Speaking in Las Vegas

I know I have posted blog entries about hiking in Las Vegas or seeing shows in Las Vegas, but I have never posted anything about speaking in Las Vegas.

I stayed and had an opportunity to speak at the Aria Conference Center,  It is a fantastic high end casino, hotel and with fantastic restaurants like The Catch.

I have to admit it is exciting and fun to share a keynote conversation with Chris Young of McAfee in front a crowd of thousands.  We got some good coverage in this posting.

Now even more exciting is when you are available to watch and listen to even more famous speakers take the stage right after you like Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright.

What is the true highlight?  Getting to meet the other speakers and chatting in person. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Exploring Boston Area

Time for a retro posting since many people are examining the history of the nation recently…Exploring and touring around the Boston area for a long weekend is quite a delight.

There is so much (American) history in the city itself and the surrounding areas. This is the famous Bunker Hill Monument which is quite a climb up!

We had a lot of fun driving out to the gorgeous Concord and Lexington areas, and actually visiting some of the historic battlefield sites and participating in revolution exercises to be ready if a government overthrow is required again, but I digress…

Anyone the legend of Sleepy Hollow as a kid?  Was it true?  Who knows, but it was a fun place to visit and reminiscence of the Halloween stories from a long time ago…

This was a hard one to find and took some careful hiking to actually discover Walden Pond where Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote in a 10×10 hut that inspired many writers and literature for many years.  Worth visiting the park and finding the inspirational environment.

Another cool place for military and history plans to visit is Battleship Cove.  It is mind blowing to see how large the guns are on a WWII battleship.  Highly recommended place to visit.

Since we were in the area, we decided to explore and check out Marthas Vineyard area since so many famous people rave about it and talk about going there.  Overall, we were not that impressed and felt it was a bit overrated or over-hyped.

Since we are on the east coast and in the tourist area of Martha’s Vineyard, what did local dish did we need to try?  🙂

 

 

 

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Exploring Munich Germany

Since it is Oktoberfest time, I realized I did not have a blog posting about any of my visits to Munich, Germany.

Munich is a wonderful city to visit that has some amazing architecture like Marienplatz and the town hall center.

It is one of the friendliest cities in Europe that I have ever visited, and the Victuals Market area is one of the MUST VISIT during the day and at night in Munich.

The Theatine Church is quite a site that is quite popular that is easy to walk to and find with its bright yellow color.  Many people like to visit to just hear the massive organ.

You may not be able to see the snow in September/October at Oktoberfest, but if you get to visit Munich in the winter, it is so serene and calm place to visit and take walks in the soft snow.

Linderhof Palace is a great place to visit in the summer or winter even if it is snowing!  it gives you a taste of both Bavaria and the historical culture of the area.

and yes, the zoo in Munich is quite good and a great way to spend an afternoon if you have some free time.  The Hellabrunn Zoo is quite affordable and easy to get to on the train.  Bright pink flamingos in the winter is quite ironic isn’t it?

I also highly recommend visiting the Dacahu concentration camp memorial outside the city which I blogged about here.  It is highly educational and moving.

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Panama Canal

I have referenced it so many times, but I realized I have never posted about what it is like to transit or take a cruise ship through the Panama Canal.

Overall, Panama City is an impressive modern city. Unfortunately, on our day of transit, it was a little foggy and rainy and it was hard to take a good shot.

Now, the most interesting topic is how does a ship actually go through the Panama Canal.  Needless to say, the space is very very tight and you can almost touch the sides of the canal from the ship.

You can barely see it in the previous picture, but in this one, the dedicated units that attach themselves to the ship with long cables and they PULL the ship through each stage of the canal.

Depending on the direction you traversing, you (ship) is pulled through numerous lock stages where the water is pumped in and out (to raise and lower the water).  It is hard to believe but the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are at different levels on each side of Panama.

I don’t know if it is finished yet, but when our ship went through the canal, you could see where they were building an expanded/widened canal for large ships that cannot pass through the canal today.

It is a slow trip and it takes a full day, but you do get to come across a large number of sites and local creatures.  Yep – this crocodile was just hanging out near the canal and watching the giant ship go by…

Last, but not least, once we reached the Pacific Ocean, we got the opportunity to check out the local area around Panama City.  What did I do? I went running of course!  I was able to run across the bridge across the Isthmus of Panama.  That means I was able to run across two continents: South and North America.  This is a picture of the Bridge of the Americas.

