Monthly Archives: July 2023

A visibly clearer, cleaner Beijing – no more stingy eyes or respirating!

Hi all!

Today, a brief interlude to my ongoing lux-adventure-tourism series – from Beijing! I was there the other week, and came over all nostalgic since I hadn’t been there since… September 2019 – nearly four years ago!…

The first thing I noticed was that the Chinese capital had freshened up: the air quality seemed much better – so much so that you can walk the streets without a respirator. And the photos taken from my hotel room (almost) showed the distant horizon! ->

In the past, the smog would get so bad that buildings just a few kilometers away couldn’t be made out. Here’s proof!

Read on: A visibly clearer, cleaner Beijing – no more stingy eyes or respirating!

How to do time-off in lavish, adventurous style, pt. 2.

Hi folks!

Since in part one we finished up in the Antarctic, let’s stay there – remembering fondly our journey to… the South Pole!

It all happened suddenly and wholly unexpectedly, yet it turned out to be one of the most memorable trips of my life. Accordingly, it comes in at No. 3 in this here list of mine highlighting my most unusual, unique and unbelievably amazing touristic adventures from the awesome side…

No. 3: the South Pole

Briefly about this trip – here; in depth about this trip – here. Today though – a summary, plus few pieces of crucial photographic evidence… ) ->

First up – selfie, using the actual (ceremonial) South Pole to get our reflection in! ->

The more cynically/critically-minded among you, dear readers, could be forgiven for thinking something along the lines of: “South Pole? Sure – cool, but hardly super-exclusive/awesome, and actually costing something like the price of a small car”. And I’d have to agree; however, our expedition to the South Pole was uniquely unusual…

Read on: How to do time-off in lavish, adventurous style, pt. 2.

Flickr photostream

  • Dubai
  • Dubai
  • Dubai
  • Dubai

Instagram photostream

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About a Billionaire’s Time Off* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) – pt. 1.

Hi folks!

Since there are a few days until my next business trip, followed by two weeks of well-deserved vacationing, there’s a short window to pause, have a think, and come up with a topic that’s both unusual and (I hope) interesting for you, dear readers. And this is what I’ve come up with…

As a company, we’re big into social media. And I personally am big into it too. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Flickr (besides my own blog, which you’re reading now) – and that’s just in English! I get lots of comments on those different accounts but, alas, I simply don’t have the time to read them all – much less get into discussions there. However, when a bit of free time does appear, I take a good long look. And one such occasion arose recently…

I was browsing through a stack of questions, when one caught my attention in particular. It went: “Why does a billionaire pretend to be a simple tourist?” Another went: “Tell us about the yachts and boats you sail on, what fancy camera you use for all your pics, and how you organize your big events.”

Re camera: I got a Sony Alpha 7 in 2015, and in 2022 I upgraded to a Sony Alpha 1 (pics [plenty of goodies!] only; Russian text). Yes, I like my Sonys.

Re how we organize our big bashes: I’m awaiting full info from our corporate events team. We’ve been putting on big events for decades now, and in recent years they’ve been numbering around 20 per year. So, yes, we know a thing or two about conferences and other big pow-wows and celebrations. Let’s see what they come back with. Meanwhile… check this tag out.

Re yachts and boats, and assorted other expensive pastimes and tourisms, for those that are new to this here blog – I can only disappoint: no yacht, no castle, no soccer team, no jet… None of that’s for me. However, one thing I do like to spend my hard earned rubles on is… – adventure tourism. So, here, I’m going to go over some of that – to introduce it to the newcomers among you, and to refresh the tales-from-the-extreme-tourism-side for the old-timers here…

And I’ll order things from the bottom up: from the deepest oceanic depths and up to the highest mountainous (better – volcan-ous!) heights – and higher!…

Starting with ocean depths – this will be brief. I’m a contemplative-meditative tourist, so I was never too keen on going deep-sea diving. Bathyscaphes and submarines – no thanks: you can hardly see anything when real deep anyway. I need to see something beautiful to contemplate-meditate upon…

Closer to the surface, though there’s visibility, everything’s still somehow rather banal. Sure, I’ll partake in a few scuba dives in, say, Seychelles, Maldives, Australia, or among the Galapagos Islands – but I’m no fan. Accordingly, I can’t report on anything too extravagant in the shallow underwater regard – no matter how exotic the location.

