Archive for the 'Travel' category


December 5, 2009 1:58 pm

I’ve been reading about the financial situation in Dubai lately and it really is the epitome of the housing bubble.  The city has been decimated by the global financial crisis and is having difficulty staying current on its financial obligations.  The more I’ve read it seems that the city is mostly smoke and mirrors anyway.  With the decline in property value, many homeowners have seen their investment’s value decline on a magnitude much greater than in the US (maybe not more than Detroit), and it has put their mortgage payments out of reach.

There are many stories about expats going to jail for failing to repay debts; in Dubai defaulting on a loan is a criminal offense.  The city’s infrastructure is falling apart and unable to meet current demands, which has led to tourist illness from untreated sewage.  The worst thing I read was about enslaved construction workers, when they arrive their passports are taken away, they are forced to live in squalor and are rarely paid.  Its certainly a mess over there, but it really is the business center of the Middle East; and that is an increasingly important region.

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White Water Rafting on the Yellowstone River in Montana

June 15, 2009 11:01 pm

We woke up around 7:45 to get ready to go rafting.  We were supposed to pick up beers last night, but didn’t, and drank all that we had left.  Luckily in Montana you can buy beer just about anywhere and its dirt cheap.  So we picked up a few 30s for the rafting trip; they told us to bring some beers, so 60 beers for 6 of us might have been a little overkill, but we can always share…  If we get too drunk, we can always just walk back to the RV, or hitchhike, so we should be fine; as long as we don’t drown.  They provide us lunch, so at least we didn’t have to worry about that.

We used Wild West Rafting, and when we got there, we donned our wetsuits and got ready to go.  They asked if we brought any beverages, and they were shocked to see us with (2) 30s.  (Banquets of course!  BTW, that means Coors Original…)  They told us we couldn’t bring them on the first part of the trip because it was too technical, so we pregamed in the parking lot for a bit and got a little sauced up.  The water was really cold, so cold we had to wear wetsuits, so we needed a little something to keep us warm (Yes, Mom – I know it wont really keep me warm and will in fact make me prone to hypothermia).

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Driving from Seattle to Yellowstone (Montana)

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Today we drove to Yellowstone.  The trip was interesting.  We went through a strip-mine (not pretty); It actually was on both sides of the highway.  I saw some of those huge trucks they always have shows about on the Discovery Channel, but it was really an ugly place.  We went through some mountains and the RV had trouble, and got pretty hot so we had to crawl up.  It really doesn’t help that we’re towing a 4 door Jeep Wrangler (I think it’s about 4,200 lbs).

The country out here is really beautiful.  There is a lot of open area and ranch land.  It seems like a great spot for hunting and fishing.  I can’t wait to do some fly fishing around the park.  I’ve heard it’s amazing.  We’re also planning on doing some whitewater rafting tomorrow.  I haven’t gone in a while, but hopefully the river will be decent.  If it’s really going, I’ll try to rent a kayak.

Every half an hour or so we would pass an Indian Reservation.  These were really depressing; they were in much worse shape than most in the southwest.  These were HUGE.  Many had casinos and truck stops, but nobody really went.  There weren’t enough people out here to generate much income from the slots.  The Native Americans really got a raw deal, I felt pretty depressed as we drove through their land.

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Seattle – Boeing Factory Tour – Dinner on the Water

June 14, 2009 11:05 pm

We got up and headed to Seattle.  We crossed a floating bridge, which I looked up on my phone and found out the old bridge sank not too long ago.  Ethan programmed some stuff into the GPS, so we went out.  First we got breakfast at Beth’s.  They have these huge omelets with 16 eggs or something like that, and unlimited hash browns.  I split a big one, and it was really good.  The hash browns weren’t great though.  Afterwards, we went and saw a random troll under a bridge, but it wasn’t that cool.  Then we went out and got some South Lake Union Trolley shirts (Ride the SLUT).  They were ok, so I picked one up, although I’m not sure when I’ll really wear it.

We went to the fish market and saw them throw the fish.  It was OK, but wasn’t spectacular.  I saw a guy playing the piano on the side of the road and he was pretty good.  Next we went to the Space Needle afterwards; it was much smaller than I thought it would be and the fake in Vegas might actually be taller.  Ethan and Larissa wanted to go up, so they waited in line.  The rest of us wandered the grounds of the Worlds Fair.  My dad told me he was there for it, so insisted that I check it out.  There was a carnival permanently stationed there, and it was pretty terrible.  They had the worst mini golf I’d ever seen.  I tried to negotiate with one of the operators for a better prize, I wanted to make it a cash game and reverse the odds.  I wanted him to play, and I’d pay cash.  He refused so I figured the odds they were giving weren’t too good.  I love statistics and figuring out expected payouts on the fly.

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Everyone Goes Skiing in Portland Except Me and Mark

June 13, 2009 11:30 pm

We all woke up around the same time and drove to a Walmart.  Mark and I decided to hang out in the RV while everyone else went skiing.  We weren’t feeling too hot from the previous few days, and decided it was a good idea to just hang out and see what was in the area.  Everyone else was pretty gung-ho on skiing since they’re on the Rutgers Ski Team.  Mark and I made friends with the parking lot security guard and made sure he saw that we purchased something there.  We watched goofy looking high school kids getting ready for prom and went to Carl’s Jr.  It was pretty good, but it was no In-N-Out Burger, I miss that place already.

We were both really hurting from the Great Balls of Fire.  I’ll spare you the details, but it was not a pleasant day.  We didn’t really make it out of the RV just napped and told jokes.   Not a bad day.  And hey, if we didn’t stay, we probably would have gotten towed.  There were pretty clear signs telling us not to park there.

Everyone came back a while later, they said the skiing was ok, but there were lots of goofy looking people out there, so that made up for it.  And they got to ski in shorts.  We then drove to Seattle and got to our RV Park.

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