Apr21

France-Italy 2019

We had the chance to travel with some friends Thomas and Leslie and check out parts of France with some friends. We also got the chance to show some of our favorite parts of Italy. Firstly, we ended up in France, just south of Paris and met the wonderful family that used to stay with Thomas and Leslie at the Cape. We were lucky enough to tag along for this part. Their hospitality was that fit for a king. Paris We got to see this just two weeks before it burnt. So sad for such a national treasure to be damaged like that. But France will recover. They always do. Country dining in the French countryside. Unreal experience. Only locals here, no tourists. Well, except for us. Lesson learned. In France, you don’t tell people you are coming. Otherwise, they will put out a spread fit for royalty. No joke. Meanwhile… back in Italy. I present you… Verona. Lake Garda Stumbled across the church of St. Anthony’s. Surprised how many people were here and how under-advertised this place is. Venice Modena Spy Ferrari shots… Traversetolo Parma Florence Pisa Lucca Riding bikes along the ring medieval walls in Lucca. Siena Manarola...

Jan03

Iran 2018

Iran, where does one start – the Facebook status proclamation said it best; “It’s complicated“. And so is deciding where to start this blog post… Iran has a long and complicated history – a history that includes invasion, oppression, glory, opulence and revolution. And not necessarily in that order. If the first thing that comes to your mind is Axis of Evil or “Allahua Akbar” and ISIS, you are in for a big surprise! Edit – 1/4/2020 – I can no longer advise American’s to visit Iran. At least not while Trump is president. It would be irresponsible of me to state otherwise. Now with the killing of General Soleimani, all bets are off the table. If you still decide to travel to Iran you run the real risk of being used as a political pawn. You’ve been warned, for the time being! Why Iran? A fair question – particularly for Americans. Firstly, I’ve wanted to go to Iran for over 10 years for photography reasons. As you will see in the proceeding photographs, it is an absolutely beautiful country with world class attractions (23 UNESCO World Heritage sites!). Secondarily, Persians (As Iranians prefer to be referred to as), are legendary for their hospitality and accommodating nature, particularly for guests/tourists. This proved true everywhere we went…. People were extremely friendly – from people asking about Trump to just wanting to practice English, it was a real delight having people wanting to converse with us and getting to know their way of life. Lastly, western media or more specifically American media has portrayed Iran in a very negative light for over 40 years. Some of that was earned and some of it due to external influence. (More on that later). but if you do a little bit of independent research, you’ll see that Europeans, Australians, Chinese, Russian and more folks have been touring Iran for decades. It’s like we didn’t get the memo that it was worthy to travel to… while the rest of the world is enjoying all it has to offer. Wasn’t it scary? Not one bit. As i mentioned above, people from other countries have been going there for years. It’s a popular destination for seemingly everyone but Americans. No police, no military on the streets, apparently little to no crime (Even in Tehran, their biggest city)… so what gives? Why are Americans so afraid of this place? I think it can be summed up in two words: Islam and Terrorism. Foreigners are treated very kindly in Iran and even more-so when they hear you are from America. I already knew this from watching Rick Steve’s Iran episode on PBS. But wait, haven’t people been detained in Iran and sometimes even imprisoned? Yes – there have been cases of this. If your family history originally descends from Iran, even if you are an American citizens – sometimes the Iranian government likes to harass and/or detain folks of this background. There have been isolated cases of tourists without Iranian descent also being detained, but usually for reasons like taking photographs of embassies or military installations etc. If you are not of Iranian descent and don’t take pictures or write journalism of sensitive subjects, it seems you are pretty safe in Iran. Some Background I’ve written a long and detailed page about my views and why i care about Iran which you can view by clicking this link. The short version is that yes, Iran’s government is a bit… stubborn, blowhards, prideful and support terrorism in some form. And ultimately, the regime needs an enemy to justify their existence in order to claim to be protecting the people from foreign adversaries. I don’t want to get too political on this page as to detract from the photographs i took there, so that’s why i created this second page to discuss these subjects without cluttering my main message through photography. For...

Apr27

Switzerland 2017

Back to Switzerland. This time we brought Renu’s Mom and Dad to experience it. We brought them to Dubai a few years back – but that was fairly familiar to them. Europe would be a whole new experience. To begin with, they left Delhi which just the prior was 102′. We went to Luzern first which was 47′ . So a big difference indeed. This along with the fact that they don’t do a large amount of walking and it was going to be a stretch for them. But to my surprise, they did very well. Both – with the weather and the large amount of walking involved. To make amends – we ate at a lot of Indian restaurants to lessen the blow for them. =) We started in Luzern and ended in Bern. It was a great trip. Enjoy the photographs:     Enjoying the view from the train.   The Gondola ride up to Mt. Titlis.   This was pretty cool, it was a Glacier cave, Renu’s mom and dad didn’t enjoy it too much. =)   The views from Mt. Titlis.   This was a funny moment… Renu’s mom had to touch the snow to ensure it was really snow. Her first time being around it – she thought maybe it was like a manmade powder or something. haha   Paragliders and Skydivers everywhere.   The beautiful town of Luzern.   We came across this park by chance. This is in the town of Cham. Never heard of it, but so glad we went there…   Lausanne We have the good fortune of having friends in Lausanne, so they graciously booked lunch for us at the Olympic Museum. It was a very nice place and a cool experience. We also got to meet their daughter Alice for the...

