Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can We Turn The AC On Please?

All this time I thought that Hong Kong and Hawaii were the hot humid centrals of the world. Little did I know that the East Coast is just as unbearably warm, if not more!

Mr.Miranda and I had a discussion about the weather here earlier today before all of our travels. We discussed about how only about 5% of the Earth's surface is blessed with a Mediterranean Climate. My goodness, I appreciate the weather so much more now back home. For a Cali-grown boy this blast of humidity was an experience that I did not want t
o experience. However besides the weather the day was still jam-packed with discovery and adventure on every corner.

Our day started out with a nice awakening by some construction work going on outside
of Tom and I's room. We got washed up quickly, got dressed and headed down to the usual meeting place for the group, the lobby. We exchanged greetings, discussed the plans for today, and hopped into the cab to go towards our first destination, 30th Street Station.

The Train Station was a grand place, large columns, enormous central room and many restaurants for the hungry traveler.

After grabbing a bite to eat, we boarded our train and started our hour long journey to the legendary and prestigious, Princeton University. It seems like everywhere we've been lately has been reminding me more and more of my beloved childhood TV show, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Carlton's love of Princeton, and Will Smith's hometown being Philadelphia itself.

We arrived at the Princeton Junction around noon, and got onto yet another taxi cab to the famed lunch spot, "Hoagie Haven." I recall Mr.Ramsey going into a local store and asking a girl about Hoagie Haven and whether or not it was a good eat. Well judging by the way her face lit up at the mere name of the eatery we were in for a real treat. She did not disappoint.

After our delicious lunch, we continued on our journey to Princeton. We followed a rather large group out of a hallway, through some stairs and out a door to a nice wide open area in front of Frist Hall. There we met our tour guide, Bruce. Bruce is a rising junior at Princeton who was studying a wide multitude of subjects at Princeton. He said that he embodied all of the things that you could study at Princeton, and after listening to his informative speeches I believed him because of just how knowledgeable he was about the campus and many of its facilities.

We moved onto the informational section of the tour, and there listened to a lengthy speech given by one of the Assistant Deans of Admission. He basically gave us the same spiel that most men of his position would. He discussed the student life, the academic side of Princeton, entrance requirements, and the way things ran around there. What really stood out to me was the fact that Bruce, the Assistant Dean of Admissions, and later our dinner guest Bill all said how great of a tightly knit community Princeton was. That there were no exclusive clubs at Princeton, everyone was extremely friendly, and that you weren't just a Princetonian for 4 years, you were a Princetonian throughout the rest of your life. That sense of comfort and community especially stood out to me mainly because the UC system back home doesn't really have that strong of a bond that the schools over on the East have.

With the Princeton tour and information session out of the way, we made our way back to the Sheraton to gear up for another session of fine dining at the suave Le Bec-Fin. Our guest of honor tonight was a Princeton alumnus from the class of 2006, his name was Bill Mongan and I am very pleased to say that he was a great person to talk to about Princeton. What I loved about him was just how enthusiastic he was about Princeton. It made me feel like Princeton was paradise on Earth, and that he just held a genuine love for his school and everything about it. Bill also gave us a lot of input from his unique perspective. Bill was the first person that we talked to who was a student athlete. What I also appreciated about Bill was when I asked him about how Princeton deals with incoming freshmen who have no clue where they want to go in life. He gave me an account of himself going through Princeton, how he had no idea what he wanted to do but the classes he took helped him grasp his passion. He loved his freshmen english lit class so much that he wanted to major in it, and he's ended up going to law school at UPENN.

Tonight's dinner was perhaps the best dinner that I've attended with the ILC thus far. There are 2 key reasons for that, 1) The company was great. I felt extremely comfortable chit-chatting with everyone at the table and hearing everyones inputs. Bill was a really cool guy and he was very easy to get along with and to talk to. Maybe part of this was that we all delved into the world of sports for a little bit and that's when it really started to feel a lot more intimate and personal. 2) The food. Le Bec-Fin claims to be a French restaurant, and I would say that they are masters at their craft. Almost all of my food was delicious. The crab cakes were lightly fried to give it a nice crispiness without over doing it, the halibut had an odd mixture of earthy tastes, and the wagyu beef was simply amazing. Ever since I've heard of the different level of beefs, I've always wanted to taste the best, and tonight I got to do just that. The beef was served with a sauce that I can't remember the name of, some fried potatoes, and a really tangy, sour aioli. At the end of the whole meal one of the waiters pulled up to our table with a cart full of deserts of all sorts. All the way from chocolate cakes, to hazelnut cakes, and cheesecakes. I myself grabbed a piece of a chocolate specialty cake, the hazelnut cake, a frozen souffle, and a slice of cheesecake. All were delicious.

As the night came to a close we said farewell and thank you to Bill, got into our respective taxis and headed home for the night. I can end my blog with some closing thoughts about my day. Princeton was a great school, the campus was one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen. The architecture was just so different from any west coast campus (mainly because of the earthquakes on the west coast bricks wouldn't be practical) and the lush greenery captured my heart. Princeton holds many wonders for those who are accepted into its gates, from eating clubs to great social events planned by the student government, to 300 more extracurriculars. I give my thanks out to Bruce our tour guide and Bill our alumnus guest for providing us with a nice insight into what goes on at Princeton. With one final closing remark, although the heat may be brutal it's definitely worth enduring it to see the sights that the east has to offer. I have no regrets.

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