Archive for the 'Travel' Category

The Sky Below. A true story of summits, space, and speed. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory

English: STS-120 mission specialist Scott Para...

The Sky Below. Scott Parazynski cw Susan Flory.  2017.   The author is a medical doctor, mountaineer, astronaut and free diver.  He grew up living around the world and became very adaptable. His life story is thrilling, historic, and encouraging.  Its also an easy read. There are similarities to books written by other mountaineers, who are also driven black and white people.   A good four hour flight book.

The Taste of Conquest. The rise and fall of the three great cities of spice. Michael Krondl.

Cover of "The Taste of Conquest: The Rise...

Cover via Amazon

The Taste of Conquest. The rise and fall of the three great cities of spice. Michael Krondl. 2007 ISBN 9780345509826.  While travelling in Portugal I read this book. Fascinating,  as it delves in the roles of Venice, Lisbon and then Amsterdam and their successive monopolies in the spice trade .  Each city had a different approach in gaining their monopolies and how they “ruled” their Indian/Indonesian sources/possessions.  So much of the gold and ornate buildings in these cities was based on spice trading ( Pepper, salt, chili, cinnamon, then coffee and sugar) . The source countries and people did not fare well under the dominion of these successive traders.  The pursuit of spice is what drove the Portuguese to sail around Africa and into the Indies.  The author does a good job of illustrating  their particular drives and business approaches. Clearly written

The Road to Little Dribbling. More notes from a small island. Bill Bryson

English: Bill Bryson in 2005. Bill Bryson Amer...

The Road to Little Dribbling. More notes from a small island. Bill Bryson . 2015. ISBN 9781473508071.  Twenty years after writing Notes From a Small Island, Bryson revisits the UK to look at some of the places he did not touch on in the first book . In his concise,  deprecating , descriptive style he again pens a thoroughly enjoyable book. He paints such clear pictures of his love for the UK  (including pubs, tea and biscuits,) while hitting you with a guffaw inducing comment on the dismal lack of manners, service, taste and planning evident in so much of of the country. A wonderful gift for the readers you know and one to yourself  when you have a moment just to savor a well written book. Enjoy.

Outposts. Journeys to the surviving relics of the British Empire. Simon Winchester

Cover of "Outposts: Journeys to the Survi...

Outposts.  Journeys to the surviving relics of the British Empire. Simon Winchester.  1985, 2003. ISBN 9780061978326.

Older but still a useful look at the remnants of the British Empire.  Some hilarious exploits and some that just seemed damned foolish.  Fairly kind to the inhabitants. I learned lots about  ports like Gibraltar, St Helena, Diego Garcia,  And more , Some I had been to (Falklands)  but most I won’t.   Thanks Ean Jackson for tipping me off to this!

 

 

How Asia Works. Success and failure in the world’s most dynamic region. Joe Studwell.

English: Member nations of the Asia-Pacific Ec...

How Asia Works. Success and failure in the world’s most dynamic region. Joe Studwell.2013. ISBN 9780802193476.  An all encompassing, insightful book.  The structure is simple . Compare the NE Asian successes ( Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China ),  to the SE Asian disasters ( Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India) ignore unique nation states like Hong Kong, Singapore,  then extract behaviors that seem to lead to economic powerhouse countries.   Then discuss each country a little more deeply to unpack their individual  successes, failures and on-going weaknesses.  Along the way  blow holes in the prevailing World Bank and IDB ” economic wisdom” .  The  author has little regard for most economists and after reading the book I am inclined to agree.  He does indicate that economic history is a useful pursuit in this analysis.   I saw many of his observations “operating” in our recent Asia /Africa trip.  Even though this is well before the Chinese stock market meltdown, much of his analysis indicated the inevitability of it.  The text is easy to read, well organized and will consume you.  No wonder Bill gates endorsed it.

Nine week, 63 days, 23 ports visited Asia, Africa, Europe cruise Itinerary

The Yangon River (also known as Rangoon River ...

From  March 31 to June 5, my wife and I were travelling on a cruise, starting in Singapore and ending in Dover , UK.    Lots of very interesting and widely varied sights and people were met. Definitely a bucket list trip and it allowed us to visit many islands that we would not get to other wise.  IN this post I will just attach the  itinerary .   Later posts will give a few details about some of  the ports and people met.

Before  leaving, I contacted via LinkedIn people in many of the locations we were to visit.  Details on how that worked will follow.   Most of the time when we arrived at a port, we got off the boat quickly,  hired a car and driver for a tour, which often ended in a local lunch.

