Let’s Get It On, Boston!

For someone who is from a tropical country and who might be currently experiencing the summer heat, the weather in Boston is quite the opposite. It was about 55°F outside when Lorenz and I decided to take a walk towards the Boston Aquarium where we would meet up with people from Schneider Electric, Andrea Franco and Dan DeLuca. We decided to walk along Washington St. and see what we would find there.

We saw that the theater district is quite near the hotel. Just at the intersection near the hotel, the Boston Opera House is located. I was personally fascinated by the architecture of the buildings in the vicinity. I am amazed at how old the structures must be but still there is beauty in it. There are even some restoration works ongoing.

We strolled further towards School St. where the Boston Irish Famine Memorial is located. Just across the street the Old South Meeting House, which is both a Museum and a Historic site, can be found. We were just passing by when we saw that admission today was for free. Since we still had time, we decided to enter the museum and learn some historical events that occurred there and in Boston in general. In memory of the bombing the occurred last year, the admission to the museum was for free, in the hope that people who would visit the site would use it as a reflective environment to think about the past events that took place in Boston.

After the stop at the museum, we passed by a shop called Cakeology. I was mainly attracted by the cute design of the store and the giant panda stuffed toy displayed inside. But we were also starving and decided to grab something to eat. Lorenz got a Pink Lemonade Cupcake while I got a Magic Bar, which is a bar of chocolates, caramel, desiccated coconut and peanuts.

We scurried towards State St. since it was already raining. The stroll in the park kind of walk just wouldn’t do. It was like in a snap of a finger, the weather changed. The winds were really strong and the rain kept pouring. Thank God I brought an umbrella with me! It was also a good thing that the guy from reception area of the hotel was kind enough to lend Lorenz an umbrella. But both our umbrella’s got beaten by the strong winds. If Lorenz and I were lighter in mass, we would have been carried by the wind with our umbrellas and fly like Mary Poppins.

We hurriedly walked towards the Boston Aquarium and decided to eat at a restaurant located near the Aquarium. The place is called The Legal Seafood. Lorenz ordered for some gumbo while I got crab meat cake. After lunch, we were finally able to meet Andrea and Dan.

Andrea planned to take us on a Duck Tour around Boston. But due to the inclement weather, the tours were cancelled for the day. We decided to head to the Museum of Science and spent the afternoon there. The museum had a couple of exhibits like the Hall of Human Life, the displays about computer science and robotics, the theater of electricity, the optics display and many more.

After going around the museum we headed to the North End for dinner at an Italian restaurant. But prior to heading to the restaurant, we walked along Hanover to see the churches and gardens. We also walked around the block and passed by the Paul Revere house. One thing that can be noted also was how the road near the Paul revere house was still made of cobblestone. After going around the area, Andrea took us to a place called Pagliuca’s where we enjoyed some scrumptious food. Lorenz had his fill of clams and other seafood served in a broth with pasta. Dan had roasted veal with potatoes. Andrea had some pasta (ziti) with chicken. I ordered Lobster Fra Diavolo. It was taxing to eat the lobster since it was covered in red sauce and to add to that, it was so big and was served with pasta.

We shared stories and got to know each other a bit over dinner. We discussed with Andrea and Dan our project and also talked about specific contributions in the process of completing the project. We also shared our experiences in Paris.

Although the weather was not in favor to what was originally planned, it turned out to be a great day. We really appreciated the time Andrea and Dan took to accompany us in going about the city. Today was about being immersed in a beautiful city with rich history, having great company in getting around and sharing a great meal at the end of the day.

Smitten by the beauty of Boston,
Alyssa

P.S. More photos can be found on my Facebook page. (Click here)

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Across the Pacific Ocean

For the next couple of blogs, I will be reposting blogs I wrote while on the Go Green in the City Winner’s Trip sponsored by Schneider Electric. There were days when my teammate Lorenz wrote the entries for the official blog site so I will write about those days from my perspective. Here’s the first one from the bunch. Hope you enjoy and please do let me know what you think. 

Lorenz and I were set to fly to Boston but our point of entry was San Francisco. It is interesting how flying all the way to the other side of the pacific shows the interplay of time and space. After being aboard the plane for approximately 11 hours, we finally arrived in San Francisco.  What is interesting though is that after travelling more than 6,000 miles it seemed that we have gone back in time. We left Manila on Tuesday night, April 14 and arrived in San Francisco at around 7 PM, Tuesday, April 14.

