Learn Scuba Diving in Puerto Vallarta

Posted by | Cruises, Training | No Comments

Getting scuba diving certified is not as easy as it looks, but it is fun and worthwhile. There are many things to consider when going scuba diving such as location, temperature, equipment, underwater photography and most importantly your personal health. It is easy to get fatigued and disoriented underwater so when you go, you should be well rested and sober.

After several snorkeling excursions and watching underwater videos I decided to get certified in open water scuba. I did my research and chose Silent World Divers in Puerto Vallarta. I was confused with the training options available provided by PADI such as open water, referal open water, and PADI scuba diver. You can read about them on the official PADI site because tour websites don’t provide enough detail. Simply put, you should start with the PADI open water. There are even more choices to further your skills but even the PADI site has broken links in that subsection.

Silent World Divers was the first company to respond to my email inquiry a few days prior to my arrival so I chose them. Their shop was surrounded by a few hotels and located fairly close to downtown Puerto Vallarta. The other dive companies appeared to be further north of the marina. Even though your dives start at the marina you still have two dives at a hotel pool and the exam at the office. Here is there office:

Read More

Buzios beach

The Beaches of Buzios – Brazil

Posted by | Beaches | No Comments

Búzios in Rio de Janeiro is a top destination for many Brazilians especially the middle to upper class.  It takes approximately 2.5 hours to arrive from the city of Rio by car or bus.  There are several beaches to visit but it can be a long walk so people usually rent buggies or catch a taxi van.  The main beach closest to downtown is Canto where you can find affordable hostels and pousadas.  More people walk downtown throughout the night then day because of the amount of bars and restaurants.  The two biggest night clubs are Privilege and Pasha with a steep cover price of R$80 but they usually include professional stage dancers in costumes.  If you stay at the Buzios Nomad hostel they offer free passes on certain nights.

People fill the main street Rua dos Pedras until early morning hours during party nights and holidays.  During the day there are several boat tours including Babylon’s booze cruise, paddle boarding, kayaking, and jeep tours.  The wealthiest beach is Ferradura which has beach front property including a private helicopter pad and several resorts with luxurious pools.

Lunch and dining options include Chet Michou is a famous creperia with 2 locations in Buzios but you won’t find any churrascuiros (barbecue buffets). People also go there to drink because it is a bar-like atmosphere with music.  There are plenty of cheaper eating options as well just 1 or 2 blocks south of the main road.  There is a burger joint called “Ameralinho” (little yellow) and several street vendors selling hot dogs and chicken sandwiches.  You can also find souvenirs including cangas, bikinis, and t-shirts cheaper than in Rio de Janeiro city.  If you go to party, be prepared to dress up because you will find many people dressed to impress during the night whereas the day is more casual.

Lagarto Hostel in Belo Horizonte

Posted by | Hotels | No Comments


Cook in Rio moqueca

Cook in Rio Brazilian Cooking

Posted by | Restaurants, Training | No Comments

The Brazilian cooking classes for foreigners and gastronomy students includes how to cook a three-course meal with seafood and caipirinhas. Once the classes started, they took off. Simone teaches classes daily, educating, impressing and entertaining hundreds of students a month.

play pig cafe video

Bourgeois Pig Cafe Video Tour in Lincoln Park

Posted by | Restaurants | One Comment


This is a very cool vintage Cafe located in Lincoln Park of Chicago. It’s not easy to find because it’s right around a corner behind several big trees. You can enjoy the awesome art, study, eat many sandwiches with poetic names. The vibrant upstairs has three sections, each full wild paintings. You can enjoy the view from the main floor window or sit at table right by the sidewalk watching the busy street.
bpigcafe.com

play improvitecture

Fake Facts of Chicago Architecture Tour Video

Posted by | Architecture, Exhibit, Monuments | No Comments


Improvitecture is a unique way to hear about the city of Chicago by their finest comedians! It is unique because instead of a traditional tour de facto you will hear and experience a funny perspective of buildings and locations including the Cloud Gate aka “The Bean”. The tour lasts up to two hours and you get to ask questions in which you’ll receive an extraordinary answer. Preview this tour by watching the video.
Improvitecture.com

Transcript:
[Introduction] This tour is going to be partly based on your guys' suggestions on whatever you want to hear. Otherwise we have plenty of fake knowledge to tell you. If you have any ideas or questions along the way, feel free to shout them out and we'll respond to them. Any ideas at the moment?

Why is it called the second city? It's the first question, actually the second question. Anything else?
Why is it so hot? That's actually part of the tour. But we're going to start this off and answer questions along the way and for random people that show up on...