Apr 03
No Transfer To Ship
Apr 03
Singapore
Check In 1:00pm-5:00pm
6:00PM
Apr 04
At Sea
Apr 05
Phuket
8:00AM
5:00PM
Apr 06
At Sea
Apr 07
7:00AM
10:00PM
Apr 08
At Sea
Apr 09
At Sea
Apr 10
At Sea
Apr 11
Colombo
7:00AM
8:00PM
Apr 12
At Sea
Apr 13
8:00AM
6:00PM
Apr 14
At Sea
Apr 15
7:00AM
6:00PM
Apr 16
At Sea
Apr 17
At Sea
Apr 18
Overnight
12:00PM
Date
Description
Start
End
Apr 19
Dubai
1:00PM
Apr 20
At Sea
Apr 21
At Sea
Apr 22
At Sea
Apr 23
At Sea
Apr 24
10:00AM
6:00PM
Apr 25
At Sea
Apr 26
At Sea
Apr 27
7:00AM
6:00PM
Apr 28
At Sea
Apr 29
At Sea
Apr 30
At Sea
May 01
Durban
7:00AM
5:00PM
May 02
East London
12:00PM
7:00PM
May 03
At Sea
May 04
Cape Town
Overnight
9:00AM
May 05
Cape Town
7:00AM
 Second leg
May 05
Cape Town
Overnight
May 06
Cape Town
5:00PM
May 07
At Sea
May 08
Luderitz
7:00AM
2:00PM
May 09
Walvis Bay
7:00AM
6:00PM
May 10
At Sea
May 11
At Sea
May 12
Luanda
7:00AM
4:00PM
May 13
At Sea
May 14
Sao Tome
Tender Required
Wheelchair Access Limited
7:00AM
6:00PM
May 15
At Sea
May 16
At Sea
May 17
At Sea
May 18
At Sea
May 19
At Sea
Date
Description
Start
End
May 20
Cape Verde Islands (
7:00AM
5:00PM
May 21
At Sea
May 22
At Sea
May 23
Santa Cruz De Teneri
8:00AM
5:00PM
May 24
Madeira (Funchal)
9:00AM
6:00PM
May 25
At Sea
May 26
Casablanca
7:00AM
7:00PM
May 27
Ceuta (Spanish Moroc
9:00AM
6:00PM
May 28
Malaga
7:00AM
6:00PM
May 29
At Sea
May 30
Lisbon
7:00AM
4:00PM
May 31
At Sea
Jun 01
At Sea
Jun 02
Rouen
8:00AM
10:00PM
Jun 03
At Sea
Jun 04
London (Dover)
5:00AM

Thoughts on Costa Rica Jan 2015

A beach in the Guanacaste Province.

Costa Rica (our most recent trip)  is the belly button of the Americas, it encompasses just 0.03% of the world’s land mass (total area is 51,100 sq km) with over 500,000 plant and animal species. Any animals & plants that are traveling north and south have to go through CR. CR has 10 climatic zones and more flora & fauna than any place in the Americas. Eco-tourism is extremely important because tourism is CR`s largest industry. Not only are the Costa Ricans very proud of their country they are also very careful about the ecology.  CR has no mineral or oil & gas industry ( this despite having many great mineral deposits), so their major exports are fruit & vegetables. Therefore each climatic zone has their own specialties. Guanacaste is the area where they grow most of their melons, guavas, papayas, and pineapples. The climate ranges from dry tropical forest to lush jungle in the south. Costa Rica’s terrain varies between coastal plains and rugged mountains with three mountain ranges and over 100 volcanic cones, several of which are major volcanoes. For expats living in CR the only tax is on income earned in CR. Your international income is tax exempt, no capital gain taxes. Property taxes are very low, but there is a 13% sales tax on products and a 10% service charge in restaurants.

English: Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste, Costa Ri...

Unlike Mexico, the prices are higher (similar to Canadian prices), there are limited amount of fresh fruit stands and open markets where one could purchase fresh vegetables, meat and seafood BUT the water is drinkable in CR which is a big plus.  Lessons learned, book your rental car before you arrive.  No deals once you are in country. Lots of import duties make most things you would buy about the Cdn prices.

Our condo is the Bougainvillea Condominiums situated on the grounds of the all-inclusive five-star Westin Golf Resort & Spa. The resort is situated in the Guanacaste Region of CR’s North Pacific Coast and nestled between 2400 acres of lush forests and the beautiful Conchal Beach (Playa Conchal) with its sparkling azure waters. The condo overlooks the beautiful 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Championship Golf Course which surrounds the hotel. Conchal Beach, a two and a half mile crescent of white sand was named for the tiny crushed shells from which the beach is formed. This idyllic stretch of beach overlooks the Catalina Islands, a popular spot for diving and snorkeling.

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Bucket list trip . Marmaris, Fethiye and Rhodes

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Three posts by my wife. with all the pictures you need

at Anordman@blogspot.com, or click the links

Yachting the Aegean

All roads lead to Rhodes

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Picnic at the Iron Curtain. Susan Viets.

Iron Curtain Correction

Ukraine. Flag colors

Picnic at the Iron Curtain. Susan Viets. 2012. ISBN 9780987966407.  This book is useful to observers of Putin’s present day efforts to rebuild the Russian empire.  The author was a newbie journalist who set up shop in the Ukraine just before the Russian federation under Gorbachev imploded and all those new countries set up shop in the Balkans and the Ukraine. It is fascinating to read these reports of her visits to all the surrounding areas as they echo the reverse of what is happening today.  Great book for a two to three hour flight. As a journalist the author knows how to write good copy.

My My Myanmar. Tales from the new frontier of capitalism. Jonathan Nichols

burma rangoon shwedagon 03

My My Myanmar. Tales from the new frontier of capitalism. Jonathan Nichols. 2013. ISBN 9781628401301. A business  fable loosely based on today’s Myanmar ( Burma to Canadians).  I have a relative who has done business in Burma and the corruption, cronyism, and lack in intelligence by outside investors/agencies is quite well portrayed.  The author has written a few books on Burma so he knows the lay of the land.  Anyone wishing to do business there should be very careful.