We would have loved to check out San Francisco but Boston was already beckoning us from East Coast of the United States. We took another plane ride to Boston (approximately 6 hours). What was cool about the plane ride to Boston was having a female pilot. It was my first time to see and experience riding an aircraft that had a woman as a captain. Coincidentally, it goes along pretty well with the vision of Go Green in the City regarding the participation and role of women in society nowadays.

Once we landed at the Logan International airport and got our luggage, we were picked up by a chauffeur. Schneider Electric prepared all the bookings for us including the car service from the airport to the hotel. It was a short ride from the airport to the hotel. But we managed to get a glimpse of Boston. We can’t wait to explore the city while we are here! Please join us in our adventures as we travel around USA and Denmark through this blog.

All the best,

Alyssa

P.S.

On our way to the hotel, we passed by buildings with flags half-masted. It was the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing that happened last year. Our prayers go out to all who were victims of the bombing.

 

Aichi’s Adventures (and Misadventures) 2013

Inspired by the short video that Krystal made for our Binondo Trip, I wanted to come up with a simple montage of the moments and the people that made 2013 a great year. 😀 Pardon me for the my lack of skill in video and audio editing. I tried to make this in just an hour or two (as part of taking my mind of the MATLAB code I am working on). I also told myself not to post this unless I have a substantial progress for the MATLAB program I was working on.

How about you? How was your 2013?

Disclaimer: If there are events that do not appear in the montage, I may not have the pics on my laptop or the “2013” folder I screened.

The video features the following (in order):

  • New year pics with family
  • Pig out session with Mico and Verlyn
  • Reunion with cousins, Janelle and Ms. Dumaguete (Kaye)
  • World of Fun and lunch with HS friends (Jboy, Lord Louis, Greg, Geo and Benjamin)
  • TEDxADMU with Janiz
  • First Binondo trip with Coleen, Jun, Steve, Romell and Jan
  • Life of Pi movie night in Eastwood with Angela
  • A random shot of me while Sir TJ was discussing about Optics (c/o Carlo)
  • ARSAFEST 2013 with Janiz, Angela and Khalid
  • Golden Times at Shangri-La with Angela
  • DMC Valentines event
  • Theology 151 group project with Angela, Pat, Anika and Lucy
  • Random KFC moment with Benjz and Enzo (I think Angela was the one who took the photo.)
  • Batangas outing with ARSA Batchmates (a.k.a the weekend I decided to somehow give up on TCOM 122 and have a YOLO moment instead)
  • Blue Rose 2013 (Oh hello, China boy!)
  • First day of work in PLDT with Jess and Maeka
  • MVP Olympics Opening
  • Go Green in the City (GGitC) Philippines
  • Birthday treat for Ma’am Reese
  • PLDT Summer Camp Team Building at Camp Explore
  • Close up Summer Solstice with Angela and Jordz
  • Dinner date with Coleen, Dea and Larz
  • Adventures in NLEX with PLDT Student Campers
  • France’s birthday “surprise” (He surprised us with doughnuts.)
  • GGitC – East Asia and Room 804 moments in Jakarta
  • Food trip with Angela, Nicko and Enzo at Ramen Oh
  • Birthday surprise for Angela
  • PLDT Summer Camp Graduation
  • Summer in Dumaguete which includes trips to the beach with family, random moments with the sisters, food trip with family and friends, pig out session with Mico and Verlyn and KTV with Adrian and Mommy A
  • ARSA OrSem 2013: Unleashed
  • Paris adventures during the Schneider Electrics’s GGitC Global Challenge
  • Birthday dinner with Angela in Eastwood
  • Baguio Weekend with Boat 2
  • ADHOC with France, Jojee and Luigi
  • Two-week internship in Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan
  •  Long overdue meet up with childhood friend Kasoy a.k.a Humba
  • Book sale adventure at BGC
  • Dinner in Serendra and trip to Resorts World with mom
  • Random meet up with Aids in SM Aura
  • Late night with ARSA Chorale playing Love Bird :))
  • My Thai, Rue Bourbon Catching fire @ Eastwood with Nath, Anna, Likha and Mykee
  • The Soprano 2 girls with Diana and Patricia
  • Blue Harmonies 2013 with ARSA Chorale ❤
  • Frozen and Christmas vibes in Gateway with Kurt, Kuya Francis, Jojee, Sarah H., Krystal and Aliza
  • Star gazing while Geminids were visible
  • ECE ’14 Christmas Dinner
  • High school mini reunion
  • Christmas 2013 with family in Dumaguete ❤

Along the River Seine

After all the hard work we put into our presentations, Schneider Electric took us to Paris for dinner. Michel Orlhac, SE’s VP for Marketing, acted as our tour guide as we drove along the Champs-Élysées. We were along the Champs-Élysées when I caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.  We also passed by the Arc de Triomphe. But what took my breath away was the sight of the Eiffel Tower as we drove by. Someday, I will be back to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But for now, it shall have to wait.

