New York City…in the winter!

I was fortunate to be able to attend and visit Google NYC this week on the first day of Spring for some connections and an internal conference.

The Google office is in Manhattan and in Chelsea to be specific…and it is HUGE!  Close to subways, easy to walk to and an amazing building to work in.

The views on the 16th floor were similar amazing and you can see the Freedom Tower in the distance.  Careful…once you visit Google NYC you will get addicted quickly and want to move to work here!

The subways were great and easy…who needs to own a car???

The one disappointment is the office is not close to central park for running…so I just ran around the Chelsea piers as a distraction.  I got in a nice run when the snow flurries starting coming down…

That leads me to my next topic: the snow DUMPED on NYC on the first day of the conference which is my birthday.  Yikes!  I did not have winter boots, but the taxi drivers were awesome.  The snow does not slow them down and the city keeps moving at fast pace.

The next highlight was a morning breakfast (not the Google free breakfast) one morning at Shopsin’s market.  The was an a huge unhealthy, but AMAZING delicious breakfast in an environment that I will never forget for the rest of my life.

This (cafe?) is quite famous for their collections of Tchotchkes.  Check it out if you ever visit NYC.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tchotchke.

OK – one last thing.  Since I am in NYC, I had to go see some theater and not do email all night long.  Axis Theater – “High Noon”.  A unique single act western.  Well done.

 

 

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Running with the Buckingham Palace Guards

I wanted to add another country to my list of where I have run…so why not run with the Buckingham Guards in Hyde Park?

Now here is a tip: I did another run at 5:00 in the morning the next day…there are NO palace guards in site or in their spots.  They only show up for the tourists!

Sorry I was limited with the picture quality as I use my Windows 8 Mobile phone as my running camera and podcast player.

Let me go back to the start.  I flew to London today and wanted to try out and evaluate Virgin Atlantic versus the normal Delta flight(s) I take.  It was a mixed story IMHO.  First, they have great seats which are much more comfortable for sleeping, but you almost need an attendant to help you set them up and take them down.

They do give you very comfortable pajamas to sleep in and their pre-flight videos are quite unique and humorous.  But…I thought the food service and food quality was not as high quality as Delta and the service was somewhat disappointing.  I almost began to fear to ask for anything…it might have been my American english not translating to the proper Queen’s english with the British staff.  I will update this eval after my trip back if anything changes.

Back to the run.  It was quite fun to run around central London.  I had to control my temptation to stop and take more pictures.

Trafalgar Square was popular with many tourists.

But not as popular as Churchill’s War Room which had HUGE lines for people standing in the rain.  It must be due to the recent movie about Churchill, but I could be wrong.

Both Green Park and St. James Park were fun to run around.  Many historical sites and wildlife.  The local dogs chased these ducks/geese off about 30 seconds after I ran by.  The local dogs were having a blast chasing birds.

Most of the local runners were all in Hyde Park of course.  And there were some really fast runners that were hard to keep up with.  I guess I should have packed an extra Gu for some race pace speed work!  The swans were VERY friendly and will come right up to you.  So friendly, it was scary.  It was hard to tell if they would draw you in with their friendly demeanor and then attack at the last second like the movie “It” that I saw on the plane…

OK – in closing, if you are staying in London in Piccadilly Circus area for a conference, you know where to go running now!  Time to finish my afternoon tea now.  Yes, it is with milk.  Have to be proper here in London 😉

 

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Attending a Conference in China

I was able to attend and speak at the 2017 International Cloud Security Conference in Suzhou China.

It was approximately 4 hours south of Beijing via high speed train.  I will admit that the land south of Beijing is quite desolate for quite some distance.

A very friendly city and great running trails for early morning runs before the pollution gets heavy.  The Hilton Doubletree was a great business hotel.

You will find huge power plants every 50 miles or so in China.

As industry visitors/speakers, we were all given “VIP” treatment.

Invited to attend some senior leader private meetings and discussions with Chinese politicians and military officials.

And we had police, security and SWAT forces on our hotel floors, meeting rooms and walking with us everywhere.  They were not interested in selfies though.

One of the interesting events at the end of the second day was a dinner with industry VIPs, country executives and also local politicians.  I had the honor of sitting next to the mayor of Suzhou (mayor of a 6.5M person city).

