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Monthly Archives: April 2009

My New York Minutes

The second day was a hot day with temps going up in the 90s, factor in some humidity and we got a grumpy ole me 😛

Today is the day of the wedding, happening at 8:30 pm tonight.  So we have the rest of the day to ourselves.  Got to see as much as we can of this great city.  And this is the highlights/lowlights of our day:

  • Took a 45-minute subway ride to Manhattan.  Stopped at Parkside West. Hit the pavement and reached St. John’s Cathedral for some photo op.
  • Entered a little Hungarian bakery and got some pastries to munch on while hitting the streets and to get a little shelter from the sweltering heat.  We got one good piece of rumball.
  • Because of the weather, saw a lot of hot chix, hubs got an eyeful.
  • Walked around Chinatown.
  • Walked around Little Italy.
  • Stood in line for 20 minutes to use the bathroom at McDonald’s 😦
  • Took a long subway train ride back to the hotel passing other boroughs. Had my sightseeing tour right there.

The wedding happened as husband expected it to be later than advertised.  He said we need not hurry, it’s not going to begin at the time announced.  He was right.  It was my first Bangladeshi/Muslim wedding and I was there soaking it all up.  The people were extremely friendly and accepting in their finest saris.  I was the odd person out as I did not don my sari.  I own a few of them, but I could not confidently walk all over NY and ride the subway wearing them.  Not yet at least.

The ceremony itself was very fascinating.  Let’s just say there is pomp and pageantry and a lot of shining gold.  I was told that it’s the subdued version. If this was happening in Bangladesh, it would be ten times the pomp and the pageantry.

It was past midnight when the festivities ended.  We were in Queens and taxis were unbelievably scarce and the subway was just a block away.  Despite my apprehension, the subway was a safe place to be at that time.  The train came on time and there wasn’t any slasher that always lurks in the corner of the subway (thanks Law and Order).  Walking the 1 1/2 blocks from the subway to the hotel was remarkably safe too.

On the third day, we went sightseeing.  There is more to see than what we could cover.  We saw a little of Central Park, a little of Times Square, a little of Grand Central Terminal or is it station, a little of the city hall and viewed the Brooklyn Bridge from a distance, accidentally ventured into Trinity church in Wall Street and photographed the church and the lingered in the garden (what a lovely time I had there), went to Jackson Heights where I shopped a bit and we ate at a Bangladeshi restaurant for a taste of home made shingara and mango lassi.  We wanted to eat more, but we were expecting company for a late lunch, the plan went kaput, we got invited to a dinner instead.

The dinner was very nice.  As was my experience with the Bangladeshis, they are like duty bound to invite you over to their home for dinner immediately after meeting you. It’s like something they had to do.  You must understand that this was the first time these people met us.  We are connected via the groom; they are the bride’s family.

So, having had dinner invites by Bangla households before I knew exactly what I was getting.  And I was getting something wonderful all the time.  And the thing that I never thought would happen in NY, here in the US, thousands of miles away from their homeland, the tradition continues to thrive.  I got a gift when we said goodbye.  And like any good guests we were not allowed to refuse the gift. It would be an insult. Back in the hotel did we open what’s in the bag and the aunt gave me a wonderful gold necklace and earring set.  Costs way too much to gift someone you just met a couple of days before.  It’s definitely more expensive than the pearl set that we gifted the bride.  I didn’t know what to say, but hubs assured me that refusing the gift was not acceptable behaviour.  Spent time with the newlyweds too.

Time to leave the city hot and humid city of New York for the cool breeze of San Francisco’s marine layer (aka fog). We called the front desk of the hotel asking them to call us a cab.  A limo came to take us to the airport.  I was surprised.  For a measely 5 bucks more I got to ride in a limo to the airport.  I told my husband if this was his way of making an exclamation point at the end of the trip.  He claimed innocence on this plan.  It was a good touch to the trip.

When the plane was touching down, the pilot announced, WELCOME TO BEAUTIFUL SAN FRANCISCO!  I was glad I was home and the screen infront of me say the outside temp was 55 F at 2:30 pm, wow I was in heaven. It’s not in the 90s anymore.  I was glad to be home.

