Posts Tagged With: hotel

NYE Times Square: Joe’s Adventure & Survival Guide

Hello fellow Travelers!

I thought I should offer a few hints, a few do’s, a few don’ts for making a trip to Times Square for the big party an enjoyable one.

First let me say…. EVERYONE walking upright in this big beautiful world of ours should spend at least one New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I mean, really….  can you legitimately go to meet your maker having not checked this one off your bucket list?  I almost think that angel at the gate just doesn’t let you pass until………

World Traveling Joe’s Time Square NEW YEARS EVE Adventure and Survival Guide.

In general I am not a guy that stays up really late unless in Barcelona. I am the kind of guy that likes to plan things out to get the most of every experience. This is a story of a GREAT PLAN going BAD fast.  Hopefully you can learn and will be RICHLY rewarded with a WONDERFUL Times Square experience.

Dinner at Tao at 6PM:  This was a GREAT DECISION. Food was incredible and the people watching SUPERB. Lots of celebs LOVE this $70 million revenue restaurant.

Broadway Play: OK, I was thinking, go to a play keep awake until things start heating up in Times Square. Probably time for dessert and after dinner drinks before heading into the zoo (oops meant Times Square). This initially was a GREAT decision, that is until walking out after the play. A cabbie informed us that all the streets had already been closed off and no reason for a cab. We started walking just the few blocks to Times Square but found that those streets were closed to pedestrian traffic too, even to people dressed in REALLY NICE in theatre clothes. We arrived WAY below times square after a 2 hour jigsaw puzzle of walking about 2.5 miles. The wifey was clearly not excited about my grandiose plan for the evening when she just walked over 2 miles in high heels! GOOD PLAN GONE REALLY BAD.

Ball Drop:  A policeman was nice enough to move a few feet so that we could squeeze by and get a rocking back and forth view of the ball drop. It was extraordinary in all its’ splendor.  VERY GOOD DECISION even though we were SUPER tired of walking.

HEADING TO THE HOTEL: This proved to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I am claustrophobic (don’t like to be in tight places). We started toward our hotel and the crowd PUSHED us almost two blocks away with absolutely no choice on our part. You see, when 2-3 million people want to go one way and you want to go the other it really doesn’t matter, you are “going with the flow” or getting trampled. I am thankful I am tall so I could hold my above others or not sure what I would have done. It is the only time I have actually had thoughts of fearing for my life. We finally got behind a large column and just stayed there until the majority of the crowd dissipated (high heels off in 28 degree weather at that point). We finally arrived at our hotel at approximately 3AM.

Hint’s:   (Oh heck these are MANDATORY!)

The streets will start closing at noon. Plan your evening and route accordingly. Plan your return route. If you are taking a cab into the city – get there before 3PM to save the first stage of walking. Wear denim and COMFORTABLE shoes. Dress warm and bring pocket warmers. Bring a raincoat or other liquid resistant outwear. If it doesn’t rain you will CERTAINLY be doused by all sorts of beverages and that is 100% guaranteed. Bring snacks. Nearby restaurants will start closing by 3PM. Mentally get psyched for NO BATHROOM. I don’t have a good tip for this but I think there are 2 million people trying to get into 2 porta potties – ain’t happening. Find a spot to stand that has some vertical cover in case of a crowd rush, preferably far enough away to have at least 1ft x 1ft of standing space. Do not have loose items:  Example if you drop your cell phone there is some risk of not being able to pick it up. As it grows closer to midnight the crowd starts pushing harder and harder toward the ball drop. EXPECT super crowded conditions.

WOW! I hope I didn’t scare you. You do have to experience it yourself. Just be prepared. Just Like Gilligan thought he was out for a 3 hour tour! And see what happened to him!

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NYE Tokyo Style!

TOKYO

Happy new year: ‘Akemashite omedetou!’