But on the surface of seas and oceans – now that’s more my thing. Evidence? Already three long ship cruises around the Kurils, with daily disembarkations onto the volcanic islands. Yes – I think it’s fair to say that’s exclusive – hardly anyone does the Kurils like that. More exclusivity? Does a trip to Antarctica on a large research vessel with artists from all over the world count? )

Aha – here’s a pic from that expedition. Oh, and can you guess what that land mass on the horizon is called? Look closely ) ->

Read on…

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog

2 birthdays in 1 – our 25th and 26th. How did we mark the occasion? Like THIS! ->

Our b-day celebrations are back. Period! But this year’s was extra special: we had a double-whammy, for we marked two of our anniversaries: our 25th and 26th birthdays rolled into one! But wait – there’s more: it was attended by a full 3100+ guests. Oh my grandiose!

But first – rewind, selecta

Some 26 years ago – on June 26, 1997, to be precise – a small but very ambitious and restless company first saw the light of day. And as luck would have it, the company was named after moi (I objected to this, albeit halfheartedly:). We were the epitome of a tiny startup: no money, no venture capital, no financial support at all in fact. But what can I say? It just grew and grew and grew – eventually becoming the multinational corporation you know today!

I won’t go over the story of how we registered the Kompany, since I’ve already done so – here. (And for more AV-adventures from yesteryear – go here.)

Here, I’ll simply go over the main things: the format, and a review of this year’s bash…

Our b-day celebrations are always all-dayers (and nighters!); they’re always next to a large body of water; there are always more attractions/rides to go on and sporty/fun activities to get stuck into than you can possibly imagine; there are always the tastiest eats and drinkies; there’s always a slew of bands (and other shows) made up of our own who take to the main stage; there’s always much dancing; and there’s always a headliner – or two – as the icing on the cake. But there’s a lot more to it than that quick summary, but we’ll get to that… In a nutshell: it was a proper, full-fledged high-adrenaline blowout!…

Read on…

St. Petersburg from its canals at night – a multicolor delight.

Our working week up in St. Petersburg was finally coming to a close – and we decided we needed to finish it in suitable style. And when in the northern capital, that can mean only one thing: nighttime river-and-canal cruise! But of course: they don’t call it Venice of the North for nothing, you know )…

Sure, we’ve done it before – plenty. But of course we have. You can never have too many nighttime canal experiences here. And anyway – each time the colors and scenes in general are always slightly different; accordingly, out came the camera for much clackety-click, and – bonus! – the pics turned out to be much better than in previous years!…

Read on…

Cyber Immunity – in St.P-conference format.

As you’ll probably be able to tell from my slew of St. Petersburg-themed posts of late (architecture tour, rooftop tour, bucking Bronka tour, Kronstadt tour) – our week in the northern capital was a busy, action-packed one. But it wasn’t over just yet. Still to come was a Cyber Immunity conference followed by a nocturnal boat excursion along the city’s canals and Neva River. In this post, I’ll go over the former…

Secure by design software development – it’s a real buzz-term of late: everyone’s on about it, especially in North America and Europe. And everyone keeps insisting that it’s really needed – but no one goes on to say quite how. Meanwhile in northwest Moscow…

We’ve long been using the term “secure by design” – not merely as an empty catchword with little substance to back it up, but together with detailed instructions for implementing it – including at our conferences on all things secure-by-design. And just the other week we put on our latest such conference – up in St. Petersburg, and which we now call… ->

Read on…

The Kronstadt fort portfolio.

Still sticking around St. Petersburg, we saw it was time for a scene change. So we chose the forts of Kronstadt, since – to my shame – I’d never been and didn’t even know much about them, including their history. Thus, it was time for some Kronstadt forts history catch-up…

Kronstadt is a port city on the tiny Kotlin Island in Neva Bay in the Gulf of Finland some 30 kilometers west of St. Petersburg – here. But the name Kronstadt is also given to the collection of historic forts in Neva Bay, including the few in Kronstadt. Most of the forts were constructed in the early to mid-1700s, and there were 22 at one point (some were later demolished). The first forts appeared during the Great Northern War. The reason why they were built was simple: to protect the northern capital from enemy navies.

I mentioned some were demolished; alas – others were simply abandoned and left to decay, not before they were looted. Today plenty of ruins remain – in among the shrubbery and trees that have grown up in the intervening centuries. But “ruins” doesn’t mean uninteresting; quite the contrary in fact. Accordingly, off we popped toward the forts of Kronstadt…

Read on…