[In front of Cloud Gate] This is still unanswered by Chicagoans. We believe it was delivered around the year 2000 thus the name Millennium Park by some sort of inter dimensional being. It's a scary thought but when you look into it, you're actually staring into another dimension and there's a parallel universe where you exist. Be kind of careful because if you're too close the other you will try to pull you into the other dimension. You'll be trapped over there and who knows if there's a couch for you there to crash on so you can touch it if not you can take a very original picture. When I say original, I mean not at all, of you taking a picture of me upside down...

You'd be a pioneer if you did that, a trailblazer taking a picture. A picture of you picturing that's even more than exists. Have you noticed the dimension you brought it to? Now what the bean actually does to you, it distorts you, makes you a little shorter, a bit wider. Making a representation of you like Roseanne Bar so that's what the bean does. Also some people have heard of bean town that's actually Chicago. Boston is not bean town so just get that straight. Chicago is famous for a lot things that Boston claims. Boston baked beans from Chicago, clam chowder, cream pies, that's all Chicago stuff.

Another thing Chicago is big for is sausage and hot dogs. Anybody heard of the Chicago hot dog? That's right we brought it from Boston. The first mayor of Chicago was an avid fan of hot dogs. How he liked to eat his hot dogs was upside down. The theory I have about the bean, it actually is an upside down sausage. So those of you with cameras take a picture of the bean upside down or if you want do a handstand and I'll hold your legs. It actually looks like an upside down sausage. So if you want to take an original picture, take a picture, flip it, and have yourself eating it because it looks like a sausage and shorter wider like Roseanne Barr. See how this fits? Great! Any questions about the bean so far?

[Crowd dressed in blue and white entering] This is a regular process that happens. Every six months somebody comes to court the bean. They come to see if they want the parallel universe dummy to marry themselves. Someone proposes, there's a ring. The only problem is we haven't found a way to bring them over without going over ourselves. So the courtship process usually ends in tears, but there usually is a big feast afterwards. Everyone is pretty happy.

They actually approved this law in New York recently in order to do this so Chicago is lagging. Yeah the second city... In order to answer your question why it's called the second city is because we have two answers for everything. So if I answer a question and later on Robby says something that completely contradicts what I said, that's completely natural because it's Chicago and it's the second city here. It's also a way if we forget what we told you how to save ourselves.

As you can see, I know you guys think you are hot so if you want to cool down a little bit, you're more than welcome to. What the children's faces actually do is spit out a stream of water and the kids below, they love it. This comes from a long line from a Chicago tradition of spitting on children. Every Chicago resident needs to spit on a child okay, it's mandatory. Between the ages of three and nine. A perfect spitting age. This would be a prime example here. Anyone that wants to take a shot and spit on this child, you're more than welcome to. As you can see we have the face of children right here. Eventually they will spit and the kids go underneath it because it's a right of passage. You know there are bar mitzvah, confirmation, and there's spitting.

You got macaroni, glitter arts, and of course you have spin arts right over there. Yeah point your camera that way. This is the largest collection of spin arts in the World and that's what you see there. They made this by taking a vinyl record, putting it down, and putting paint all over it.

Let's continue on to the bridge. Before we do there are a couple of safety precautions. As you can see this a very dangerous tour so we have to make sure we're covering our bases here. Somethings that are not allowed on the tour... you can not walk your bear on this bridge. Please don't do that. Also no one from 1996 is allowed on this bridge. Over here, there are now circles allowed and no rectangles. So if you guys don't have a bear, don't have roller blades from 1996, no circles and rectangles, you guys are good to go. Are we all good? Okay cool let's head on the bridge. Just to warn you, it gets really hot.

Capitol River Cruise

Capitol River Cruise Tour on the Potomac River in DC

Posted by | Cruises | No Comments


The most popular cruise in Georgetown is the Nightingale organized by Capitol River Cruises. You can enjoy a 50 minute ride with a view of several monuments including the Lincoln Memorial and the Monument while you learn about historical facts through the tour narration.

Website

Transcript:

