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September 28, 2005

Farewell, East Coast!

I wrote my first entry on the Fung Wah Bus two weeks ago, coming down from Boston to NYC for the first stop on my trip. So, I guess it's fitting that I'm writing my last entry from the east coast sitting in the Delta club in La Guardia waiting for my 6AM flight to Aruba. I've never been away from the east coast for more than 6 weeks in my life, having been born near Boston and lived around there my entire life. But in less than an hour I'll be gone from the near-confines of home and won't be back until early March when I return from India.

It's been a relaxing couple weeks starting my trip off in NYC. Mostly just hanging out with friends and sleeping in almost every day. Steve and I failed to go to Six Flags on Saturday (after staying out way too late Friday night,) which was mildly disappointing. I guess I can ride Kingda Ka next spring. On Sunday I actually got up early for once (yeah yeah, 7:30 isn't early, whoever you are rolling your eyes at me who gets up at 5AM and walks 300 miles uphill every morning to work, whatever, be quiet :P), and drove out to the Delaware Water Gap with Belle. We climbed Mt. Tammany (1550'), and found a geocache on the way up (Belle hadn't been geocaching before, so it was imperative that we found her a cache!) There was a wonderful view of the Delaware River and the rest of the Delaware Water Gap and its valleys and mountains from the top, and a very cool waterfall to punctuate the climb back down. All in all, quite a fun hike and a great time (other than the traffic on the GWB on the way back.)

I hung out with Lauren after that since I hadn't seen her in forever; I also hadn't had sushi in a couple weeks (practically a record for me!) so we went to Sushi Sen-Nin and had some very tasty sushi. The bluefin toro (fatty tuna belly) there is AMAZING. Buttery and melt-in-your-mouth just like it should be. We found a cool bar (other than the horrid music) with a huge beer selection afterwards with a friendly bartender dressed up in her full Oktoberfest regalia and hung out until late sampling a few tasty beers. (It was one of those cool places that'll just give you an ounce or two of whatever you want to try that's on tap, which is nice when you have to drive and when they have tons of great stuff on tap.)

Monday I spent going out to San Francisco for a 30 minute visit to the SFO airport. Mileage run! 25k+ miles for $250, and I need the base miles for status qualification. Same Song plane both ways, and I was even in the same seat. :) Unfortunately I totally slacked off today (well, Tuesday into today, I guess it's Wednesday now since I haven't gone to sleep yet) and just spent it relaxing, packing, taking care of various financial matters, and preparing for the rest of my trip. I was planning on getting up early and going into the city to take lots of pictures, but I failed and managed to sleep until 4PM. Oh well. I'll be back in the spring to wander around NYC being excessively touristy.

I'm really looking forward to the 5 days in Aruba; warm weather, great beaches, and good friends (my sister and several of my friends from Boston will be there, including JJP and Noam for those who know them.) Maybe I'll be ambitious enough to work on a scuba diving cert when I'm down there, because I definitely want to go scuba diving around the Great Barrier Reef whenever I make it to Australia next year. The hotel I'm staying at claims to offer a free basic scuba diving lesson weekly; hopefully I'll be there on the right day for that. I'm sure it'll be a lot of fun whatever we do; I definitely want to at least go kayaking and snorkeling at the very minimum.

So anyways, my flight's started boarding, so goodbye everyone on the east coast! I'll probably have limited Internet access while I'm in Aruba, but I'll at least be checking mail once in a while. And incoming SMSes are cheap if anyone wants to harass me. Then I'm off to Michigan and Ohio on the 3rd so I can ease the Internet withdrawal pains I'll surely still be in. Oh yeah, I AM working on my pictures, slowly but surely. Soon, soon, they'll be up! (Yeah, like anyone will believe me until they're actually uploaded. I certainly wouldn't believe myself. :)

September 23, 2005

Greetings from tentland!

