Tag Archives: usa

JFK Reloaded.

Most US airports are catastrophically crummy when it comes to connections. So, when planning multi-leg air journeys, if you ever get the opportunity to not have a connection in the country – take it; even if that means using the in-flight services of your most hateful airline!

But out of all American airports, one in particular is so awful… well, you just feel embarrassed for the country for accommodating such an abomination. Yes folks, this airport is so appallingly atrocious that it needs to be avoided at all costs. As a frequent business traveler I established a strict embargo on using it several years ago already, and if you too travel the world up in the air quite a lot, I recommend you do the same.

At least, that’s the situation as I know (knew?) it. But then along comes D.Z. singing its praises after a recent positive experience there (why he was embargo-busting in the first place I’ve yet to find out:). Must say, his arguments seem convincing. So I’ll now pass the reins over to him, and let you decide for yourself…:

—8<—

Location: On board the Moscow to New York Delta flight (DL467), September, 2015. 

News: From December 1, 2015 Delta Airlines will be stopping its flights to Russia, for reasons known only to itself. However, I think Aeroflot and other airlines will be fully aware of the reasons, and understand, share and support them.

‘Delta’… the airline with traditionally unobtrusive air service. But this time… 

…One of the toilets at the front is ‘reserved for pilots only’. To one side of it there’s a trolley blocking the aisle; to the other there’s a flight attendant installed telling all-comers not to go further – ‘it’s for the pilots, and there are some safety rules’ or some such. When pressed, she remarks: ‘Use the other toilet!’. Ok! So the whole of business class gets in the endless line for the loo on the other side!

So what shall I do now? 

Terminator Genisys – watched! Mad Max 4 – watched a month earlier. Emails all sorted, Kaspersky Daily blogpost ready for publication.

But then, suddenly, somewhere between Norway and Iceland I notice the onboard Wi-Fi! $14.95 for an hour, $27.95 for the flight, $45.95 for the day. Ok. Credit card inserted, PIN entered, logged in. Let’s see how fast this baby goes…

image3


Woh! No sooner do I press ‘enter’ – I’m fully connected to the WWW! EH??!!

Read on: Will Eugene drop his embargo already?…

A hotel on the banks of the Colorado. Woh!

There are a great many beautiful and unusual towns and cities in the world, there are volcanoes, there are valleys and canyons, and islands and lakes. There are also of course rivers: loads of them – all different. There are the grandiose, like the super-wide Amazon with its adjacent jungles, anacondas, piranhas, crocodiles and other underwater perils. There’s the Nile (haven’t seen it myself) – running through the desert, also with crocs, and with 1001 ancient human stories to tell. There’s the Mississippi and all that Tom Sawyer-ness. There’s the Danube and Rhine (and the Lorelei and attendant songs about soldiers fallen in battle). There’s the Yellow River with its unfathomable intensity (also haven’t seen yet), there’s the Lena with its endlessness and Pillars running alongside. Yes, the list is long. // Can you help me continue the list?…

There’s another river – a rather unique one – in southwestern USA (and northwestern Mexico). It’s called the Colorado River. It’s so impressive they went and named a state after it. Its uniqueness flows from how it has cut through the rocky landscapes of several US states – Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Check it.

Much of what I snapped for my recent posts from Utah was made, literally, by the Colorado River. This river also happens to supply the water for a whole five states, and one particularly parched city of note (built bang in the middle of a desert): Las Vegas. I sometimes wonder how on earth this river hasn’t dried up completely yet.

It was the Colorado that over thousands (millions?) of years dried up the internal sea-lake of the West of Northern America. It was the Colorado that etched the most incredibly beautiful wrinkles – canyons – into the face of this particularly rocky part of the North American continent. Some sections of rock however wouldn’t be worn down, no matter how hard the river tried, and these still stand today, towering up above the canyons. The landscapes here are just astonishing. They’re difficult to describe. You need to experience it first hand to believe it really. Which I recommend you all do one day!

colorado-canyonlands-1

colorado-canyonlands-2

Read on: Just look at the views!…

Hold on tight! In an off-road vehicle – off-road in Utah.

A few words about the vehicle that transported us about in Utah. And let’s not forget the super chauffeur…

Here she is, a classic of the genre, giving the Land Rover Defender a run for its money: the Toyota Land Cruiser. Quite an old one at that. Only demonstrates the ruggedness of this remarkable 4×4:

Utah on the road again

At first I wondered why the need for such large wheels and tires…

Utah on the road again

… I quickly found out: Extreme off-roadness!