Lessons of my trip:

  • The subway is the cheapest, most reliable, and most convenient way to get around the city.  It’s far safer than I thought it would be.
  • The city is way too busy for my taste.  I would be a nervous wreck within a month of staying there.
  • People hardly smile to each other.  Or simply smile.  They’re in too much of a hurry to smile.
  • David Letterman was not kidding about squirrels in Central Park or rats in the subway, or even the smell of the city.
  • Queens is so much like an Asian city. There is a part of Jackson Heights that feels so much like that area in Pasay City.  It smells like that too.  I was so at home.
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Posted by on April 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

My First Bite of the Big Apple

This is my first trip out here in NY (attending a wedding).  Am currently blogging in my hotel room (thank heavens for moderately priced accommodations with free wi-fi) and I had a full day starting with an early flight from SFO.
Anyway, here’s my impressions for the first day.  I am staying here in Queens.

  • The first time I breathe the air here, I felt at “home”.  The feel of the air, the smell of traffic, the humidity, the lay of the street—all felt home. It felt like Manila, hell even felt like Singapore.  Hubs said must it be the humidity.  Tis only in the upper 70s and I am sweating like a pig.
  • When I remarked how comfortable I was at walking the streets and smelling the traffic (I can’t really explain it), hubs asked if I wanted to move here.  I told him, if I wanted to recreate the feel of Manila, I would have just stayed in Manila.  He said that’s a good point.  He too didn’t want to move away from our adopted “home”. I never felt that way with San Franciso, even now many years later.  SF does not remind me of Manila at all.
  • Subway trains and stations are filthy.
  • People are less friendly.  Instead of telling me that the seat on the subway is dirty, a tattoed girl punch me on the arm and looked the other way.  So, is that how people tell other people the seat is filthy, no talking all body language (and I mean a punch, okay a tap with a closed fist)
  • We were taken to a place called Jackson Heights, or little Bangladesh and India.  The streets are lined with Indian fabric and clothing store and jewelry store and eateries.  I saw one store that has a sign, BANGLADESHI AND INDIAN STYLE CHINESE FOOD.  You bet I wanna taste that Indian style Chinese food.
  • While I mentioned that the subways are filthy, they are nonetheless very reliable and convenient.
  • Experienced my first Bangladeshi wedding shower and was with all strangers but I never felt out of place.

It’s time to sleep.  Long day tomorrow.  I’ll try to sneak in a little sightseeing in the day and there’s wedding at night.

Oh yeah, photos will be in my photoblog later.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 26, 2009 in personal

 

Catching up is hard to do— but I’ll try

I missed the days when this blog was about “ME” and my offline life.  Admittedly the fact that I decided to participate in three photo memes has given this blog a new leash on life.  It has been really a struggle before the memes arrive to keep this going, as I found the inspiration to write a little bit hard to come by on a regular basis.  Clinging on to the memes has saved this blog that’s for sure.

And because the memes occupied me, I failed to note that the previous post was my 200th post according to my dashboard who keeps track of these things.  Can you believe that?  I have gone 200 +.  Calls for celebration.  Actually, I’d rather update.

So here’s what’s been going on with ME.  I had my first root canal procedure on the 17th of this month.  I have had toothaches for like forever; but every time I go to my regular dentist, she doesn’t see anything.  So then I had an episode where the pain was unbearable for the entire weekend. I was crying.  I had to see the dentist again, I had no choice. I was really in PAIN.  I stressed that out for you.  Anyway, again she found nothing to cause the pain, even after getting an x-ray.  So she referred me to an orthodontist (sp?).  I went.  But of course by the time the appointment to the ortho had been set up, my pain had subsided dramatically.  But like the dentist, the ortho tapped on the teeth that might have caused that pain.  A request to the insurance company took a week to be approved, then the root canal was scheduled.  I had to take a whole day off because I did not know how I’d feel after the said procedure.  My co-worker recently had the same procedure done and he took a whole day off.  So I copied him. 

What I found out was the procedure was uncomfortable, not painful at all, not even a trace of pain was felt the entire time.  Even though the ortho warned me that the needle was going to pinch a bit.  I know needles.  I am not afraid of them.  It did not pinch at all.  It was uncomfortable because my neck was positioned in an awkward way to accommodate the ortho to do the procedure.  It took about a little over an hour and a half total.  By the time it was over, I was rubbing my neck.  And I was very weak. I needed some sugar.  I was too hungry.  If I knew, I would’ve gone to work.  Anyway, I had time to do a little surfing and bloghopping the rest of the day.

Another interesting thing is that I got summoned for jury duty again.  The first time was 2-3 years ago.  We were sent home after a couple of hours of waiting.  This time around I was summoned to appear in another city, at the county seat.  I went early, found great parking, and was 30 minutes early.  I got the registration thing done by the time my call time came.  I waited another couple of hours, then the judge appeared to thank us for our time and for appearing and our willingness to serve.  But she said there was no need for us.  I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t have my stab at maybe making the jury, but also I was very thankful, because I already have plans for the weekend.  I don’t want to cancel them.