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Once we got to the docks the riverboat was not there yet. We took the time to get to know more about the other participants and the people from Schneider Electric. We could not mask the excitement that we have while we marvel at the scenic  view.

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The riverboat finally arrived and we found ourselves aboard Le bateau-mouche Capitaine Fracasse. We wined and dined while we cruised along River Seine. The sun sets really late in Paris but when sun did set and the moonlight shone, Paris was simply a breathtaking sight to behold.

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We passed by Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre, Notre Dame and many more interesting architectural structures. But perhaps one interesting thing that I noticed were the young Parisians who were sitting by the river, holding a bottle of beer, enjoying chatting with friends and just having a good time. It must be good to be young and feel young in Paris. One thing I wish I could do is just blend in and get lost at the heart of Paris. But nevertheless, I feel blessed to have been given the chance to cruise along the Seine.

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Les macarons, les fleurs et les les préparations (Macarons, Flowers and the Preparations)

I got to “explore” the neighborhood in Reuil-Malmaison when we walked to and from the Le Hive. On our way back to the hotel after the welcoming event, we walked as a pack. When we got to the point near the metro station, I knew that we would pass by the pâtisserie I saw earlier. I have to admit that I was really looking forward to go inside that pâtisserie and munch on French macarons, tarte Tatin and other pastries. I was really happy that Dongfang, Junduo and Enzo agreed to stop by pâtisserie.
The place is called Boulangerie Deprez-Impala it is located in 2 Avenue Édouard Belin 92500 Rueil-Malmaison, France.  It is just a few steps away from the Rueil-Malmaison RER station. On display
were a variety of pastries , desserts, etc. I ordered a box of macarons. The set cost me around €10.

Fun thing about my experience in buying stuff. I really try to speak even a little French just for them to hear that I am trying. Plus, they know I’m a tourist so they would pardon my wrong grammar and pronunciation. Plus, I had a thing about counting the words/phrases that I spoke in French. So when I bought the box of macarons, I said (at the same time pointing at the macarons): “Un macaron s’il vous plaît.” The woman behind the counter smiled and confirmed if I wanted the whole box. I replied, “Oui.” I paid for the macarons and said “merci beaucoup” when she handed the package. She smiled and said “de rien!” (Success! My basic French skills worked! Hahaha!)
After we all bought what we wanted from the pâtisserie we headed back to the hotel. We  were staying in Novotel which is located in the same avenue. We bumped into our friends from Indonesia, Mita and Adam who were headed to the pâtisserie where we have been. Along the same avenue, we spotted a flower shop. I just couldn’t help but appreciate the beauty of the flowers. We decided to do the most touristy thing – take pictures in front of the flower shop, Fleurs de Reuil. (Side note: One of the pictures taken outside the flower shop was used for a tarpaulin displayed in Cervini Hall and the University dorm  in the Ateneo Residence Halls Complex, where Enzo and I reside.)

After all the touristy stuff, we were finally back in the hotel. I shared the room with Elizaveta Cherkashina while Enzo shared a room with Kirill Abrosimov, both from Team Russia. We all had to prepare for our respective presentations so we decided that Team Russia will work in the girls’ room and Team Philippines will prepare in the other room. While Enzo was soldering parts of our prototype, I was munching on the macarons I bought and also helped in improving the aesthetics of  the prototype. (JSYK, I shared the macarons and did not finish them by myself. ;P ) 

Apparently, the sun sets really late in France. It was already past 10 in the evening yet it seemed like it was still 5 PM in the Philippine setting. Once Enzo was done fixing our prototype, we ran through our presentation. Prior to leaving for France, we had trouble meeting the time limit considering that we had new material added to the stack of slides. It was just a 10-slide presentation, yet we had so much to say that 15 minutes seemed like a really short time. We decided to run through the slides and we were within the  time limit. We ran through it again just to make sure that we were within the specified time limit and we were. We decided to call it a night for us to get some decent sleep. And so as to avoid getting groggy and cranky! >:D So with that, I say: Bonne nuit!