So I'm technically camping out in NYC right now! I'm staying with my friend Steve who lives in Bayside, just on the western tip of Long Island, but still part of NYC. I hadn't gotten a chance to test out my cool tiny tent and sleeping bag (2lbs together), and I've gotten tired of sleeping on the foldout bed for the moment. So I'm out in the backyard in my tent! ...being a geek using wireless and writing a blog entry. Guess I have to balance out my outdoorsiness with my geekiness in some fashion.

Strangely, I haven't used my digital SLR camera (the big one with half a dozen lenses that I annoy all of you that I've met with) once since I got here, since I haven't gone into the city (other than to pass through) or gone outside anywhere cool yet. I'm planning on spending tomorrow or Tuesday wandering around the city remedying that. I'm going to Six Flags on Saturday with Steve and another friend or two, which should be fun since they built that nice new 456' 128mph coaster there. Then on Sunday I'm going hiking/geocaching with my friend Belle and a couple of her friends from Barnard out to the Delaware Water Gap (which I always see signs for but never knew anything about until recently!) From what I've read of it, I should get some very cool shots out there.

So, really nothing exciting for now. I've spent countless hours the past few days while Steve's been at work getting my finances and travel plans in order, and working on my photos. Booking flights to India is a huge pain (especially when the website doesn't think a city exists even though the airline sells tickets there, and the phone person asks me "so why don't you just book it on the web?") Not to mention the other flights I've been booking (with strange, strange routings to get extra mileage.)

This makes me happy, updated as of yesterday:
Current Principal Balance: $0.00
Yes, that means my mortgage is paid off and I no longer own my house! I am technically jobless AND homeless now. :)

So a fun weekend ahead, and then off to Aruba on Wednesday! Yay! And I miss home now, and all of you folks back there.

September 13, 2005

...and I'm off!

So I've finally embarked on my trip. I was planning on leaving last Wednesday, then I pushed it back to Thursday, then Saturday, and so on and so on. Towards the end I realized I needed a couple days sitting around at home not doing much after hanging out with friends pretty much every day the past couple weeks, and planning on doing much of the same for the next year. Leaving home for a year turned out to be a bit more daunting than I expected.

But anyways, I finally finished packing and cleaning out my room last night, so today, Tuesday, Sep 13, 2005, marks the official start of my trip. I was thinking of flying or taking the Acela down to NYC, but how could I take anything other than Fung Wah Bus for the first leg of my trip!? I'm actually writing this from the Fung Wah Bus; I figured it'd be fitting to install my blog and write my first entry on the way down. I'll post a bit later about the amusing wonder that Fung Wah Bus is for the uninitiated.

So, I have quite a journey in front of me. I've barely left Boston and it already feels like I've been gone for a while. I don't miss Boston yet, but I'm sure I will soon enough, since I've never lived anywhere but the Boston area my entire life. I'll be in NYC for two weeks, then Aruba for 5 days, and then off to Ohio/Michigan for three weeks. After that's it's on to LA/San Diego, then Dallas/Houston, then back to Toledo for Thanksgiving.

My first REAL travel past the safe confines of places in the US I've visited many times will be my 3 month trip to India at the beginning of December. I'm really looking forward to it since it's been 8 years now since I was last in India. I'm sure things have changed quite a bit, and I'll be seeing lots of relatives that I haven't seen in forever. This time I'm planning on trying to see a lot more of the country than I've seen in the past. I plan on making it up to the Himalayas at some point. I might not quite be in shape to climb Mt. Everest yet, but I can still visit it!

Oh yeah, and I just installed the blog software on my way down, so it isn't very customized. I probably have lots of stuff to tweak. And it'll probably be pretty slow since this is still running on my old Celeron 433 server; my new 1U Opteron isn't in place just yet, but I'll be moving the blog and my pictures over to that in a couple weeks.

(I promise to get caught up on pictures over the next week or two! But everyone can feel free to keep nagging me about it, I don't mind. :)