The Super Bowl XLVII or as here known as unofficial American holiday/super Sunday

There is an estimate that:

Over 160 million people will watch the game,

30 seconds advert during the game will cost 4 million Dollars,

400 millions litters of beer will be drunk and 10million kilograms of crisps will be eaten

1 billion will be eaten chicken wings and 7 million of US employees that will not come to work on Monday

And I am somewhere between these numbers….

Super Ball is an America football game and this year will be played between Baltimore Raven and San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, Louisiana.

49ers are in favourite to win and I kind of want them to win as I love San Francisco, but on the other hand Baltimore Ravens have Michael Oher.  I’m sure everyone who saw “The Blind Side” knows what I’m talking about….

I have to be honest, I have no idea about American football, it took me years to understand a game which I call football and here known and soccer.  The game here resembles more rugby than football, but like I said …no idea. I’m very much looking forward to see Alicia Keys performing National Anthem and Beyonce putting up a show during the half time .Not to mention the competition for the special adverts created only for that one, particular time …Should I be concerned that these might be a bit shallow reasons? Well sometimes you just need to say it!

5.45 pm EST, the kick of is at 6.30pm, I guess I need to order a pizza now and hope it will be delivered before the game is done. The streets are getting quieter now every news station comments about the game and I can almost feel all that excitement and anticipation in every American home. My house, well the TV is on I’m waiting, second laundry load –somewhere between washing and drying,  ironing board already out…I’m  trying to prioritise the agenda for the next week: work, dentist, vet and monthly shopping. Looks like regular super Sunday to me…


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Sandy, part 1

21.30, I sit in the kitchen and wait. Hurricane Sandy  is raging outside the windows. It’s raining horizontally, but I feel that the water doesn’t hit the ground. At this time the wind reaches speed of up to 60km per hour and is expected to increase over night, when Sandy will be passing South East Virginia. Sandy is the name for both a girls and a boys. I think this time it’s a woman, because women can be so unpleasant at times. (personal experience).  At night  the wind is expected to reach speed of up to 120 kilometers per hour….WIND! And it’s only a category 1 hurricane …. We are expecting more rain,  floods,  possibly a zero electricity, so freezer full of food won’t work, no cable TV, no Internet, end of the world  (joke). In fact, I have mixed feelings about this , maybe because it is my first time .. (another joke).

Of course some preparations have been made: batteries, flashlights, candles, 10L of water in big bottles plus two 24 packs, cans, and my small storage space under the stairs is waiting in case of emergency. We do not evacuate at the moment, as there is no need for now, but this is very reassuring given that the street in front of the house is slowly turning into a creek. American people move very often because of several reasons; work, family, so it is not important to them how the houses/apartments are build and this can be one of the reasons why my house seems to make very strange noises during wind storms, hurricanes, etc. In the hurricane time and read here, NOW … this is a different story. The house is shaking with  each wind blast, which sounds like a freight train that’s coming with a very high speed -literally!

I turned on the weather program and the news  indicates that Sandy will collide with two other weather fronts which will, as it is here called create a “PERFECT STORM” that will bring snow in West Virginia and New Jersey.

I turned on the weather program and the news indicate that Sandy will collide with two other weather fronts which will, as it is here called create a “PERFECT STORM” that will bring snow in West Virginia and New Jersey. Perfect Storm – reminded me of the movie, with George Clooney, incidentally in the Atlantic during hurricane Grace, three fronts- little input, because my imagination runs wild at the moment.
OK. Time for a glass of wine … to be continued.

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My Sunday newspaper, delivered at 5.30 in the morning, in a plastic bag, dropped on the front yard.

36 pieces, most of them are adverts, book of weekly coupons worth about $140, although I don’t recognise any of the products. Next we’ve got: magazine, living, market place, daily break, career connection, beacon etc and all for $2.

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Going to a pharmacy in US is not an easy process, particularly if you need to pick up your medicine in the hospital pharmacy. After your appointment with the doctor you go to the pharmacy (usually located on the lower floor), take a ticket and wait…wait and wait…

What happened to just go, get you prescription get the medicine and walk out…

If you lucky and brought your book with you- 20 minutes is not so bad, but if you weren’t proactive… well good luck to you….unless you enjoy pretending that you’re not looking at the people next to you, or moreover you think you will get the clock go faster just by looking at it, and by the way; no point checking your phone yet again…nobody called!

The pharmacy itself is from out of space…15 windows/counters, big screen to inform you the B497 is being served. A, B, and E…don’t ask me what happened to C and D?  I guess who ever invented to number system, thought why not give people something to think about while they wait (forever).

