Saturday, March 27, 2010

Farewell Party - Casino Royale

Thomas and Michael stayed 2 more days and after the last shopping trip on Monday, they finally had to leave on Tuesday. Before they left for the airport, they came over to Malvern and peaked into my office. I was soooooo sad that they left and how incredibly fast the 2 weeks passed by. It felt so good, to have friends from my home country here! Being on the road with them all the time was pretty exhausting and I was longing for some sleep and couldn't wait for the weekend. But there was no real relaxing time as we had the next farewell party coming up.
Unfortunately, my roomie Julien came to the end of his internship which also made me very sad as we had such a great time here in Wayne. Also Petra and Daniel wanted to say good bye to the interns. After all the funny or 'interesting' themes we had for the last parties, I was glad about the theme they chose for their party: Casino Royale.
We were all looking forward to dress up and change our home into a casino. All the girls wore pretty cocktail dresses and the boys jumped into their suits.

My landlord Bill even pulled on his Tuxedo!!! Being all dressed up and looking so elegant, made the whole atmosphere of the party unforgettable. In addition, Tyra came over from Washington and was able to experience the intern community once more. It was a wonderful party!

You can watch more pictures on my photoalbum:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thomas and Michael in the US - Part 3: New York

After exploring Philly, Washington and partying in Atlantic City, we were all longing for a relaxed Sunday. I had to work again on Monday while the boys were able to sleep in, go for shopping and make up final plans for the big trip to New York.
On Tuesday morning, the journey began for them. My Roomie Julien brought them to Wayne train station. From there, they took the train into Philly and jumped in a greyhound bus which brought them to New York.
As I still had to work Tuesday and Wednesday, they visited spots I was not that hip to see. Also, on Wednesday, it was St.Patrick's day and there was huge parade through the City. I started after work and drove to our hotel in New Jersey where I met my 2 impressed guys.
We wanted to see a lot, so our schedule was pretty tight for the next day. Many people had suggested to us, to make a boat ride around Manhattan and so we did. That way, you can see the Statue of Liberty very well and also catch a different view on Manhattan.

Even though the wind was quite chilly, I really enjoyed that ride.
Then we went into the city and made our way to the famous "Ghostbusters" house.

After Michael got his picture, we headed south and walked down the waterfront. The next stop was at former "Ground Zero" which is a huge construction area now. Even though you already see new buildung emerging there, it is still impressive to realize the impact of this event.
We continued to walk through battery park down to the south peak of Manhattan and then turned into the direction of Wall Street. They have statues of the Bull and the Bear around there and I couldn't resist to jump on and ride the bull.

I have been told before that you will become rich when you touch the balls of the bull, so I did, just to make you not missing any chance here. Grand Central Station was the next stop on our "wanna-see-list" and as it was so close by, we also had a glimpse into the lobby of the Chrysler Building. The plan for the evening was to experience "Top of the Rocks" at sunset. For those who don't know what I mean by "Top of the Rocks": This is the Obseervation Deck on the Rockefeller Center.

We picked the perfect time to ascend there. We had enough time to walk around, take pictures and see the city by sunshine.

Then we found a very good spot to see the sun setting down and so we ended up leaving the deck in darkness. Michael and Thomas wished to experience a jazz session in one of the Jazz Clubs in the city. The first one we wanted to enter didn't let us in as they were already full. But then we found pretty sweet, classy Jazz bar at the Lincoln Center and we all agreed that this was a perfect end for such a wonderful day.
We started the Friday with a stroll thorugh Chelsea and Soho and my special spot for the day was the house of Carrie in the TV show "Sex and the City" and a visit in the "Magnolia Bakery" which is also featured in the show. The bakery was so busy and to the boys' amusement, girls were constantly approaching the little shop from all directions. There even exist "Sex and the City" bus tours which all stop at the famous places of the show. Empowered after a little snack from the bakery, we made our way to Little Italy where Thomas needed to get something 'real' to eat. We got a recommendation for a good Italian Sandwich shop. While Thomas was waiting for his sandwich to be prepared, he discovered the little check from George Bush who paid his dinner with the check and Thomas also found out that this restaurant feed all the hungry firemen and policemen after the 09/11 disaster with great enthusiasm and unforgettable commitment.
Following Little Italy, we entered a different world, just one block further, Chinatown starts to spreap out. It is interesting to see that even international banks like HSBC display their names in Chinese letters.
Finally we arrived at Brooklyn Bridge and we decided to walk the bridge to the other side to Brooklyn.

After that it was time to return to the hotel. We had to get ready for the night as we had tickets for a basketball match in the Madison Square Garden. This was one of Thomas high priority wishes and he was smiling like a happy little camper.

The Knicks were playing against the 76er's (the Philly team). The 76er's were leading the first 3 quarters of the game and when the knicks started to catch up in the last period, the audience went crazy!
When we did the whole planning about what we gonna do in NYC, the boys also requested to have at least one party night in the City. It wasn't the first time for me in NY, so I knew where to go. I lead them to the Niki Beach Club where we have been with the interns before back in February for Miri's birthday. I really like this place and you can find the article about this club on my blog here as well. We had a great night there and definitely needed to sleep in the next day....
You might imagine that we started our Saturday much slowlier than the days before...We had to check out from the hotel room and then took the ferry again to Manhattan. As we all needed some kind of recovery we just walked down the blocks to the Central Park. There, we found a nice sunny place to chill and hang out and all of us took the chance to have another little nap.
Later that afternoon I wanted to show them 2 really cool hotels. On our way there we stopped in some shops around Fifth Avenue and Times Square.

Especially the M&M shop caught our attention. I wanted to show them a very nice hotel concerning the architecture and design at Times Square. The first time I saw it was together with Mona, Tim and Miri. Not only how the entire hotel is designed inside but they also have a restaurant with a revolving platform at the 48th floor of the hotel and overlooks the city.

When I saw it, I knew in the same moment that I would take Thomas and Micheal here and invite them for the last dinner in New York. And so we were sitting there, enjoying the food, overlooking the city and remembering the great and funny moments that we just had all th days before. The sun was setting down and while we were turning above the roofs of New York, we felt just happy and thankful that we could share all these memories together. What a wonderful world :-)

Check all our New York pictures on my photoalbum:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thomas and Michael in the US - Part 2: Atlantic City

Saturday morning: Far too early for Michael and me, Thomas got up at 6am in the morning to give Tyra and Christoph a ride to the airport. When he came back, he threw us out of the bed. We took our time and at around 11am we sat in the car to drive down to Atlantic City in New Jersey. The trip was horrible because we experienced some severe pouring rain periods and flooded areas which forced us to take a detour. It took us one hour longer than anticipated but we were still the 2nd car to arrive as all of us were stuck on the road because of the rain somehow. As it was Jackie's (Siemens intern) birthday one day before, there were about 20 people coming down to spend the Saturday in Atlantic City and celebrate with her.

Atlantic City (AC, how it is called here) is famous for it
s boardwalk, casino gampling, sandy beaches, shopping centers, view of the Atlantic Ocean, and as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. They describe themselves on the webpage that way: "It's Atlantic City, NJ, and it's better than ever. Casino gaming. Spas. World-class entertaining & nightlife. Fine dining. The Atlantic City Boardwalk. Golf. Fun attractions. Ocean & Fishing. Water sports. Shopping. Any way you look at it, Atlantic City guarantees fast-paced excitement and non-stop activities."
We all stayed at the same hotel and had to taxi buses booked to bring us to the "Tropicana" one of the Casino complexes which hosts a Casino, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and shops under one roof.
On of the sport bars was our destination for dinner and after that we strolled around through the casino. Some of our people gambled but I was not into it. We found a nice bar and later a cool Latino club to swing our hips on the dancefloor. The great thing about AC is that the clubs close at 4am instead of 2am like in Philly. So we really took advantage of this.

We slept in the next day and left after the breakfast. Two hours later we arrived back home and it was just a lazy Sunday for us like going for grocery shopping, doing laundry, chilling at home and making up some plans for New York which was on our list for the next week. Here are some pictures from our party night:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thomas and Michael in the US - Part 1: Philly and Washington

It was planned for such a long time: Thomas, Michael and Norma wanted to visit me in March for 2 weeks. We were all so excited but just one week before the scheduled departure, Mia, Norma's child got sick and the result was that Norma unfortunately and sadly enough had to cancel the entire trip. Thomas and Michael nevertheless decided to come and on March 8, in the late afternoon I picked them up at Philly airport. It was so good to see them after such a long time being away! To me, it felt like as if they also brought a taste of home with them.
As I had to work the following 2 days, they rented are car in order to be independent and flexible. We picked up the car and went home. To keep them a bit longer awake, I decided to take them out to the 'Cheesecake Factory', a restaurant which has normal dinner meals but their specialty is the huge range of cheesecakes as dessert. Saying this, the boys got introduced to the American way of being hosted in a restaurant (where the waiter introduces himself: "Hi, my name is Bob and I am your waiter tonight") as well as the enormous portions in this restaurant and they also tasted their first American beer.
While I was at work the next day, they made their way to Philly and explored the 'City of Brotherlove'. In the evening we met for another intern farewell dinner. On Wednesday they decided to visit some spots in Philly again while I was at work. When I came home from work, we packed our stuff together, threw it in the car and off we went for Washington, as I took the next 2 days off from work. Tyra, a very close friend from high school lives there and we were lucky to stay with her.
Our Thursday started with a bus ride to the Washington Capitol. I had booked a free tour in advance for the Capitol. After this little education about American history, we strolled down "the Mall". This is the mile where you can find all the museums in Washington and this is also called the Smithsonian. Almost all museums don't charge for admission which is great! We didn't entered any of them this day as we saved it for the next day because we heard about rain for Friday in the weather forecast.

Arriving at the Washington Monument, we couldn't get any tickets to get up there because all the tickets for the day were already issued. So we just continued walking down to the Second World War Memorial and continued to the Lincoln Memorial. After taking the typical tourist pictures, we decided to walk over the bridge to the next Metro station and went back to the City centre to make our way to the White House. Being exhausted from the sightseeing, we were happy to hang out in the evening with Tyra and her boyfriend Christoph at home with a glass of wine.

The weather forecast became true: We woke up and heard the rain drizzling outside. With our perfect German planning :-), we managed to have almost all the attractions left which are inside. Only our first stop was outdoors: We took the car and drove down to Arlington. Our first picture session took place in pouring rain at the Iwo Jima Memorial. When we entered the Arlington cemetary, the rain fortunately became lighter. We walked around, saw J.F. Kennedy's grave with the eternal flame and caught a glimpse of a funeral. I have to say that Arlington really impressed me but I cannot even describe it.

Our next attraction on our 'list-to-see' was the National Museum of Natural History which is famous from the movie 'Nights at the Museum 2'. After that we went to see the National Air and Space Museum. Both of these museum are so such and bear so much variety that you could easily spend a day in each of them. For the evening, we had decided to try out an Italian restaurant in Georgetown. Later on, we met Tyra and Chris at home again. They both had just finished to pack for their Las Vegas Trip. We also packed our stuff together as we were about to leave for Atlantic City the next morning.

For more visual impressions, visit my digital photoalbum: