O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave?

Happy belayed Fourth of July!

Its been over a week since my last blog post and some funny and very typical “me” stories occurred in between. Last Thursday, a friend of mine and I faced the whole extend of America’s “No alcohol under 21” rule. After Germany’s defeat in the eurocup, we were on our way to Central Park, hoping that sun, a good book and music might cheer us up. On our way there we discussed the game in a mixture of German and English when, suddenly, a group of five people in front of us turned around and asked “Sorry, but are you Americans?” in English. When we told them that we were from Germany, they started smiling and continued in German. “Great, us too. We are from Munich”. Its interesting how meeting people from your country when being abroad can change your attitude towards them. You automatically feel strongly connected to them even though you usually don’t care a lot about your nationality. But because we did not only share a common language but also a common sportive defeat, we decided to all hang out together on sheep’s meadow, a huge lawn in Central Park. After some time of just lying there, enjoying both sun and company, an old man comes up to us, pulling a trolly.

  “Buy something!”, he threatened us in an almost not understandable Arabic accent. “Sorry?”, we replied. “You buy something! I give good price. Not tell anyone. I got everything. Corona, Bud Light, everything!”, he repeated over and over again. Because of his strong accent it took us a good five minutes to understand that he wanted to sell us BEER. Without carding us. In the middle of Central Park. In the United States! Having the national heritage that we…have… everyone but me bought a beer and hid the bottle in socks to not show off the label. All of this turned into quite an awesome afternoon and when the sun went down, the five Germans invited us to join them later. “It’s our last night in the US before we fly back to Munich tomorrow. We were thinking about going to a bar later tonight. We’ll give you a call so that we can meet up.” When we reminded them that we were not 21 yet and thus not able to order anything alcoholic, they just shrugged and said “Use your passports. Usually that works, because the Americans get confused with all the dates. Always worked for us!”

Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly fine with not going out every weekend. I can do three months without both alcohol and partying. And yet there we were, desperate about going out here at least once.

When they called us it was almost midnight. They were far down south in Manhattan and we figured it would take us a while to get down there, especially since the subways don’t run all too frequent after midnight. Still we went. After half an hour waiting in an almost abandoned subway station, we finally got into a sub. I let my friend figure out directions- mistake. He made us get off the sub two stops too early. So, back into the station. Waiting for another 20 minutes for the next subway. Getting off at the right stop. Calling the Germans. They give us directions to the pub they are in. We head off. We walk. And walk. And walk. Through completely abandoned streets, dark alleys, rats (literally!) scamper in front of us…you know…stuff like that. We walk for over an hour, criss-cross through a neighborhood we have no idea of in terms of safety. FINALLY, we manage to find them in some random pub at some random corner AND….get carded. Not 21? Sorry, you are not allowed to stay in here! Wait…what? Since when can’t you even order a glass of water in a pub? Oh, tough luck, no minors in bars after midnight! After long negotiating, she at least agrees on letting us stay with the others, who had already ordered a barrel of beer for the table…only that now they had to exclude us since the bartenders were all watching us carefully. Yeah, well…that did not go as planned. It was still nice to chat with them, we exchanged Facebook contacts and might visit them for Oktoberfest.

The weekend was less of events and more of the chilling, we went to the beach hehehe, this time without hardcore sunburn:

 That was quite a fun day 🙂

Then, this past Wednesday, it was the Fourth of July- the American Independence Day. Jess and I, being the awesome organizers that we are, had our entire day planned out:

First Stop- Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Second Stop- Central Park Zoo:

Third Stop- Macy’s Fireworks….and thats when the stress started:
Websites online advised us to be there around 2pm, even though the fireworks started only at 9.30pm. Weather forecasts predicted 50% chance of rain and storms. Neither were right. We had 95°F heat (approx 35°C), unmerciful sunshine and thus pitiless heat. We did not think of bringing sunglasses or sunblock or enough water or something to kill time with us. People were not there at 3pm, which was when we came. Yet, the police advised us to safe us a spot NOW.

Ou

 Naturally, our mood turned quite grumpy the longer we waited.
Around 5.30pm, some more people finally came. By then, we had figured something to kill time with: HANGMAN! Good old childhood games…
The later it got the more people joined.

And finally:
HAPPY INDPENDENCE DAY!!!!

The firework was quite spectacular (also check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJA9OQZuOp4) but if I ever did it again, I would have to be better prepared. Something to drink would be nice. A blanket too…

The mass of people leaving the side afterwards was just crazy…and that was just a small percentage!!

When we came back, Jess and I were tired, dirty, dusty, sweaty, exhausted…sorry for being so detailed here. We were just really not really nice to look at and only the thought of a shower kept us going. The aftermath was notable though: the next day we were still tired and felt like after a week of finals. BUT now we can at least say that we did it 😀

This weekend we’ll try to go and check out some museums- MoMA, Museum of Natural History and Ellis Island are on our list! The weekend after, we will go to Washington D.C. for a night and the weekend after that one, we will be in Indiana to visit Jessi’s family. So, I will see a lot of things and will (probably, seeing that its me) have a lot more stories to tell 🙂

Keep it cool!

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