Thursday, December 23, 2004

Waiting to Inhale

Getting sick in Vegas really sucks, especially right before the red-eye flight home. My ears still haven't popped. My doctor tells me I have asthmatic bronchitis. Ouch.

Time to pass out, right after I huff on some Albuterol.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Grand Canyon

Roadwork in Nevada and lack of signage made the beginning of our trek from Las Vegas Airport to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon very tricky. The Hoover Dam was interesting, but we made a very short stop due to construction and checkpoints holding up the works. A whole lot of concrete was poured over there. To reward ourselves for finding the way eventually, we had a pig-out at Carl's Jr. Bacon guacamole Angus cheeseburgers, criss-cut fries, and Butterfinger cheesecake make everything better, but my thighs are going to be huge tomorrow.

The drive through Arizona heading north from Flagstaff at night was really spooky. A cop got in front of us and decided to stop short at one point, just to mess with us. It doesn't help put us at ease that there is no cellphone service out here.

Who knew that the weather would be so crappy out here? Everyone thinks that Arizona is hot and arid, yet it has been clammy and rainy for our whole trip. However, the temperature was better suited for our 8-mile hike, 5 miles around the rim, and then a 1.5-mile trek down into the Canyon on the Bright Angel trail, and back up. Plus, at the end of our hike we saw a rainbow. It is much harder than it looks to climb back up. The hotel hot tub was in order.

This morning, since the weather was rainy again, we decided to skip our early rafting trip, which would have involved driving at the butt-crack of dawn over to Lake Mead. Instead, we went horseback riding in the Kaibab National Forest. My horse Roni kept trying to eat pine trees and plants along the way, and kept farting. It was good fun, although not as scenic.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Goodbye PAC

Today was my last day on my current project. This assignment really rocked. The people are so smart and friendly too. Most likely, I will never have another assignment quite like this and everything else will seem anti-climactic.

Originally I was supposed to finish last week, but they needed my data entry skills.

Next week - Grand Canyon and Las Vegas!

Friday, August 06, 2004


Nothing exciting going on. Here's a snapshot in the week of a life:

Monday: Work, gym
Tuesday: Work
Wednesday: Work, gym
Thursday: Work, happy hour
Friday: Work, hang out with friends
Saturday: Work out, nap, go out with friends, crash at someone else's place
Sunday: Wake up, go home, putter around, read the NYTimes, watch original series on HBO or Showtime


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Work work work

This is looking like a long summer. No vacation for me. My cousin and I are supposed to go to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in October. Counting down!!!

J is still just, well, there. Not sure if there is any boyfriend potential. I guess my pattern of dating one guy a year and then dating dry spell is holding. Ho hum...

Monday, July 05, 2004

Happy 229th Birthday, USA!

What a weekend! Stomach was totally on the brink after my birthday party. I love Delta's policy of changing shuttle tickets for free for Medallion members. Latease's wedding in Boston was beautiful. Silly me, I was in such a hurry to be on time for the wedding that I forgot to pay the cabbie on the way to the church. Luckily I arranged for him to pick me up after the ceremony. He was a nice Moroccan guy; I guess talking about my trip to Oman made him trust me.

Christina's annual 4th bash was a lot of fun on the beach. Unfortunately, one of my friend's attempt to set me up with her fiance's best friend was a miserable crash-and-burn. The guy barely said "hello" to me when we were introduced. Whatever, loser, I'm a catch...

After Christina's gig, went to J's house for more barbeque action. It was interesting, to say the least. Not sure about him, but I guess time will tell. Anyone is better than Ross at this point.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Big 2-5

Wow, my birthday just came and went - June 29th is the actual day. I guess now everyone will start trying harder to marry me off. Ho hum...

At least the party last night was fun. Picture this, Egyptian hookah bar in the East Village, 20 of my friends seated on floor cushions around low tables, two flavors of tobacco - Ali Baba and Canteloupe, fruit shakes whose name sounds like something Arab porn stars utter while in action (say fakh'fakhina five times fast), and me belly dancing on a chair in a fez. Don't believe me? Check out the pictures.

