelled so we had to spend a few hours there, we went and had a McDonalds and walked around a bit, it was a small airport with not much to do. After check-in we went into the departure lounge, at Gatwick the departure lounge was huge with loads of shops even at Bristol Airport the departure lounge was impressive but at New Ark it was a bar a shop and I think that was it. The whole group of 18 of us just sat and entertained our selves. New Ark was not a very attractive airport and not a very helpful one, there was no staff to offer help it was just dowdy and considering it was New York’s second biggest airport I wasn’t impressed.
The Quality Hotel is situated on 94th Street on Broadway in New York. The hotel is quite big, from the outside it looks quite small but it’s very big when you’re inside. Rooms are simple; most rooms have 2 comfy double beds with a bathroom. All rooms have cable TV with a huge selection of channels, there’s also a coffee maker, and some rooms have fridges but not all of them. The hotel is quite comfy but if you have to share a bed like I had to it can get very cramped in a room. The hotel also has other facilities like a shop, a few phones, seating areas and even a small gym. Rooms are cleaned everyday, hotel rooms are average size but you wont want to spend so much time in them, they’re ideal for students, travellers and mainly for people just in New York for a few days. The more that share the room the cheaper the price, maximum to a room is four but we had five in our room because we took a mattress from one of the other rooms. Rooms in the hotel can get very warm but air conditioning comes to the rescue. If anything in your room needs repairing we found that the hotel caretaker fixes them very quickly. The location of the hotel is brilliant, just across the road is a deli, laundrette, a few yards up the road is a Starbucks coffee shop, and a few yards down the block there are a few diners a Dunken Donuts and a Mc Donald’s. The location of the hotel is excellent; all you need is around you including subway stations. All in all the Quality Hotel is a very good place to stay, little cramped at times but its location and its service is brilliant. Flat Rate Price: Around $105 per night
If you’re ever in Swansea one thing you have to try is Joe’s Ice Cream, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Joe’s Ice Cream Parlour has 2 parlours down the Mumbles along with a smaller take-away in Parc Tawe. The Ice Cream Parlours in the mumbles not only have ice cream but they also do drinks and sandwiches and food, but the main attraction is the ice cream. I can’t tell you in words how delicious it is you simply have to try it. At Joe’s you can get all different flavours of ice cream but vanilla has got to be the best. Knickerbocker-glorys are huge and delicious; other ice creams include the banana split. One ice cream I personally love is the “north pole”, its in a boat type carton with scoops of ice cream covered in chocolate sauce nuts and chocolate bits. Joe’s is a great ice cream parlour, prices are a bit steep but I feel there worth it. Cones can cost from 80p and cartons costing around £1 to £6.
Macy’s claims to be the biggest department store in the world, well I can believe that its ENOURMOUS. It takes up a whole block and it has many entrances so you can get lost very easily. I don’t know how many floors there are exactly, I think its 9 – at least that’s how far I ended up going. Macy’s has everything, a few floors for men’s clothes; loads of floors dedicated to women’s clothes they even have a floor with pianos. When walking through Macy’s first floor people selling you all these different fragrances and stuffing testers up your nose bombard you. Prices are reasonable but not the cheapest, jeans and designer wear are considerably cheaper than prices over here in the UK but Macy’s still doesn’t offer the best prices so shopping around else where could get you even more bargains. Macy’s is big on designer brands, they’re all there – Tommy Hell finger, Calvin Klein. Macys is a brilliant store and is well worth a visit just to see its enormity even if you’re not going to buy anything. Be prepared though, it’s a huge store and you can get very tired walking round it, but there’s loads of choice and seriously is huge!
Virgin Atlantic has got to be one of the best Airlines I’ve ever flown with. I travelled with Virgin Atlantic just over a week ago; we flew from Gatwick to New-Ark airport America. The service at check-in was quick and easy with no problems. All staff were really polite and very helpful, they even put me in the seat I wanted. On board the plane I had sufficient legroom with a very comfortable seat. Also I had a sort of comfort bag with items like toothbrush and toothpaste, an eye mask, facial wipes, earplugs, and mints, lip balm everything you needed for the flight. In flight entertainment was also suburb, we had a TV screen on every seat with a choice of the latest films, a few themed TV channels with great comedies like “The Royale Family” and even on the return flight our air craft had video games to play, so if you had children they would be entertained for hours. The flight over to America was 7 hours 45 minutes, we had two meals and nearly every half an hour we were offered a huge selection of drinks. everything was done for us and the cabin crew were all very helpful and brought you whatever you needed. Duty-free was very reasonable and a great selection, you have a great brochure of things to choose from. On return our flight was cancelled but I didn’t feel put out at all, Virgin gave us a £15 food voucher, a phone card to phone home and give the new times of arrival and I also had 10% of my next flight, we were put on a later flight only 3 hours later and they made sure we had transport arrangements sorted out the other end. I fully recommend you fly Virgin Atlantic, they are simply the best and they deserve all the praise they get. I was very pleased with the service we received and in future I will definitely try to fly with them. A brilliant airline!
