About Me

An avid traveler I have had the good fortune to have spent my career in the travel and vacation industry. From Bali to Copenhagen and all points between is where I have been or intend to go. This blog however is specific to the Western half of the United States as I explore this part of the world.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My cat Paris

Seems to always come into my office and unleash a flurry of meows whenever I am on a conference call and using the speaker phone...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Carson City for a State Legislative Luncheon

I first must avail my readers of the wacky experience that is the Reno Peppermill. The above photo is what greets you when you enter the casino side of the hotel/casino. I was up in Reno and Carson City to attend a luncheon to meet and greet our Assemblymen and women and to promote our industry. The following are some more shots of the Peppermill...

There is a fantastic French restaurant in downtown Reno that I enjoy very much and it is on along the revitalized area of the Trukee River... it is called Beaujolais Bistro. Below is a poor picture but hey... I was indulging in French wines...

The flight up was followed by a drive down as it is more convenient to drive down to Mammoth Lakes and then continue the drive to Las Vegas than to drive back to Reno and then fly out. It was an extremely windy day as I made my way down to Mammoth Lakes and it made some particularly interesting cloud formations as you can see in this photo...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Private Concert with KT Tunstall

I had a great opportunity to be part of a private concert set up by Travelocity with KT Tunstall, the Grammy Award Nominee. She has been nominated for her song Black Horse and Cherry Tree. She is like 6 times platinum in the UK and is 1 time platinum here in the US as she begins to be recognized. When I went to the concert, I did not really know who she was nor was I familiar with her music or so I thought. However, when her music was being pumped through the sound system I recognized a few songs that I had heard on the radio like Suddenly I See. Because of my wife's relationship with Travelocity we arrived early and had an opportunity to sit down with KT. At first I suppose I was surprised by her small frame... I am 6'4" and she must be about 5' and very petite and understandably a little withdrawn meeting all these people she didn't really know but was open to questions and I recognized an underlying wit and depth of personality and decided I liked her right away and thought to myself, she would be a great person to sit down with, have a Guinness and a great conversation.

After about an hour of meet and greet, about 60 radio award winners filed in to enjoy a private concert with KT. I spoke to a few of them and they were from all over, Alabama, Washington, Mass... and were very excited to have won a trip to Vegas and a private concert.

I snagged a table at the very front of the stage for our party of 4 and the concert began. KT brought only her guitar and some Taiwanese instrument that would sample sounds that she set up before starting a song to either add back up vocals or percussion by beating out a rhythm on the face of her guitar or stomping her boot or both...

I have to say she is a great performer... her guitar was crisp and her voice was strong and clear... she won me over as a fan and as I write this I am downloading her album off I-Tunes. She would pause every couple of songs to do a Q&A with her fans and she proved further that she is quite funny. If music hadn't worked out for her she might have been great at standup.

And, I can't forget to mention that a big part of her involvement with Travelocity for this concert is due to their alignment on the environment. KT is a proponent of reducing pollution that leads to global warming while Travelocity is promoting a program (GO ZERO) where customers can zero out their emissions through a Conservation Fund program that will pay for the planting of trees and replenishment of wilderness areas to reduce CO2 and produce oxygen (of course this only happens through Photosynthesis during the day and at night the respiration process releases CO2 but at a much lower rate than it is consumed during the day).

The concert was held in a very small and cozy venue at the Flamingo in Vegas... after the concert we headed out to continue the celebration an a couple of bars on the strip... fun, fun!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Florida Trip

Made an east trip this past week! Went back to Orlando for company and personal business. It was good to be back in town to see old friends and eat at some of my favorite spots. I was only in O-town for one and a half days and then was off to Key West for another business meeting. It was a somewhat interesting flight out of Vegas however. I sat next to Billy Simms, the Hiesman Trophy winner, a few seats up was Lou Holtz and to my right was Carrot Top. And I wasn't even in first class!

Billy and I chatted a while and not being a huge college football fan... it took me a while to catch on that a) he is famous and b) who he was. I thought he was part of a big group traveling back home as people were walking by as they boarded the plane greeting and interacting with him in a very familiar way, like you would your company manager (the one you like) and Mr. Simms was equally cordial with what turned out to be his many fans. He was nice and down to earth which I thought was pretty cool. I didn't talk to Holtz but chatted with Carrot Top as we walked toward baggage claim. Since both of us are Orlando transplants to Vegas it was interesting to chat about the differences.

The next day after business was taken care of I hooked up with my old right hand, Wui from my days running Hilton Grand vacations International Sales Division better known as ISD. We headed off to our favorite Indian restaurant in Orlando called Dakshin for their fantastic Chicken Vindaloo! It was great to come back after two years and have the staff and owner welcome me like I was still stopping by once a week. The following day on my way down to Key West I grabbed lunch at Firehouse Subs... which is my favorite sub shop in the USA.

The drive down to Key West was not bad at all... I had a Lincoln Towncar signature limited... I was pretty jazzed as it had about 5 miles on it... brand spanking new. Bonus - Sunroof, Negative - a new stereo in a luxury car without XM radio or a jack for my I-pod... lame! I had to rely on my trusty I-tunes FM broadcast attachment. The Cadillac and the Buick Lucern have XM and I-Pod jacks!

The great thing about the Florida Turnpike is the speed limit and lack of traffic. It is an enjoyable ride south.

I arrived in Key West about 8:00pm, checked in and headed down to Duval street to get some eats. I had to stop in to Sloppy Joe's the famous Hemingway haunt for a beer or two. I actually was a bouncer at Sloppy Joe's in Orlando some time ago but that is a whole different story.

The next day I had some time before my client meeting so after answering a few e-mails and making some calls, I headed down to the beach to attempt to look less like a British tourist... you see my ancestry is Danish, English and German... so if I don't spend some time worshipping the sun I look much like that HP bright white inkjet paper sitting in the printer next to you. The beach below is called Smathers Beach.

There was a decent amount of kelp or seaweed on the beach and as I approached bare footed I was glad that I had the presence to see the big purple man o war or whatever just infront of me. I was never a student of aequorea so Man O' War is my best guess. There were a lot of them. The night before there had been a pretty strong onshore wind and I suppose that is how they all got there. To my rescue came a beach comber of the mechanical sort. It was a tractor sized contraption that raked, removed and smoothed the beach in one action.

Seeing that these jellyfish were "floaters" I decided to brave the water after some time in the sun. I live in the desert and it would have to have been a lot more of those jellyfish and circling sharkfins to keep me out.

The client meeting went pretty late into the day but was enjoyable as we had drinks and then dinner at La Trattoria on Duval... excellent service and excellent food! Another place you HAVE to eat at is Blue Heaven... my wife and I stumbled upon this place years ago and were blown away by the food and the experience... go there I command it!

The following day it was a nice breakfast, some time in the sun and then a drive to Miami to catch my plane to Vegas. The drive in the daylight through the Keys is always nice from a visual perspective. Some of the bridges damaged or mostly destroyed stand as testaments to the power of the Hurricanes that blow through the Keys.