March 17, 2006

The Del Coronado

The kids are on spring break starting today and all next week. We're going to take a well deserved break from teh routine and head out to the Hotel Del Coronado in sunny San Diego for a few days. Except, I just checked the weather and NOT SO SUNNY! Oh well, the kids will love going to Lego Land, Sea World and Wild Animal Park or Kingdom or whatever they call it. The "Del", as they say, is an amazing place. The hotel sits on the beach on Coronado island just off San Diego. It's 115 years old and has quite a history. It's going to be a great time to kick back and re-charge after a few grueling weeks/months of work. If you're going to be in San Diego next week (Mar 19th - 23rd) drop me a line maybe we can hook up somehow.

March 17, 2006 in Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006

Get on Board the China love train

While on a rather long and exhaustive flight yesterday I got caught up on some reading, some statistics - I love statistics. In the Thursday US Edition of USA Today there was a little stat that should have caught your eye. 200 million Chinese children are learning the English language in school - WOW! Pathetically, only 20,000, that's right, twenty thousand US children are learning Chinese in school. Here are some stats that might have you pull your kid out of Spanish and have them reading Mandarin.

- First and foremost, the population of China is 1.5 billion - 300 million in the US.

- The Chinese economy grew at 9.9 % in 2005. In 2006 it grew 10.1%

- Chinese trade surplus was $109billion in 2005. US runs a $700billion deficit

- China has 111million Internet users, ALREADY!!

- China has 350 million mobile phone users currently. They expect 490million by end of 2006.

If you have a young child, and want them to be successful in business, have them learn Chinese.

January 27, 2006 in Current Affairs, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 08, 2006

Cabo San Lucas vacation was perfect!

Every year about this time, usually a day or two after Christmas, we go down to warm, sunny Cabo San Lucas for a week or so. It's a perfect time to do it, work slows dramatically, it's usually cold or snowy in Denver, and it gives me time to reflect on the past year and get recharged for the coming year. This year was no exception. The kids are getting a bit older now so there are more things to do with them. Dscn0366 Here's Alec and I on the pacific side of the Cabo. We rented a couple of ATVs and had a blast!Rolling through a mountainous national park and descending to the beach on the Pacific side was amazing. Waves were breaking about 20' and the guide let us go wherever we wanted to up and down a 5 mile corridor. Very cool!There were 5 adults that had a child doubling up with them and Christine was solo - wild woman on an ATV!

We did the usual activities, adults out to great dinners a few of the nights (Edith's, Poncho's, LaDolce) which were all fabulous. Of course too much tequila and an overdose of fish tacos, guacamole and Queso Fundido are now being paid for through a new healthy eating regimen.Dscn0360_1  The kids always love going to MiCasa but the service is starting to wane given their new expansion. Here's the crew out one night (I think it was at MiCasas) and yup, that's a margarita in front of me. One evening we took an amazing sunset cruise around the tip of the Baja. I'd highly recommend doing that. We did New Years eve at Cabo Wabo - which was a blast. Golf was fantastic at the Desert and Ocean courses in Cabo Del Sol. The hammock at the beach under the palm tress called my name a few times allowing me the occasional nap and the opportunity to read "The Search" by John Battelle and "City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt. Both great books however I'd high recommend The Search if you're a tech guy or involved in a start up. It chronicles Googles rise to stardom along with all the twists and turns. So now it's back to life, back to reality (which I like just as much as my fantasy vacation). If you're planning to go to Cabo get a hold of me. I'd be more than happy to give you some recommendations. I've been going for the past 10 years or so now and know the landscape pretty well.

January 8, 2006 in Biographical, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

They Walk On The Left, Too

One of the things I've committed myself to, is to be more cognizant of the world around me. I've grown to understand, it's not about me, but rather everyone else that has their own particular reality of things.

I'm in London right now on business, I've been in the UK probably a dozen times or so over the years, some for extended periods of time, rarely taking the time to enjoy or see the sights or observe the culture. Typically I have blinders on and just get accomplished what I had intended to accomplish and get back to the states. This time isn't different except for the fact I did take some time and "notice" the environment around me. A few observations;

- They (Londoners) not only drive on the left side of the road, they walk on the left side of a sidewalk. I started cracking up as I noticed I walk on the right side of a sidewalk (as most Americans do) and pass on the right. I found myself "swimming up stream".