Swansea market is Swansea’s big dirty dome. It’s the largest indoor market in Wales; it’s a dirty place with the usual stuff you’d expect from a market. The only good stalls in the market are the sea food stalls where you can taste local cockles from Penclawdd or if you dare have some lava bread – personally I cant stand any kind sea food, but its great for people who do like sea food. There are quite a few toy stalls in the market but I wouldn’t buy anything from them because the staff are always very unfriendly and they stalk you when you browse around the stall. One good stall is the second hand bookstall where you can trade your own books or get some books to read and then sell them back. Most stalls in the market are just cheap bits of useless things but there are a few good stalls as I’ve mentioned, I also quite like some of the pet stalls where you can get some good cheap bones for your dog. Another quite useful and good stall if the “Whites Electrical” stall, everything electrical you need they have or they will get – if you need a car alarm battery a lava lamp bulb or some really weird piece of wire they will probably have it or they will get it for you.
Swansea leisure centre is situated in Swansea’s city centre and has something for all. One of the main features of the centre is the huge swimming pool. The depth of the water goes to around 2 metres and goes shallower for areas for toddlers to paddle. There is also a small area with a pirate ship and water games for children 8 and under. If you wish to have a good swim at Swansea Leisure the best time to go is during the day when all the children are in school and the slides are turned off and the lanes are put out. The pool can become very crowded during school holidays though and trying to swim is impossible, instead you can ride one of the 3 slides or even the Space Bowl. Tow of the slides are simple slides straight into the water, the waterfall slide is one of those winding ones that goes and out of the building – the slide is very safe for young children to use as it ends up in a trough rather than landing you in the pool. For the more experienced and daring swimmer there is the Space Bowl, it’s a massive big bowl where you spin around a few times and then your plunged into 3 metres of water. Also every hour or so the swimming pool has the wave machine which is very fun, if you don’t like the waves, don’t worry they only go on in parts of the pool. The leisure centre also has a gym, a very modest fee is payable to become a member – this member fee also allows access to the pool and other facilities. There are also squash courts and sports halls. If you feel a bit peckish after your swim or workout you can put all the calories back on by visiting the café, the food is basic, things like burgers, chips etc The leisure centre is very good value and definitely worth a look, but the leisure centre isn’t modern its quite and old building, the pool is starting to show its age but changing rooms and gyms have all been re-furbished and look very smart. Prices: Adult Swim £2.65 <
br>Childs Swim £1.85 Under 4's free Car Park token 70p *Students can get discounts by just showing their student cards and also there’s a free-swimming session for students on a Wednesday afternoon. You also get your moneys worth, you can almost stay in the pool for as long as you want, when they call your band out you usually cant understand what they say because the tannoy is muffled, so just stay in as long as you like!
Plantasia is one of Swansea’s biggest and most interesting attractions. It’s a huge botanical garden situated at Parc Tawe next to the city centre. Plantasia is a hot house full of plants; you can find bananas, coconuts, giant bamboo, a wonderful lush collection of ferns and plenty of prickly cacti. When you step inside Plantasia you feel as if you’re in a jungle, there are even ponds and waterfalls, which add to the experience. Not only does Plantasia contain plants it also houses tropical fish, snakes, and spiders including tarantulas and lizards including iguana. Recently Plantasia also has tamarin monkeys, which are really cute and great to look at. The experience is amazing, birds and butterflies also fly around, and it’s like a bit of the jungle right in the middle of Swansea. Plantasia is not a day out its something to do for a couple of hours, so after you have been in there you can go shopping, have a cup of tea, see a film at the UCI cinema or go bowling. Plantasia is situated in the best area of Swansea for entertainment. Plantasia is an indoor attraction, obviously, so it’s an all weather attraction.