Go Green in the City 2013 – Paris: The Welcoming Event

Go Green in the City Paris kicked off with a welcoming event at Le Hive, Schneider Electric’s Headquarters in France. It was a 5-10 minute stroll from the hotel.  We got to initially meet the other participants from other countries while we walked in a pack towards Le Hive.

The organizers had prepared a short program for us to get to know the other participants, some of the judges and the organizers. They had this human bingo activity as an ice breaker. We had pieces of paper with descriptions that matches participants in the room. So apparently, Team Singapore (Junduo and Dongfang)  and Team Philippines (Enzo and I) got to sign as the people who traveled the longest to get to Paris, more than 20 hours of flight and transits.  Natalia Weber  from Team Brazil perhaps had to sign all sheets of paper for she had the most unique description. Due to some unforeseen circumstances she had to present their project one her own and her partner would be joining her via a video stream. (Woohoo! Girl power!) I found out who had pets, who loved reading books, who spoke a lot of languages, etc. With finger food  and drinks, that was a great way to start the event. 

Here’s our mini debacle, it apparently said in one of the e-mails prior to the event that we have to wear something that says something about our culture (i.e. a traditional attire). My teammate and I both overlooked this part of the e-mail. Although it would have been better if I got to wear a Filipiniana attire and he got to wear a barong Tagalog, we managed to pull off a smart casual outfit accentuated by Philippine flag pins. (What better symbol to use to represent a country than a flag? Hahaha… Excuses!)

Greg Yeutter and Alexa Forney from Team USA had represented USA through their apparel in different ways. Alexa dressed up as someone from the early 1900s. On the other hand, Greg explained that the aviator glasses that he had was the same model that American soldiers had during the World War II. (This earned Greg his instant fame for photo ops .:)) Ashta Sinha from Team Germany wore a dress to represent Germany. Mahefa Manitra and Volahasina Rasendramalala wore clothes that represented Madagascar, their home country. While Team Indonesia, Adam and Mita, wore clothes that bore traditional Indonesian pattern Their clothes were made from batik fabric. Team China also wore traditional Chinese attire. Teams from  India also wore their colorful outfit that I found really pretty! 🙂

                      

But I got to give the Award for Best Attire to Team Poland, Marta Walendzewicz and Tomasz Mądry!
 

But just to give everyone an idea on how we would have looked like if I was in Filipiniana and Enzo was in a barong Tagalog. © 2012  during the Dorm Fiesta and © 2009 During the Awarding for Pambansang Gawad sa Ulirang Kabataan. 

 

Touchdown Paris! (With a mini trip to La Défense)

It was a 13-hour flight to Paris from Guangzhou but I felt ready for whatever was in store for that day. (Yes, that’s how excited I was to be in France!) We landed in Charles de Gaulle Airport. It was a good thing the Schneider Electric already organized transfers from the airport to the hotel in Reuil-Malmaison.

Notes: 

• There is no harm in trying to ask if you feel that you are starting to get lost in the big airport. But where people are headed is generally the exit. 


• Sortie is the French for exit. This comes in handy also when you try to get around the city via the metro train. 

The first bunch of people we got to meet were the team from India (Ujjwala Godavarthi and  Abhishek Mishra) and from China (Yu Wufei). They were apparently on the same flight from Bangalore, India. In our effort to keep track of every moment we took a series of photos using my camera (which I propped up on a tripod) during our ride to the hotel. 

We finally arrived in our hotel, Novotel which was located in  Rueil-Malmaison (somewhere in the suburbs of France but quite near the city central). Since the rooms weren’t ready yet, we just deposited our luggage. We rode the RER A  and headed to La Défense to grab some lunch. 

Tips: 

• Have a map with you or at least now how to read the maps in the stations. 

• When you buy a ticket (billet), it will be obvious that you are a tourist because you are speaking English. But at least try to speak French. They would appreciate it! (Seriously!) Even a “Bonjour!” at the start of the sentence would make a difference.  

• Be polite and say, please (S’il vous plaît!) and thank you (Merci!) . 

La Défense 
La Défense  is a business district located near Paris. It was the nearest place where we could actually buy stuff we needed, have our money changed and grab some lunch. When you get off at La Défense station, you can exit and arrive at a mall called Quatre Temps. 

• If you are looking for a money changer, you wont find any inside Quatre Temps. You have to go our and go to a different building called CNIT. There is a money changer located at the ground floor. 