My number is up: “Now serving B528 at window 9”

The lady in the window (with a face –I don’t really care!-) checks my ID, takes this very unsexy, plastic, orange bottle and magic starts….This “monster” aka sorting machine sits in the middle of the room, makes lots of noise, and as I can see my tablets are popping out of dispenser right into the bottle, followed by a label with my name and instructions. I hear, yet again:”Any allergies?”, “This is how you store your medications” Blah, blah, blah. Does anyone ever follow these instructions?

Just please give me my medicine now….


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New York- we did it our way

Cars: 1(mine)

Hours:  7h 11min

Km: 519

Ferry Crossing: 1 (85min)

Bridges: 5(excluding Chesapeake)

People: 4 (total number of years 110)

Tool charge: $27.50 (including Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel)

Petrol: $237/262L

Coffees: 3, 5 cups+ Starbucks Frappucino

Suitcases: 3(+ countless amounts of plastic bags with sandwiches, sweets, drinks etc.)

GPS: 1 (not working properly anyway)

Maps: 4 (just in case, to avoid any arguments)

That’s how much it took us to get to New York Staten Island.

We started our journey in Virginia at 5.45 am, driving in my Chevy, which runs deep (inside joke) and we drove through 5 states in total: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York and we arrived on Staten Island located only 8 km from lower Manhattan. I was little bit disappointed driving through Maryland and Delaware as you can only see corn fields, potato fields, and occasional house close to the busy road and the only way you know you are a different state is that the cars registrations suddenly change. We’ve decided to cross the Delaware Bay on the ferry as this gave us a break from driving all the hours. Well, big boat, nothing fancy, lots of people. When we got to New Jersey, the view outside the window has changed…it was forest for miles! (Ha-ha), but as we got closer to the Staten Island the traffic became heavy, and I knew I am not far away. When we crossed the bridge to the island everything changed, it was like driving in a little suburbia with beautiful houses with even more beautiful front yards and people walking their dogs. When we arrived in our hotel we literately dumped our bags in our room and decided to catch a ferry to see Manhattan.  We took Staten Island Ferry that passes Statue of Liberty, a colossal woman sculpture given to Americans from people of France. The statue is an icon of freedom and it was a welcoming signal to all the immigrants arriving from other countries.

I got a little bit excited, I mean how many times do you get to go to New York, the city that never sleeps, the city where dreams are made of, the city that makes you feel like you are one in a million….in the streets of New York….If you can make it here you can make it anywhere, that’s what they say…

We had 3 days in NYC. The shopping was the must!, of course with some of the shops “window shopping” only …one day …We went nuts in Century 21 and got some serious bargains. After few hours of spending money, it was time to actually see the city and the best way to see it was from above. We‘ve decided to go to the “Top of the Rock”. The Rockefeller Centre provides much better view of the Central Park and you don’t have to queue for 3 hours! as oppose to Empire State Building, and you get great photo of the famous sky scraper itself.

Next on the list were:

Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge was open to the public in 1883 and now more than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge each day.

Central Park, provides a wonderful break to all New Yorkers during the day, that seeking a place to rest and recharge their “batteries”. At night, famous for its crimes, would not be a place that you would want to go and visit.

Grand Central Station, unfortunately without the cast of Madagascar, yet as impressive as in the film with 44 platforms and 67 train tracks.

City Hall where Carrie married Big. It had to be done.

Time Square full of lights, as a symbol of “The Crossroads of the world”, known for its New Year celebrations.

Public Library- not today and not tomorrow- the day after tomorrow.

Nothing can compare to this amazing city that is famous for being a film scenes, the constant noise of ambulance and fire engine. Rich and poor, good and bad, and we were amongst them…..


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It’s official now. I can proudly call myself a volunteer at SPSA Virginia Beach and I got my T-shirt too! I have been here now 4 months and I can’t believe it took me that long to move my “behind” and sign in to the program!

I am absolutely amazed how many Americans belong to non- profit organisations and volunteer their services and dedicate their free time to such organisations. In 2010 a study found that American nation was the fifth most willing to donate time and money in the world at 55%. Volunteer work is also a very frequent obligation when one breaks the law to help give back to the community instead of jail for lower scale crimes.

VBSPCA, Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is an organisation that doesn’t receive any federal, state, or city funding. It is mostly volunteer-run organisation. They rely on the public’s generosity for the support. They also have fundraising events throughout the year. When people bring their pets to the shelter, because they can’t, or simply don’t want to carry for them anymore, they are asked to make contribution for the animals’ care. Amazingly, only 30 percent do so, isn’t that sad…

I’ll have my kennel training next week and hopefully I will be good to go.

