Thursday, November 18, 2010

83 and sunny in Phoenix...

... And I have to work. Boo Hoo!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

95 floors above Chicago

The Signature Lounge on a gorgeous day!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Atlanta!

In downtown atlanta tonight and tomorrow for a fabulous conference...
Always excited to go to this one, best in class... This is a view from my
window. Staying at the Hyatt Place downtown which is... Exactly like any
other hyatt place just bigger... Funny, great view of the Hyatt Regency
(bldg with dome)...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beautiful Santiago!

Sun is finally out but it is cool, maybe 55 degrees. Listening to MSU
spank No Colorado on the radio here in my room thanks to the internet. Go
State!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stranded In Downtown Battle Creek

Amtrak does it again! 1 hour delay due to freight traffic and rail work.
Then the train abruptly stopped outside of Kalamazoo due to a "near miss" -
a trespasser was nearly hit by the train. Legally an inspection required
before continuing.

5 hours later we get to.... Kalamazoo! Then finally a quick jaunt to
Battle Creek only to be delayed 500 yards from the station for another 10
minutes as we were not given permission to stop.
Of course my transfer bus to East Lansing long departed and the next bus
is... in 3 and a half hours! Needless to say the 20 or so kids going to
East Lansing with me are royally pissed for missing the partying that
awaits them.

Me.... I got a refund for the bus portion, took a walk to downtown and
plopped my ass on a barstool at the Arcadia Brewing Company. I'll put my
refund into lunch and a beer as I wait for my bro to pick me up.

If only the Spartan kids down the street at the station knew they were so
close to beer....

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Folsom Prison Blues in Nashville

At a Honky Tonk in Nashville. Playing Johnny Cash and 80's country.

Fun!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A walk in Central Park

Finally it has cooled down in NYC, a great time for a quick lunch walk
through the park. Beautiful weather!

Home in a few hours... NYC was nice but very much looking forward to the
weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ancient Delos... Immense and spectacular!

Very hot under the blinding sun. Takes a half hour by ferry and is the
isle adjacent to Mykonos.

Spectacular, it is an entire city. Many parts sufficiently intact that
you can close your eyes and imagine the ancient Greeks going to the
theatre, watch sport or even shop and live their lives.

At the very end off the beaten path I found a piece of marble etched with
Roman carvings... fascinating as it shows how the site evolved.

The site is completely overrun by weeds and you can walk anywhere, even on
top of the sides of buildings.

My favorite part was seeing the side wall of the stadium and the shops next
to the wall, you could see how people sold food and souvenirs back then.
I also loved walking to the top of the theatre and looking down, you can
totally imagine it filled with people watching plays...

Now on boat ride back to lovely Mykonos town where I will meet with Andrew
and have lunch!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yes, that is a pelican walking through our restaurant...

Mykonos is amazing!

Having a beer in Mykonos... This is the view...

Wow!

Mykonos=€$£

Wow.

So we wake up and go downstairs to breakfast overlooking the stunning beach
and just see even more yachts the size of a small cruise liner. Then on
our way to the beach... By the way where many women are topless... We pass
by a taxi (1 of only 30 on the island) that was a gorgeous silver Mercedes
sedan with black leather interior.

Our hotel is filled with older people, some families but also many 30s
couples... Straight and gay... Very interesting, and lots of money.

About to head back to the hotel to shower, change and head off to Hora to
check it out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mykonos!

First impression .... Wow they have big yachts here!!!

Temple of Demitris in Naxos

Very interesting. This temple is a key in classic Greek architecture as it
was the first clear example of temples made entirely of marble and also
showed exact roof structures. Over time was converted into a church but
remains now are predominantly of the Greek temple.

Hot arid location in central Naxos. Reminds me very much of the
California Gold Country.

Now having lunch in the cute town of Piloti before heading up to the set
community of Apirathos...

Temple of Apollo in Naxos

Right off town center, amazing ruins that are really beautiful at sunset
and lit up at night.

Naxos is a very late starting, late night town. Dinner gets going around
10pm... Shops open until late...