Now I just have to scrape myself out of bed to make the Delta shuttle to Boston for Latease's wedding. UGH!

"25 years of my life and still trying to get up that great big hill of hope for a destination..." Bonus points to whoever names the band that sang this.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Congrats Becki and Jeremy!

Two of my college friends got married in Millerton, NY. It was very nice and low-key. I got to see a bunch of my sorority sisters; it seems that we have a mini-reunion every year at someone's wedding. Just like being at a crush party except you have to bring a gift.

Since we have friends in nearby Sharon, CT, my folks hung out with them for the day. My father actually went with them to see "Fahrenheit 9/11", of which all he had to say was that it's "liberal propaganda". For dinner, we went to the West Main Cafe for dinner. YOWZA! Fantastic, creative food - loved loved loved it. Monica and Jerry had their wedding there almost two years ago, and it was fantastic then.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Go figure

I'm not single for 24 hours and I meet another guy. Let's call him J. We didn't meet under the best circumstances - I'm rebounding, and ended up getting really drunk because he kept buying me drinks. I'm hesitant to get involved with anyone so soon, especially after all the crap I put with while with Ross. Time will tell, I guess...

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Good riddance

Ross and I broke up. About time. That is all I have to say...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Favorite Restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

There is hope yet for the neighborhood that really has no name. Yes, it's touristy because of the Empire State Building and Macy's, but so far I have managed to avoid the out-of-town hordes. Here are the PAC Project's favorite lunch spots:

  • Minado for important milestone lunches

  • Grand Szechuan for roll-on or roll-of lunches, it's a hike but the xiao long bao rock

  • Chipotle for both take-out or eat-in, it's worth the schlep to 8th Ave

  • Chennai Garden or Dimple for curry if you're not in a hurry

  • Blue Smoke for the carnivores

My new fave is Bonobo's. Yes, raw vegan cuisine sounds scary and paradoxical, but the gazpacho kicks @ss and the napa cabbage sandwiches satisfy without putting you into a food coma. So far, no one will come with me, but I still love it to death!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

My new (sort of) car!

Just as luck would have it, I found another VW Cabrio. This one is a 2002, silver with gray leather interior. Slightly more mileage and wear-and-tear than Filomena, but I still love it. Got a good price too. Bayside Volkswagen's credit and sales departments are a little shady, but I bitched enough to get them to straighten up. I think I will christen it Adele, after my maternal grandmother :).

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Took a training course which is pretty easy. According to the New York Times, the sun shines 300 days a year. Unfortunately, I happened to show up when it was anything but sunny. No hiking or outdoorsy stuff this time around. At least this is Quizno's home turf. Have also eaten at Hapa Sushi and Sherpa's Adventurers, although I OD'd on the fried appetizers at Sherpa's and the service was somewhat pokey. Pearl Street is pretty cool too. Driving back to the airport (which takes more than half an hour, especially on the non-toll road) was fun with the snow and lack of visibility. So was de-icing the wings.

Monday, April 19, 2004

RIP Filomena

Long story short - drive new guy home, after fighting no less, back on Southern State Parkway, WHAM!, hit and run, I'm ok, car is not. :'(

Guess I'm not taking any roadtrips for a while....

Working in Midtown now. People seem cool so far. Have been very flexible with my recent trauma. Going to Boulder, CO Wed-Fri.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Au revoir!

I miss Paris already. Thursday was a little crazy - Beverly and Monica left early for maximum Carte Musee usage, and got separated at the Musee d'Orsay (which isn't too hard considering the maze-like layout of some of the rooms). My mom and I hit the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay, had a drink off Place Dauphine where some guys were playing petanque (I think the same square was on Sex and the City - need to check). The evening was a little chaotic as we were trying to reunite, but all was well, and after a group hug we went to Chez Omar, which was brilliant. The fantastic food and service made up for the rude Arab waiter at Leon Bruxelles on Boulevard St Germain de Pres. The owner even welcomed the Americans back to Paris (I'm sure he missed our wallets). Had a lovely dinner to close out the trip chez Emilie et Olivier, where they worked wonders with a tiny kitchen. It was so nice to have familiar people with whom to sightsee and dine or get drinks. Luckily we did a considerable amount of walking so the calories have not adhered to my hips.

