Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The End

Well its been really good and I just wanna thank all the people who've made this amazing summer possible. Wish all of you the best of luck and hope to see you again sometime in the future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zermatt

Went to Zermatt and up to the Klein Matterhorn. Great view and good night out. Built a fort in our hostel room and told stories when we got back.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jump

Went to street parade in Zurich.
















Jumped off a dam. Video below























Video

Friday, August 6, 2010

M√ľnchen

IAESTE Munich weekend! The best way to describe it is that its like charlie and the chocolate factory but replace chocolate with beer. For 35 euros they managed to give us souvenir mugs made of porcelain mind you unlimited beer and food (breakfast lunch dinner for 2 days ish), accommodation, a private party with unlimited cocktails on Sunday, and Bavarian flags and German chocolate for the winners of the city rally (team I can't pronounce this aka 1/2 of Zurich LC). Just a note I only had one beer there the whole time.
The city itself was beautiful! I would say as nice or maybe nicer than Milan. It was definitely cleaner and the people less... impassioned haha. But yea there were alot of people and the weather was amazing so all in all a great trip. Didn't see that many sights in Munich mainly because we were so tired and the group I went with was not down to go check out the Olympic park based on word of mouth negative reviews =P. So a lot of time was spent hanging out in the English gardens which are enormous.
The English gardens stretch about 10-12 underground stations at least? and just walking from one station to another through the garden took us about an hour.
Another cool site we went to was the top of this church which had a ton of steps but a view that was really worth it. Not quite so spacious or pretty on the roof as the Duomo but a great view nonetheless.
Saw the Hofbrauhaus, a famous beer hall where people normally dress in their leiderhosen and dirndls.
Passed by the lion statues whose noses people rub for good luck.
These statues were directly across from a monument where people would have to stop to heil Hitler and then there was one road that people could take to go around the monument and avoid association with the Nazi party however people going down that road were often subject violence =(.
There was an opera house nearby here too that had to have its roof renovated because it caught on fire. Unfortunately the fire brigades of that time were just a random collection of people who happened to be in the area ordered by the king to take beer from the local brewery and dump it on the fire. In a true Bavarian fashion they started drinking the beer as they worked and so the efficiency with which they put out the fire was ... diminished to say the least.
Shopped for dirndls and leiderhosen.
Watched surfers body surf and short board surf a current that formed a predictable 'wave'. They should really make one of these in the bay area. I'm sure lots of people would go.
Jumped into a river called Eisbach. As you might have seen on facebook it has a surprisingly strong current. It was kinda cold but not too bad since Sunday was so hot.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Milano

^^^^ Fashionable poses (just look at the attitude and the windswept hair) in the capitol of fashion. Not to mention the expert photography hahah


I am really happy I decided to go along with Mansi's idea and head to Milan for the weekend. Ever hear Jay Z and Rihanna in umbrella? These lines come to mind

