Friday, February 26, 2010

Weekend in Baton Rouge with Ryan

Well, most of you didn't hear about Ryan so far who I met in New Orleans when I asked him and his friend to take a picture of our group on Bourbon Street. This was back in November. We kept in touch here and there and met again for Christmas Eve in Washington D.C. Since then we stayed in regular and closer contact ;-) and the wish to see each other again was growing stronger. The only problem was that he lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Therefore we came up with the idea that I could fly down for a weekend.
Finally it was Friday, February 26, the day I should leave for Baton Rouge. Yes, I say 'should' because it wasn't clear whether I could fly at all. The reason was the third incredible snowstorm we had this winter. I was tracking the storm cloud and its movement since Tuesday that week already and was always up to date about the weather and its development. The weather was already bad on Thursday when we worked from home already and also when I got up Friday, I saw that it wouldn't make sense to get to work through the snow. First action this Friday morning was hammering the flight number of my flight into the flight tracker which was already saved in favorite internet links. My flight itinery was leaving from Philly at 6pm to Houston, TX and change planes there to Baton Rouge, LA. As the plane which I would take from Philly was coming up from Houston this morning, I could track it and stay up to date on delays. Around 2pm it turned out that the flight from Houston to Philly was already one hour delayed. My problem was that I only had exactly one hour in Houston between arrival and departure, incl. boarding time already. Therefore I called my airline to find out about my options:

Option 1: Taking the flight to Houston and trying to get the connection to Baton Rouge somehow magically --> If I would miss it, I would have to stay in Houston on my own expenses and get the first flight next morning to Baton Rouge

Option 2: Trying to find another flight connection --> negative, all flights booked out as the lady just checked then

Option 3: Postpone the whole flight and the return flight to next weekend --> negative, after the lady checked as there were no more flights available for the next weekend

So obviously, I really had no other option apart from dropping the ball completely or trying and hoping to be lucky. Saying that, my roomie Lalo drove me to the airport and I was hoping that the plane would have caught up some time meanwhile, coming up from Houston. But when I was waiting at the gate, it became clear that the one hour delay would remain. If you would have seen me...I was a wreck, mentally spoken. We were waiting for that weekend for such a long time and now the whole weekend together became uncertain. As I didn't want to miss any chance and opportunity, I decided to speak with one of airline staff members at the gate and explained her my problem. Even though all the trouble they had because of the snow and delays, the lady was really nice and changed my seat from the rear of the plane just behind first class, that I would be able to leave the plane in Houston as one of the first passengers. She also gave me the information that I would have to change the terminal building in Houston for the connection flight. GREAT :-(((!!!!I n addition, she mentioned that I should run my a** off once I am out the plane....Thanks for that advice...Anyway, I was very thankful for her service.

In the meantime, I updated Ryan with all the changes, possibilities, bad news and options what could happen. He wasn't losing hope and just reminded me: "The Germans drive fast on the Autobahn, so just run as fast as you drive on the highway!" I promised, I would do. Finally, we took off exactly one hour later than on original schedule. I was hoping that we would maybe catch up 10-15min on this 3hour flight, as every minute was worthwhile for me. Unfortunately, the weather and the wind weren't my friends that day, so we landed exactly at 9pm. The other plane was boarding at 8.45pm, with flight time 9.15pm. Changing terminals from my gate to the gate in the other building normally takes at least 30 min as you have to take a train between the buidlings. This is what I learned from the nice service lady at the counter in Philly.
Once we parked with the plane and the doors flew open, I was bursting out of the plane, starting to run. I made my way through the airport, running slalom and following the signs. I lost my breath and must have looked very desperate because one of the guys with the airport trolleys who normally transport olderly or disabled people with these, waved at me and let me jump on his vehicle. Not capable of speaking yet, I whispered my gate number and he brought me straight to the doors where the train to the other terminal was departing. This guys was my guardian that night, for sure, he saved me at least 3 min of running. Lucky enough the train arrived immediately and I had time to catch breath for a moment before starting of again. In the other building, the same procedure, chasing for the signs of my gate....everytime I turned around a corner, there was a new corridor! I just couldn't run anymore, as my legs were hurting and my lungs and my throat were burning. There was a guy running around 25m in front of me. I shouted and asked him whether he would fly to Baton Rouge as well, as he was running in front of me all the time. He scream 'Yes' but not stopping. I yelled at him to hold up the plane but when I turned around the corner, I saw the gate. The gangway was empty, no one at the counter, still the flight to Baton Rouge on the display....Both of us were standing there for a moment, unable to move, just breathing. Then a flight attendant came up the gangway. She rushed us through, into the plane and not only one second after I entered the plane, they shut the door.....It was unbelievable that I made it! I was breathing so loud, sweating all over, full of adrenaline and totally happy. The connection flight was only 1 hour. After the landing, the pilot took ages to park at the little regional airport and finally I stepped out of the airport and fell into Ryan'a arms. I guess you can imagine that I was so exhausted from the emotional chaos and running of the whole trip that I was totally fine with cheese and a glass of red wine.