I don’t want any reward for my volunteering, but I hope some of you who will read this post locate an establishment that will suit you and find some time (anything) to help them out. Believe me this, will be the best reward you will ever get.

Go and visit your nearest animal shelter, find one you like, spend some time playing with the animal, and fill out an adoption application. They’ll check things like whether your wife and kids want an animal, whether your current pets are up to date on their vaccines, and whether your landlord allows you to have pets. This usually takes no more than a day. Plus, most shelters will spay or neuter all animals before they leave the building, so you may have to wait an extra day or two before your new baby can come home. It’s a terrific deal financially, plus you’re saving a life!

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4th of July!

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day, July 4th. The tradition had to be continued in American style i.e. hot dogs and fireworks. What a night!!

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A day in North Carolina

Last Sunday we went for lunch to Knotts Island in North Carolina. I have the ambition to visit all US states, but I’m not sure how should I count this. Will the day matter or does it have to be overnight stay?

Anyway we found one and the only one “restaurant” on the island, and (not) surprisingly we had fish for lunch. We looked foreign, we felt foreign and even the “locals” talk to us and told us we looked like we were not from here/there. The island has 4000 residents so I guess everybody knows everyone.

Nevertheless, it was a nice way to spend a day…

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What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Sin City, the city that never sleeps…

Two weeks ago I was lucky to spend 5 days in Las Vegas Nevada, nothing like you’ve ever seen before. The only place where you can go from New York to Paris in 10 minutes!!!  I stayed in the Mirage, hotel located on the Las Vegas strip with 3044 rooms and total gaming is located on 9023 square meters.  And this is not the biggest hotel in town.  The hotel has a French Polynesia theme and there is a fabulous island right in the middle of the hotel with waterfalls and palm trees. There is a fake volcano in the front of the hotel that explodes every hour on the hour every night from 20.00 till midnight.   I walked the Strip up and down, day and night and the place looks completely different during the day then during the night. Still very busy with lots of people, but somehow different.  The lights the music…

During these few days I was lucky to be able to gamble in a few casinos. I managed to win on the slots machines in Mandalay Bay, New York New York and Golden Nugget. I also played roulette in Mirage and this was fun, and I won $ 68…Not much, but considering it was my first time, I guess it was not too bad.

I also went to see the Grand Canyon. I flew with “Maverick” to South Rim and we had a lunch in Grand Canyon. It was an amazing experience, so peaceful and quiet. The Canyon is 466 km long and up 29km wide. This and Great Wall of China are the only two wonders that you can see from the space without any telescope. The research proves that this is almost 2 billion years of geological history has been exposed as the Colorado River is running through the rock, shaping it at the same time. We were lucky as well to see the Canyon from the top as we took the Helicopter flight.  The Canyon is actually located in Arizona so I was lucky to tick another state.

It was a shame to leave Vegas, but I’m very much looking forward to another adventure……

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Flight Norfolk Las Vegas. We are flying to Las Vegas via Atlanta.

5.15 – Boarding, last as the economy has no privileges, besides cheap flight tickets, well, not that cheap.

5.25 – I found the seat: 32D at the back of the plane, I prefer to sit at the back.

5.30 – Here it comes: seat belt demonstration, oxygen mask, emergency exits, etc. I have flown so many times now, I’m bored watching it, but I suppose I should be grateful they are trying to eased off the horror we all will go through when something will happen in the air…OK, lets  continue without too much drama.

I love flying!!!

5.40– Take off from Norfolk International (hardly)

5.45 – In the sky, it’s raining, but after the climb I can see the sun rising above the horizon

5.50 – Still climbing, seat belt sign on, but the stewardess welcomes us aboard again, again and again…no smoking, no electronic devices on at this time. It’s funny how they always say that phones, laptops and other equipments always interfere with aircraft navigation system , yet on DELTA you can pay for Internet and  you it as much as you want. Mind you $7 for 1 ½ flight is a rip off if you ask me.

5.59 – Seat belt sign still on, lots of noise, the engine is right behind us, but at least I have a window seat. Well, this matter has been solved long time ago..I always have window seat, if assigned.

6.00 – Seat belt sign off, and everyone needs to go to the toilet….Unfortunately is partly clouded so the view down is not that great, but the colours on the sky make it all up.

6.21 – Is shaking.

6.03 – They’ve started to serve the drink, all the way up in the front. I hope I’ll get my coffee, before the landing. That’s the beauty of a morning flight, you need to get up before you go to sleep properly and I need coffee!

6.05 – Time for Sudoku from the DELTA magazine. Let’s start with the easier option..Where is my coffee, the flight is half empty.

6.16 – Coffee!!! No, not yet.

