Sunday, December 25, 2011

Number 74

74. Go ice skating in Central Park in New York.

Number 74 on my list was a goal I thoroughly enjoyed crossing off the list. We skated at Wollman rink in Central Park on the last day of our stay. It was fun even though I did fall once. I kept feeling tempted to take my glove off though and throw it into the center of the rink. (Serendipity reference. J) Some advice if you ever decide this is something you want to do, skate on the first day so you don’t poop out early. Skating in Central Park is an expensive experience and not as much fun if your legs are sore from the 3 previous days of walking 12 straight hours.

"Skating" along the wall at the Wollman Skate Rink in Central Park in New York City.

As for the rest of the trip, last week, Rakesh and I flew out on our first ever FLIGHT TOGETHER to Philadelphia for a day to visit with my grandparents. We treated them to lunch at one of their favorite places in Delaware the next day before we boarded the train to Penn Station in NYC.

The first night in NYC we walked around Times Square, which was only 2 blocks from the Belvedere hotel, which is where we stayed during our trip. The rest of the week we hit up popular eateries, such as Gray's Papaya, Levain Bakery, and Lombardi's. We saw as much of Manhattan Island that we could fit into a week.

We literally walked all of the Financial District. (We had gotten a little lost looking for Fraunces Tavern and the World Trade Center.) We walked from the tip of the island in Battery Park to Chinatown and Little Italy all the way up to Midtown. It was amazing how much we walked. Rakesh’s legs were cramping up and my feet were so incredibly sore but we experienced a “close up and personal” kind of trip to New York City. Rakesh now wants to live there.

We walked on the Brooklyn Bridge, visited Liberty Island and Ellis Island and the Empire State Building. We went to the top of the Rockefeller building, called “Top of the Rock.” We walked through most of Central Park and visited Strawberry Fields, of course the Wollman rink, the dairy, Belvedere Castle and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. We visited other iconic places in the city such as the museums and watched the World Trade Center being built. And of course we had to see a show so we saw Wicked at the Gershwin Theater. The show was awesome- an absolute must for people going with family.

A shot of the Statue of Liberty on our trip to NYC last week.

We rode the subway when we were too tired to walk. We walked through Lincoln Center, Pier 17 and Grand Central Station. We watched Fox & Friends being filmed. We hung out at McGee’s and watched a Houston Texans game which was fun. It was clear as day we were the only two Texans in the Irish pub. We learned there that New Yorkers love them some Christmas songs.

We trekked specifically to some other sites around the island, like McGee’s Pub, which inspired the set of How I Met Your Mother’s McLaren’s; such as the firehouse in Tribeca that was used as Ghostbusters Headquarters; St Patrick’s Cathedral, just north of the Rockefeller Plaza, that was also used in the Ghostbusters movie; in Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park’s white pillar gate from When Harry met Sally; in Chelsea, Kleinfeld’s from Say Yes to the Dress; and the apartment building that was featured on Friends, in West Village.

And would you believe me if I said that that’s not all of it?

We had such a memorable time and I can’t wait to do more travelling with Rakesh. (So long as there’s not as much walking envolved. J)

Merry Christmas everyone! And Happy New Year if I don’t see you!

Rakesh skating in Central Park, NY and making it look easy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Number 15

101 LIST

Number 15 on my 101 list: Take professional photos of Rakesh and I together. Well in November of 2011, Rakesh and I went to Sears with the family and took Holiday pictures. They came out cute enough. I've included one of the family photos in this post also because this is the first of Family Christmas photos that has included anyone outside of the family. Enjoy!

Number 86

101 List

See the Grand Canyon is number 86 on my 101 list.

And this past Friday, Black Friday, I did TECHNICALLY see the Grand Canyon. As mentioned in a previous post, Rakesh drove me to Grand Canyon on a whim and we made it to the Grand Canyon National Park just before sunset. It was glorious and awesome. It was as if you were staring at a picture and not the actual thing.

I say I technically saw it because we only could actually see for about fifteen minutes before it was complete pitch black darkness. Once the sun set we couldn't see five feet in front of us. I seriously can't wait for the next trip to Arizona so I can do a full tour of the canyon.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Number 40

101 LIST
Number 40 on my list was to visit my family again in Arizona.

And as of this past Sunday I was driving home from one of the best little family trips ever. My Mom Mari Rakesh and I drove to Tucson Arizona for the week of Thanksgiving. Between me Rakesh and Mom we did the 17 hour trip in one day each way which allowed for the most sightseeing time available. We left Tuesday morning and spent the better part of day 1 driving.
While we drove, Mari spent the day passed out in the back seat of the van.

Day 2 I made Mom get up early and Rakesh and I took them to see the local sites. We saw the Titan Missle Museum, an Xavier del Bac Mission and Old Tucson Studios. The Titan museum was really interesting. Demonstrated how the cold war stayed cold - by having someone with their finger on the trigger button at all times.
In front of the museum, after the tour, more enlightened about the days of the cold war.

Looking down into the containment for the missle. Rakesh in a hard hat because he was too tall for the hallways in the underground control center.

Looking down into the missle containment. This thing was huge! And according to the guide, accurate within a hundred feet of the target.

San Xavier mission was really something special. Built in the late 1600s the church was so ornate. I think the holy spirit moved through my mother she spent some time praying and lit a candle. I love how churches can bring a sense of peace. Even this old church which for some considerable time in the past was left abandoned it still held the holy spirit within its walls through the people who frequented the church.
Rakesh and I getting blinded trying to take a picture but the church was eye opening.

Even the ceiling was ornate!

All of the walls were so breathtaking and covered with over a hundred different angels and saints.

Just beautiful.

We finished day two at Old Tucson Studios where hundreds of movies over movie history have been filmed, including The Three Amigos. We initially only went to this place for my mothers sake since so many old shows from when she was a kid were filmed there. And when I say old shows I mean shows like little house on the prairie, chapparal, and similar western type shows. But I digress the place turned out to be really interesting and I actually found myself disappointed to leave.

In front of the old entry to Old Tucson Studios.

At Old Tucson, they had the train used in Back to the Future. Rakesh wanted to take it home.

In front of the Back to the Future train.

The set for several movies including The Three Amigos.

I look right at home out in the country.

Mom, Rakesh and Mari at OTS. We all can't wait to go back again!

Day 3 was Thanksgiving so naturally we spent that day eating and drinking to our hearts content. I met some fabulous people and friends of our cousin, Mark: Vince,Rachel, Cris, and Paul. We stayed up late drinking and playing a really cool card game they called "waxamazul." Pretty much golf with cards and some crazy rules.

Rakesh and I ventured out alone on day 4 since Mari was sick and Mom was tending to her. We ended up hitting the road and going to Grand Canyon. Saw it with my own eyes for the first time ever just before the sunset. It was like staring at a wallpaper print! It was so beautiful and surreal to see. We also hit up some cities along the way - Flagstaff which is really quaint and Phoenix which is overrated. We had In and Out burger which was unimpressive for lunch and came across a place that made a mean calzone for dinner.

On our way to Grand Canyon.

Trying out In and Out Burger.

Rakesh took this picture "for the blog." :)

Grand Canyon at sunset.

Day 5 Mark and Aunt Leonor took us up to Mount Lemmon which had AMAZING views and an area for you to climb out on. We took so many awesome photos it'll be hard to chose one for the Facebook profile picture. Afterwards, Rakesh and I went over to Vince and Rachel's place for drinks and socializing. We ended up going to the casino after a while where I won some money on the penny slots. All in all it was a good night.

Before we headed up to Mt Lemmon, we stopped at Mark's job, Mercedes Benz. Rakesh LOVED checking out this 260,000$ car.

Mom, Aunt Leonor, Mark, Mari and Rakesh
Stopped on the way up to the top for a photo.

Mari taking in the view.

Rakesh and I at Mount Lemmon.

My cousin, Mark, being silly.

Rakesh being a goofball.

Made myself at home on Mount Lemmon and hung up my coat to climb around.

Day 6 we drove back home and were straight up exhausted but grateful nonetheless to have family and the opportunity to make such a trip.

Rakesh passed out in the back seat after staying up all night at the Casino.