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Friday, 30 April 2010

Shopping at Cherry Creek

After attending a session of interest in the morning, I decided to go to Cherry Creek Shopping Centre after lunch since there were no other sessions of interest to me in the afternoon. Cherry Creek Shopping Centre has been highly recommended to me by taxi drivers as one of the best shopping places in Denver as it is near to the city and there are 160 shops with some shops only unique to Cherry Creek Shopping Centre. :)

Cherry Creek is indeed a nice place to shop, spacious and it has plenty of shops to appeal to all.

Elegant artwork in the shopping centre

Play area within the shopping centre for restless kids to play and bored fathers to look after kids haha :P

I managed to get the bulk of my shopping done here - for family and friends, spent close to US$300 lol. :P Have to be thrifty for the rest of the trip now. :P

AERA 2010

Today is the first day of the AERA 2010 Conference. It is the biggest education conference and one of the most prestigious conference in USA. It attracts many participants from all over the world. The acceptance rate is low due to the sheer number of submissions so it is really great when you get your submissions accepted. :) This is my first AERA and I am really excited that I will be presenting at a paper session for a paper both my PI and I wrote. :)

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Snow Showers

What a change of the weather! Yesterday was a high of 21C with plenty of sunshine and today, it plummeted down to only a high of 9C! FREEZING COLD!

I was woken up by the cold actually. :P Around 8am Denver time (10pm Singapore time), I started feeling very cold. I took a peek out the window and saw that it was showering. ok but hey, what's those white specks?! Lo and behold, it is snow!! I am witnessing for the very first time in my life, snow showers! :) It was kind of beautiful to watch but very COLD lol. I was out on the balcony (on the 19th floor where I am staying), dressed only in my pj and a jacket, taking photos like crazy. I tried to catch the snow flakes both in my hand and on camera but they melted really fast as they were small. I stuck out my tongue and caught a few snow flakes lol. It was cold haha. I wish my girls were here to see this sight. :)

The Rocky in the distance after the snow showers in the afternoon

It is really cold today due to the snow showers. I didn't venture outdoors until late in the afternoon when my friend, Luis reminded me to register for my AERA Conference pack. By then, the snow showers had stopped. Thank goodness lol. :P Since I was already outdoors to collect conference stuff, I might as well have dinner too. I joined Luis for a quick dinner at Bubba Gump which is the nearest restaurant, right next to the Colorado Convention Centre haha. I ordered a Shrimp Po' Boy (under US$12): French Loaf stuffed with warm Popcorn Shrimp served with fries and coleslaw while my friend, Luis ordered a Baja Shrimp Tacos: Three spicy shrimp tacos. Both dishes looked and tasted delicious. :)

My Shrimp Po' Boy

Luis' Shrimp Tacos

By the time we finished dinner and parted ways, it was close to 7.30pm Denver time (9.30am Singapore time). I walked around the city for a while as my friend went back to prepare for his presentation the next day. Managed to take a few photos before I started to freeze. Time to go home and snuck into bed to keep warm lol.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Denver - City and Rocky Mountain Parks

Making good use of the fantastic weather today (forecast for next few days - rain and low temperature), I joined a guided full day tour of Denver city and its surrounding mountain parks.

The tour started at 8:20am Denver time (10:30pm Singapore time) with only 4 people in the tour. It was a small cosy group and we were able to interact with each other. :) Our guide first brought us round Race Street, a residential area in Cherry Creek to look at the houses there which were built in various time periods from late 1800s to 2010. He also showed us Victorian mansions of "unsinkable Molly Brown" and others as well as the native plants of Colorado. We passed cultural attractions such as Civic Center Park, the gold-domed State Capitol, the United States Mint, the Denver Art Museum, Coors Field Stadium,, City and County Building, Union Station, Invesco Field, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and others. As it was a small group, the guide was able to arrange a few additional extras for us. He brought us to see the stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. The stained glass windows were beautiful in their details and colours. We also toured the State Capitol and went up to the dome! The view from the dome was fantastic. We attended Senate sessions too lol. We were dropped at Cherry Creek Shopping Centre for lunch and to wait for the afternoon part of the tour that started at 1:20pm.

Molly Brown House

Me at Molly Brown House

Catherdral of Immaculate Conception

Colorado State Capitol

Interior View of State Capitol Dome

Interior of State Capitol

Buildings and scenery as seen from the dome of the State Capitol

Senate in session

Denver = 1 mile above sea level

Again, the afternoon tour was a small group of 7 people. We first went to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. The view is spectacular. :) Next, we went to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Grave Site and Museum at Lookout Mountain. We could see the snow-covered caps of Rocky Mountains in the distance that just takes the breath away. We also journeyed up to Bear Creek Canyon, the peaceful home to wildlife, such as elk, deer and buffalo. Somehow the wildlife was hiding from us and we couldn't see any. :( Our tour guide was most nice. He deviated from the usual course and drove us as high up as 10000 ft, hoping for us to catch a glimpse of the wildlife. We finally did! We saw buffaloes and they are huge! We also saw patches of snow on our way up the mountain. :)

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

At Lookout Mountain where Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave is situated

Buffalo Bill Museum

Snow! Patches of snow not melted

More snow!! Care for a snowball? :)

I was dropped off near my accommodation, around 5:30pm. Soon after, my colleague, Luis who arrived in Denver in the afternoon contacted me. We met at Colorado Convention Centre before going for dinner at Rialto Cafe on 16th Street Mall. We both ordered the Oven Roasted Chicken (US13.99): half a roasted chicken with macaroni and cheese. The chicken was really tender and delicious. After dinner, we walked for a while along 16th Street taking some photos before parting ways.

The Blue Bear at Colorado Convention Centre

It has been a long day for me but I really enjoyed myself very much. :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

In Denver!

I am finally in Denver! :) It is still Tuesday 27 April 2010 in Denver, whereas in Singapore, it is already Wednesday 28 April. I will try to put in both times in my blog where possible.

My flight UA804 departed from Terminal 3, Changi Airport at 7:30am, just 20 minutes behind schedule for Narita, Japan. I watched "Up in the Air", how apt haha. :P Lunch was diabetic meal of broiled chicken with herbs and vegetables. Somehow the others' meals look a lot more appetising lol. Time passed pretty quickly and we soon landed at Narita Airport at 1:40pm Singapore time (2:40pm Tokyo time). At 4:45pm Tokyo time, we departed for Seattle on flight UA876. I tried to sleep since it was night time during the 8 hours flight to Seattle. We were served breakfast shortly before landing in Seattle at 8:40am Seattle time.

Lunch (diabetic) on UA804
Breakfast (diabetic) on UA876

We had to clear customs as it is the first point of entry into the US. The queue was really long and it took me over an hour to clear customs. By the time I was done, I had an hour to spare. I had to rush over to the gate for the connecting flight to Denver at 11:20am Seattle time. However, I discovered that the flight to Denver has been delayed until 1:20pm Seattle time. I was actually quite tired and wanted nothing more than to get to Denver as soon as possible! :( No choice, had to find things to do and tried my best not to sleep lol. By 1:40pm Seattle time, we were in the air again. We touched down at 5:10pm Denver time. I collected my luggage and was on my way to my accommodation by 6pm Denver time. I was at my accommodation at 7pm Denver time. I have never been so glad to be somewhere lol. :)

I like my unit which is to be my home for the next 10 days. :) Although tired, I had to go out to King Soopers (a supermarket) to get groceries for my stay in Denver. I think I am going to be alright here. Those of you at home, don't worry about me. Hey, remember I am a seasoned traveller haha. :) Good night, everyone. I am dead beat, need to sleep. :)

The unit from the doorway

The study and dinning area

The kitchen

The bathroom

The bathroom II

The living room

The bedroom

The bedroom from the balcony

The living room from the balcony

The Daniels & Fisher Tower (a landmark) from my balcony

The Rockies in the distance from my balcony

The D & F Tower at night

The city at night