Breezy in the Bahamas

Most of the northern hemisphere is suffering through record low temperatures and harsh weather conditions (Britain’s Daily Star reported this week that this may be the coldest winter in 1,000 years.) This has meant that places like London, Paris and New York have been buried by fierce blizzards, and my home city of Atlanta had its first white Christmas since 1882. In the Bahamas, it means no beach. This makes me grumpy. The weather is certainly better than back home – highs in the mid 70s – but the cool breeze blowing off the ocean is enough to keep most tourists out of the water. The funny part ... [Read More]

Walking New York

It’s easy to tell the tourists in NY. We’re the ones walking around, neck craned so we’re staring straight up, gawking at the sea of iconic skyscrapers and neon lights. It’s easy to tell the New Yorkers, too. They’re the ones walking, usually about Mach 3, grumpily brushing past the gawkers. I’d always assumed this was because they were rude and in a rush to see which steroid-infused free-agent ballplayer the Yankees had newly signed. But after spending two absolutely frigid days in this magnificent city I noticed that anytime I was forced outside my pace quickened considerably, so desperate was I to reach someplace less suitable ... [Read More]

The Top of the Peak

Riding the historic Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak is one of my favorite things to do in Hong Kong. First built in the 1880s, this rickety rail-car is pulled by cables up the steep incline from Hong Kong’s Central District to Victoria Peak, from which you gaze out over stunning panoramic views of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. I’ve been more than a dozen times, and never tire of the experience. One of my very favorite restaurants on earth, by happy coincidence, is Café Deco, perched atop Victoria Peak. The food has always been scrumptious, and I was eager to show off ... [Read More]

Moron moments in Hong Kong

Sometime after landing in Hong Kong yesterday I devolved into a blithering idiot. (Some who know me might suggest this isn’t much of a change from my normal state of being, but I prefer to believe I can generally be trusted to tie my shoes and cross the street without much supervision.) I’m not sure when this change occurred, but it first reared its clumsy head in the Sky Lounge atop the Sheraton Towers. Soo and I were sitting at a table by the glass marveling at the stunning view of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor at night, when I noticed a man a short distance away ... [Read More]

Floating cities and fuzzy oatmeal

Jet lag’s a funny thing. It affects different people in different ways; some people walk around for days in a zombie-like stupor; some have seemingly boundless energy before hitting the proverbial wall and passing out for 15 hours; others it makes nauseous. For Soo, jet-lag occasionally severs her ability to form complete sentences. Today was one such day. After the afternoon’s meetings I returned to our hotel to find Soo passed out in bed. I gently woke her, and as she slowly swam to consciousness she asked about how my meeting had gone. At least that’s what she thinks she asked. All I heard was “Hmrf, huhmney. Fuzzy oatmeal?” When I ... [Read More]

Abu Dhabi dull

Abu Dhabi’s not like Dubai. Abu Dhabi, with a history going back nearly five thousand years, is an older and more conservative city, and certainly feels it. Dubai, the spectacular modern metropolis rising out of the desert, veritably crackles with energy. Abu Dhabi, though larger, feels smaller, and has few of awe-inspiring, record-setting engineering wonders for which its sister-emirate to the north is so famous. Abu Dhabi may have more history, but Dubai has more cool, which is why I greeted news that I would have to leave Dubai for Abu Dhabi with little enthusiasm. The last time I was in Abu Dhabi, 27 years ago, heavily armed ... [Read More]

Souks, shopping and sheesha

My friend Eileen has a knack for making completely outrageous statements with such confidence that it takes a minute to realize what she’s said is insane. My new favorite example of this came when we were all out in the middle of the hot, dry desert and Eileen remarked that the climate in Dubai was “just like Wyoming.” This came immediately after she’d described Wyoming’s harsh winters and snow storms. Soo, Paul and I looked at each other for a moment waiting for the punch line that must surely follow. None came, and as is usually the case when Eileen makes these sorts of pronouncements, we had ... [Read More]

Tom Cruise didn’t fall off the Burj Khalifa.

I’ve traveled with a lot of people over the years, and in my experience it takes the average American visiting exotic cultures about a week before they’re desperately craving “American food.” It took Paul Newman three days. On our way back from a morning appointment we passed a mall with a “Texas Chicken” fast food joint out front. For the next hour little came out of Paul’s mouth besides the words “Texas Chicken” (and he was only mildly bothered by the fact that Texas isn’t exactly a state famous for chicken. We also saw a stand hawking “famous New York French Fries.” In naming their establishments do ... [Read More]

Dune Bashing in Dubai

As we go through life we have experiences we never forget; a moment with friends, a kiss the memory of which never fails to stir butterflies in our stomachs, an adventure so thrilling it makes our heart pound every time we think on it. Today was one such day. Its beginning was not nearly so exciting as its end. We’re in the United Arab Emirates for meetings in Dubai and a conference in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), another Emirate about 90 minutes up the coast from Dubai. There are five of us, with lots of luggage, including large display banners for an exhibit booth. We had arranged well in ... [Read More]

Destination Dubai

  As so often happens when I travel, disaster struck my intended destination just as I was on my way. This time it wasn’t a hurricane or a tsunami that decided to join me on my trip; it was a terrorist attack, originating in Yemen, which routed through Dubai hours before my flight departed Atlanta. This heightened security in Atlanta, and sent my colleague Paul Newman into a near-panic. He announced (repeatedly) that had I not been on this trip he likely would’ve made some excuse and cancelled altogether. Soo and I decided to have a drink with Paul before boarding our flight to help calm his frayed ... [Read More]