6.20 – Now, and a biscuit, sorry a cookie with a cute logo of DELTA Airline.

6.25 – harder option Sudoku attempt.

6.27 – Looks like the girl behind me is on the mission to ruin my flight, as she’s constantly kicking my chair. I always find these people. Is it time to lower my seat, just to freak her out?

6.30 – With the respect to all the America people, your coffee is shit. I know I’m on the plane and I shouldn’t really expect skinny, double shoot, extra foam, Starbucks mocacino, but come on this is bad .

6.32 – Descending…and more kicking…

6.34 – Discussion about High Mile club, I don’t think so, not in America, and for sure not in the economy!

6.37 – I should have asked for an orange juice.

6.40 – Rubbish collection, oh please take that cup away from me.

6.42 – Captain is speaking, apparently he appreciates that I got up early today to fly with DELTA. Well, I didn’t actually have any choice; next flight with connection to Vegas was late in the evening and twice as much. I’m not sure if he really cares. Just fly Captain and get me safe to Atlanta.

6.45 – Nature calls, ups, too late. Seat belt sign ON, landing in 20 minutes.

6.46 – Time to put my stuff away. I messed up the Sudoku. Both. I blame the coffee.

6.48 – The aircraft always makes strange noises while descending and no we are turning. I hate that part, the pressure is always hard to cope and going through a thick cloud doesn’t help.

6.50 – Landing shortly announcement. Another state, Georgia, just for an hour, should I get a fridge magnet?

6.55 – Please, no more turns. Wow, this cloud ahead looks like an iceberg. Don’t hit it too hard….white, nothing else, smoke, cloud, layer, whatever, just white and bumpy and white..

6.58 – Steward strapped in the seat opposite, wheels out, flaps down, more noise, spectacular view of the air coming through the wings, huge airport on- the right.

7.00 – Hit the ground, breaking very hard now. Good landing? Someone told me once, any none emergency landing is a good landing. Good landing. Welcome to Atlanta, Georgia, the busiest airport in the world. We’ll see how you can handle the flight connection.

7.04 – Looks like the Tropical Storm Alberto is here. It’s very cloudy and it’s about to rain. No worries, 36*C in Vegas.

7.05 – Waiting for the gate to be free.

7.07 – Cabin crew cross check. Seat belt sign off and everyone is up in the hurry, like we‘ve got no more patience in us anymore..

7.11– Anyway we are here now, leaving the plane, I guess I should stop writing.

8.25 – After short break and not so tasteful breakfast in Atlanta, we are now in the queue waiting to take off to Las Vegas. The flight is 3hours and 58 minutes, that’s like from London to Istanbul, but this is the same country. It can be quite overwhelming when you think about the scale of this place.

8.35 – Moving slowly.

8.40 – In the air again, it’s very cloudy here and we are turning again and again.

8.45 – I just got “invited” to join Sky Mile Club, sounded like High Mile Club….The stewardess just told us to sit back and relax. I can’t, I’m going to Vegas!

8.46 – Window seat (of course), 36D. This number is greater than in the previous plane and yet I’m in the middle of the aircraft. This “beast” is much bigger and full. I guess everyone wants to experience this fantastic Vegas adventure.

8.55 – I’m trying to get the entertainment system going, but I forgot my headset, so lets have a look at the flight map. We are currently above Birmingham, Alabama.

Altitude 10364m                Time at origin 8.55            Time at destination 5.55  Head wind 56km/h

Temperature outside -44*C             Speed ground 817km/h

8.59 – Captain speaking-turbulences ahead, seat belt sign will remain ON for now. By the way, why is it so sold in the plane??

9.07 – There are some good films on the offer, bloody headsets, or should I say lack of them.

9.10 – According to the flight map we are approaching Mississippi state, maybe I’ll be able to see the river.

9.15 – Aircraft on the right, heading the same direction but on much lower altitude. Oh, and something just went under our plane.

9.16 – Update: 9 minutes to cross Mississippi river and we should be out of turbulence zone. Really? Well, please hurry!

9.20 – There must be too many people going to the toilet as the seat belt ON announcement is being played too often.

9.22 – Now I know why!

9.29 – And there it is, the almighty Mississippi River (so much for the 9 minutes). It looks so small and very winding. Wait; spoken too soon, now I can see it, it’s massive. Wow, very impressive.


9.35 – I missed the moment when the seat belt sign went OFF. Doesn’t matter, I keep mine on most of the time anyway.

9.37 – We are now officially in Arkansas and finally 11000 m above the ground.

9.39 – looks like no food and no drinks on this flight unless you pay. I guess they think if you’ve got enough money to spend in Vegas, than you’ve got enough money to pay for your drinks on the flight DELTA 2203. I can still see the legs of the river behind us in the distance. Amazing!

9.42 – I need to go and ask for a blanket or something.

9.55 – Mission accomplished. It’s not so glamorous at the back of the aircraft in economy where the cabin crew prepares their trolleys to go and serve/here sell drinks. Hardly any space, food is plastic and artificial and so expensive. Not like Pan Am.

9.56 – Somehow I “lost” my window seat because one wants to go to sleep. Now I have the aisle seat. Just need to watch where I put my elbow so no one will hit it.

10.00 – Welcome to Oklahoma.

10.05 – Looks like the drinks are complimentary after all. I can see the trolley heading my way.   What should I get? I have no hopes for the coffee, so I guess coke will do….Where are we?

10.13 – Still cold, even with the blanket, time to destination 2:22 h, trolley lady is getting closer. I’m actually stunt; this cabin crew is on average 50 years old. Fascinating. What a fantastic opportunity for the older generation to be able to work. Well done DELTA!

10.17 – She’s here. Mind my elbow!  Coke please. NO, NO ICE!

10.24 – I’ve got my laptop now, without the Internet, just writing. Maybe on the way back from Vegas, after my Jackpot I’ll be able to afford it…

10.33 – Leaving Oklahoma and entering Texas. -52*C outside, no wonder is so freaking cold! Passing Amarillo on the left and Miami on the right, yes Miami, Texas. We are flying over the northern part of Texas, if you look at the map it looks like it’s a chimney.

10.44 – Distance travelled so far 1622 km, ground speed 715 km/h, a head wind 143km/h, time to destination 2.02h. Circle shaped fields on Texas, wonder why?

10.55 – In New Mexico…still America, one of the states. You can see the Spanish influence here, as all the city names sound very Latino, Las Cruces, Chico, Bueyeros, Buena vista.   Interestingly it is a square state, almost like someone put the ruler and drew straight lines.

10.57 – Complimentary coffee comes along, well, not on it’s on…either way…No, thank you!

11.06 – Everyone seems to be fed up now, you can see it, people are stretching, walking around the aircraft, the services has stopped now, I guess the crew needs a break too.

11.11 – Approaching Rocky Mountains, I remember learning about it in primary school, trying to visualise  the scale, the height, the power and here I am …not in my wildest dreams, not really. I have to be honest it’s quite overwhelming.

11.20 – If I get ill because of this temperature I’m gonna sue the airline.

11.23 – Attempt to play solitaire, I’m going to skip the Sudoku this time.

11.30 – Another complimentary drink, this time water, with ice, they must be joking?!

11.32 – frozen feet 2, broken nails 1, time for a little walk to the back of the aircraft, if you know what I mean.

11.44 – Looks like we left the high Rocky Mountains behind and now, it’s just a low sandy hills with some strange water reservoirs in between. There is a straight road in between the hills. I bet they do some chemical/nuclear testing, like you can see in the films.

11.46 – Leaving New Mexico and entering Arizona, and I can see it, the mountain dessert changed its colour to red. The rock formations are incredible. It reminds me a little bit of the Rose Valley in Cappadocia. I hope we will be able to see the Grand Canyon from the sky.

11.50 – Descending, time to destination 1 hour. Am I the only one who’s excited about this view outside?

11.55 – Outside red rocky desert, one road,  pretty much straight, quick update, ahead of schedule, clear sky, temperature around 30*C. I guess captain’s got everybody’s attention as people are trying to look out of the window. Well, it’s too little too late.

11.59 –Next seat passenger is counting his Dollars, I guess he’s excited to lose all of his money in the Casinos.

12.04 – Altitude 9144m above the earth, temperature outside -39*C, it’s getting warmer, if you can say that

12.08 – Grand Canyon!

12.15 – Speechless!

12.22 – Always, always ask for a window seat when you fly. It’s a pain when you need to go to the toilet, but at some point you will see your “Grand Canyon”

12.15 – I’ll be back here in 3 days in the helicopter (hopefully).

12.22 – Turning, almost 90 degrees. Outside 4*C, time to destinations 8 minutes, distance travelled   3000km.

12.35 – we are in Nevada, passing Lake Mead on the right.

12.36 – Flaps are down, wheels are out.

12.37 – I missed the Hoover Dam on the other side.

12.40 – Attempt to take a photo of Las Vegas from the sky.

12.41 – Landed, people are clapping.

12.42 – Local time 9.42, time to adjust mu watch. Time to destination 0 minutes.

Time at the origin 12.44           Time at the destination 9.44

12.45/9.45 – VIVA LAS VEGAS

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