Nov14

2016 Peru

This was our first time in South America and i have to say, it was a blast! Viva Peru! For this trip, we wanted a little more outdoorsy type stuff and Renu was crazed about the prospects of being able to visit the Amazon Jungle. I was excited about climbing a mountain and sleeping on some mountainside pods, so we decided what better place than Peru to see it through… I’m not entirely sure why, maybe i just figured it was relatively easy to visit due to its proximity to North America, but I’ve been putting off South America for years. And boy do i regret it. I got to bust out my 7th grade Spanish (Thanks, Mrs. Asenho, i retained a decent amount and you were a great teacher!), and people in Peru were extremely nice. This marks the first time ever that we used a tour company at the suggestion of my colleague Jason O’Brien, and while the tour was amazing, and we had great guides, Renu and i decided that tours are just not for us. We found this out the last day in Lima when we were on a bus getting ready for our Lima city tour, something just didn’t feel right, so we got off the bus. We ran into some folks on bicycles, asked where they rented them from, we got there, rented two and off we were. From that moment on, we really felt free. I guess we don’t like the idea that you are seeing what the tour company wants you to see vs. what is actually out there. That’s probably our biggest complaint. Don’t get us wrong, we could have changed the itinerary and it wasn’t the tour companies fault, obviously, but more about how we like to travel. We like to plan less and see where things take us. So no more tours for us. Anyhow, we visited three major areas, Puerto Maldonado, Cusco, and Lima. New York City, seen from Newark: Puerto Maldonado Here we stayed at the absolutely amazing Amazonas Refugio lodge. Puerto Maldonado is already on the cusp of the forest, but then to get to this lodge – you take a boat ride for 2.5 hours!!! to the lodge. And once you reach the shore of the lodge it’s about another 15-20 minutes into the forest. So make no mistake, you are in the motherfuckin’ forest by the time you get there. This isn’t one of those forest ‘feeling’ type places. Oh no. You are in the thick of it. And that’s by design. The owner wanted you engulfed in nature with no noise, no distractions other than nature itself. A 100% success. Amazingly, they even had (weak) wifi. Anyhow, while here, we were completely captivated with the facilities and wildlife. The facilities consist of a huge main lodge, which serves as a lounge, bar, cafeteria and library, houses a lot of people at once. And there are three large wings which house the bungalows. In each room, you have three walls only. The fourth wall is completely open (Without screen) to the forest. We saw and heard birds, small animals and huge butterfly’s. You sleep with mosquito nets over your bed which was different and the sound of insects at night was almost deafening. We also got a taste of Red Howler monkey’s in the middle of the forest (Sounds like some crazy machine!): [embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfG5UU-1s8c[/embedyt] But overall an amazing experience. Something very special and unique. I would highly recommend this to couples and small families alike. Each day is filled with activities, from kayaking/canoeing, nighttime Cayman hunting, all sorts of stuff. Anyhow, enjoy the pics: A video of the macau’s here: [embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uo4_jV7CKNk[/embedyt] Cusco Cusco seemed the quintessential South American city. Beautiful old architecture, lots of pride and tradition and lastly many sites and shopping! It has an extremely high elevation 12,000 feet...

Jul31

Quincy Datacenter and Undersea Fiber Optic Cable Landing Station...

Quincy Tech Datacenter and Undersea Fiber Cable Landing Station Summary Background: While doing some research I came across an idea that I believe would greatly benefit the city of Quincy. There are two parts to this idea and the reason behind that is it’s sort of a symbiotic scenario where it’s unlikely for one to exist without the other. This idea came to me after watching several thousand IT workers on the Red Line heading to downtown Boston for work one day…   The Idea: To advocate undersea fiber cable providers to use the coast near the Fore River Shipyard as a international fiber optic cable landing station. Which will in turn attract a Datacenter of one of the big content providers in the country to build their Datacenter on the Fore River shipyard property.    Definitions: 1. Undersea Fiber Optics Cable – A literal cable about 4” in diameter which companies use to provide internet connections between continents.  2. Landing Station – A small building which receives the cable between continents and converts the light pulses in the cable to internet connections via severs in the building.  3. Datacenter – A large building or series of buildings that house servers which feed the internet’s respective ‘content’.    Why Quincy? Unique Geography & Popular Demand: 1. Fore River Shipyard – Enough Land to house the largest of Datacenters, rarely is that much land available near a major tech hub and having direct access to ocean cabling routes.  2. Fiber Cable Safety – The Fore River lane is dredged for Panamax sized ships. The cable can be buried safely and even routed from the coastline directly.  3. Major Hub Proximity – 9 miles to Boston, one of our country’s largest tech hubs. But equally important...