From that point on, the weekend went perfect: He showed me around Baton Rouge, we went to eat in the Sushi roof top bar where he worked before, with view onto the Mississippi river, visited the Old Louisiana State Capitol and in the evening I got to know his friend Jordan and his wife who invited us for dinner. We had such a funny great night with them, enjoying the food and playing games. On Sunday, we slept in, got some food and then watched the Olympic Ice Hockey game between USA and Canada before he brought me to the airport. This weekend was far too short!!!!But isn't it always like this when you have wonderful time?? The way back to Philly was again with a stopover in Houston but this time far less stressful than on the way down there. My roomie Julien picked me up from the airport and brought me home save. We didn't take that many pictures but you might get an idea about the Old Louisiana State Capitol on my photoalbum:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Porn Set Party - Alex', Poldi's, Martin's, Artur's and Phillip's farewell

Well, the next few people wanted to celebrate their farewell and say goodbye. The boys chose a theme for their party which caused a lot of interesting conversations. Especially the girls where not sure how to dress....First all of us were afraid that we would dress to sexy, so all the girls talked among each other and checked out the plans for the outfits to make sure that nobody was over- or underdressed... It was much easier for the boys: Either wear sunnies and a moustache, come in a morning gown or as a pimp or play the farmer's boy or the postman.

You can imagine about the typical costumes we as the girls were turning up in: We had teachers, secretaries, school girls, play bunnies and hot chicks....But I guess to get a better idea about the whole theme, check out the pics on my photoalbum:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Jeckedelphia Alaaf!...or Carnival in Philly

When you read that headline, you might think "What the heck is Gerry talking about? Carnival in Philly? In the US?"
Well, let me tell you: The first time I heard that there is a Carnival party in Philly, I thought, this can't be anything good...or the Carnival parties I know...:-)
Tim, who lives in the US for 2 years now, attended the last Carnival party and recommended it to us. For me, as a girl from Cologne (or so close by), some reluctance still remainded. When I heard that this was organized by the German society it sound at least worth a try but then I learned that the main organizer of the event is American. Hope for a good 'Carnival-like' night, declined again for me.
But still, I needed to find out what this was all about. The first weird thing was that they recommend a theme for the costumes: Soccer world championship. Who the heck gives a theme for Carnival???? Anyway, I had the chance to wear my Flamenco costume again and went a Spanish Flamenco dancer.

The party was hosted in Philly at the 'Rathskeller'. When we went down the stairs to the basement and entered the room I couldn't believe what I saw: It looked as if we would be back in Germany in one of the old school, traditional pubs with all the colorful glass in the windows, the dark wood, the decoration with all the heavy mugs and a real bar to order drinks. This already turned me into a good mood. At least the location seemed to be authentic...But then the next surprised hit me: The music! I heard songs from Cologne!!!Typical Colonian Carnival songs! For those who are from the area, I will tell you that they were playing De Hoehner, De Raeuber and Brings as well as all the Mallorca Schlager Songs. Well, the night seemed to work out.

But the highlight was about to come: I went to the bar to grab a drink and ordered a beer. Waiting a the counter, I glimpsed around and checked out the area behind the bar. I discovered some real glass for the Colonian beer at the other side of the counter...."No way" I thought, "they do not really have...??" and by leaning over the counter and checking out the keg from which they poured my beer, I learned that they really had a keg of "Gaffel Koelsch". Even though Gaffel Koelsch would be my first choice at home, I cannot describe you, how happy I felt at that moment! A piece of home. I would have never imagined that! Of course there is no need to tell you that this night was a blast, even though I missed the Colonian Carnival!

See how Carnival in Philly looks like:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bring back the 90's - Johanna's, Dominik's & Frank's farewell party

The weekend after New York was dedicated to another farewell party. Dominik, Johanna and Frank decided to go for a '90's Party'. You can tell a lot about the music in the 90's and what you did but what was typical to wear??? The whole week we had conversations at work about how to dress up.

Two of the interns who hosted the party really looked like actors out of Beverly Hills 90210 and the girls mostly showed up in jeans mini skirts, high ponytails, shirts which we knotted in the front or simple with a Take That shirt;-)
But we also saw baggy jeans, big sunglasses with large dark or colorful frames, chucks or muscle shirt, mostly with the boys.