Back to Baltimore next week for one final hurrah. Wonder where I'll go next.....

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Bon vivant

Paris is magnifique and exhausting! We are walking everywhere and have seen Notre Dame, Saint-Chapelle, the Left Bank (although we got sidetracked by shopping and never made the DaVinci pilgrimage to Saint Sulpice), the Rodin Museum and the Picasso Museum, with the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Eiffel Tower tomorrow. I really wanted to go to the Pompidou, but there's always next time. The thought of another museum may cause me to pass out.

Waistline be damned, I am eating everything and anything I want - rack of lamb, croissants, cafe au lait, bière blonde, you name it. The walking to and fro and climbing four flights of stairs to our flat is keeping my jeans from bursting open. The food here is absolutely incredible. The Marche across the street sells this great, inexpensive Côte du Rhone - I plan to bring home several bottles. Plus there is this great Moroccan food stand, from which emanate the most tantalizing smells. We served a tagine and a roast chicken from a rotisserie around the corner when Monica's friend Emilie and Andy came over for dinner. How do French people stay so thin?!

The only edible that has freaked me out so far were the live snails. Monica ordered them at a small restaurant near Emilie's house; someone told her they were cockles. After I tried one, I heard someone mention that they were not dead yet, but I chose to pretend the wine was hitting me hard and ignore it. I don't think I will ever eat mollusks ever again.

Tonight we went to this amazing Spanish tapas place - Caves St. Gilles. (forget Barcelona, this is the best!) I think we are still drunk. My Spanish came in handy with the waiter, even though it couldn't get us a table. No worries, being relegated to the bar didn't make a difference after a couple bottles of wine and once two platters of food arrived, one hot and one cold assortment. We practically licked the plates.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Salutations de Paris!

Just a few thoughts in my jet-lagged head:

  • Long-haul flying is made all the easier with Ambien, especially when in coach. It's all about better living through pharmeceuticals.

  • Paris has dog sh*t everywhere!!! Don't people believe in picking up after their pets so they don't mess up their chaussures? Dragging our suitcases from the Métro to our apartment was like walking through a minefield.

  • In France, all dieting must be suspended. The food is too good to pass up, plus walking everywhere cancels the calories out. Visions of pain au chocolat, crepes and wine have been cancing in my head for weeks.

Even though I can barely stay awake, I am still giddy about being in Paris for the first time. Le Marais is a really awesome neighborhood. We searched for a two-bedroom apartment on Vacation Rentals by Owner, which is a really awesome site, but the one we ended up with is only listed on - fantastique! Le Marché des Enfants Rouges is a really incredible outdoor market right across the street from us. Waiting for Monica and Bev to arrive so we can do more exploring, especially in the old Quartier du Temple (old Knights Templar Quarter for all the DaVinci Code fans out there).

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


Just got back from lunch - I am a big fan of Weiss Deli after that hunk of pastrami sandwich I just ate. The locals refer to Lombard Street as "Pastrami Row". Being a food snob, I must point out that the delis here are not strict kosher - they serve pork products and meat and milk mixed. Plus, they don't even serve horseradish anymore - bitterness over a local plant closing. Come on people, get over it!!! Luckily, a co-worker brought his own. V happy and v full right now!!! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2004


Baltimore is OK. The Inner Harbor is nice but somewhat commercial. What ever happened to character and uniqueness; why does the GAP et al. have to overrun everything? Absoultely will not take a water taxi after one capsized a couple of weeks ago.

I am so sick of the Amtrak Acela. The trains never leave on time, and they always get stuck behind other trains that have problems. So much for high-speed rail service. Though I must say, I can board the train like 5 minutes before it leaves and not have to deal with airport screening and such (not sure if that's a good thing), plus the fact that we don't leave the ground is good. Counting down to Paris!!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Greetings from Bal'more, Maryland

Getting ready to eat lots of crabcakes. This should be a short work stint, which is good because traffic is going to get awful near my office once baseball season starts. I would like to catch an Orioles game at Camden Yards. We'll see what the next few weeks bring.....