• If you are looking for electronic stuff like an adapter for your devices, you can also find a store called FNAC inside CNIT. 

Since we had to take the RER again and head back to Rueil-Malmaison, we decided to go back to Quatre Temps. We had our lunch in Quatre Temps at a place called Bla bla bar. I am not kidding the restaurant was really called bla bla :))) I had a seafood sandwhich which I wasn’t able to  finish. The serving was just too big.  After lunch, we headed back to the hotel. 

And oh! I got to take a photo with French guys in their French outfit! 🙂 

Guangzhou: The Stopover before Paris

Our flight to Paris included a stopover in Guangzhou, China which was a 3-hour flight from Manila. On board China Southern Airlines, they actually served dried mangoes for desert. (Yay! A little bit of home before setting foot on a foreign country.)We were originally set to stay in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for only 3 hours. But due to a delay, we had to spend 5-6 hours in Baiyunport.  Allow me to share my experience and tips if ever you drop by Baiyunport.

Things to know about Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

>> Can’t speak Chinese like me? Worry not! The airport staff can speak English. They even wear a badge to indicate that they can speak English. The badge also shows a certain number of stars to indicate how well they can speak in English.

>> They have tablets attached to trolleys which can be a source of entertainment (music videos, trailers, etc.) and information (flight details, boarding gate, map of the airport, current events, news, etc.). Although most of the entertainment were in Chinese, I had fun watching the videos and trailers.  It was also through the tablets that we found out that our flight was delayed. Another good thing about the tablets is that they have USB ports. We used these ports to connect our gadgets and charge them while we were waiting for our flight.

>> NO FREE WI-FI unless you are a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company. This kind of sucked because I wanted to check my e-mail, Facebook, etc. (Tip: An airport staff told us that you can look for a person who is a subscriber of a Chinese telecommunications company and hope that this person is kind enough to share his/her account with you. Multiple devices can be used for one account.)

>> Stores ONLY ACCEPT YUAN. Since we had ample time, we  strolled and checkout the shops. I wanted to buy something but they didn’t accept US dollars. So if ever you do stay for a long time and might need to buy water, a meal or something bring some YUAN with you. 




Nostalgia in Guangzhou

>> The time I dropped by a convenience store and I hear the one of the few Chinese song I knew. Blaring from the store’s speakers was the ” Mei (Beautiful) by Wang Lee Hom. Enzo (my teammate for Go Green in the City) was surprised that I knew the song. I actually listened to Wang Lee Hom’s The 18 Martial Ats album. The songs were featured in his movie “Love in Disguised that I watched more than five times. This instance made me nostalgic. I remember that it was my former roommate, Joey, who actually shared the movie with me. We used to have a couch in S207 and we used to watch movies together in that couch. One of the movies we watched together on that couch was Love in Disguise with Noreen screaming “Ang gwapo niya talaga! (He is so handsome.)” every five minutes or so. 

>> I have mentioned that the tablets had trailers. It actually featured a trailer of You are the Apple of My Eye. This brought back memories of the time I watched the movie in Singapore. You are the Apple of My Eye is a Taiwanese movie that my friends from Hong Kong strongly recommended (and I strongly recommend you watch, too). I got to watch this with my roommate in SG, Gloria Tsang. We went to the Golden village cinemas in Jurong Point near Nanyang Technological University, where I spent a semester in 2011.

Off to Paris


It was a good thing that we were flying out on a late flight because I just had to sleep most of the time. It

was also a good way for me to adapt to the different time zone. (Tip: Midnight flights are usually cheaper.) I was knocked out most of the part of the 13-hour flight to Paris.

For the time I was awake, I was either eating the food that they served or listening to music while also thinking about the slides we have to present. (Yes! I was thinking of ways on how to improve the presentation while on board the plane!) Although I had my own playlist, I didn’t want to drain the battery of my phone because I might need to get in touch with the people from Schneider Electric Paris. So I stuck with the given entertainment on board China Southern Airlines which was not that bad. But I find it weird that Justin Beiber is listed under Western Classics and Super Junior is on the Asian Classics list. But nevertheless, I found a bunch of songs I like and created my own playlist on the entertainment system.
My playlist on board China Souther Airlines (at least those I can remember)
  • All I Ask of you (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Learn to be Lonely (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Angel (Jay Chou)
  • First Kiss (Jay Chou)
  • Father and Son (Jay Chou)
  • Secret (Jay Chou)
  • Les Miserables OST