Cherry Blossoms – ver. 2012

Hi everyone!

Time for some catch-up. Been getting behind on my blogging duties. And that’s down to my suffering a bit of late due to an overloaded schedule. Four cities in a week (not including Moscow) – it’s become quite tough. Before I could manage – no worries. What’s with me? Just need some rest and relaxation, I guess.

Anyway – enough moaning, and back to it! Oki-doki…

And so, there we are again – in Tokyo! Japan – a unique country that can be compared with no other; and Tokyo, its capital – a crazy, magical metropolis that just blows the mind. It’s a place you really need to see in the flesh – photos only go so far in giving you an adequate impression. Therefore, to anyone who still hasn’t had the chance of visiting Japan – get there as soon as the opportunity arises! I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Japan

More: Cherry blossoms, business, and Blade Runner …

Oman? – Yeh’ Man! Or – From Moscow Snow to the Arabian Heat.

Salam alaykom, everyone!

Next up on my spring globetrotting tour with T.T. – Muscat, the capital of Oman, for the Cyber Defense Summit. Here under the chandeliers were gathered together ministers and other government representatives, bosses of top corporations, the FBI and other legal enforcement bodies, and so on. The event was a closed one – as in, not open to the press. Ooh – secrecy! All the same I managed to fit in eight interviews.

Cyber Defense SummitA ceiling to be admired – just ask the gent in the orange head dress

More: Now for a few facts about the Sultanate of Oman

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

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A Break Well Deserved – Mayan Style.

With three events (Security Analyst Summit, international press tour, and IT-security industry analysts’ conference) in Cancun over and done with (which completed the last leg of more than three weeks on the road at conferences, etc., etc., etc. all around the world), and the very last guests all having left, a little nostalgia was already setting in for the great times we had in the place… everything was just so very positive, interesting and fun – especially the evenings; extra-specially the Mexican Yucatan nights – yee-ha!

So let me tell you a little about the three ‘best bits’ – what you really must see in Yucatan if you ever get the chance to visit the place.

First – Chichen Itza (the Mayan pyramids); second – Cenote Ik-Kil (for swimming); and third – Rio Secreto (underground caves); not necessarily in that order. All must-visits!

A few pieces of advice: in Rio Secreto it’s better to leave your camera outside the cave – otherwise it’ll just get ruined down there from being submerged in water. But not to worry – every group of visitors to the caves is accompanied by a photographer who knows exactly how to keep his camera dry above water level. There are three different routes in Rio Secreto – all taking approximately 90 minutes to complete – at first by foot, then up to one’s knees in water, then swimming, then… just anyway, anyhow, as best you can :)

Indeed, a massive ‘big up’ to Rio Secreto . And I recommend buying one of the CDs with photos at the exit – the CDs contain great pics of both underground and surface scenes, plus ones of all the wildlife to be found in the caves.

For Chichen Itza you need to take camera equipment, bathing suit, plus towel – that’s about all you need for a great day’s chillage there.

It goes without saying that all the touristy spots are lined with densely packed stalls hawking the inevitable mass consumption tat. “Onnly van dullaar, senyor!”

The pics below show where the Mayas played their ancient version of basketball. Legend has it that one of the teams in the final after the game would be sacrificed for the gods. Which team wound up dead after the match – the winning or losing one – is not known: scholarly opinion is divided on this.

Swimming in Cenote Ik-Kil is one of the most magical swims in the world! The purest water, at the perfect temperature, at the bottom of a kind of deep sinkhole with long dangling plants hanging from high above. I really recommend it. One problem though is that it’s tricky taking good photos there – it’s quite dark below and very light above L.

That’s all folks! And now, for several days I’m going to be in full offline regime, somewhere here:

View from the plane

The rest of the photos are here.

 

A Business Mecca Through The Eyes Of A Tourist.

Davos (and if you’re really with it, the stress will be on the second syllable).

What do people who follow the news know about this place? Yes, only from the news! Davos…forum, economics, politics, anti-globalization, police. The place bursts to life like a geyser on Kamchatka – not very often, but when it does, you know about it.

Davos

Well, I was here too. For the first two days as a tourist, then things get a bit more serious…

Read more: It’s a small mountain hamlet!

Machu Pictures.

Hi everyone!

If you’ve been following these posts for any length of time at all, you’ll have gathered that I travel a lot. A real a lot! So much so that towards the end of the year I even have to put the brakes on a bit and simply say “nyet” to my colleagues who want me here, there and everywhere – otherwise I’d be ejected from the list of proud Russian citizens who pay Russian taxes :) However, at least once a year I indulge myself with a sightseeing-only trip. Yep, no business at all. Well, except for the teambuilding with the guys who help me getting there.

Machu pictures

More: More stunning Machu Pictures!

Pearl Races.

Hi everyone,

I’m back again, this time delivering you an experience from Zhuhai, China (literally “Pearl Sea”, 珠海) – one of the seven tracks of the recently launched Intercontinental La Mans Cup series. As luck would have it I was invited to the race on my way to a business meeting (and didn’t regret it one bit!).

Although the Zhuhai race carries the proud Le Mans 24 name, it is more of a cover version of the real thing. It’s not that much of an endurance race – it runs for just six hours – but it still has the same teams, drivers, cars, rules etc. But not quite the same crowds of enthusiastic spectators…yet. Numbers were low, compared with both Le Mans events and with Chinese motorsports in general, but I think it’s only a matter of time before China, as it already has in many other fields, overtakes the established leaders. And this particular event has something else going for it: in Chinese there are plenty of hieroglyphs for “Le Mans” :)

Zhuhai race

More > 6 hours in 7 pictures (and a link)

High-Sea Pu-East

Here we are continuing the world airport theme.

I’d heard a lot of good things about the new Pudong airport in Shanghai (Shanghai Pudong is written 上海浦东, and is translated, probably, as “High-Sea Pu-East”; the Han character “pu” – 浦 – I’m told has no meaning on its own).

Anyway, like I was saying, I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Now, after experiencing it, I’m ready to join in chorus of praise.

The building is huge – no, it’s ein Koloss! (since I’m writing this in Frankfurt Airport, I couldn’t resist getting a little bit of Deutsch in here!). Tons of space and air… The only thing that spoils it all is the grey sky outside the stained-glass windows… Ground services move about between the planes on a four-lane route painted on the apron. Now there’s a first.

In short: brand spanking new, big, convenient and quick (by the time you’ve walked from the arrival gate to baggage retrieval, your luggage is already on the conveyor). Do you remember my tale about JFK airport here? Well, in Pudong, it’s the exact opposite! It seems to me that China is preparing for becoming the most flown to and from country in the world (or has it made it already?).

Here’s a rather unusual but nice and shiny sculpture in the arrivals hall. Though you can’t quite see it in the pic, behind it water runs down the walls.

Sculpture in Pudong Airport

See more > VIP lounges, kids area and a beautiful sky …