Thursday, May 16, 2013

This Guy

Saw this guy today
He was going very fast
It was so awesome

A Helsinki fashion show

Kristin and I stumbled upon a Helsinki fashion show along the Esplande.  There were locals participating and a few people even almost fell.  One of the non-models looked kind of drunk and always came out to a roaring crowd - so much lost in translation, but a delightful afternoon.  The gear is the same Western type stuff we are used to, but Helsinki seems to have a lot going on.  In the past two weekdays, we have stumbled upon a couple concerts and a fashion show.  Anyways - super random, enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Helsinki battle of jet lag, 2013

We arrived in Helsinki at about 1:00pm after a long night of flying from DFW to Toronto to Frankfurt to Helsinki.  It was never as brutal as it sounds, but pretzels in DFW and Frankfurt helped to keep us going.  When we arrived, Kristin fell asleep almost immediately.  She will likely wake up at midnight, hungry and confused.

I have a system where I do not sleep until it gets dark.  This works great in Asia because arrivals are generally late afternoon to late evening.  Europe is tougher with AM arrivals.  I try to walk around a lot and stay outside.  It tricks my body into complying.  But about waiting for sunset...

Dawn to Dawn - A new adventure begins

Rare is the odyssey that begins with a credit card declination.  Rarer still is the shabby beginning we experienced at the closest thing to a starting line that is readily conceivable in the mind for our journey, this day,  2013 year of our lord.

It was not early, we were not in any way overconfident or with excessive zeal of any kind, but we were caught flat footed in one of the most deplorable and embarrassing schemes ever to begin an odyssey.  I will just get right to it.  My primary debit card was declined.  At Auntie Anne's.  For the an $8 purchase of pretzels.  To make matters even more proletariat, we had not only declined the upsell additions of nacho cheese and honey mustard condiments, but demanded the free Heinz Mustard packet before our journey came to an unflattering end just as it began.  We looked like a pair of bozo pretzel amateurs.  Our North African pretzel attendant sneered at us from behind her flour specked smock.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Eiffel Storm

The most photographed structure in the world as photographed by me.  Most travelers pass through the Eiffel Tower at some point in their life.  I took this photo to give the impression that a road could literally pass through the tower, through to a storm on the other side.

Lover's Bridge - Love Locks Paris

In Paris, there is a bridge over the Seine where lovers attach a lock with their marks - initials, a date, or a quote.  After locking onto the bridge, the keys are heaved into the Seine. After a few months, when the locks have completely filled a panel, the panel holding the locks is removed and wood is affixed in place of the panel, until the new panel arrives days later.  Here we have a missing panel with some graffiti scrawled across the wood placeholder.  Soon this will be replaced with a new iron panel, and people will fill it up with locks again.

But a question, where do the locks go after they are removed?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cloud Kingdom

Higher than Italy and surrounded by it, San Marino is a kingdom above the clouds.  31,000 strong represent the world's oldest republic.  How did it earn this designation? This happens when you build your country on top of a mountain and have an army with world class crossbow proficiency.

We earned San Marino after a butt clenching commute from Bologna. We ate six course meals and trekked its three towers.  I spent hours trying trying to get the perfect shot in the rain at the top of San Marino in the darkness amongst the clouds, and returned when I had misgivings about the shots that I got.  It is that kind of place, small enough to strain for perfection.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boos in Paris with a long bearded bonus furmonster

Here we are in front of the gigantic metallic Asparagus.  We had a beautiful day in Paris.  I want to share all 700 pictures that I took, but with this internet connection, it would take 2100 minutes.

Here we have a long bearded Furmonster of the day - Jensen's wiser smaller and more affable cousin

Reflecting on a dark night at the Louvre

Monday, March 4, 2013

Puppies in boxes and supercars in Miami

We are now in Paris some 35 hours after our journey began. Adrenaline depleted, going to bed, but earlier today, when we were on South Beach for lunch, we saw a box full of puppies.

 We also saw supercars...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sunset in the Bahamas

 Ah, the obligatory sunset photo.  Everyone likes them.  Everybody does them. Never gets old.

Kristin and I hit the Bahamas for a weekend last June.  We grabbed a pizza and ate it while the sun went lights out on us, reflecting off the glistening sand.  Perfect dinner.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cloud City - Beijing has really polluted air

My wife and I argue all the time about where to raise kids.  I think Asia or Europe would be fantastic, and she totally disagrees.  One of my really smart buddies, who lived as an expat in Asia for some time, shared with me his reasoning on raising a family in Asia.  He basically felt that you want to give your kids the best opportunity to grow and thrive, and with certain external factors being unacceptable, they may not have as much developmental success.  In short, water and air pollution can have terrible effects on a child's development.  he recently moved back to the United States after starting a family.  It definitely got me thinking, and while Zurich still sounds awesome, maybe Shanghai not so much.  It made me realize that if I do have kids, then we will not live in any of the Chinese mega-cities - especially not Beijing.  Whoa, look at the graph.

What this chart is saying, basically, is that the air quality in Beijing is considerably worse than in a smoking room in a U.S. airport.  Have you ever been in a smoking room?  They are top notch depressing and make you smell like an ashtray for hours.  Even when I smoked, I would usually pass on those dens of reekdom.  Picture a bar that still lets people smoke, multiply the stench by 50, industrialize any sort of ambiance into the core function of smoking, and add glass windows so that outsiders can quietly judge on their way to catch a flight for Orlando.  That IS a smoking lounge.  And, Beijing's air quality is worse than that.  This has massive health implications for pretty much every person in Beijing, from pregnant mothers to kids to the elderly.  How do you fix something like this?  Is it the systemic reality of growing too much too fast too soon?

The other effect of this pollution is these surreal pictures (below and after break), which the folks over at Kotaku likened to Cloud City: