Vacations

A Long Weekend in Istanbul

A Long Weekend in Istanbul

The next time you go to Istanbul, you have to stay at the Neorion  Hotel. It’s currently ranked #1 on Trip Advisor, and it deserves the ranking. The ratings are not necessarily for the hotel’s appearance or its location (both are very good), but for the service of the staff. This hotel goes above and [...]


3-Day Safari at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

3-Day Safari at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

I’m going to post this now without text in case I don’t get to it before we fly home to the USA. I will post text asap. We saw pretty much every animal in southern Africa, except for leopards. We got amazing close to everything. Some of these photos do benefit from my telephoto lens, [...]


Stellenbosch to Port Elizabeth: 3 Days on the Garden Route

Stellenbosch to Port Elizabeth: 3 Days on the Garden Route

When we went to South Africa, in my mind we were always going for the animals and probably the wine. I never thought I would be so impressed by the general landscape of the country. The scenery changed in an almost chameleon-like fashion. One minute you’d be driving along in dry scrub bush territory, but [...]


A Day in the Stellenbosch Wine Country

A Day in the Stellenbosch Wine Country

I’m going to keep this post deliberately short. You don’t want to sit at your computer and listen to me talk about drinking wine… Not because it would be boring, or because it wouldn’t do the experience justice… but because it simply isn’t fair. Stellenbosch is absolutely gorgeous and you’re just surrounded by amazing wineries. [...]


At the Top and the Tip of the World in Cape Town

At the Top and the Tip of the World in Cape Town

We were very excited to get to Cape Town, but apparently Cape Town wasn’t quite ready for us. Due to an unfortunate oversight, Beth’s plane ticket wasn’t issued with her full name. When we landed in Johannesburg and tried to check-in for our connecting flight to Cape Town, the staff at South African Airlines didn’t [...]


A Visit to Victoria Falls

A Visit to Victoria Falls

Beth here. When we initially decided to visit South Africa, Vic wanted to stay in South Africa and see many different parts of that country. I, on the other hand, felt that I would rather skip part of South Africa in favor of a visit to Victoria Falls. I’ve been to Niagara Falls a couple [...]


A Couple Days in Zimbabwe

A Couple Days in Zimbabwe

After our short safari at Chobe National Park, Beth and I departed for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We weren’t really sure what to expect. As you may already know, Zimbabwe no longer has its own currency and has a long history of political corruption and human rights abuses. From 2003-2009, Zimbabwe experienced a period of [...]


On Safari at Chobe National Park

On Safari at Chobe National Park

In and Out of Jo’Burg Though we did fly into South Africa, it was only to enjoy a long, early morning layover in the Johannesburg Airport. We were pleasantly surprised to see the flight from Abu Dhabi to Jo’Burg was practically empty so we could spread out and stretch out. We had so much space, [...]


Elephants, Big Buddhas and Mummified Monks, Oh My!

Elephants, Big Buddhas and Mummified Monks, Oh My!

Beth and I did do a bit more in Thailand than relax at the spa and read by the pool. We did in fact manage to get out and see the island. We started with elephant trekking near a waterfall. It was a neat experience, but definitely a bit tourist trappy. We weren’t really “trekking” [...]


A Taste of Heaven (and Hell) in Ko Samui

A Taste of Heaven (and Hell) in Ko Samui

…Don’t worry, the hell comment in the title has nothing negatively to do with the hotel. It’s about my interactions with fire in association with out stay there. Beth and I returned from India with the soccer team on January 24th. We got home at about 2am. We went to sleep, got up the next [...]


The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s instantly recognizable structures. Built as a mausoleum for the wife of one of India’s Mughal kings, it is a true wonder of the world and an eternal symbol of the love between two people. It’s not a place I necessarily thought I would visit, but one cannot [...]


Eid in Italy

Eid in Italy

Beth and I were supposed to go to Egypt this year along with two groups of students from NYU Abu dhabi and their professors. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing instability there, we had to cancel the trip. With little time left to plan a vacation we needed to come up with a quick alternative plan. [...]


Missed It By That Much!…in Bali

Missed It By That Much!...in Bali

I recently wrote an email to a friend about our trip to Bali, and I realized that the story is probably worth sharing with a wider audience. Let me preface this by saying that Bali was fantastic — we had an amazing time. It was so restful and relaxing, and we were very fortunate to [...]


Bali, Part 3: Ubud and the Monkey Forest

Bali, Part 3: Ubud and the Monkey Forest

After leaving Zen Resort, we traveled back towards the center of Bali for our last two nights in Ubud. We were lucky enough to stay at Villa Semana when we narrowly averted a serious vacation catastrophe. Only a few days before we left Abu Dhabi, I was double checking all of our arrangements and noticed [...]


Bali, Part 2: Temples, Hot Springs, and Dolphins

Bali, Part 2: Temples, Hot Springs, and Dolphins

We did manage to get away from the spa for at least a little while in order to visit a local Buddhist temple and hot springs, as well as enjoy a morning dolphin cruise before heading off to Ubud.    


Bali, Part 1: Zen Resort

Bali, Part 1: Zen Resort

5-nights and 6-Days of heaven in Bali. Pretty much spent our entire time relaxing by the pool, eating, and being massaged.


It’s a Coke World

It's a Coke World

During a quick visit to Atlanta to see David Lewicki and Beth Waltemath, Beth and I made a quick visit to the Coca-Cola Museum (theme park) in Atlanta with her parents.


RIP JFK

RIP JFK

It took me almost 30 years of living in Texas to finally visit Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. It was a strange experience to walk the streets that I know so well from those few seconds of black-and-white film footage. Back, and to the left? Or a lone shooter from the Book Depository? Either way, [...]


36-Hours in Istanbul

36-Hours in Istanbul

I recently had the opportunity to chaperon a group of students and their professor on a trip to Istanbul related to their course, When There Were Two Europes: Islam and Chistendom, 711-1529. The course explores the economic, political, and cultural asymmetries of the long symbiosis when Europe was divided at the Pyrenees into a Muslim [...]


Weekend in Fujairah

Weekend in Fujairah

Back in August, Beth and I took a short weekend vacation with several work colleagues to the nearby emirate of Fujairah. Located on the eastern side of the of UAE, Fujairah faces the open ocean rather than the Persian Gulf and is considerably cooler and less humid than Abu Dhabi. The trip was a final [...]


20,000 Leagues Beneath the Maldives

20,000 Leagues Beneath the Maldives

Well, actually only about 20 meters, but that wouldn’t have been near as exciting a title for book would it? I intentionally left out one important part of my recent vacation in the Maldives, because I was waiting for some pictures to arrive. Now that they’re here, I’m ready to talk about the absolutely amazing [...]


A Week in Paradise at Komandoo Resort in the Maldives

A Week in Paradise at Komandoo Resort in the Maldives

It’s been far too long since my last blog post, but I hope that this one will have been well worth the wait. Beth and I just returned from a week in the Maldives, and if you’re looking for a romantic beach getaway, look no further than Komandoo Resort. We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary [...]