Hi, I'm Liz and I'll be introducing to you the Capitol River Cruises. One of the most popular boat tours on the Potomac river.
This is the Nightingale 1 and Captain Sealy. In addition you can see the Watergate hotel and one of the benefits of this tour is that you get to see all the popular Washington monuments. From the Bow you can see the Key bridge. This is the starting point right in front of the Georgetown waterfront on the Washington harbor. This boat holds about 60 people and you have both the open area in the sun and most of the boat is in the shade.
This is the refreshment part of the boat with Nelson the bartender. I'm going to ask him a couple of questions. So how many sharks and dolphins do you see everyday in the river? Not too many sharks, not too many dolphins. But you see a couple of fishes just jumping around. Very Nice.
What about the sites, what about the animal life? Loch Ness Monster? I've heard that people have seen the Loch Ness Monster off this boat. Nooo, not in the seven years I've been here. Hopefully I don't, knock on wood. I heard that's not a pretty creature to look at. I don't think it will make it up this river. No pirates? Naaah.
What about people jumping off the boat? No, we haven't had that yet, hopefully nobody jumps off. We don't want that. So how many people have gotten to be up here and steer. I would say well over a 1,000 in the seven years I've been here. We get a lot of kids, it's something about this steering wheel and the chair. I guess it's about the Pirates of the Caribbeans. Especially when that comes out the kids just love it. How about the horn? Can I beep the horn? There you go.
If you look over to the left you'll find a new home of the Swedish Embassy. You'll also see a stream entering the river. That's rock creek. It's also the C&O canal. The C&O canal follows the route of the Potomac river for a 184 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland.
Alright so we're pulling up to the waterfront. This is the end of the tour. Here you can stop by refreshments, take a wake along the boardwalk and enjoy the sightseeing.

play openair flight video

Open Air Flight Training Tour in Gaithersburg MD

Posted by | Training | No Comments


Gaithersburg arial view
OpenAir training building
Website
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s YOU… flying a private small airplane at OpenAir Flight Training. Get the adrenaline rush of flying and a spectacular bird’s eye view of land from the height of clouds. OpenAir is a certified Cirrus Standardized Training Center located in Gaithersburg, Maryland. You can fly several planes including the Cessna 172 and the premium Cirrus models.
Transcript:
Welcome to Open Air Flight Training. My name is Joel. I'll be your flight instructor for today.
So this is our airplane. This is a 2006 Cessna 172. It's got a Garmin G1000 avionics system in it. The G1000 is basically what we call the glass cockpit. 110 knots, 120 miles per hour roughly. It's about how fast we'll go. What we're looking for in an airplane engine is torque. Not so much the horsepower. The torque is what does the work to the prop. So because it's such a big bore motor and fuel and all the other factors, these things are really moody and really don't like to start when they're warm. And you'll see that today.
But once you get it running the thing just purrs like a kitten. Any questions? You get to do all the flying today. Basically we're going to head out that way, where that mountains is right out there. You can kinda see that mountain sticking above the trees over there in the distance. If you can, take a step to your right, it's just underneath the wing of the airplane...
At Open Air Flight Training we provide glass cockpit flight training for private pilot license, instrument flight training, as well as commercial and CFI ratings.

Cherry Blossom Festival Washington DC 2011

Posted by | Events | One Comment

This is the 51st annual Cherry Blossom Festival known as Sakura Matsuri (in Japanese) at Washington, DC. In 2010 the festival was free, however this year the entrance fee was $5. How come? To aid the tsunami relief effort in Japan and to put up a fence around Pennsylvania Avenue. Events encompassing the festival spanned two weeks but the most fun-filled were the street activities on Saturday the 9th.
Read More

play-primalfitness

Train to be a Ninja Warrior at Primal Fitness

Posted by | Studios, Training | One Comment


Just blocks away from Washington DC’s Chinatown neighborhood you can really train to be a stuntman, free-runner, or even a ninja warrior as proven by Levi Meeuwenberg himself. The training takes place at DC’s Primal Fitness. Levi was a finalist on the TV show Ninja Warrior known as Sasuke in Japan. View the video to hear Levi’s expert advice on training such as the salmon ladder…

Learn Parkour, Crossfit, Gymnastics… all at Primal Fitness in Washington, DC.
Website

Sky Native
Levi Meeuwenberg’s website
American Parkour
Ninja Warrior website

Algar Experience Cruise Tour of Algarve Coastline in Portugal

Posted by | Cruises | 3 Comments


During the winter Algar Experience was the only cruise running on a cool yet sunny day. The staff are fun and friendly. They offer a 4-hour cruise along with dinner but we chose the shorter cruise. The water in Algarve is crystal clear, just as nice as the Caribbean. In the video you will see many rock formations where the water appears vividly blue.

Website

Play Palacette

Palacete – Renaissance Style Restaurant in Albufeira

Posted by | Restaurants | One Comment


Very renaissance style restaurant just away from the city center adjacent to a Australian restaurant Koala where you can eat kangaroo meat. This place appeared bright and welcoming but was not so much as the waiter had a short temper and an issue with tables. The waiter spoke English fine but he didn’t want us to choose our own table when only one other table was occupied at the restaurant. Further more he moved our chosen table exactly three centimeters away from the adjacent one. It was wobbly, so I pushed it back against the adjacent table. So the waiter didn’t like that and moved it again!

Trip Advisor