We Rockafellas
We fly higher than weather

haha so yea it was really hot in Italy. We were in a train car with a bunch of people decked out in hiking gear and when we emerged from a tunnel to a clear blue sky they all started cheering and applauding. It was a 5 hour ride but it went by pretty quick because we were playing cards. Fortunately I didn't lose that many times because we were playing loser drinks extra. =X Got to the station around lunchtime and went to drop off our bags.
The hostel was good just kinda random for example in the corner of the bedroom there is a small shower. It wasn't sectioned off at all just put in the corner. But hey it had clean sheets and reception open at 4 am for 27 chf a person. Left the hostel to go sight seeing and shopping. First we stopped off at Saint Mary of the Graces which houses the Last Supper. Unfortunately tickets to go in have been sold out for months and I was lazy and didn't come to Milan the night before and camp out to try to get canceled tickets in the morning. Next we went to see the castle in the middle of the town. Although I think the girls were more impressed with the shirtless Italians tossing around a football in the courtyard. Scott and I were unimpressed with their lopsided spirals. Went to see this arch that I guess commemorated something but Im not really sure what. Yea I was not such a great tour guide. haha.
After that we went shopping. Did you know Armani makes furniture? and has a hotel? neither did I but thats probably because you and I dont have private numbered bank accounts in Switzerland haha. Apparently the stores don't even have prices kinda like back at home in the ritzy stores or even in jewelry cases cause hey if you have to ask you can't afford it right? I didn't actually see most of these stores cause I offered to go with Mansi to the hostel since she still had all her stuff and had just come from Venice. Conveniently I charged my phone so we could have sat nav at night probably when we needed it the most and then got some spending money at the bank. Met back with the group and started walking through the shops. Mansi did the spinning on the bulls balls (signifies good luck) but I think we all passed cause there was a really long line and alot of kids who usually get priority over us =P. There were quite a few street artists including this one asian guy we watched who made doves and flowers out of radishes potatoes carrots and other tubers. Got gelato =D. Then shopped some more until dinner time at 945 X.X Yea we skipped apperitivo to do shopping and changing into nice clothes for the night. By we I mean the girls ahah. Oh well I guess Ill have to do apperitivo some other time. I can't even really drink either so it probably wouldn't have been so good for me. BTW apperitivo is this deal at some restaurants where you buy drinks and you get free food like pasta and stuff.
Went out to party at what we thought was a regular club but turned out to be a gay club. In any case it was closed and we went to the club next door instead. Had to walk the last 3 km or so there cause the tram was really unreliable. According to the schedule two trams should've come by us but there was no sign of them... Not at all like switzerland haha. But it was a nice warm night so not a big deal. Also unlike switzerland though was the fact that there were still a bunch of places open. Even we left at about 4 am there was still a food stand open.
The next morning we got breakfast 'in bed' and then left for the Duomo. This church took 500 years to build and is one of the largest in existence according to Scott. It was really amazing. I remembered that the buildings in Vienna were covered in detail and how I was impressed by the variation in detail in the library in St. Gallen but this church had both a huge amount of AND variety in its detailing. Had lunch, met up with a guy who worked at the club we went to because we overpaid and then went to the top of the Duomo. The view of the city was expansive but honestly not much to see in comparison to the church itself. Then this guy, Daniel took us around and showed us some stuff. We got some more gelato and chilled in the park by the castle. Played in the fountain and tried to limbo under some of the water jets. Finally went home dead tired.

Interlaken

I went to Interlaken (again) but this time with IAESTE. Even though it was kinda cloudy and rainy the first day when we went river rafting it was still alot of fun. I thought paddling for dragon boat was hard but that was in relatively calm water and generally falling out of the boat was not an issue. This could be said of river rafting too cause only one person out of the whole group actually fell out but still. Most of us did get out into the frigid water (the source of the river was glacier melt off) during a calm part and also in Bernsee which was at least 10 degrees warmer. It was so cool as you put your hand into the river and it passed through the border between the lake and the river it warmed up to the point that it was almost comfortable to swim in. By the end of the trip I couldn't really feel my right hand. Our tour guide was really knowledgeable and also quite a joker. That night even though I was really tired to the point that I fell asleep right after dinner I still somehow made it out to party. Dinner was amazing but unfortunately I was a little too tired to enjoy it fully. Woke up the next day bright and early then went 'hiking'. Saw this really cool water fall then went up in a lift and walked down back to the train station. Had dinner at this purple house to go place where some asshole cut us in line then the cook/cashier gave me as many small coins in change as he could and couldn't even count out 1 franc in change properly. But other than that it was a really great weekend.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

French at Last!

"Sooooooooooooooo" this past weekend I went to Lausanne with IAESTE and it was a blast. Arrived and started meeting people as we sort of tepidly approached each other unsure of whether the other was in IAESTE as well. Pretty soon though as the group got bigger it was obvious who was a part of the program and who wasn't. First we dropped off our stuff and walked around parts of the city, the cathedral, and the old city. Bought a few post cards so some of you should expect some. Had an excellent smoothie. Got a little lost cause we weren't sure where we were supposed to meet the group for lunch. Sat Nav (GPS) was taking us in the right direction but we decided to defer to our trusty leader Marc. Anyway we went back got some pita wrap like thing who's name I have since forgotten but starts with an L. Laura got la meme. Rode the merry go round which was hilarious especially at the end where I tried to get my moneys worth and ride two horses. Then we went to drop our stuff off at the hostel which was pretty fancy. We got a room called timelox, no just kidding timelox was just the card key manufacturer. We had this room where in a hallway full of IAESTE people so even though the bathroom was shared it felt strangely like home? Next we went to try to go windsurfing but the weather wasn't cooperating( thunderstorms were brewing so they didn't think it would be a good idea to go out onto the lake hanging onto tall poles who woulda figured?) So instead we just all swam in and had a massive seaweed fight. I must say that the scarf? I got was pretty good. Although Scott's assassin move was also commendable. We also found/stole/borrowed? a frissbee and bouncy ball and tossed those around for a while. It was like waterpolo all over again. Skipping the ball brought back memories. Got out and tried to just wash my feet. But Laura decided she would just turn on the cold shower full blast... An accident she claims as she runs away laughing her head off. To be fair though I did spray her back with the hose. Next we got ready to go out to the festival. Played some games watched some shows and then partied. Woke up the next day to go to see Castle Chillon and Montreaux. Best parts about Castle Chillon? Definitely the private double toilette that leads directly into the lake and Marc's comment about chests. The Montreaux festival was pretty fun but we didn't have much time to look around. Mostly just saw a break dance competition with maybe three or four really good dancers. Finally took the boat back to Lausanne, which took forever and was late... not such a good end but yea got back in one piece and slept really well. Oh yea and I practiced my french alot over the weekend so that was kinda cool

Monday, July 5, 2010

The House of Mozart

Cooome on. This was the single best phrase to describe this weekend. In its many uses such as "come on" really? this is the best you could do? also come on as in hurry up we need to get to the next spot all the way to the other side of the spectrum as in come on? this is real?! Thursday night I took the overnight train from Zurich to Vienna (Wien) and was lucky enough to get two seats next to the window/power cords/table my own reserved one and the one across from me. I slid both down so that I could actually sleep most of the way there. I arrived in Wien West Bahnhoff. At first I was rather unimpressed with this main train station but then I remembered that Switzerland is rather famous for its transportation while Wien is famous more for the arts. So I arrived at about 730 am and had to wait till 2 pm for the registration to open. After walking for a few hours I realized that it would be alot easier if I just dropped off my stuff at the hostel first. From walking around so much in the beginning and really for the whole weekend I saw that Wien is probably a mecca for girls what with the number and variety of stores. In one designer clothing store I actually watched the designer cut fabric and stitch it together. Truly these things were one of a kind. For me though the best part was the food. Not only is food tasty but it is also presented so ornately similar to the grand stylings of the buildings all over the city. Practically every building has statues of gods, fairies, or mythical beings, in addition to columns and really fine detailing even for very large buildings. So one interesting thing was that some of these buildings housed diametrically opposed tenants. Pictures to come later. Ok so now for the griping. First night the person selecting music (no he cannot be called a DJ) was absolutely terrible. The city rally made us do some fairly mundane tasks to be fair some were quite fun but also it did not really give us a chance to see things. Worst the groups for the city rally were huge so it was hard to get to know your group and people would often be left behind. What was called dinner was really appetizers. I hate being lied to especially when I am paying money for it. I mean COME ON?? who really calls a few cold cuts cheese and bread split between a whole table dinner? Anyway gonna try to focus on the good parts, like meeting new people. At dinner my French friend, Oman friend and I amused our Indian friend with different mosquito killing styles. Although I took revenge on many mosquitoes for the bites I suffered I think they still won. =P Went to a club saturday night with a Slovenian, Indian, Austrian and Hungarian friend. Dug the diversity. Anyway this club was really packed. Partied till about 330got home at 430 slept at 500 woke up at 730 for breakfast. Walked alot more chilled out around the Blue Danube then went home. Really cant describe what I saw beyond this. You just have to go.... I mean come on!

Monday, June 28, 2010

So this past weekend I went to Zurich for the international Zurich weekend where other trainees working in Europe and originating from all over the world meet up for some parties and exploring the city. When I arrived we went to a bar area to watch the world cup. Met tons of people sorry if I messed up or didnt remember your name >.<. After the scavenger hunt I had to go back to work. Why work on a Saturday? because it was the only time that this machine is available. It is called the Swiss Light Source and it is a source of high energy x-ray radiation. We use it to determine the protein structure based on how the radiation scatters upon hitting a crystallized sample of protein. So I observed the post docs using the beam line until about 1 am then one of them decided they were tired and wanted to go home so they very graciously drove me to the train station in the city they live in. From here I took the train back to Zurich and met up with the IAESTE group at ETH ( the local technical university) for a party. After the party we went back to the bunker. I slept for 2 hours woke up and then went to swim in lake Zurich and hang out in the park. At about 4 we went to watch the World Cup again but after Germany scored four goals and England only had one we decided our cheering was a lost cause.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I am at work right now waiting for a centrifuge run to finish. Excited for Zurich this weekend! I will post something about this later. So this week was a pretty good week. The weather started to warm up finally and I am starting to get to know people more. Also I am moving up in our labs World Cup pool. Although I am still pretty far behind the front runners. Yesterdays game with USA vs Algeria was really exciting. There were so many times I jumped out of my seat hoping but then nothing. I can see why some people might say the sport is boring but there are also times when the drama is like that of basketball or other sports. I can definitely see the appeal especially if there are people who want to join in and watch. Watching by myself back at my hotel room is much less exciting atmosphere. Anyway the centrifuge run is about done so...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Books and Cheese

I went to St. Gallen and Appenzell this past weekend. St. Gallen is home to a Stiftsbibliothek, a library housed inside an abbey. They don't let you take pictures inside the library so all I have is pictures of the abbey. But this library is breathtakingly beautiful and it houses books that are over a thousand years old. St. Gallen also has alot of shopping and from the posters plastered around a wide variety of nightlife? But since it was Sunday most of these things were not happening. So from St. Gallen I traveled to Appenzeller where there was this medieval festival. They were giving out free beer and selling really good bratwurst and local cheese. I had something called raclette for dinner. Usually people eat this in the winter but it was just so good. Its a plate of melted cheese accompanied by some potatoes and vegetables. You sorta mix it all up then eat =D. Ive never had so much cheese in my life. I'll probably take a break from cheese for a while haha. Argh slow internet= not many pictures.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So today instead of a weekend long trip I just made a day trip to nearby Schaffhausen which is nearby Rhinefalls, the largest waterfall in Europe! Before I went to the falls I walked around the old German styled city and looked into some shops and picked up some souvenirs because unlike other trips this one only cost 4o francs. This included the trip onto the rock in the middle of Rhinefalls =D.Unfortunately it started raining. At this point though I am not surprised. Weather here changes very suddenly. One interesting fact that I learned from the lonely planet book I got from my sister was that Schaffhausen was actually bombed by allied forces. The US apologized and said it was confused because the city is so close to the border with Germany. Only it was bombed again shortly afterward. So the book speculated that there was a factory there that was supplying arms to the Nazis? I also saw some old castles and did a lot of walking. There was this path I walked down where the houses really reminded me of the levee back at home the only difference was that here the water moved much faster.
So I wish I could put up more pictures but internet is slow so in like a half hour of uploading I only got one.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pictures

So I think I promised pictures last time and I think my internet can handle it this time.

Group 1! We were followed by group 2 which was mostly composed of soldiers on leave. I think I am the most scared in this picture cause we haven't jumped off anything yet.



This is a picture of me jumping off a ledge and doing a little twist to fall into a little slot carved into the wall that would guide me into the right spot in the water where it was safely deep enough.



This was the jump where if you didn't grab onto the instructors hand after you surfaced the waterfall was strong enough to force you into a little loop. Not terribly dangerous just sucked if you missed his hand.





Look at the smiling faces of people happy to be alive! haha just kidding everyone I talked to was saying how much fun and how amazing this was. I agree.



Monday, June 14, 2010

Get Busy Living...