Off to tour the island by car before ferry to Mykonos...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Paros from the ferry...

Next stop Naxos!

Ios from the ferry

Looks beautiful but we're not going. Tons of 20 year olds on our ferry
getting off and tons here @ port waiting to get on. The ferry goes next to
Paros then Naxos (our stop) before going to Mykonos.

I have a feeling the kids are on their way to Mykonos...

Last day in Santorini

On our way to Naxos. Yesterday we drove to Ancient Thira which was a 1000
foot steep drive up a cliff. The ruins were amazing from ancient Greek and
Roman times, but hella windy. At times we thought we would be blown over.

We had lunch in a little resort town with a black sand beach. They sell
water shoes so you can walk on the sand it is so hot, but lots of tourists
still. Very cute path along the beach with predictable beach stores...

Then we drove along the coast to Oia which is so spectacular Andrew kept
calling it "sick"... Stunningly gorgeous and certainly the highlight of the
island. Sweeping hotels going down the cliffs with pools and bars at
random levels, all in the typical white stone. Wow. Spread out are
little stores and cafes. A very hot day in the sun, maybe 90.

We ended up having dinner at a little restaurant at the bottom of the town,
which amazingly enough you can drive to. Fish and incredible views.

Drove back and collapsed in hotel for another 11 hour sleep. Now we sit
in our local cafe having wine and Greek salad overlooking the central
square before we head off to the island of Naxos by ferry. This time
staying in town at a pension... A far cry from the Relais& Chateaux
experience we just had but surely fun...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day sail around Santorini

Amazing day sailing on a boat with 8 others around the island, including a
swim in the hot springs and lunch on board. Took a half hour nap in the
sun aboard. Andrew befriended and translated for an Italian family of 6
adults... So relaxing!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pyrgos, Santorini

What an experience! We arrived from Istanbul around 2.30pm to Santorini
where a bus picked us up and dropped us off at the edge of a little village
and told us "van coming" to take us to our hotel.

As we waited for the van, we saw a man dressed in white coming down the
steep pathway up the hill with a donkey... I made a joke "Andrew, here
comes our van..." and I was right!

He was the porter from the hotel and they have donkeys that pick up your
stuff, then you are escorted up the steep narrow pathways, past charming
white houses, cafes, stores and churches to our hotel which has a
spectacular view of the island!

The photo is a view from our room across the courtyard. It is a suite
built into the rock... Amazing. We walked all around our little town,
which has a castle atop the hill and more winding streets than can be
believed. Dinner at a little cafe at the town square, then coffee and
dessert with the old folk. Such an experience!

Today we take the bus into Fira and explore... That is, after several pool
hours...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Andrew in Greece!

Time for phyllo bread and we haven't even gotten to Santorini yet... All
smiles!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In front of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Amazing place, amazing day just strolling to see the sights. Highlight
was the Hagia Sophia which feels like a middle age castle complete with old
Byzantine art mixed with Muslim art. A great day!

Now back to rest before Turkish body scrub and back massage before
dinner... Off to Santorini tomorrow!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dining in Istanbul... What a view!

Spectacular view from a seafood restaurant on the Bosphorous. Wow!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Spectacular Istanbul

Wow this place is truly photogenic... Water, hills, mosques on every
corner...

View of Istanbul

Wow! Beautiful city from what I see so far... A bit of exploring today...
Meeting room is all set and running so now some down time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another beautiful day in Cologne

High of 90 today... A far cry from a high of 60 last week!!

Meetings all day...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Beautiful day in Zuid-Limburg

In Heerlen having lunch in an outdoor cafe, listening to a jazzy-Sting
style performer who is quite good. Temps in the 80s and lots of shoppers
around...

Today they have an art and architecture celebration in Heerlen and then a
street festival with live music in Ubach over Worms starting at 5pm.

Plan on heading to the hotel, Kasteel Doenrade, after lunch 4ish. Will do
some bike riding tomorrow morning before heading out to Dusseldorf to visit
my friends Monique and Ben, then back to Cologne late Sunday.

Wish Andrew was with me, but otherwise...

Life is great!

