Friday, July 25, 2008

Amstel Light

Although I have more than 200 channels on my TV (compared to 30 in the Netherlands, of which 8 were sort of interesting), I do not really watch it a lot. The long commercial breaks are getting annoying and living in the city (with amazing weather) is way too exciting for that! However, when I'm cooking or cleaning my apartment, I usually have a sportsgame on in the background. And the following commercial always shows up, which makes me feel really proud!

By the way - try to order an Amstel ´Light´ in Amsterdam, and people will laugh at you. What´s up with all the light beers? Give me a regular Heineken please!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some random news

- Last Friday (July 18) was the premiere of the new Batman movie: The Dark Night. In the US, this comes along with a hype around the country: many places showed the movie several times during the night between Thursday and Friday. I got the chance to see this movie last Saturday, on an iMax screen in Tropicana in Atlantic City (after a hot, but nice day at the beach). The movie is amazing! And I left the casino with an extra $100. Welcome to the good life!

- I bought a bike! I use this (very non-American) to bike in the city:


Bikes are used for entertainment, they are used in mountains and parks. Biking in the city is pretty hard because there are only a few bike paths and many drivers don't really look out for bikes...

- During the third heat wave of the year, the ING DIRECT soccer team are in the playoffs this week. Tonight, we won the first playoff game! The next game is this Thursday already.

The next picture of Philadelphia was made by my friend Chris, who came to visit me in June. It was taken from the airplane. Click on the picture for a larger version!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Phillies firework show

Last week gave me the opportunity to watch the American sport, baseball, from two different views. Thursday, a employee outing brought me to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a baseball team that plays in a small stadium in Wilmington (DE). This is the only professional sports team in the state of Delaware! It was fun to visit with a group of people.

But on Friday, it got a lot bigger: the Phillies had to play against the Arizona Diamondbacks , with fireworks after the game (no one could tell me the reason for the fireworks, but that doesn't really matter). After 12 innings, the Phillies were finally able to win the game. This is a typical rule of American sports: the game goes on until there is a winner. That is also the reason why soccer is not very popular - although it is upcoming - it can be a tie after 90 minutes! Thank god, the Philly Phanatic entertained us during the breaks.

The fireworks afterwards were amazing - definitely worth the wait! See the pictures & video's below.





Saturday, July 12, 2008

It´s those small things...

Being back in the States for over a week, not much seems to be different. Life goes on, in the Netherlands and in the US. However, it´s those small things that make you realize that you are in the country of opportunities. Example?

In August, ING DIRECT organizes the 'Orange Days of Giving': employees can use one day to do voluntary work. Everyone gets a t-shirt at the beginning of this day. Can everyone please give the size of their t-shirt?


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independence Day & Atlantic City

After a long week of ´vacation´ in the Netherlands, I returned to the US last week. Just in time to celebrate Independence Day!

Americans celebrate their independence on the fourth of July, because on that day in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Congres. This made the United States officially independent of Great Brittain. It is a holiday in the US, and people celebrate it with family BBQ's and fireworks! This year it fell on a Friday, which made many people leave the city for a long weekend. So the city was a little quiet, but also a lot of fun! On Friday, my collague Mark came to the city with his friends. Around 3:00 pm the bars start to get busy and at 10:00 pm, there are fireworks behind the Art Museum. After that, the party goes on all night!

On Saturday, a girlfriend took me to Atlantic City where here aunt has a beach condo. The entire apartment complex came together for a BBQ! Arriving there was impressive: the American flag was all over the place and a lot of thing were colored red-blue-white. Two large picknick tables were filled with food, and some people were dressed perfectly for the event. The hospitality was amazing - the only rule: don't leave hungry!! After the BBQ, everyone started dancing on the parking lot on a weird combination of Italian Opera music & 70s American music. I think that was a little too crazy for us, and since we had a lot of food, it was time for a walk on the beach towards the casino's.

Many people warned me: Atlantic City is nice, but if you have been to Vegas, it's nothing compared to that. They were wrong! Atlantic City is also amazing, although not as big as Vegas, the casino's directly on the beach are very impressive and the atmosphere is great. You can drink a corona on the (always busy) boardwalk, walk into a casino, and take a walk on the beach afterwards.

Here are the pictures of the Independence Day weekend!