Japan celebrates New Year in a similar way that we do Christmas in the US, by staying at home with family.  In the run-up to December 31, many Tokyo residents leave the capital to return to their traditional family homes. Tradition dictates that they spend the evening watching NHK’s Kohaku, a marathon TV show in which J-pop stars reprise the year’s most nauseating hit singles. If you’re wanting to do NYE like the westerners, there’s still plenty to do, and it’s the one day of the year when the public transport keeps running all night long. The best place to be for the countdown itself is probably at Shibuya crossing, which turns draws thousands of people at midnight. Afterwards, many people head to a local club to finish the revlry (try the Womb or Sound Museum Vision). Others partake in the first shrine visit of the year (hatsumode) paying homage to the forefathers. you could head to a local club like Womb or Sound Museum Vision, or else go and join the first shrine visit of the year (hatsumode). Then of course take in breakfast via sushi tree! Then just nap the day away!

     The Womb Night Club

  The Womb Night Club
   A typical Breakfast Brunch Sushi tree!
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Swimming Pools with a SERIOUS WOW FACTOR!

Mardan Palace, Turkey

Source: mardanpalace.com.tr

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

Image by Stewart Cook/Rex USA

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Springs Resort & Spa, Costa Rica

Source: thespringscostarica.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Cambrian Hotel, Switzerland

Source: thecambrianadelboden.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, Spain

Source: hotelhacienda-ibiza.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa, Mauritius

Source: thegrandmauritian.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia

Source: ubudhanginggardens.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Hotel Caruso, Italy

Source: hotelcaruso.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Golden Triangle Resort, Thailand

Source: Robert Stokes/Creative Commons  /  via: stokes

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia

Source: jademountain.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Crocosaurus Cove, Australia

Source: crocosauruscove.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Huvafen Fushi, Maldives

Source: slh.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Marina Bay Sands Resort, Singapore

Image by VIVEK PRAKASH / Reuters

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Sarojin, Thailand

Source: sarojin.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites, Greece

Source: eloundavillas.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Capella Pedregal Resort, Mexico

Source: capellahotels.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls

Source: Charles Haynes/Creative Commons  /  via: haynes

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado

Source: hotspringspool.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Source: goldennugget.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die
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What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thanksgiving Leftover Macaroni & Cheese

Prep Time: 20min

Cooking Time: 40min

Total Time: 1hr 10min

Servings: 8

This is definitely the cheesiest way to enjoy all of your Thanksgiving holiday leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound Shredded turkey meat
  • 1 cup Leftover stuffing (optional)
  • 3 Medium size sweet potatoes, cut into small dices, cooked in salted water till tender
  • 1 cup Cooked peas
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 5 Sage leafs, minced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup Leftover cranberry relish (optional)
  • 1½ quarts Milk
  • ¼ cup Butter
  • ¼ cup Flour
  • 4 cups Grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Fontina cheese

Preparation

Step 1

In a large pot add butter, onion, sage and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Add flour, whisk and cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add milk and continue to whisk till mixture comes to a boil and thickens.

Step 4

After milk has thickened, whisk in the mascarpone, fontina and one cup of the cheddar cheese.

Step 5

Once cheese melts and sauce becomes smooth, fold in the turkey meat, sweet potatoes, peas and pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6

Place pasta mixture in a 3-inch baking dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes till golden brown.

Step 7

Serve with a tablespoon of cranberry relish.

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The Backpack Life: How to Pack for 6 months abroad.

Think back to your last vacation. I bet your suitcases were so stuffed you had to sit on them just to get the zipper closed, and that was just for one week! Now imagine if you had to pack absolutely everything you needed for six months on the road, or even a year, and it all had to fit into one big backpack! That’s the challenge I face every time I head overseas for a live-in excursion to places like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, or even on a walkabout around the world for a year. Hell no, I’m not complaining — I get to live in the tropics like a beach bum and write my heart out, but packing every single possession I’ll need in a bag no bigger than a laundry sack becomes a Divinci-esque feat of science.

2013-08-01-images.jpgThe North Face Base Camp duffel bag/backpack.
It’s hard to find a backpack big enough to accommodate everything you need for a prolonged stay. Most mountaineering and hiking bags are only in the 3,500-4,500 cubic inch range, but the North Face makes an oversized duffel bag/backpack that holds about 8,000 cubic inches. It’s super durable and very roomy, with padded shoulder straps so I can throw it on like a backpack when needed. I haul it around bus stations and airports a lot more than actual wilderness excursions, so that works great.