Swansea has a huge history of being a main copper exporter; it used to ship copper around the world. Swansea was also one of the first places to have trams and had trams along the mumbles coast and right into the city centre, but all of this has now gone today, but for a glimpse of Swansea’s past visit the Swansea Maritime. The museum is situated by the Marina and was part of the re-generation of the area. The marina is right next to the town centre and the whole marina area is a great place to spend a day. Admission is free, but contrabutions are accepted at the the museum and it’s a great place to visit. Inside there is an array of things showing Swansea’s past transport including old buses and trams. You can also see pictures of Swansea when it was in its copper period, a great place to go if you live in the city. There are loads of other things to see at the museum, including a look at local sea life and even working machines that used to make wool into jumpers and scarves. It’s a great place to go if you live in here in Swansea and it’s also a great place if your visiting Swansea and you are interested in Maritime history.
I have stayed at Dan Y Coed twice now, I went there when I was really young and I was impressed, lately I have been again but it wasn’t as good as I remembered. Dan-Y-Coed is situated near the Mumbles in Swansea, its minutes away from the bay. Its location is brilliant because a short bus journey down the road takes you right into Swansea city centre and just minutes away is the Mumbles village. The youth hostel is ideal for learning activities; the first time I visited we stayed there because we were studying the local environment like the coastline. The second visit was for a French GCSE revision weekend; the hostel has conference rooms and teaching rooms and a big communal room with TV and table tennis tables. Rooms at Dan-Y-Coed are simple and practical; all rooms have 2 bunk beds with four wardrobes and washing facilities. Toilet and shower facilities are also available. Food at Dan-Y-Coed is reasonable, but it’s not anything special, a tip though is not to have the scrambled egg at breakfast as it tastes of rubber. Food at Dan-Y-Coed was not that great so I found myself buying Pot Noodles and sandwiches from the local garage. Costs for staying at Dan-Y-Coed is very good, i am not sure about exact costs but its very reasonable. Dan-Y-Coed is a great place to stay if your studying or just travelling the local area, its one of the best Youth hostels I’ve ever stayed at.
There are many bans on smoking in many areas and recently here in Swansea there was a vote to stop smoking in our local shopping centre. Smokers don’t have many areas now to smoke in and all I can say is good. These people choose to smoke; I don’t choose to smoke so I don’t want to be subjected to their filthy habit. I can't understand why so many people like to spend all that money on a pack of cigarettes, all they do is increase the risks of things like heart disease and they can be the cause of lung cancer. More than 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. I also find that people that smoke are very rude and uncourteous; I stand at bus stops and people in front of you light up and smoke goes everywhere, they don’t seem to care about non-smokers - they just need their nicotine fix. If it were up to me I would have smoking banned in all public areas including bars restaurants and just about everywhere. I also think we should make smoking socially unacceptable, and even do what the Canadians are doing and include colour photographs of internal organs damaged by smoking, such as a lung with cancer, a diseased heart and a brain that has suffered a stroke. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of emphysema, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, heart disease and strokes. Smoking does not only cause lung cancer. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are 4,000-lung cancer deaths annually - 3% of those have been caused by passive smoking. As we all know smoking is a very bad habit; it puts strains on your health and finance. I have done some research for this opinion and I have found from an asthma website that smoking during pregnancy can increase the chances of your child developing asthma. There are so many bad points against smoking and I cant think of any to support smoking. If people wish to smoke they can do it, but just don’t invol
ve those who wish not to smoke. The majority of the public don’t smoke so smoking in public places should almost indefinitely be banned. It’s a filthy habit which kills millions and causes so many problems for people, and it's ludicrous that people start smoking in the first place.
The Greatest Hits of… - It’s a show with a collection of hits of a particular artist. The episode I recently saw was The Greatest Hits of… Madonna. It included all of her best hits including “Ray of Light” and “Vogue”. The show is half an hour long and is usually shown on VH-1 It’s a brilliant programme to reminisce on your favourite band or artist’s biggest hits; it’s a collection of their greatest hits. The show looks at many artists ranging from Madonna to the Spice Girls. It’s a brilliant show to see a collection of the best videos and songs of your favourite artists. Most of the shows can be boring if you dont like a particular artist, but when your favourite artist comes along the programme is brilliant.