Together with decoration and the music it was great night to travel back a decade!

Get more impressions with my pics at:

Friday, February 05, 2010

New York Clubbing weekend

The idea about this weekend started off so harmless: Mona and Tim suggested to go for another clubbing weekend in New York as we already did it in December. This time, the M2 Ultra Lounge was hostuing Swedish House Mafia.
Once Mona posted the event on our internal internpage for all the interns, a good bunch of people signed in. In the end, we were 12 people heading to New York after work. We all stayed at the same hotel close to times square and got ready for the party night there.

We had tickets for Friday night and I have to say location wise that the Ultra Lounge is much nicer than the Pacha. The club was full but not crowded and everybody was excited to hear the Mafia. Additionally, we had another event coming up: It was Miri's birthday at midnight and so we could celebrate her in a special way that night. Finally, the DJ's made it to the turntables and rocked the house. It was an incredible atmosphere! Just the combination of music and light together with all the people dancing and freaking out!

We partied all night until 4 am when we felt tired and wanted to leave. It took ages to get our jackets and our whole group was divided because there was huge crowd messing around in front of the cloakroom. I ended up 1,5 later outside the club, totally tired and just one thing in mind: Getting to the hotel, as soon and convenient as possible! We wanted to grab a taxi but we couldn't get one. I was so desperate and exhausted that I didn't really care, when Martin opened the door of a black stretch limosine for me. I jumped in and told the driver that we stay at the Marriott close to Times Square. Both of us didn't have the correct address but we thought it might not be that difficult to find the Marriott where we stayed - I had no idea that there a some many Marriott hotels close by Times Square. Everytimethe driver stopped in front of the hotel we checked and then resumed: "Noooooooo that's not the right one.... maybe the next one..." That way, we just a little city tour through Manhatten in the limosine. For me, more and more the question was arising who would pay for that thing as I told Martin about 20 times that this not the taxi I would have takena and that I would pay for. But Martin, this funny, cool Bavarian-Korean mixed dude just assured everytime that all is fine and that he made a deal with the driver and that we would just pay the amount we would have paid for a taxi....Why did that still made me feeling comfortable??? Martin was talking to the driver as they were old friends and I just decided to enjoy the limo ride....After the 3rd Marriott hotel, the driver actually got the address of our hotel and head off there. As I realized that we really got closer to the hotel, I made Martin just clarifying once again with the driver the question about payment: "Sir... did I tell you I don't have any money left?" I think the driver didn't really like it, stopped by and let us step out of the vehicle just a few blocks away from the hotel. As I was sitting in the large back, I went out there without paying attention if or how much Martin was paying the guy. As Martin got out and the limo went off, I asked him how much he paid finally and he answered in his funny way: "I didn't pay him anything, he just threw us out of the limo...." Uh, what a surprise!!! Well, in the end, both of us got a free 30 min limo ride through Manhattan, riding from one Marriott to the other. I think, we arrived like 5.30am or something like that at the hotel. The others came in as well roughly about that time.

The last men (and ladies) standing met in our room to relax, calm down and exchange the stories of getting home. As we were all hungry, we decided to stay awake until 7am and get breakfast at the hotel. So at 7am, we went down, got some food and afterwards fell into our bed.

It doesn't make sense to make big plans for a group of 12 people in a city like New York. Therefore, everyone was doing what the felt like. Some people went to the museums, some explored the city and our room (Mona, Tim, Miri and I) just decided to sleep in, take our time, walk around Times Square, get a good coffee and chill out.
Actually, my plan was to go back to Philly by bus that night, as I had other plans for Sunday. I even had already bought the bus ticket a week in advance. But my whole plan didn't work out....Maybe some of you heard about that heavy snowstorm at the US east coast on that weekend...?? Actually, it was soooo bad that there were no buses running to or out of New York all day. The result was that I would stay for another night with the guys. The rest of the group planned initially to stay until Sunday anyway. And I have to say, even though I wasn't happy about that development first, it was definitely one of the best party night or better say, party weekends.

Saturday evening we went to a Thai restaurant to celebrate Miri's b'day again and then we decided to got to Nikki Beach Club. Some of the guys have been there before and recommended to go there. This club is awesome!!!! It is a small club but very loungy and fantastic music. I can just recommend to everyone who is up to a cool club night in a trendy atmosphere, should go there!

We partied all night and
left as one of the last ones. This time all of us just jumped in the taxi's and arrived at the hotel without any disturbances.
The Sunday brought nothing special for us. We slept in, checked out of the hotel, made our way to the car in Jersey City and then head home.

I think you get the best impression about this entire weekend, when you watch the pictures at my photoalbum: