Saturday, February 04, 2006

Visiting Oxford

Having already been to two of the major cities in the US, namely Seattle (Hear, hear!) and Los Angeles, I have at least something to answer the question - "Where did I go in the US?" if my assignment were to get over in last year. Anywhere I go to next is like a bonus for me. And when that bonus happens to be Philadelphia, Washington DC and New York over a three day weekend in mid-Jan, I could not have asked for more. And add a chance to meet your friends after nearly 4 years, make it my most memorable weekend in the US so far.

At this point, I can write a long post to explain the trip. But I resist that. For my readers, here is curtailed version of my visit (all sentences converted from first person past tense to something which contemporary English language may not completely identify with) --

Leave for Seattle airport on Friday the 13th. Now the day lives upto it's reputation and my flight gets delayed by an hour and half. My heart is racing fast as I have a connecting flight to catch in Chicago. Meanwhile, get some gifts for my friends (yeah, I can sometime show some sense in life. But not always, I remember I had not carried anything for Rji). Watch five kids just laughing, running, playing all over the terminal. Get into the flight at around 12:00. Sleep very awkwardly in flight. Arrive in the windy city at about 5:00 AM local time and find that I did not make any mistake in carrying the thickest jackets I have. (Btw, I was looking like an idiot in that jacket at Seattle airport where temperature on that night was in mid forties) Switch to Philly flight, and complete remaining sleep.

Wake up at around 9 AM local time only to find the clouds all over airport. (for a moment I wonder whether I came back to Seattle) Curse those clouds and come out. Find AB waiting near baggage claim. He has changed quite a bit since I last saw his photos. Meet AJ in his car waiting outside. He is quite the same, except the weight. Go to their house. Freshen up, talk, eat, talk, drink, talk. Meet N. Leave for Washington. Phenomenon is also on the way to DC. Talk with Mittal on phone. Reach DC and find yourself in a windy chilly and rainy evening. A walk of three-four blocks proves that we cannot venture outdoors anymore and we take shelter in the Air and Space Museum. After hour and half in there and quick bite, set out towards Capitol, Washington Monument and White House in that order. Because of some confusion in one ways, by the time we are through with all three, it is already dinner time. So move to an Indian restaurant in George Town, have dinner and start return journey to Philly. Btw, phenomenon has not made to DC because of a broken car.

After reaching Philly, plan for next day's possible NY visit. Because of very bad weather observed in DC and similar prediction for rest of the weekend, there is a clear division of opinions on the continuation of the original plans. So meanwhile, decide to play a cool card game called Take It Easy. Seattle, as usual, loses to Philly being so outnumbered by 0.5 to 3. Sleep at around 4.

Wake up late next morning. Get ready and have a good lunch prepared by NE. Continue discussions on general topics. Later in afternoon, decide suddenly to go to NY despite bad weather. Book the hotel, pack the bags and off we go. After around two hours of relentless drive on NJTP, locating the hotel, dumping the bags and getting ready for the "16oF, Strong winds SW, and intermittent rains" night and parking the car in one the "$20 for 24 hours" garages, march towards the Times Square. A little walk, again, proves that we can no longer do any outdoor adventures, and go for a pizza in a nearby restaurant. Decide to go for some movie and go to a screening of Munich in the nearby theater. It is a good movie. After the movie, have a coffee at Starbucks while discussing over the history. The coffee brings us some courage. So go out on to take photographs of empty streets and buildings. After we are satisfied, go to a subway station and reach the hotel at around 4.

Wake up at 9 next morning. Get ready by 11. Have breakfast in Starbucks. Decide that I cannot catch the 6 o'clock flight from Philly in the evening and try to reschedule it. After a couple of calls, reschedule it successfully for next day morning. Set out for Statue of Liberty. Wander for around 3 hrs there. Purchase some mementos and have a little lunch at cafeteria. Then start return journey towards Manhattan island. Visit "the Bull" near Wall Street. Go to the Empire State Building. Get awed by the NY city from up above. Go to the Rockefeller Tower. Enjoy little skating (watching skaters, not doing it). Again have a coffee at Starbucks (Let me admit it, I am addicted to Starbucks coffee. It's quite like Idlipur's coffee) nearby and catch a subway back to parking lot. Get the car, circle around few more roads to get glimpse of UN building and leave NY city. Get a ticket on NJTP for speeding.

Catch the flight back to Seattle early next morning from Philly airport. Lose checked-in luggage at Sea-Tac. Find it after half an hour. Miss your roommate who has come to receive you and take a cab instead to home. Reach office at 1:00.

So this was it. My brief summary of what I did on the long weekend in January. And now you know why it has taken me such a long time to write this post.

PS - The title should be evident to those who know my friends AB and AJ. For others, it is a derived nick name for these two fine gentlemen.

PS2 - And btw, I am quite sad that the Seahawks lost to the Steelars. They had so many chances to win it. But alas!

signing off,

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