By the time I got to work the following day, the docs were teasing me about not getting picked.  One said they might have learned of my terrorist connections, to which I cleverly replied, “They did ask if I knew you”.   And work meant a ton of work has piled on my desk. Oh I was too busy.  That usually what happens when I take two consecutive days off. 

So what else?  Hmmm.  American Idol.  Oh it’s a sad day.  Anoop got voted off.  Well, I do agree with those in the know that he has no chance of ever coming close to the crown, but I would have preferred to see him for a couple more weeks.   And I initially thought Gokey was good, but lately he’s been sooo boring.  What the heck were the judges thinking?  He’s not really all that good.  I thought it is Adam who’s going to win this all.  He’s really been good, especially when he strips down the song and he lets his soulful rendition take center stage.  I don’t really like him shaking that nonexistent booty up on the stage. 

And my Prison Break is back from hiatus.  Now on Fridays.  And winding down the series.  I think it’s going out quietly.  Oh well.  I am going to miss Wentworth’s handsome face.

More on watching, I haven’t seen a movie in a very long time.  When’s Harry Potter gonna open? 

Spring has been glorious around here.  Weather-wise, we had some record-setting highs on Monday and Tuesday.  It was hot.  Now, it’s back to our normal cool weather.  And foggy mornings.  And blue skies with puffy white clouds.  And light sweaters.  Every one I talk to preferred the cooler version.  I think that’s why we opted to live here, for the cool weather 🙂

I’m excited about the trip I am taking this weekend.  Hubs bff from his university days is getting married and invited us to fly across the country to see him end his bachelorhood.  I intend to sneak in a little sightseeing and a lot of photography in that short long weekend.  And can you believe it, next week is already the month of May.  Each year we ask where did the time go.  Oh boy, time flies when you’re having fun playing photo memes.

I hope to be able to update more in the coming days.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Sepia Scenes #5

One of the proud and the few who guards this historic structure.

SEPIA SCENES comes to us on a weekly basis.  Come and see what players have in store for you.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Watery Wednesday #10: Water between Alaska and Canada

It’s been almost 2 years since the cruise to Alaska and I am not done posting the photos.  I must have taken a ton (1400 something for a 7-day cruise) of photos.  Here are three of them that I took on the way back to Vancouver harbor.

I don’t think I even knew at that time if these were the waters in Canadian territory or it belongs to Alaska.  Wherever it is, it’s beautiful.

I would love to live in that little village. 

Want to get wet?  Click here.

 
30 Comments

Posted by on April 21, 2009 in Watery Wednesday

 

My World#25: Fabulous Facades

The first time I saw San Francisco I fell in love with the city instantly.  I especially found the many Victorian houses simply charming and delightful, so at home with the picturesque setting of the city by the bay.  Many years later I still gawk at these beautiful works of art, and I still bring my camera each time I go to the city to photograph them.  I have selected three photos to share with you today fellow players of some fabulous facades I see while doing errands in the city.

Charming little one, isn’t it?

Another North Beach standout.

Pretty Maids in a row.

MY WORLD features weekly peeks into players world.  Go check them out.

 
38 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2009 in My World

 

Sepia Scenes #4

Camping Memories of long ago (actually two summers ago, but feels old with sepia).  In order to reach Camp 4 1/2, take platform 9 3/4.  Just kidding. Nope that is not me on the photo.

Camp 4 1/2 is located along the Kings River. I would really love to give you the link for this cabin rental, but the forest service website is down currently. But if you’re still interested, just google camp 4 1/2 and it’s usually the first two searches on the google page.

In the  camp is a single cabin of two bedrooms but can sleep up to 12.  There is AC and running water with flush toilet, and gas range and refrigerator.  That is what we called “roughing” it.  It is located in the middle of nowhere.  From the Bay Area, we drove about 3.5 hours.  Across the cabin past the rough road is the Kings River, known to be a good fishing spot. 

I had the most fun when we camped here.  There was nobody around for miles, just the family and I.  We would wake up early to get an early dip before breakfast (photo 2 is the kids having their breakfast with cocoa) and would return to lie on the beach (yes there were beach areas along this long river). 

Thanks for viewing my family photo album. 

SEPIA SCENES comes to us weekly.  Go check it out.

 
29 Comments

Posted by on April 15, 2009 in Uncategorized