- They (Londoners) walk everywhere, even more than you would walk in NY. That's why they are all thin. It's either that or the food.

- The train system is amazing, no revelation there, but I did notice that you could actually understand what the automated attendant was saying when you came upon the next stop on the train or tube. Try understanding what station you're coming upon in NY. Yo!

- They (Londoners) talk a lot and it always sounds cool. Maybe it's the accent, but I noticed their command of the English language. Every word means something. Smashing!

- There aren't ANY garbage cans around for obvious reasons, BUT there isn't any garbage on the ground. hmmmm.

In the words of my brother in law Mark, of the infamous Bottini brothers,  "welcome to my world". Those words ring true when you get out of your own little world.

November 16, 2005 in Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

Why RSS Works - St Barts

I spent some time this week with a very large on-line travel company talking about RSS. They're developing their RSS strategy and asked us to talk with them given the topic and applications are so broad within the travel industry. During the conversation, we started talking about specific use cases. I shared a recent experience I had in planning a vacation to the Caribbean, St Barts. I had heard a lot about St Barts via some friends and via Conde Naste magazine, but I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to information about travel destinations given I'm a bit particular to when it comes to vacation spots. I let them know that I went to Google and got a lot of information from web sites with "canned photos" and stories published by their PR people as to how great each hotel, restaurants, etc was. Of course most of the content was the establishments trying to sell themselves. I then went to a couple of chat rooms and bulletin boards which I found useless - again, most run by companies trying to sell you something. I then told them how I just simply set up a search feed (NewsGator Smart Feed) for the key work St Barts and was continually updated from people blogging about St Barts - people sharing their personal experiences, likes, dislikes, etc. Real information from real people, hmmmm. Through NewsGator I was able to review posts (article)from months ago as well as be updated as soon as a new post came in. Bingo, all the information I wanted, from real people, at my finger tips - the good, bad, and ugly. Pretty easy from there. Needless to say, the travel company we were talking to instantly got it. Sure, they're going to try to sell you something, but by personalizing the experience, it puts the power into your hands, not the hands of 3 star hotels trying to market themselves as something they're not. Of course this is just a small example of the power of RSS. BTW, if you're looking for a first class experience on St Barts, the Eden Rock at St Barts is the way to go!

November 12, 2005 in Business, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2005

It's a "Severe Clear" day

Ya gotta love Colorado, this morning when driving to work the weather forecaster mentioned that there was a "severe clear" warning. Translation; the air was so free of any particulate, the sun was so bright, the air so crisp that you should wear sunglasses and be careful driving. And he was serious about it! I love this time of year, mornings, afternoons, evenings - absolutely perfect.

September 15, 2005 in Biographical, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 07, 2005

Running in Central Park

I've been in NY the last couple of days on business. This morning I got up early and took a run through Central Park as I continue on my quest for my "Fall Get Healthy Plan". Some random thoughts I had while running;

- What a perfect day, sun shining, low humidity, beautiful!

- Gorgeous park, the city planners had amazing foresight in planning to dedicate this much space on a small island.

- Man. there's a lot of people that run early in NY. And most all of them are in great shape.

- Yowsa!

- 5 Miles is a long way to run, but it's so beautiful outside I forget all about how long it takes

- All this in the middle of the craziness of Manhattan. Unbelievable.

- The pavement is hard, it's starting to get hot, my legs are hurting, I need new running shoes (mine are 3 years old although they don't have a ton of miles on them)

- ah, done.

September 7, 2005 in Biographical, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

I Love NY

...I just don't want to live there anymore. Over the 4th of July I was back east for a family reunion. My family is pretty large 30 or so, given the good Catholics that we are :-). Anyway, I had a blast, it was great to catch up with my bothers and sisters, my nieces and nephews, my mom - and believe it or not, the weather was perfect! Typically this time of year you get 90/90 weather, 90 degrees F with 90% humidity. Not this time, it was low 80s with low humidity.