-Rhett

Friday, June 25, 2010

Michael Jackson shrine in Cologne

Truly strange.

Strolling Cologne having a kolsch

Just adjacent to the river. The river boats are full of tourists and are
playing 'Centerdold' by the J Geils Band, now Simply Red... Of course!
Weather partly cloudy and maybe 75. Just got a haircut. Finally feeling
better after a week with bronchitis.

Ahhhh... Summer in Germany!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting ready for World Cup in Cologne

Houses all decorated and people with flags and face paint going to the
Deutz 'hood behind the hotel to watch Germany an hour from now. Sadly I am
still sick so likely just to watch from hotel...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

View of Cologne at night

Beautiful views from here!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cologne
I caught a cold on Lufthansa and I've been sick since I arrived - today no better. But I had to get out a bit or I'd go crazy, so I walked across the bridge from the Hyatt to the city. After 2 minutes I realized my camera battery died, weather turned cloudy and cold, so I left myself with doing museums and will do the sightseeing later - other than the obligatory photo and buying souvenirs for friends and family back home (yes, they DO have snowglobes and thimbles here...)
Then... off to the a museum I found about on-line and what a treat! I went to the NS-Dokumentationszentrum der Stadt Koln, which is in the EL-DE Building and was the headquarters of the Gestapo (Nazi state police) from 1935-45. Not only were thousands of people detained and tortured here, but several hundred were executed in the inner courtyard during the last months of the war, particularly foreigners condemned to forced labor.
What I loved was that after the war, the building was turned into municipal use and the downstairs jail and dungeon untouched; when it was rediscovered in the 1970s and subsequently turned into a museum in 1981 they had a largely intact jail. Over 1,800 carvings and writings from prisoners still exist and detail their experiences - difficult. Upstairs is the Cologne Documentation Centre on National Socialism which talked about the rise of Naziism in Cologne and its effects on the population.
I've got some photos of this below; there were 13 cells, each about 4 ft wide by 14 ft long, and housed up to 30 people! The only toilets were a bucket in each cell; they had showers and flush toilets in a general area between two sets of cells.








Photos, Left to Right: Exterior of Gestapo Prison, Cells in the Prison, Preserved carvings in Russian

Friday, June 18, 2010

In Cologne

A partly cloudy day... Weather has definitely chilled down. The view
overlooks the city and the famous cathedral.

Unfortunately I caught a cold on the flight in so recovering...

And here I am in Germany watching the world cup in a beergarden and they
are losing to Serbia 0-1. They are passionately upset...

@ Biergarten in Cologne watching World Cup

Germany vs Serbia

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arrival to Frankfurt Rail Station

Very confusing and I give Lufthansa a 1 out of 10 for explaining where to
go and how to do this. There are 3 train stations at the airport all in
the same area and my rush hour arrival meant long lines and little help.
But... I finally figured it out and will be in Cologne in an hour!
Definitely need a good shower and a cup of coffee...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gold Dispensing Machine at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

Unreal.

Al Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Wow. Truly spectacular. Each chandelier weighs 9 tons and has over 1
million Swarovski crystals.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thoughts on Dubai so far

What I like:
- great infrastructure
- modern conveniences
- very multi cultural
- watching men in their white robes and women in burkhas amongst westerner
style dress
- dates and nuts and kabobs oh my!
- the clear sky at night set across the creek and the Arabian style Park
Hyatt, right out of the movies
- Modern architecture, especially the Burj Khalifa
- sunshine makes me smile and gives me a quick tan

What I don't like:
- other than the Park Hyatt there is very little traditional Arab buildings
- lots of strip malls and mega malls with endless stores like in the US
- you have to drive everywhere, no urban cultural center
- not a lot of Islamic culture so far
- lamb, so mainstream here it is overwhelming
- sunshine is so so damn hot

Look forward to getting out later today to a bazaar and hang amongst the
locals!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Rhett @ Burj Khalifa

The tallest building in the world! I also got a tour of the new Armani
hotel. Very nice but monochromatic. Now having dinner at a restaurant in
a souk which is essentially a mall.