Two Cities: Two Weeks

Wow, so a lot of stuff happened in the past two weeks, so let’s get started!

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Montreal and it was an amazing experience. But first, I had to endure a 10 hour train ride.

Everything about the city was perfect. The people were nice, the sights were breathtaking, and I was relatively comfortable traversing the city since I’ve been to New York City so many times.

I was staying with my friend, who generously allowed me to live with her for a whole week. We’ve been pen pals for the past five years, so it was amazing to finally meet her.

The city has some really interesting quirks, like the architectural headache that is Habitat 67 and getting Costo applications in the subway.

I got to try some delicious food as well…because that’s important!

Like all things in the world, my little adventure had to end at some point. I was extremely depressed to leave such an amazing city. But I will return…some day. More photos can be found on my Instagram: billynguyentm

Almost as soon as I got home, I had to get ready to travel once again. Destination: Metlife Stadium.

It took me nine years, but I finally got to see Coldplay live! It was so awesome seeing your childhood idols right there in the flesh. Aside from the concerts Touch-N-Go put on campus, this was my first legitimate concert ever!

These two things were easily the biggest highlights of my summer. I don’t honestly think anything can top them, but with school just three weeks away, I’m open for anything. Until next week!

Kia Ora!

Summer vacation has finally started for me. Gladly, I am here to tell you all about my travel plans this summer. Currently, I am traveling all over New Zealand and I can not wait to share my experiences with you. So without further ado, pack your bags and follow me to this amazing trip! Kia Ora!!! (A traditional Maori language in New Zealand).

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with the population of 1.4 million, the city comes to life. Surprisingly, Auckland is very diverse. There are many students from places like India, China, Europe, as well as South Africa. These students are actually a part of the three biggest universities in Auckland; which are, Auckland University, Auckland University of Technology, as well as, Embry-Riddle’s New Zealand partner, Massey University. Auckland is very rich on history, food, and art. There are many museums and world class dining experience around the city.

The first place that I want to take you guys is called Viaduct Harbor. Viaduct Harbor is very famous in Auckland because it is known to be the best spot to see the Auckland skyline. Below is a photograph that I took while I was strolling down the harbor. This is perhaps the best view to see the Sky Tower.

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

You can see the that the atmosphere around the harbor is very relaxed. Around the harbor there are many bars and restaurants. Surprisingly, during day time, there are many people reading books and many joggers. In my opinion, Viaduct Harbor is an amazing place to destress.

Auckland is also known to be called The City of Sail. Why? Well, in Viaduct Harbor, there are precisely 2,500 boats. There are many Catamarans and other small vessels. There are many people who are practicing for the America’s Cup in Viaduct Harbor. America’s Cup is a competition that is held every year and it is basically a race of two yachts. Around the harbor, there are private companies who owns and operate a similar yachts that are being used in the America’s Cup and with a sum of fee you can experience the difficulty of the America’s Cup.

Earlier I mentioned about Sky Tower. Sky Tower is the pride and glory of Auckland, it rises from ground to 1,076 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Auckland. Inside the Sky Tower there are two restaurants; Sugar Club and Orbit 360. Fortunately, I had the chance to dine at Sugar Club Fine Dining Experience. I was shocked at the quality of the food. It was an unforgettable experience. There are a lot of varieties of food on their menu; such as, Asian cuisine, French cuisine, as well as, Italian. For myself, I chose a 5 course meal. My favorite dish was the Pan Seared Tuna. I can tell you that the combinations of flavor truly set the bar high for this restaurant. Here are some pictures that I’d like to share with you.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower

 

During my time in Auckland, I stayed in Sofitel Hotel. Sofitel in Auckland is known for many things. However, the location and the view is unbeatable. Sofitel is located in the heart of downtown. There are many restaurants and bars nearby. My favorite would be Restaurant 88. Restaurant 88 is a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in modernization of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Below are some dishes that I ordered. I have to say, the tossed beef was a bowl of explosive spices and flavors.

Tossed beef with papaya salad.

Tossed beef with papaya salad

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

View from Sofitel Hotel

View from Sofitel Hotel

 

Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cup

Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cu

 

 

 

 

 

Since Auckland is a culinary hub. I’d like to take you to a place a little bit outside Downtown Auckland. Outside of Downtown Auckland there are many restaurants, particularly, Ponsenby Center. Ponsenby Center is a small town that has all the restaurants and bars in one street. There are shops like The Chocolate Botique, Argentinian BBQ (El Sizzling Chorizo), and last but not least, Bedford Soda & Liquor. Ponsenby Center is designed like food court in the U.S. However, it is outdoor seating. Ponsenby Center is decorated with many trees and flowers, making it very relaxing to dine and drink there. My girlfriend and I tried a few drinks from Bedford Soda & Liquor. Though it was a bit pricy for a few drinks, we walked away with satisfaction. We ordered the Bedford Summer Cup and The Jamaican Cobbler. Both drinks are full of flavor; a mixture of mints, lime, lemon, peach, and pineapple. Again, what an unforgettable experience.

Finally, for the final chapter of this blog, I want to take you a historical place in Auckland called One Tree Hill. Yes, it is similar to the TV series. One Tree Hill is a monument that was built because in the past there were arguments between the Maori people and the British. Maori people is the native New Zealander. Apparently, before the monument was established, there was one big sacred tree that stood up on the summit of the hill. It was worshiped by Maori people at that time, but the unfortunately, one night the one white settler cut that tree and the Maori people were very upset which caused a war. However, today, it is widely known as a tourist destination. Below are some photos on the summit of the hill. Standing on the summit really gives you the bigger picture of Auckland’s sky line. On the top you can see all 360 degrees view of Auckland.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.

 

One Tree Hill Monument

One Tree Hill Monument

Well, that was it for my first blog. I hope you enjoyed our journey through Auckland city and its surrounding. Stick around for more blogs from me as I head down south to Queenstown and the famous Hobbiton! Until next time lads!

 

First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

See you next time!

See you next time! KIA ORA!

January 13, 2009

Well, hello to everyone out there! It has only been a week since I wrote my last journal but I sure have quite a lot of new things to share. Classes here at Riddle are in full swing and the days seem to be flying by faster and faster. So far, I really enjoy going to my classes, which is more than I can say about any of my previous experiences with school. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I always went to class and tried my best in high school and last semester in college. But I can’t say that I truly taken pleasure in attending most of the courses I have been forced to take. Here at Riddle, it’s different somehow. Even though some of the classes I am taking are pretty generic and specialize upon some boring topic, the professors here are top-notch and really know how to make the course material relevant and practical. For example, my calculus professor is an Aeronautical Engineer, so somehow he always finds a way to relate what he is teaching to aviation. He knows the specific ways how vectors and derivatives and all those fancy terms are used in the real world, which is reassuring to see that the topics aren’t completely pointless. That factor to the education here at Riddle is something that has really stuck out and shown me how this college separates itself from other universities.

In my last journal, I gave you my list of classes but unfortunately, they have changed. At least some of them have. As it turns out, the math classes I took prior to coming to ERAU did not line up with courses in the outline for my major. This was a huge problem because I had already spent two semesters trying to knock out my required maths, but all the money and time I had invested in those classes was going to be overlooked. Luckily, I was able to take to Math Placement Exam which basically evaluates your overall math skills and places you into the correct math class. After taking it, I placed into the math I needed to be in and I got credit for the math I previously took. So in the end, it all worked out. Also, if you read my last journal you will remember me talking about the pains of registering as a transfer student. Because I couldn’t register for my classes until I got to campus, all of the ATC courses were full. But as it turns out, there were several other students in my same predicament. The director of Air Traffic here decided to open up another class of the entry-level ATC class, and I was able to jump into it. Unfortunately, that class was scheduled at the same time as my Aviation Safety class so I was forced to drop Safety this semester.

Here are my classes now:

  • MWF 8:00-9:00 – AT200 – Air Traffic Management I – This class is the basic, entry-level air traffic control class. The professor was a controller for thirty years or so at Washington Center so he definitely knows his stuff. So far, we have only learned about the history of air traffic control in the United States. The topics are a little dull for the time being, but I’m sure the material will liven up soon.
  • MWF 11:45-12:45 – WX301 – Aviation Weather – This is the second class in the Meteorology sequence. To be honest, weather is usually my least favorite subject in all of aviation and I absolutely dreaded WX201. But, so far this class has been pretty interesting. The professor used to be the local weatherman for the news here in Daytona, so that is really neat. Also, this class is held in very state-of-the-art classroom with computer stations at every desk. This allows the students to pull up the professor’s Power Point lectures up at their own desks, rather than having to stare at a huge screen at the front of the room.
  • MWF 4:45-5:45 – PS103 – Technical Physics I – First of all, this class is really easy so far. I took physics in high school so I feel that I have somewhat of a strong background on this subject and that might be why this class has been such a breeze. The professor is an engineer and he is a little off the wall, but a pretty good teacher nonetheless. I feel that I will be pretty successful in this class and I have always liked physics so I am looking forward to what else is to come. There is also a lab for this class that must be taken as a co-requisite that I have Wednesdays from 2:15-3:15.
  • TTH 9:45-11:00 – MA112 – College Math for Aviation II – This is the second mathematics course in a two-part series, obviously following College Math for Aviation I (MA111). It is a technical calculus class, and so far we have just been reviewing what was covered in MA111 for students who did have not taken it but rather have either tested into the class as I did, or transferred to Riddle from other schools and have taken a course equivalent. The professor (Jan Collins) is absolutely hilarious and I would recommend him to everyone who takes MA112. Anyhow, I usually enjoy math classes and this one seems like it should be fun.
  • TTH 11:15-12:30 – BA201 – Principles of Management – I like this class probably the least of all of the classes on my schedule. However, it is necessary so I am trying to stay interested and I keep telling myself that the material isn’t as boring as it seems. This class is just as its title entails, a course teaching the basic skills required to succeed as a manager in the business world. The professor talks non-stop for the entire hour and fifteen minutes and we just sit there and listen, jotting down the important points of her lectures. Hopefully this class will become more interesting as time progresses. There is a group project in this class, so that might bring a little spice to the party.

Campus life here in Daytona has been a blast so far. My dorm mates and I have been doing all kinds of fun stuff. Last week, my Resident Advisor called a meeting for our section of our floor in Doolittle. The point of the meeting was to introduce the new people, a.k.a. myself and one other guy, who introduced himself as, “King Louie,” or that’s what we thought he said at the time. It turns out his name is Kang Luiz, and he is from another country. It was a pretty funny conversation. Anyhow, the other point of the meeting was to sign up for sports to compete in “The Residence Hall Olympics.” This event is a chance for all of the residence halls to compete against each other in different sports. Soccer and basketball were Friday night and football and track were Saturday. I was on our flag football team, in which we took the bronze medal! I was pretty excited. Sunday was spent recovering from running, jumping, catching, and throwing all day Saturday. My roommate and I were both really sore so we both just rested in our room and watched TV.

I have probably eaten Chic-Fil-A everyday last week and this week for lunch. And dinner usually is spent at the buffet over in the Student Village. I bought some cereal and milk so I can have breakfast anytime, too. Overall, the food here is pretty good. Although, because I am so new here and all of my dorm mates are Engineering majors, many days I am stuck eating lunch in the Student Center by myself. I’m sure as time goes by, that will occur less and less. There was a basketball game tonight, so that was a blast! We played Florida Memorial University and we won, but the game was back and forth for its entirety. That made the game that much more exciting, especially when we pulled out a victory.

Well that’s all for now. My mom sent me a special pot for cooking soup in the microwave, so I think I am going to make some ramen noodles in it. It looks like it is getting ready to rain too so I might go sit in the study lounge and do some calculus homework. As I said in my last journal, if anyone out there has any questions about life here at Embry-Riddle, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to answer your questions as best as I can. Later!

Josh