Friday, September 26, 2008

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Post by: Beth

Big news!... We got our visas approved today, so we now have passports, visas, business license of India, work authorization letters... the list goes on and on. After 2 weeks of numerous immunizations & vaccinations, many phone calls to India, making numerous copies of official documents, extensive internet research, and a couple trips to the visa office, we are finally and officially India-bound! Our flights are booked; we're scheduled to depart for India this upcoming Sunday at 8pm. It's a 15 hour flight, and by India time, we are landing Monday evening at 9pm. (*We've placed a set of world clocks at the bottom of our blog so you can see your time versus our time in India.) We have a week before Raja begins work, so we'll use that time to learn our way around the area, buy any necessary items for our new home, and settle in.

Until time to leave for the airport, we'll be packing our suitcases, buying last minute travel necessities, saying good-bye to our friends here, and doing the final preparations for our trip. We have no idea what's waiting for us on the other side of this next journey. We're anxious, excited, nervous, curious... all at the same time. Probably normal for these types of life's little situations, no? :) We (read: I) will of course be posting plenty of photographs from our flight and arrival, so check back soon for those, as well as any final photographs from New York!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall in the City

Post by: Beth

It finally feels like fall is here in New York, and the weather today and yesterday has been wonderful. I'd been watching the weather and knew Tuesday was forecasted to be the first real "fall-like" day, so I set off yesterday morning ofr Central Park. It's amazing how huge this park is... I jogged and walked for about 2 hours and I am not kidding when I say I didn't see the same thing twice. There are restaurants, food stands, statues, gardens, bridges, a carousel, arches... The list goes on and on, and I saw maybe 1/50th of the attractions during TWO HOURS. It's really an amazing place.

The coolest part to me is that when you're in Central Park, you're completely surrounded by nature, and it's even possible to forget you're in this huge, crazy city. And then just when you least expect it, the treeline dips a bit and you can see enormous skyscrapers soaring above the park, and it's this surreal juxtaposition of city and nature. I tried to take some pictures to give a visual of what I'm talking about.. They don't really do it justice, but hopefully it will give you an idea.

Also from yesterday, I wanted to post some photos of the Thai restaurant at which we ate dinner. I love going out to eat in New York; there are so many different kinds of food available and so many neat restaurants tucked away. Each restaurant is totally different and the designers/owners usually are forced to be really creative since the spaces are sometimes strange shapes or have very high or very low ceilings, etc. Plus, the city just offers so many options in terms of interior design that decorators can get their hands on pretty much anything they want. It makes for some really unique restaurants and cafes, and for me, it's one of the most exiting parts of the city. Last night, we picked "SongKran," which is in the Chelsea area, and about a 15 minute walk away from our home. As usual, fun space and very good food.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thanks, Jenny!

Note: There are 3 new posts today, so don't be fooled into thinking this is the only one.. ;) I posted pictures from all our weekend fun, so be sure to check those out, too!

Post by: Beth

Jenny got me her photos from her visit here, so I wanted to post some of the shots she took. She has a great new camera that has about 5 lenses, so she got some wonderful photographs from her visit here. I'm not sure why the sizes are acting funny today, so just ignore that they are of varying sizes. :)

What I love about this place...

Post by: Beth

I heart NY! No really... I do. I'm not just one of those people milling about wearing an "I Heart NY!!" t-shirt. I don't think half of those people can really even read their t-shirts, so I think it's pretty generous to assume they really love this city. I'm in the perfect situation here: I haven't yet been here long enough to grow bored of the everyday things that long-time residents find mundane. I'm still excited by so many of the sights in New York, and I never know what to expect or what I'm going to see next.

Yesterday was one of the days where we just woke up and said "What do we want to do today?" We decided to pick between Central Park and Chelsea Piers since it was so pretty outside, and I pinpointed Chelsea Piers because I've seen Central Park before, but never the piers. For those who don't know (and I didn't.. I had to look it up), Chelsea Piers is a series of historic piers on the West Side of Manhattan... It was a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900's, with most of the major trans-Atlantic liners of the early 1900's docked at the piers. Pier 54 being the departure site for the RMS Lusitania before it was torpedoed. Pier 59 was to be the final destination for the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England. In 1935, New York moved its luxury liner piers to the New York Cruise Terminal to accommodate bigger ships, and the Chelsea Piers became a cargo terminal at that time. During WWII, the piers were used to deploy troops.
Today, the piers are used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex, which includes film and television production facilities (CBS College Sports Network & Food Network), a health club, a day spa, gymnastics training center, lacrosse/soccer/b-ball areas, dance studios, golf club with 4-story driving range, 2 full-sized ice skating rinks open year-round, a marina for private boats, and several other amenities. The piers are owned by Roland W. Betts, who attended Yale and was a member of the same fraternity as George W. Bush. (Neat facts, huh?)

Sailboat for you, Mom! You're welcome.

Later that evening, we went to one of my favorite places... Divine Bar. This restaurant and bar originally had 2 locations... one in Midtown on the East side, and one on the West side. I'd visited the East location before and it was wonderful... Cheese plates with huge chunks of various cheeses from various regions, exotic fruits piled up on plates, dozens of wine flights, all in a very pretty space with candles and fun art pieces. The East side location closed recently, with all the focus being swapped to the West. It was equally as good as what I remembered from the other location, and it was so much fun to have dinner here.

As another example of one of the things I love about New York, we were just walking along to dinner, and all of a sudden, I'm standing in front of the building where CBS tapes the "Late Show with David Letterman"!! I was so excited!... I know tens of thousands of people see this building every single day, but it's just those little things that are so fun about the city. You get this unparalled chance to see in person so many of the things you see on TV. It's just never, ever boring here, even on a normal walk to dinner. Love it!

And on the way back from dinner, we got to walk through Times Square. Yeeeeeeeeeey!! (That was what I said.. Not what Raja said, in case you were wondering. ;) I of course yanked out the camera again, even though Raja said "Don't you think your readers are tired of seeing Times Square by now?" There, there, now.. Don't you worry, because I huffily told him "Absolutely not!!" and began snapping away in delight.

While walking through Times Square, we saw something neither Raja nor I had seen so far in New York. Just yesterday in the afternoon, Raja was commenting that people in the city will "sell ANYTHING." Handmade jewelry for $1 ("Hottest Styles, Latest Trends, for you New York!!"), knock-off perfumes for $5 ("SMELL GOOD FOR ONLY 5 DOLLARS -- THE REAL DEAL, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!"), keychains for $3 (I think the man selling these was mute, bless his heart), the chance to tell off a homeless man for a mere $2 (He was asleep but still holding up his sign)... we've really seen some random things for sale. However, we hadn't yet seen the unique entrepreneurial skills displayed by this man selling the chance to hold a boa constrictor snake for $10. That's right... If you pay him $10, he will set a boa constrictor on your person and take your picture "as many times as you want." (Well in that case.. what a bargain...) It was actually pretty entertaining and you have to admire his spunk and desire to set himself apart from the other peddlers. These kids put together $10 and were so funny as the man started placing this heavy snake all around their shoulders.

See why I love this place? :)