Read on: unevenness, rocks, boulders, jaggedness and steep slopes…

A quick guide to Utah arches.

Why this national park is called the Arches is a rhetorical question. But if you haven’t been following this mini-on-the-road series from Utah, then read this.

Yes, you want huge natural rock arches – you need to come here. There’s just so much awesome archness here. Wikipedia says there are as many as 2000 here, ranging from the meager to the massive, and from the weird to the wonderful. In our day here we managed to see just nine! They were: Surprise, Skull, Delicate, Tower, Skyline, (the two) Windows, Turret and Double Arch.

Let me jump in here at the deep end: the most beautiful and most famous (and that takes into account desktop wallpaper:) arch of them all is… this one here – Delicate Arch:

Arches National Park Utah

Read on: 70 spellbinding sights…

The Utah Saints: Crimson columns and massive mushrooms.

Since the previous day my brain had been variously boggling and boiling. This was eased a little by steam being emitted from said boggling and boiling brain out via my camera, but that alleviation process then went too far, leading poor brain into a state of half dehydration.

The diagnosis sounds like this:

I’ve (finally) been to the canyons of Utah!

Eyeballs fairy exploded, jaws drooped down to waist level, tongues hung out of mouths, minds… simply blown. Cameras – white hot with non-stop use! The latter in fact were the only things that didn’t completely lose the plot. The human beings and their mentioned body parts however just conked – unable to the take in unencompassable – in the red and white canyons of Utah.

mushrooms_1

Read on: Not bad, eh? This pic was just for starters…

Massachusetts snow woe, and a US-AV decade of champions.

I’ve been in the USA countless times.

Usually it’s just for short stays with a few different places to visit, but there’s normally plenty of interesting tales to tell afterwards. Not this time! This time it was business, business, and again business. In this post, alas, there’ll be nothing too riveting for you, dear reader – just a few curious items…

…The first being… SNOW!

Now, you might think there’s no way a Russian could ever be interested in snow in other countries. Coals to Newcastle, right? But you’d be wrong. For this is the first time in my life I’ve ever seen SO MUCH SNOW – right here, in the U. S. of A.! A knee-jerk, subconscious urge was willing me to be offended: ‘How’s it possible? Give us our patented, trademarked snow back!!’ One word: odd. No, one more word: unexpected.

Snow woe

Boston snowA far cry from the Everglades a day earlier :)

Read on: Celebrating 10 years of KL business in US…

Crocs in the shade – in the Everglades.

To be in Miami as a tourist and not get a visit to the Everglades in is a bit like… going to Manhattan as a tourist and not seeing Broadway and Times Square: it just doesn’t make any sense. Mind you, visiting the Everglades in anything but an airboat makes little sense too: going ‘on foot’ – or swimming (!) – is out of the question: the Everglades are crocodile infested swamps; and going on any other means of transport is also a no-no: only airboats manage to navigate these unique swamp-scapes cut with dense grassy shrubbery.

Florida, Everglades National Park

Read on: Crocs & yikes!…

Miami Nice.

There exist in the world a great many beautiful mountains, volcanoes, cliffs, caves, valleys, lakes, geysers, glaciers, and a whole load of other natural phenomena. But there exist a great many beautiful man-made phenomena too. And that includes some really rad roads.

The most beautiful road (of course, I mean the views therefrom and therealong, not the prettiness of the asphalt:), IMHO, is in New Zealand. It’s the road to Milford Sound. There are plenty of others dotted around the globe that come near to it in terms of awesomeness: There’s the Great Ocean Road in nearby Australia. There’s the coast road of California; Route 360 on Maui, Hawaii; the road from Platja d’Aro to Lloret de Mar in Spain; the Amalfi Coast road near Naples; the roads of Crete, and many more which I’ve yet to motor along.

Just recently I checked off another entry on the list of must-drive roads of the world. Yep, I finally got round to cruising along the resplendent road to Key West, at the very bottom tip of Florida. Key West is the last in a long line of islands that stretch from the US mainland on the outskirts of Miami out towards Cuba – all connected by a road. Nice. Miami Nice. Kuril Islands governor – take note!

From Miami to Key West

From Miami to Key West

Read on: tropical paradise here and there…