Major Sites of Paris

A commemorative posting from 25 years ago given the Notre Dame fires tonight.

Our memories will live on.

You have to love the gargoyles up at the top which were used to spray burning oil against attackers (zombies)!

If you love the cathedral, nearby across the Seine is one of the best museums in the world: The Louvre.

You have to enter through the Pyramid of course. A blend of modern and ancient being together.

From there, you can take the Metro to get almost anywhere in Paris.

Of course you have to check out the Eiffel Tower even if it a gloomy day.  But the lines are long and costly.  25 years ago, it was only $10 (50 francs), but now…

and the Arc de Triomphe is at the end of the Champs-Élysées where everyone shops!

 

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Very Large Array in New Mexico

Here is a previously posted retro blog for a visit I made to the Very Large Array in New Mexico.  It was an amazing place to visit based on the history and the movies.

It is famous from the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster and the exploration and contact with extraterritorial life outside of earth.  But let me take a side trip (no pun intended) on how we got to the NRAO public observatory that is in the middle of New Mexico.

When you read about New Mexico, what is the first story you read about in the news?

Roswell.

Of course, before going to the array, we had to first drive to Roswell, New Mexico to get a briefing and more evidence on aliens and UFOs to be fully informed in advance.

It was amazing to learn about Roswell and the UFO crash landing.  A large set of displays and exhibits to check out in this very charming town.  I will not comment on whether the alien autopsy video was fake news or not, but I will say, it is like Las Vegas: what happens in Roswell, stays in Roswell!

We met some interesting locals and other explorers.  As a result, we picked up a hitchhiker before proceeding west to Socorro.  They needed a way to communicate to distant stars, so we helped them find their way.

Needless to say, the site was very impressive and inspiring.  Unfortunately, it is a little restricted and you are limited on where you can go and take pictures.  You can learn much more by going inside and understanding how the array actually works.

Fortunately,  there is a least one of the dishes quite close to the observation area that enables you to capture some great shots and signals from outer space at the same time!

Summary: A highly recommended visit and scenic drive across New Mexico.  Now, why did aliens and UFOs express such interest in New Mexico?  Read on!

Before leaving the state, we went over to the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque. It is the best known museum and artifacts of nuclear science in the United States.

It has some amazing (both current and historical) weapon examples for display that are in the US arsenal.  It was amazing to see a MIRV based ICBM payload example up close.

and for the security experts, they also had some early versions of the nuclear warhead PAL controls that the United States developed and then eventually supplied the Soviet Union to protect against malicious or accidental warhead denotation.

 

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Imperial War Museum in London

I continued my tradition of taking a more adventurous lunch break when working and travelling for business in London.

Of course, I kicked off the foggy/soggy day In London with a run around the parks.

From the hotels in the Piccadilly Circus area, Hyde Park provides a great 10K route for everyone.

Just do not get distracted by all the fancy cars travelling to visit the royalty in the nearby palaces. For some reason, there are lots of chauffeured Rolls Royce in this area…

OK – back to main topic.  The Imperial War Museum.  Here is the most amazing thing:  it is completely FREE entrance!

I have to admit this is one of the best modern military war museums I have seen in years…maybe second only to the Russian Artillery museum in St. Petersburg.

It has an amazing collection of many different artifacts from WWII to Afghanistan including actual V1 and V2 rockets from WWII.

I found yet another complete Enigma device.  Apparently there are two in London!

Now, lets talk about the cold war.  I was really surprised to see a collection of retired nuclear missiles and bombs in the British army on display here in the museum.  This was a fascinating, now declassified submarine Polaris missile warhead wrapper that shows the various deception and evasion components in the ICBM warhead reentry vehicle.

This particular piece was captured from Berlin and I was surprised to see one of these monuments still remaining and not destroyed after the war.  The museum also had one of the best Holocaust exhibits, history and stories that I have ever seen outside of visiting museums and Auschwitz in Poland.  You cannot take pictures for good reason inside this exhibit.

 

 

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1992 JFK CV-67 Cruise Video

Memories from the past!

It was over 25 years ago when we returned on the JFK CV-67 aircraft carrier on its very last combat cruise in the first week of April!

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Visiting the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau

This is a 2007 retro post and migrated from the previous blog platform.

