Saturday, July 12, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
A couple years ago I did a brief consulting assignment through Indiana University, and I just found a ton of photos from that trip that I never shared on Goboogo. I am going to cycle through them over the next few weeks. Guatemala is an incredible country, extremely worthy of a visit and a couple week stay.
One of the coolest parts of my trip to Guate was visiting Lake Atitlan. The lake is located in the Guatemalan highlands and is over a thousand feet deep. It is flanked by 3 volcanos and several Mayan villages.
The lake was once thought to be showcased an angling Guatemalan show piece, so they stocked it with all kinds of non endemic fish, like the Black Bass. Of course, terrible things happened. This little bird went extinct (Atitlan Grebe), and 2/3rds of the lakes endemic fish disappeard. Bummer.
Panajachel is a bigger village on the lake and has decent tourist infrastructure. It was also a popular hippie hangout in the 60's.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Fenway Park (above)
The oldest major league stadium has more character than most. It opened in 1912, and has been packing in fans ever since. The Red Sox have sold out every home game for over 600 games and counting - a major league record. Fenway is a legendary place that every sports fan needs to visit at least once. And since they have won two World Series in the last decade, I do not even need to mention the pesky curse.
Getting there and tickets: Located in Boston, Fenway Park is right off the Mass Turnpike in the heart of the city. Take the green line on the T to Kenmore station to reach the ballpark. Tickets can be purchased here. Since games are always sold out, it is easy to just pick scalp your tickets or grab a pair off of craigslist, ebay, or stubhub.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
As a connoisseur of risk, I have seen my fair share of glory and agony within the walls of lady luck. In Latin America, the casinos feel seedy and desperate, and a shower always seems to be good idea after leaving these smoky dens. Singapore casinos feel simple and clean, as though an army of robots lurks just beyond the curtain, meticulously tending to the unseen cogs that keep the experience running. Macau on an off day feels like the world just ended. Gigantic empty rooms full of smiling Macanese croupiers all enthusiastically welcome you to tables with delicate waves of upturned hands. It is like a creepy dream.
Vegas reminds me of the imitation crab in a California roll. You may know its fake, but you don't care because it is delicious. Likewise, the Vegas pyramid, faux Eiffel Tower, and mini New York skyline are obviously not real, but the kitschy feel speaks to the synthetic appeal of the modern American dream. In Europe, the casinos are ornate old world establishments where you will feel like you forgot your velvet smoking jacket, even if you don't own one.
So where are some of the coolest international places to thrown down on black and let it ride?
Friday, June 20, 2014
Luang Prabang is lush, quaint, and improbable. This magical town of butterflies and baguettes seems to exist on dreamlike terms - an island of civility in the savage jungle of Laos. Sometimes a pinch is justifiable to confirm the reality of it all. The green hills, gorgeous colonial buildings, and kind villagers all combine to form a thriving UNESCO heritage city that is Southeast Asia with the charming vestiges of a distant French occupation.
High in the clouds, Luang Prabang holds many treasures for the travelers willing to make the trip. Aromas from fresh bakeries mingle with the crisp mountain air along quiet streets lined with quaint guesthouses and colorful noodle stands. The easiest route to Luang Prabang is on a flight from Bangkok on Bangkok Airways, though domestic flights from Vientiane near the Thai border are also possible on Lao Airlines. Another popular route is by bus from Vientiane. A Laos visa can be obtained upon arrival and costs $35 for U.S. citizens.
Three days is barely enough time to take in the full experience of Luang Prabang, but if planned correctly, you will have time to ride elephants, swim in waterfalls, and take a lazy trip down the Mekong river.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
While hanging out in Andorra, we paid a visit to the "biggest spa in Europe." It rises out of the Andorran valley like a futuristic robo karst surrounded by quaint chalets and snow flecked mountains. It is the perfect place to escape the cold with mineral rich waters and hot baths. Lots of naked dudes though...
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
With the bustle of a large European metropolis and the detritus of a monumental past, Rome delights with a frenetic pace and antiquities lurking innocuously around each bend in the road. Here, history has been built on top of history for thousands of years. Seeing bankers in candy red Alfa Romeos zipping by millenia old ruins frames the endurance of this old city. Each sediment in time is visible and speaks to the ancient tale of decaying empire and modern function. The past is everywhere. You may be taking a stroll to sample some Trippafor a late lunch and accidentally stumble upon the Pantheon. There is a certain beauty to this unplanned chaos, and the overlapping of ages is historical mayhem at its most charming.
Rome is estimated to have been settled over ten thousand years ago. It has been a destination for a very long time. It is said that all roads once lead to this settlement on theTiber. Thankfully, getting to Rome is inexpensive care of European budget air lines. Easyjetflies to Rome from several European cities such as Paris, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam for under $200 round-trip. Three days is plenty of time to see the highlights of Rome, but budget more time to truly understand this storied destination.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Castles originated in Europe over a thousand years ago. These fortresses were one of the original defense systems, and erecting the structures on hills or just beyond moats was a functional choice. Castles were built to house rulers, impose power, and above all, spurn would be attackers. Conforming to these basic principles of utilitarian design, the strongholds now appear solitary, majestic, and frozen in time. The attackers are long gone, and now a steady stream of camera clutching invaders breach the castles daily, ready to inspect the epic grandeur of the past.
While Europe has hundreds of excellent castles, these ten all have design, character, and history that sets them apart. Some occupy the center of bustling cities, while others lurk in forgotten countrysides. Spanning eight countries across Europe, each of these castles has a story to tell.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
When we walked into Rao's New York, the record did not scratch to a stop as it does in popular metaphor. We would have welcomed such subtly. It was more akin to the entire record player crashing onto the floor in slow motion. We were out of place, and it was blatantly obvious. Here we were, dressed as though we had a small town prom to get to later in the evening. The rest of the room? Bombastic Italians, casually dressed. I saw a tracksuit or two, t-shirts everywhere, and nary a tie in sight.
"The web," I nodded discouragingly to myself, "what a freaking liar."
"The web," I nodded discouragingly to myself, "what a freaking liar."