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Oh la la!

Lots of travels coming up!

Hooray - I got another out-of-town assignment. Yeay frequent flier miles (in this case Amtrak points) and frequent guest points, especially on the company dime. I'll be in Baltimore, Maryland for two weeks, maybe more. Will definitely post information on where to have fun, especially since baseball season starts in April. Plus, I hope (fingers crossed!) that the weather is a touch warmer there. There's also a one-week jaunt to La Cité Lumière! Stay tuned.....

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Happy V-Day!

Had a lovely, decadent day with some girl pals from work. Side-by-side manicures at Rescue Beauty Lounge (the NoLIta outpost), followed by high tea at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park (almost left my Tiffany Paloma Picasso ring in the bathroom, but luckily people are classy). Then did some shopping, got some yummy Greek food at Aegean, and then it was par-tay time. The Majestic Hotel has a phenom view down Times Square - great for showing out-of-town buds.

Avoid Alert: Apparently the Hudson Hotel bar is "too cool for school". The bouncer hassled my friends about getting in. Someone should let Napoleon know that the mohawk revival went out last year and that it really doesn't add much to his height.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Back home

I am so jet-lagged - waking up at 5am to watch infomercials.

Pictures are up!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Three words - Intercontinental Bustan Palace!!!!

This made the four-hour torture drive on the unpaved coastal roads all the more rewarding. You must at least visit this place if you venture to Muscat. Don't get me wrong, the Intercontinental Muscat is great, but this is ..... opulence!!! Plus, the price was great considering the plush surroundings - approximately $130/night. An equivalent hotel in New York City would easily run $400 minimum. God Bless Internet Rates!!! The beach is splendid, and the lobby is great for high tea. Try the Arabian. I felt like an Omani Eloise with my book, Arabian-blend tea, and Middle Eastern pastries.

Do I have to go home?

Monday, January 05, 2004


Today we went "swekking" in Wadi Bani Khalid

It's amazing how quickly the Bedouin kids zip along the rocks, while I took the slow-and-steady route so as to avoid bashing my skull against a cliff. This wadi is pretty tough, especially considering I've never been rock climbing before. The hiking and swimming were the easy parts. Note for all you swek wannabes - bring AquaSocks, wear shorts, and for God's sake, if you don't have a waterproof backpack (darn lying salesmen in Chinatown), wrap EVERYTHING in Ziplocs. It looks a lot like a smaller Grand Canyon. The pictures came out great.

We didn't get to see much of Sur, but it didn't seem like there was much to see, except the beach with tons of trash scattered about (hello Jones Beach), and Russian singers with a Mafiya goon backing them up on keyboards flirting with locals (who were drinking!!! Bad Muslims!!!!) in the dinky hotel bar. The hotel bartender had no concept of a double vodka with tonic. My aunt's fiance was quite frustrated. Here's another tip - import your own potables!!!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Camel Jockey

Today we went for a camel ride in The Wahiba Sands

What a way to recharge after a week of wedding parties! Weddings are celebrated much differently here than in the West. Men and women have functions separately, and there is no alcohol(obviously), music or dancing. I guess this eliminates drunk relatives doing the funky chicken. The food is fantabulous, and there were 700 women at the henna and the wedding ceremony. One interesting tidbit - there is no concept of lining up politely for the buffet. No matter, my years of boarding NYC subways prepared me for this.

Before we arrived in the desert, we saw the local market in Sinaw. They have an open-air square for everything you could need, from fresh fish to frankincense. The women wear a strange mask to cover their face, almost like a Batman Halloween costume. They tried to sell one to my aunt, and Michele almost bought her one as a joke.

Truth be told, this isn't completely a desert, as there is some vegetation, albeit very sparse. We met up with a Bedouin family who offered us coffee and dates. Riding a camel is quite fun, except for when the camel gets up and sits back down. I got a huge cramp in my side when it got up. My uncle affectionately referred to his camel, and all other after that, as Joe (God bless American advertising). Afterwards we arrived at a campsite for the evening. It was comfortable yet rugged, the cots were sleepable, and there was running water, though I avoided the cold shower.