This past Valentines Day, Cindy and I headed to Paris for the weekend to celebrate. It was a quick trip for both of us as we got in on Saturday morning and only could stay through Monday before we had to head to London for biz.
The trip mainly consisted of eating, drinking, exploring Paris, and yes….romance As always, I found some time for photography. Although I brought my Cannon, I found that I had more fun shooting with my iPhone. It has occurred to me that when I shoot with a professional camera, I tend to become very anti-social. All I want to think about is getting the right shot. Obviously, this was not going to fly with Cindy. The iPhone allowed me to take it down several notches and still capture some cool scenes while having a blast exploring parts of Paris I had yet to see.
My Paris Valentines Day Set was mainly shot in Montmartre. The black and white effect is courtesy of the Old Camera App for iPhone. I know, I know…..the black and white does not give the warmest Vday vibe. Chalk it up to me feeling goth that day. Admittedly, this effort was sparse. Again, I had other more important things on my mind.
You may view all the set via Flickr: Paris Valentines Day Set
Throughout life I have held a very healthy attitude about virgins….come back when you know what you are doing.
It’s ironic that the same feeling can now be applied to Richard Branson’s Virgin brands. During my recent trip to London, I was booked round trip in premium economy on Virgin Atlantic. This was the first time that I had a chance to experience the much hyped airline and I was excited about the opportunity to compare them to British Airways (which I have flown twice this year). Needless to say, I was not impressed.
For starters, the planes on both legs of the trip seemed small and dated. The entertainment system was different for each flight and the quality of the video screens were appalling. The onboard laptop power did not work on either of my legs to and from London. Indeed, beyond not working, they are located in the most inconvenient spot between your chair and your neighbor that to even get your cord plugged in you basically have to give a reach around. Finally, their terminal at Heathrow looks like the 1980′s set for the movie Airplane!
When I compare this to the experience I had with British Airways, you can’t blame me for wanting Virgin Atlantic to take a step back and learn some basics from a seasoned brand. British Airways seems to have invested an enormous amount of resource on the user experience. They keep immaculate care of their cabins; the entertainment system was top notch and consistent across all four of my flights, the onboard power worked and was located in a easy to reach place; and their NEW terminal at Heathrow…..well lets just say if they offered condos I would be tempted to buy one. Its brilliant.
My experience with Virgin goes beyond air travel. I also had the misfortune to ride Virgin Train from London to Manchester 5-6 years ago. That experience was also disappointing as the train was run down and dirty. I sense pattern emerging. Virgin has a tight game around their brand and marketing. They really make you think that traveling with them is going to be akin to a “Catch Me if You Can” esque Mile High Club Bonanza. However, when it comes to executions, they FAIL. Kinda reminds me of that cheerleader in high school that liked to talk a big game but when it came right down to it, knew as much about sex as the Virgin Mary.
So Mr. Branson, before you even can count on me to ever consider spending money on your new venture, Virgin Galactic, you may want to focus on your earthly possessions and really deliver what you promise in your ads.
In the words of Edward Dahlbert “What men desire is a virgin who is a whore”.
Cindy and I are having a wonderful time at the Equinox in Vermont. Today, after our spa session, we are going to look into taking Falconry lessons and possibly hit the archery range. Both activities are located at the resort’ British School of Falconry.
The school is the nation’s first school of its kind to offer hands-on lessons with trained Falcons. Their site states:
Guests at the Equinox are invited to try one of the world’s oldest sports in the beautiful setting of Hildene Meadows and enhance their appreciation of these magnificent birds. During a session, guests will learn to handle and fly Harris hawks. Introductory lessons, “hawk walks” and hunts are all offered to give guests the opportunity to appreciate these amazing animals.
If we end up doing this today, I imagine that it will only involve the introductory lessons. There is NO WAY in hell that I am interested in the hunting option in which Harris hawks are flown at partridge, quail, rabbit, or other game in season.
So…its no Tahoe or Bermuda! But it beats having to get on another plane for awhile. Cindy and I found Equinox Resort & Spa after searching for a nice places that are dog friendly that we could escape away to this weekend. This cute resort in Western Vermont is located in Manchester Village right next to the Green Mountain National Forest. I believe they recently became a part of the Luxury Collection by Starwoord.
We are leaving Boston now to make the 3 hour 40 minute trek from Boston. I plan to bring my camera—so there may be some photography from this spontaneous weekend away.
A couple of weeks ago Cindy and I had the distinct pleasure of staying in London’s Haymarket Hotel. Part of the Firmdale Hotel network, Haymarket Hotel is situated on the corner of Haymarket and Suffolk Placed in the heart of London’s theater district.
It is next door to the famous Haymarket Theater Royal, which is currently featuring Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart) . Indeed, it seems that during our stay they had some type of party (attended by celebs like Sting, Paul McCartney, Patrick Stewart, etc.) for the opening of the play in Haymarket’s very cool Swimming Pool/Lounge (see below). That may explain why I think I worked out next to William Hurt in their small, but nice work out facilities.
Their website correctly boasts that the hotel is “..perfectly located to easily get to Mayfair, Regent Street and Jermyn Street shopping. Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery are just around the corner – St. James’s Park is a short walk.”
Most importantly, the accommodations and staff were TOP NOTCH. This is honestly one of the best hotels where I have ever had the pleasure of staying. Simon Galic (Deputy General Manager) and his staff should be very proud of their accomplishments. I highly recommend it to any/all of my fellow global nomads that have a discerning taste for unique hotel experiences.
One of the things that is still in my mind when I arrive in London this past Tuesday was a large British Airway’s billboard advertisement that welcomed visitors to London.
The billboard (see below) contained a photo of a old school diner set in an urban environment in the middle of the night. The copy read:
“Explore A City When It’s Asleep – Welcome to London”
What struck me as odd about this advert (besides the overly dramatic and self-loathing tone of the copy) was that the picture was of Boston’s South Street Diner!!!!!! WTF?!? Why would British Airways create a welcome sign for London and NOT use a photo of London???
Indeed, as an American who lives in Boston, I felt in some small way that our sovereignty was violated. The English could not win the war against the colonies so now they are fighting us via public relations???? LOL! Can you imagine what the response would be if American Airlines created a similar welcome sign in New York City and used a picture of Big Ben???