Over the weekend I went to Interlaken by myself because I got kicked off the list for a trip to Gruyerre to see cheese and chocolate making. Oh well. Instead I went to the Greenfields concert where I saw The Prodigy, and Rammstein amongst others. Im not a big head-banging rock fan and although I didn't know what they were saying I really like Rammstein. I thought I was going to enjoy The Prodigy too but I think there must be a German version? I guess I was expecting the British one. I also found that German really works well with that kind of rock haha. So thats what I did every night friday-sunday. Saturday I spent most of the day canyoning. Which was crazy yet amazingly fun. Ever wonder what its like to jump off a waterfall? Well this is how you would find out. The very first thing they told us was don't hesitate. There I stood peering over the edge. Water rushed under my feet as the instructor told me where I needed to jump. 40 feet below the white water churned. I really wanted to hesitate. On the count of three I leapt out as far as I could. After what felt like forever I hit the cold water and was deep underneath. The life jacket buoyed me up but I still tried to swim like crazy for the surface. When I emerged I gasped for breath not from working hard but just from the shock of the whole thing. Slid down rock faces and jumped over waterfalls for another six hours. Oh and the view was amazing while we were doing this. It was a little overcast but you could see most of the way up the canyon from which you had just jumped/slid down. Sunday I tried to go to the top of Europe. But the weather was really bad so it was not worth the trip so instead I explored the city of Interlaken and its neighboring villages. Oh yea and whenever I could I watched some WM. There were lots of Americans at the hostel so there was a pretty big showing for the USA - England game. Pictures aren't uploading but I'll put them up as soon as I can.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Luzern Trip and Haul

So Saturday morning I wake up bright and early at 6:00 to get on the bus to Brugg. Took the train into Zurich and then got on the train to Luzern. Actually I was supposed to meet other IAESTE people in Zurich but I wasn't sure if it was them because there were just so many people at the stations designated meeting point. Its this big sign with four arrows and a dot. There are signs that direct you to this meeting point from all the platforms. Pretty cool. Anyway arrived in Luzern and met the rest of the IAESTE group at Luzern's meeting point where there was no one, so when they arrived I instantly knew it was them. There were people from ALL over the world and they were all very friendly. Sadly I did not get to meet all of them. We walked to the organizers car and dropped off our stuff then stopped by a lake to wait for people and to eat lunch. This was the first time I had been to a beach where it was ok to sunbathe in the nude or at partially nude. Took a tour of the city where I saw some a highly decorated bridge, a prison, cathedrals, the city wall, a lion statue, and street shops where people sell things literally from their houses. According to my friend Kirsteen some people have things that they give away too apparently but I didn't see anything. I think it might have been cause I was trying to keep up with the guide. People from our group suggested that since there wasn't much to be said about each site we went to that we should just make up stories. I don't remember who said this and the whole story but I think i t was Roman who told some story about how way back when they used to ride on lions. After this tour we went to the transport museum where there were old planes trains and automobiles. There were also a bunch of new types of transportation like electric bikes vespas and cars that you could test drive. As long as your drivers license said something about a motorcycle you could drive the vespas haha. Then after lounging at the transport museum for a while we went to drop off stuff at our hostel which was four bunk beds in a portable. Not bad accommodations just very hot ones. Apparently in the girls room some of the girls came back with wet hair and forgot to open the window. Resulting in water just pouring down the window and general sauna conditions. After dropping off our stuff we went for a quick swim. There was this place near our campsite called LIDO but they were going to charge us like 6 francs to go in to their playarea/beach. Granted there were lots of cool things in there like volleyball and diving platforms etc. So as frugal students we decided to just go into the lake as soon as we got past the fence surrounding Lido. We saw some locals diving off the pier and although we weren't sure if this was allowed or not (note: there was no ladder) we decided to do it anyway. I was the second one into the water and wow was it cold. I think the fact that it was a very hot day made it seem even colder. So I swam for my life following locals to see how they were going to get out. From far away their nimble climb up the side of the pier's post seemed easy but when I got there it actually looked kind of hard. Instead of climbing straight up there was a slight backwards facing slope. Fortunately though my intense desire to exit the water inspired me to make the climb pretty quickly. The guy behind me I think it was Roman was telling me to hurry up too lol. I guess he was pretty cold too. Apparently though nobody said to the others that it was cold so even the last person to go in had a quite a shock. Then I went back to take a shower. The showers were actually very nice here and the meals were great too. We had spaghetti bolognese and salad for dinner. We had orange juice milk coffee tea cheese butter jam yogurt and lots of different kinds of carbs for breakfast. After breakfast we went to a mountain nearby called Pilatus? GREAT VIEW.