If you have not figured this out yet, I run everywhere around the world.  This is some of my other favorite spots:

 

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A Quick Stop in Costa Rica

After going through the Panama Canal, (yes, I know I need to add a posting for their, so stay tuned…) our ship stopped at a popular port called Puntarenas or Puerto Caldera.

The big highlight was to take a river cruise.  It was a nice drive out into the countryside where you get a good feel for the local life combined with the rich retired and vacationers that live right next to each other.  It feels odd when you see one home with fancy yard work and 5-series BMW only 25 meters away from another home with no door or glass in the windows.  This is the popularity of Costa Rica, but I digress…

They do not sound fun and appear to be very touristy, but you really get to see very real and very local wildlife on the river cruise.

You have to love the famous Halloween Crabs that you can see along the river banks!

And the bird lovers will love the wild parrots that you get to meet and see in quite large numbers in the trees.  Recommendation: bring a zoom lens with a DSLR camera!

along the way, I learned about cashews.  it is kind of weird to see in real life as the “nut” or seed is outside the fruit and is distinctly separate.  They are native to this part of the world and is surprising to see one in its true fruit form.

The best part was the run along the beach.  It is was one heck of a workout, but a great way to end the day as the sun was going down.  It was a nice cool breeze and a great way to enjoy a beer on the beach with some locals before heading back to the ship.

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Moscow Russia – Day 2

There is so much to see in Moscow, you have to spend more than one day.  Of course, I had to go visit the KGB building (Lubyanka) which is now known as Federal Security Service.

You can easily get here from the train/subway and actually ran into no hassles or security concerns!

One of the actual cool things to visit in Moscow is Gorky Park.

The Soviet attempt at copying the US based Space Shuttle is here – it is known as Buran.

Mentioning the subway, they are quite artistic and fun to use around Moscow.  If you see one of the bronze dogs, you definitely have to rub its foot or nose for good luck.

As a history buff, the Novodevichy Cemetery was a real highlight.  If you think of a famous Russian political figure, general or astronaut, there are most likely buried here.  Tons of history and worth a few hours to visit.

As it started to get dark, it was time to take in a few more sites that are best viewed when the sun goes down.  Does anyone know what this famous building is?  It is the famous Moscow University.  It is quite stunning.  And I am sure many students are proud to have studied here.

And not too far away was this famous lake.  Do you know what this place is famous for?  It is the inspiration for the Swan Lake ballet!  Kind of cool to visit the actual places where famous artwork, literature or music was created.

As it got later, we decided we could not resist and visit a classic Russian circus.  It was quite fun, very traditional and it was amazing to see how many expensive limos were outside the circus to pick up people.  Scary when you see multiple Maybechs outside of a $20 a set circus.

And since it was our last day in Moscow, we had to visit Red Square again at night. It is quite amazing and fun to visit.  The night atmosphere is very different and I think the pictures are quite magical as well.

If you missed the other postings, here they are:

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Moscow – Russia

Continuing from the few days we spent St Petersburg, we took the overnight train down to Moscow.  We took the Red Arrow train. This is a historic train and a true delight.  Not to be missed.  It is actually quite comfortable.

Now, one of the unusual snacks in Russia is not all the types of vodka…it is the chip flavors!  Just like we learned when we visited Japan has all the flavors of Kit-Kat, Russians love chips that taste like caviar, crab, etc.

Of course, in Moscow, the largest attraction is Red Square.

It is gorgeous and fun to visit, but here were the two surprises:

  1. It is much much smaller than it looks on television with all the famous parades
  2. It is really a shopping center with expensive shops and that is why most locals visit red Square

Now, the other reason the tourists visit is the rare chance to see Lenin’s Tomb.  Some call it a Mausoleum.  The lines to get a long.  Really really long.  It could take hours and you cannot take a camera in or take pictures.

What did I do?  Yep.  Paid a $20 bribe to cut in line.  It worked.

It was so scary seeing him…it was almost like a ghost that was going to sit up and start speaking in seconds.  I wonder what other secrets are hidden in this bunker…

and since I was in the heart of Russia, I had to explore getting a traditional hat.  What do you think?  Too warm for the summer I think…

There are so many historical sites, buildings and Soviet architecture to see in Moscow.  Do you recognize this one?

This is the famous building where Boris Yeltsin was at during his attempted coup that occurred in 1991.  All the memories…Stay tuned, more of Moscow will be shared in my next posting!

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