We stayed at the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau from April 13th – 18th 2007. We found the experience wonderful. We stayed on Hilton Honors points – however we were treated like paying guests. We were given a partial ocean view room and even allowed to check in an hour early before the normal check in time. The hotel and our room were well kept and no maintenance issues. All staff were extremely friendly and went out of their way to help us. Everyone always asked us if there was anything they could do to help us and all the staff was always smiling. The breakfast and dinners inside the hotel were great. Don’t believe the reviews!

Yes, this is a Caribbean island and some things are not up to the same standard as the US. Outside of the hotel this is true, inside the hotel; I feel everything is on par with US based Hiltons. The local area around the Hilton is right in the down town area with shopping and restaurants. All prices inside and outside the hotel were reasonable – although you will save money by going outside the hotel. Overall, the Bahamas is the friendliest and safest island in the Caribbean we have ever visited. The taxis to the Hilton are easily found and a fixed price of $22 each way. Easy walks to many attractions and places like the local fish fry. You can ride to Paradise Island for $11 each way. Paradise Island and Atlantis are beautiful, but be prepared to spend double on everything compared to outside Paradise Island.

Families with children may not have as much to do, but as adults we certainly liked the choices around us and ability to walk across the street to the liquor store and buy cold beer if we wanted to at the end of the day at a low price.

We went diving with Stuart Cove. Great locations and diving – fairly professional crew and high quality rental equipment. Prices were fair and the operations were smooth. Best part was the wreck dives and the freedom in which divers were given to explore. They pick you right up from the hotel and it is about a 30 minute ride to the other side of the island.

if interested, I went diving again with Stuart Cove and was able to capture some great videos from the wrecks we dove.

Overall, we would definitely stay again and recommend this property.

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Palm Springs and Joshua Tree Park

Palms Springs is definitely a great weekend getaway.  It is also very different than many people may think.  It is much more than just ritzy golf clubs and celebrity events.

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton which overlooks the city and valleys.

It also has great evening entertainment, activities and host guests that will help you even star watch which is quite a delight.

Of course, I snuck in an afternoon run, but you need to be in good shape, because with the elevation and hard core trails, it is quite a workout!

The city is much larger than I ever thought, but there are tons of great stores and restaurants to check out.  The variety and diversity of all the stores, hotels and restaurants is quite large…and I am still not sure I could figure out this Hotel which was close to where we ate last night, and nobody seemed to be there, but the sign said “Open”.  I guess I digress…

Now, one of the highlights of the area is the Joshua Tree National Park which is about 1.5 hour drive east from Palm Springs.

It has some amazing hiking choices and trails available for everyone.  It is a huge park and only costs $30 per car to visit.  But warning, arrive early as the entrance lines can be a mile long if you wait too long on a weekend.

We chose to first hire the Barker Dam trail.

The views and hidden spots are quite amazing and it is hard to not stay in park and checking out more trails to explore more of the history of the area.

You can even find and closely observe Native American petroglyphs in the area which was a surprise find!

Overall, it is not too technical, the only challenge is where to stop taking pictures and selfies because there are so many memorable landscapes and foliage.

This overall area and part of California is very different, very western and very unique and not what many people would expect.

We stopped for a break and for some lunch in Yucca, which is almost a mid western US time of culture and environment.

Not what we expected only 30 minutes away from Palm Springs, but clearly a different landscape.  We even stopped by Pioneer Town for a few minutes to check out the old movie set and compliment to the overall culture and people of Yucca Valley.

Summary: Palm Springs is a wonderful place to explore, but be advised as you adventure and research the broader area, it is much more diverse and different than you would ever expect or see on television.

 

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RSA Security Conference in San Francisco

OK – what is it really like to attend a security conference in San Francisco?

Yes, of course, you spend a lot of time in giant dark, cold massive halls.  You get to hear and see famous people and great speakers.

You walk through massive expo halls and through thousands of sales trolls to do whatever it takes to scan your badge and give you swag…

Some are questionable…

Some are quite funny!

It is crowded, the hotels are expensive, it can sometimes rain in torrents and plan to do a lot of walking.  But you get to explore and see a lot of San Francisco that you would not normally ever get to do if you were just a tourist!

And it is also an amazing place to go running in the mornings

Where you take in gorgeous sites while running along the water

and famous history like Alcatraz Island (prison) that surrounds the city!

Now, what is the best part of the conference?  You get to have fun, see entertainment and meet famous people.

Do you know who that is?  Just watch the video and give it a listen 🙂

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