Bottom of the Mountain









Top of the Mountain. What a Hike
JK there is a train which is really cool.

You know how people make haul videos on youtube well I made a haul pic from today's small shopping spree for food and a new pair of sandals cause I broke my other ones in Luzern. Im really excited to use this swiss army knife like thing that separates into a fork a spoon and a knife. Also got some cereal. Tried to look for some swiss cereal but I couldn't find any. Finally got some really cheap chocolate 100g for .45 francs!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Starting the Main Experiment

So today I finished up some procedures that were kinda like practice/prep. Now I am going to do the real deal! And my post doc is going away on to a conference so I'm kinda on my own. Hope I don't mess up. Still there will be lots of other people to help me. Lets see what else. I've been trying to save some money so for the past couple days I've been making/eating sandwiches which are much cheaper than say a meal at the cafeteria. So far I've had tuna, salami (2X), bologna. Well as you can see other than work not much is going on out here in the almost countryside so all I have to talk about is what I eat haha.
The very gracious owner and chef for the hotel/restaurant where I am living gave me a bottle of wine that he makes himself and a very tasty carbonated apple drink. In turn I gave him a bottle of Beringer to give him a taste of Napa Valley. Hope he likes it. Well tomorrow I will be going to Luzern for the weekend. I am probably not going to bring my laptop so no updates for a while. But there should be lots of pictures and more stuff to talk about when I get back.
This robot makes very small droplets of concentrated protein and precipitant. ( I think. Just kind of guessing from what I saw somebody do with it) and then determines which conditions result in crystallization.





This robot takes pictures of prepared hanging drops. So you can look for crystals from the comfort of your desk.





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Today's Kaffee snack=D

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Work and Play

So I promised more pictures. Here we go.
This is a swiss porto poty. Its so futuristic and sleek.












This is a small snack we had on the hill above Zurich. The chocolate cake was very good and that apple juice is slightly diluted with carbonated water. Tastes kind of like champagne.








Theres a heli pad in front where I work.









This the lab bench next to my desk. There are so many lab tools here! so I didn't have time to take pictures of the whole lab.








Time for kaffee as they say in Switzerland

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Weekend in Zurich

So I spent the weekend in Zurich exploring all the famous shopping districts, Bahnhoffstrasse and Old Town. The shops here were very nice but also very expensive. Also we had the most time to walk around on Sunday when almost everything was closed! The only places that were open on Sunday were the ones underneath the train station. There were still a lot of stores here and also an open air market with a wide variety of Asian offerings. We signed up for a tour of the city for Monday afternoon. Woke up on Monday to do some errands and prepare for my three months here then went on the tour. Drove through many of the places we had walked past but also some of the places we didn't know about. Learned some interesting history and heard some funny stories. For example the city of Zurich used to be surrounded by a wall and it used to not encourage shows of wealth. Then we went on a gondola ride up to this scenic mountain with a great restaurant on it. This restaurant has delicious chocolate cake and sells this carbonated apple drink that tastes like champagne instead of martinelli's. After that we got back on the bus and the bus got on a ferry to take us to the other shore of Lake Zurich. After that we ate dinner at the train station and I got on the train to head back to where I live for work. Pictures and my first day of work later!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I've arrived!

The plane was delayed for a couple hours at JFK but we still got to Zurich pretty early in the morning.

This is mom and dad taking pictures while waiting for our plane's mechanical problem to be fixed.

Went to my hotel in Wurenlingen to drop off my stuff and see PSI.
Then I came back to Zurich and explored the city.
Took some pictures outside my hotel while we were waiting for a ride to the train station. The public transportation here is very efficient and refined but also very expensive. Theres an LCD monitor in every train cabin that tells you what stations are coming up and how long it will take to get there. It also has announcements and fare stuff. Pretty cool.