Day pack.
I bring a regular-sized backpack to carry my laptop around, head to the beach, or take plenty of day trips. I use this smaller pack all day, every day so for this trip I chose a O’Neill Suburbia backpack because it has a laptop compartment, water bottle holder, and comfortable shoulder straps.

Clothing:

1 Pair lightweight jeans.

Flip flops.
I bring one good pair and one pair that can get wet for the beach. Reef makes some cool new flip flops that have a compartment in the sole so you can hide money or your room key. Genius!

1 Pair slip-on shoes:
Something light, breathable, and easy to slip on is fantastic in hot, beachy climates. I like my classic Vans, and Crocs makes some cool new waterproof shoes in funky designs that are much cleaner and safer because of their plastic soles.

Running sneakers.
A pair of running sneaks for working out, hiking, or if I have a big day sight seeing.

7 Tank tops.
When I first started traveling I brought too many t-shirts, but soon realized I wanted something as light and airy as possible in tropical climates, so now I load up on tank tops.

7 T-shirts.
I try to find the ones that aren’t pure cotton, which is heavier and doesn’t breathe when you sweat. One by one I cut the sleeves off my t-shirts, anyway!

3 Collared shirts.
I fit in a few short sleeve button-up shirt for those nights on the town or nicer dinners.

2013-08-01-935333100.jpg3 O’Neill Hybrid shorts/swim suits.
I used to pack several swim shorts and also bring a few pairs of normal cotton shorts, but Hybrid shorts changed that. They’re made of comfortable, breathable quick-drying material that can get wet, but look like nice dress shorts. They’re the best invention for travelers because you only have to pack half as much but can throw them on no matter if you’re going to work out, sweat, jump in the ocean, or just walk around town. I love the ones by O’Neill, which fit great and come in plenty of cool patterns.

4 Athletic shorts.

1 Baseball hat.
1 Fisherman hat.
I look goofy as Gilligan in it, but a big hat is your best friend on the beach at midday or in direct sun, where it’s easy to get heat stroke.

Socks and underwear.

Sunglasses.
I wear sunglasses most of the day when I’m outdoors, but I always seem to break or lose them, so I get a decent pair only in the $25 range. The good news is you can buy cheap sunglasses anywhere you go on the beach. I also bring a little cord to keep them on my head in case I’m kayaking or zip lining or doing something where they might fly off.

1 Comfy hooded sweatshirt.
A warm hoodie is essential for cold airplane rides, early morning trips on the water, or some nights as your only pillow and blanket!

Lycra long sleeve shirt.

Technology:

2013-08-01-photo.JPG laptop computer.

Travel adapter.
I bought one for $20 that lets me plug in my electronics in almost any country, and also acts as a surge protector for those frequent power outages.

2013-08-01-ScreenShot20130731at7.14.21PM.pngGoPro Hero 3 Black camera.
I recently converted from my jenky digital camera to a super fun Go Pro. It’s smaller than a deck of cards, has huge storage capacity and battery life, and fits into a shockproof case so I can take it over rough terrain or underwater. I can strap it to a surfboard, bicycle handlebars, or on a headgear clip while I’m getting my ass kicked in the boxing gym. I have a wifi remote so I can document the wonderment of traveling abroad in movie quality without holding a camera up to my eyes all the time, and I plan to expand my travel blog to a more-entertaining video blog.

iPhone.
Whenever I hit the road I suspend my US cell service for $10 a month, forwarding my number to Skype or GoogleVoice, but I still use my iPhone as a mini computer via local wifi, accessing apps that allow me to make calls, use GPS, a compass, translate languages on the fly, and serve as a killer flashlight.

Flash drives.
I’m paranoid about getting my laptop ruined or stolen and losing all of my data, so I back up daily on high-memory flash drives and hide them someplace safe.

2013-08-01-opplanetgoalzeroswitch8solarrechargingkit.jpg
GoalZero portable solar charger.
GoalZero, one of my new favorite companies, makes the Nomad 7, a portable solar charger that’s no bigger than a notebook. It unfolds into two panels that catch the sun and recharge my phone, GPS, camera, or MP3 player with a simple USB hookup. A separate recharger battery the size of a tube of toothpaste, the Switch 8, can be thrown into my backpack and gives my devices plenty of juice in case of an emergency or if I’m stuck out in the jungle. When that happens, and it will happen, a quick solar charge can literally be a life saver.