They had some very nice and skilled entertainment.  This was supposedly a famous/popular opera singer in China.

Now, what was interesting in the music and entertainment is the videos on the screen in the background.  Is this subtle propaganda?

 

 

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Running in Suzhou China

I am travelling, so of course I had to go for a local run!

It was a brisk 32 degrees F this morning, so gloves and hat were necessary!

I ran along the river and of course, there are so many local sights to capture all the way.

The river is clearly polluted and there are signs everywhere to not fish or swim.  It was clearly too cold to go swimming IMHO, but every 500M or so, I saw someone fishing.  Not a good idea…

Lots of parks, exercise areas and artwork along the river quite nice.  An interesting montage of modern art and modern electrical production? Every 50 miles in China you see these massive electrical production plants.

Hmmm…did these fresh fish come from the river?  All the markets were opening as I ran by at 7:00 AM.

Breakfast time after a 12K run!  I was the favorite site to see.  A tall westerner in bright orange running clothing while everyone else was bundled up for winter 🙂

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The latest adventure to… China? 

Headed off on a business trip to China and will see if I can sneak in a few adventurous surprises along the way 😁

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A Day of Adventure in Grenada

We wanted to explore the internal sites and culture of Grenada a little further, so we worked with a local guide and driver Vaughan Francis to spend the day with some diverse activities.

First, we went hiking the natural forest preserve.  We did not try out the obstacle course since it was pouring rain and everything was very slippery, but this area is definitely a great place for day hikes and adventure.

Our goal was to reach the famous St. Margaret’s waterfall – but the local tourist bureau refers to them as the Seven Sisters Waterfalls for some reason.  The water was not clear blue because of all the rain and flooding today.  We did not want to take the risk of diving in with this weather.

Next, needing a break, we went to visit a very old rum distillery that dates back to the 1700s and all the equipment is originally from England and is still used to this day.  The yeast is still fermenting in this old wooden vat.

It was fun so see first hand on how rum is made from raw sugarcane every single day in this facility – River Antoine Rum Distillery.  Their chocolate flavored rum was quite delicious.

One we had a few sips of rum, we got hungry and it became time to try out some local food.

and yes, it was yummy.  Hints of spice and local flavor. This was a soup called Callaloo. Definitely try it if you get a chance.

After lunch, since I love military history, I wanted to go check out Fort Frederick which overlooks St Georges (the capital).  It was small, but a cool place to do a quick stop by and overlook the whole city.

The really cool thing is we had the opportunity to overlook the Grenada prison below us which was having a one day special event to celebrate carnival where the local singer(s) and DJ(s) played this year’s carnival music to enjoy.  It is the large whitish looking building.

From there, we wanted to end the day with a little bird watching.  It was amazing to see and hear about how many different species live and migrate to Grenada.  This was green heron that has unique short legs and likes to eat crab more than fish.

On the other side of the lake, were a number of young blue herons that are quite camouflaged while they are immature.

and last, but not least check out this surprise in the tree where are the white egrets were nesting! It looks like a branch, it is like a 1 meter long iguana!

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Exploring Grenada by Sea and by Land

We did a little more exploring by sea with a few more dives around the island.

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Yes and it is HOT here, but the sky looks red from the filter on the GoPro, so don’t worry.

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You never know what you might find when diving.  Here is a rare tire from a 1993 Honda Civic.

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We also discovered a large number of lion fish.  They were quite large and colorful.

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They seemed to bunch together on this dive.

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Also found a few lobsters.  This was a huge one that was quite evasive and did not want to come out and hang out with us divers.  If you look close, you can see him hiding in the the overhang in the coral.

On the land side, the best way to explore is running of course!  Very friendly people and very safe to run anywhere on the island.

Took a slight side road to visit the famous St. Georges medical school.  This school is 40% of the entire GDP of the island.

In this heat, it is so HOT and HUMID, it is almost impossible to carry enough water to run long distances.  So, the recommendation is to use the local energy drink: 130 proof white rum.  It will be more efficient than Gatorade.

And if you keep exploring, you can find some private beach areas to sit in the shade to cool down from your sprints up the small local hills.

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