We ate a lot (all Italians do that when they get together), we drank a lot (all Irish do that when they get together), we laughed, got competitive (bocce ball, crockett, golf) and just hung out. Went to the local 4th of July parade, went to a cookout at my mothers Country Club and saw fireworks, ate at the Culinary Institute of America, took the train into the city (I grew up in the Hudson Valley about 60 miles north of NY). I get back to NY a half dozen times a year for business and once or so a year for a family get together. What stuck me most this time around were the people. Most every person I came in contact with was genuine! I don't use that term lightly. New Yorkers get a bad rap for what some people call their "in your face" type of communication, but what the rest of the world is experiencing are people being genuine, its real. It's the good with the bad, the happy with the sad, the love with the anger - it's NY. New Yorkers have a way of actually saying/expressing what others are thinking, or are afraid to say - that's why I love them. For business it's great, it's a quick "yes", or a "no, that sucks, I'm doing business with the other guy"! In relationships it's very revealing, "nice shirt", "where did you get that, it looks terrible", "honey you need to change your hair style", "I'm pissed off at you", "I love you".

Another thing that struck me, listening to some of my brothers/sisters talk about their friends, their acquaintances just cracked me up. Some nicknames; Tommy "Guns", "Lefty" (lost his arm in a car accident), "Big Ears" (easy one), "Geep", "Marco", "SanDooch", "Sack", "Stugats", Joey "peperoni" (makes pizza), "mot" (a dyslexic friend of mine). Everybody has a nickname, young or old, it's like a badge of honor.

There are a number of things I love about NY, the people are top of my list, the energy, the food, the ethnicity, the attitude and oh yea - the Yankees. Where else are you going to find characters like Donald Trump, or George Stienbrenner, or Rudi Giuliani. In Des Moines Iowa?? There are also some things I can't stand about NY, the weather, the taxes, the stress, the environment - but hey, that's why I live in Colorado.

I've now spent 1/2 my life in NY and 1/2 my life in Colorado, I've learned that there there positives and negatives to most everything in life. But the people in NY, they're kind of special to me.

July 19, 2005 in Biographical, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | TrackBack

April 30, 2005

aahhh St Barts - The Perfect Vacation

Christine and I took one of the most incredible vacations ever. We celebrated our 10th anniversary by going to the French West Indies - St Barts. It was great on a number of different levels. First and foremost I "checked out" of anything work related for a solid 8 days - the first time I've ever done this - and initially very hard to do so. One of the reasons we went to St Barts was that I knew it would be hard to communicate from there. It's pretty isolated - although I did find an occasion or two to browse through my email to see if there was anything urgent.

After a 5 hr flight from Chicago to St Martin we hopped on a 8 passenger puddle jumper over to St Barts. The runway is small, really small, and it ends on a white sandy beach just in case. After arriving we were picked up and driven to the Eden Rock resort which only has 20 or so suites. Ours was right on the ocean overlooking an adjacent beach. If you're going to St Barts and want to go first class there's really only three places to stay, Eden Rock, Hotel Carl Gustaf and the Guihanna Spa. Other than that there are huge villas that dot the landscape throughout the island to rent. There are a number of stars that live there on and off. Dave Letterman has a place there.

The island is idyllic. White, white fine sand beaches, clear blue water and quaint little villages around the island with the best restaurants in the world. The food is mostly french, and very expensive, but truly amazing. That was the hardest part - picking the restaurant for the evening. We were about 2 miles from the Gustavia port - the main town on the island. Loaded with mega yachts and some of the best high end shopping in the world. The island is 2 miles by about 10 miles long with about 6,000 permannet residents.

The vacationers were mostly European so that made the beaches even more enjoyable :-). About a 100 yards or so down the beach was one of our favorite local hangouts - Nikki Beach. It was a restaurant/bar with literally beds with canopies on the beach. About 3:00pm every day yachts would pull into our harbor and guests would be shuttled to and from in a dingy where they would hang out drinking champagne/wine, eating sushi to all hours of the night - what a scene.

We spent most days on the beach, under a tree with attendants running around to suit or every need - did some snorkeling, explored a bit, did a lot of reading, took a lot of naps. Like I said - perfect.

If you're looking for a high end vacation, without the crowds, small and quaint, great service, great food, great beaches, not a lot of nightlife (but just enough) - I'd highly recommend St Barts and the Eden Rock.

Oh yea, funny thing. We ran into a 3 other couples from Denver who had rented a large sailboat and were sailing the islands. They pulled into our harbor/cove area one night and low and behold - one of the couples was Kristi Kalizinsky and Eric Lamar who I worked with while I was with Qwest. Small world!

April 30, 2005 in Biographical, Travel, Weblogs | Permalink | TrackBack