GoalZero portable speaker.
I listen to music 24/7 and the speakers on my laptop don’t cut it. But most mini speakers sounded like trash until I finally found a good one that is affordable and durable, with 20 hours of battery life, the RockOut 2 speaker by GoalZero. They come with a built in durable case and you can power them via your laptop, charge their internal battery, or even go solar.

2 Headphones.
One pair of earbuds and one over-the-head pair for jogging.

I bring a Tupperwear container to store my electronic accessories and twist ties to organize their cords and cables.

Work out:
I get back to basics on the road: pushups, burpees, etc., but I do bring a jump rope and a stretchy fitness band, which take up almost no room but are versatile for any-time workouts. Gymnastic rings also are easy to hook up anywhere for strength and balance conditioning.

I have an incredible trainer, Trevor Gibbs at Health Behaviors, who sets my workout plan virtually based on my natural elements, no matter where I am in the world!

Swim goggles.

Small gym towels.
I carry a little towel around with me everywhere I go to wipe the sweat away, dash through a rain storm, or even dry off after a dip in the ocean. These are great because it’s always super hot in the tropics and I sweat like… well, like a gringo in the tropics. I used to “borrow them permanently” from hotels, but I’ve since reformed and now I buy a pack.

Security:

Combo lock.
Once I settle down and get an apartment overseas I bolt a solid combo lock onto a railing or post near my front door and put my house key in it. That way I never have to carry around my key (a pain if you’re living near the beach) but I can get in any time.

I should use a laptop cable lock, but I prefer just to hide it in a ceiling panel or the bottom of the garbage can when I leave my hotel or apartment.

Likewise, instead of fancy false-bottom containers and security devices, I just hide my important stuff — passport, credit cards, flash drive, etc. in the bottom of a cereal box or hollowed-out can of peanuts.

Instead of wearing those dorky tourist money belts I just put money in the sole of my shoe.

Copies of travel papers.
I make copies of my passport, drivers license, and medical immunization card and keep them in a safe place. I also email photos of those to myself, along with credit card and bank information.

Toiletries and Medical:

Sanitizing toothbrush case.
Sanitation is always a question mark in third-world hotel bathrooms and hot, humid climates, a breeding ground for bacteria, so I bring the million germ eliminating travel toothbrush sanitizer by Violight. The case sanitizes 99 percent of germs and the battery lasts 2,000 hours! I found it in Hammacher & Schlemmer’s catalog on the airplane.

I carry around a Z Pack of antibiotics in case of severe stomach sickness, and a course of anti-malarial meds if I’m going deep into the jungle.

A few packs of Emergen-C’s come with me to so I don’t get sick with all that nasty fake air on the plane or when I’m fighting off exotic germs in my new locale.

I bring travel size toiletries on the plane to last a few days, but deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. I buy when I get there.

Other:

Compression bags.
I found a cheap set that I stuffed my clothes into then rolled the air out of vents on the other side and sealed shut. These bags reduce the volume of my clothes by 30 percent and keep everything dry.

Dryer sheets.
Stuffed into my bag keep everything smelling fresh.

Twine.
It’s easy to set up a drying line anywhere I go.

Deck of cards.

Small notebook.
That I can fit in my back pocket and write whenever inspiration hits. Some times you have to go old school!

Hair clippers:
A haircut might only cost $2, but finding a barber shop in every little beach town and rural hamlet is problematic. I keep my hair shaved short so I just bring my own cheap clippers.

Believe it or not, that all fits into my North Face duffel bag/backpack with plenty of room to spare! I can always pick up bug spray, sunscreen, batteries, beach towels, etc. when I touch down. It may seem like a scarce amount of possessions for 6 months or more, but the funny thing is no matter what I pack, I never even use all of it! And by the time I’m ready to head back home my bag is always packed with different things – plenty of souvenirs, works of art, and gifts from the beautiful countries I’d visited. And those, along with the memories of the wonderful people I met and the experiences we shared, are what’s truly priceless to me!

THANKS TO: Norm Schriever!  EXCELLENT Article!

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Can you guess where this pool is?

Can you guess where tbhis pool is?

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Want to swim 44 stories up?

Want to swim 44 stories up?

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