Rhode Island and Boston

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Sunday June 16th 2002

Foxwoods casino

I am staying now with friends in Rhode Island. Sunday afternoon Walter took me to Foxwoods, a giant casino, the Indians built in Connecticut on their own land. In New Mexico, nearly every Indian reservation has their own casino. The reservations are more or less sovereign states, so the Indians can do what they want there. But compared to Foxwoods, the ones in New Mexico are microscopic. The average casino there would fit entirely into one room at Foxwoods. I haven't been to Las Vegas, but I was told that Foxwoods is big compared to the casinos over there.

Inside, it tries to be everything: shopping mall, restaurants for every taste, clubs, cinemas, theaters, and of course the gambling. Diana Ross and Nathalie Cole are giving concerts there next month. Each of the various plazas seems to have some special decoration with a fountain.

       

It is forbidden to take pictures on the casino floor for privacy reasons. But you can probably all imagine the big halls full of slot machines, a bingo hall with about 2000 seats, and floors full of tables for Black Jack, Baccarat, Poker, Roulette, and lots of other games.

Walter likes to play Carribean Stud Poker and was quite lucky yesterday. Within an hour he won more than $200. When he had gambled enough, he cashed in some of his chips and invited me to dinner in one of the restaurants. We tried the steak house but they didn't have any seats available for the next two hours. We did not want to wait that long and went to the Chinese restaurant instead. The food was excellent.

Monday June 17th 2002

Wickford, Rhode Island

I got a late start yesterday and decided to simply drive down the Rhode Island coast. I ended up on scenic route 1a. The Rhode Island state motto is "The ocean state". You can clearly see why...

       

I stopped in Wickford, a little fishing town with typical New England houses. Walking around, I saw lots of little interesting things. One was a gallery called Studio Zwei, which sounds German.

   

I followed route 1a all the way to the Narragansett pier before heading back for dinner.

Tuesday June 18th 2002

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport in Rhode Island is well known for its Jazz festival, mansions, and sailing. Because it is so nice there, rich and famous people have their summer homes in Newport, and it is always full of tourists, even in winter. Yes, I have been there in winter previously.

I drove through Bellevue Avenue (where all the mansions are) and took the Ocean Drive.

   
   

I stopped in the Fort Adams state park. It has a little marina where you can rent boats. 3 hours for $87. Somebody was rigging a Laser and I saw the latest hitech hardware for these boats. The piece on the mast is brandnew this year and makes trimming the Laser so much easier. Don't leave these on your boat, they are so expensive that people actually steal them.

Wednesday June 19th 2002

Boston

                       
No, I did not go to the Cheers bar. I know where it is, though.

Thursday June 20th 2002

Providence, RI

Last night Karen and Walter took me out for dinner in Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. We went to an Indian restaurant that was rated Best Indian Restaurant in Providence several years in a row. The two had never been there and wanted to take advantage of my knowledge of Indian food while I was visiting.

We ordered various things for starters, which we all shared, three different curries as our main course, and Kingfisher—Indian beer from Bangalore—for drinks. I ordered my curry "as hot as you would make it in India" whereupon the waiter raised an eyebrow and asked in astonishment: "That hot?" I explained that I had been a few times to India and got used to the hot food. We finished the meal with some typical Indian desert.

The bill came with one of those little questionnaires about the quality of the food, the service, etc. The restaurant was the best Indian restaurant I had been to outside of India and we gave them good scores everywhere. The last question was "What can we do to hove you visit us more often?" I could not resist answering that with "Sponsor flights from Germany to Providence or open another restaurant in Aachen."

After the dinner we took a little walk around downtown Providence. We visited a gallery that was still open because of the Gallery Night Art Trolley event, a monthly event where you can visit several galleries in Providence during the evening with a free shuttle bus that brings you from one gallery to the next.

       

An event that I missed was the WaterFire, "Barnaby Evans' award winning fire sculpture installation on the three rivers in downtown Providence". All I could see were the metal sieves in the river that would hold the fires.

I went back to Providence the next day and walked around a little more, taking pictures. The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, pronounced RIZ-dee) was founded 125 years ago. From there I climbed up the hill to Brown University to visit the bookstore. Unfortunately it was closed on that day. But I found another bookstore not too far away that offered a 25% discount on every book in store, so I bought a copy of Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science.

Sunday June 23rd 2002

Update from Amsterdam

I am back in Europe again.

Cool technology today: wireless Internet connection in Schiphol, the Amsterdam airport. I am currently waiting for my connecting flight to Cologne with enough time to try this out. Euro 9.80 for the whole day. Not cheap, but fun if you have to wait long enough. A "normal" internet connection with one of the terminals here costs about the same for one hour.

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Michael Prümm