Archive for the ‘Accommodations’ Category

The Peninsula – A Few Images

July 18th, 2010 at 4:53 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Before moving on to observations and photos of Kowloon and Hong Kong, I’d like to provide a few more photos of The Peninsula hotel we stayed in.

The Peninsula at night, with fountain

The Peninsula at night, with fountain

If you ever end up coming to Hong Kong, we can highly recommend that you spend at least a night or two at The Peninsula, and definitely splurge on a Harbour View room (see the previous post on why I think that).

Doorman at The Peninsula

Doorman at The Peninsula

Our room itself was large and comfortable, and quite quiet (with the exception of a loud neighbor one afternoon – but that was short lived). The view was exceptional, and the service quite good.

The Peninsula at night

The Peninsula at night

However, what really made our stay special was the Concierge staff, whom I peppered with dozens of questions about everything ranging from dining, street food, and public transportation, to markets, sight seeing, and getting a last minute table at the posh in-house French restaurant for only dessert one night. Most often it was Kandi at the Concierge desk who fell victim to my questions, and she handled all my queries wonderfully well.

Kandi - our most excellent concierge at The Peninsula

Kandi - our most excellent concierge at The Peninsula

The other thing The Peninsula is known for is their afternoon tea, but we didn’t find it to be anything extraordinary compared to other afternoon teas we have enjoyed around the world. However, being a guest at the hotel, you can get a table reserved for you – something that mere pikers off the street (and there are hundreds who wait in line for the afternoon tea) cannot get.

Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula

Afternoon Tea at The Peninsula

The lobby at The Peninsula

The lobby at The Peninsula

(For the record, the absolute best afternoon tea we have ever had was at the Amstel hotel in Amsterdam last October. It was a veritable tea tasting and feast, with seven different types of tea served and enough finger food for a small army. Maybe I’ll get a chance to post pictures of that at some point.)

 

Views of Hong Kong Across Victoria Harbour

July 18th, 2010 at 4:16 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Victoria Harbour, also known as Hong Kong Harbour, is an amazing place – both in terms of traffic and adjacent building density as well as in terms of sheer imagery. The harbor is a natural one, located between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula.

We had booked a Harbour View room at The Peninsula, which is located on the southern-most portion of Kowloon, and the view from our 25th floor room was certainly a sight to behold. In fact we spent several hours just sitting in chairs facing the harbor, watching the lights and boat traffic.

View from our room at The Peninsula, by day

View from our room at The Peninsula, by day

View from our room at The Peninsula, at night

View from our room at The Peninsula, at night

While the images above are just a portion of the entire view, below is a panorama stitched together from multiple shots. If you click on it you’ll go to Flickr where you can view the entire 7,389 pixel wide panorama. You can also click on the above images to see larger versions of those shots.

Panoramic view from our room at The Peninsula by day

Panoramic view from our room at The Peninsula by day

 

GPS Tracking – Ushuaia to Miami via Bolivia and Peru

March 9th, 2010 at 1:20 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I guess we were more tired than I thought. The 17+ hours of time in transit over the weekend (not counting the couple of hours it took to board the plane in Ushuaia after leaving the ship) wore us out.

After picking up a rental mini-van in Miami early yesterday morning, we rented a hotel room just to sleep for a few hours, did some important shopping at Walmart (extra luggage, among other things), and dined on spicy wings at Hooters (I’m a big fan of hot wings, and in fact have one of the top 10 recipes returned by Google for “buffalo wing recipe”). We then moved on to our final hotel in Coconut Grove for the rest of the week, where we happened to bump into a couple of our fellow travelers, by coincidence.

I’m getting my notebook motherboard replaced tomorrow, but hope to have time to post some more pictures as well as write something up for the folks at Lindblad while I wait for the repairman to show up.

In the meanwhile, below is our GPS track from Ushuaia, which took us to a refueling stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a refueling and crew change stop in Lima, Peru, and then our eventual safe landing in Miami, plus our running around there.

This will be our last GPS track for the current expedition (unless I decide to include one for our return to Bonaire on Saturday).

 

GPS Tracking – The Path To Great Lamb BBQ From Ushuaia

March 6th, 2010 at 7:37 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Considering we were not even supposed to still be in Ushuaia yesterday, the folks at Lindblad Expeditions have been taking marvelous care of us – allowing us to remain in our cabins on board the National Geographic Explorer (which was supposed already have been several hundreds of miles away en route to dry dock in the Canary Islands), feeding us, entertaining us, and even providing us with free drinks. That will end later today as we get on the Miami Air charter (which Lindblad has also arranged for us at no charge) to get us to Miami. No other tour company I know of would have done all this for its guests. Kudos to Lindblad Expeditions!

The tour we were treated to yesterday was over the closest part of the Andes to Lago Escondido, and more specifically, to a small restaurant called Villa Marina, where we had wonderful BBQ lamb done in the local style, slow roasted for four hours (see photo in previous entry). Great scenic vistas and explanations of the geology and topology of the area by our guide along the way as well.

The GPS track for our Lamb BBQ quest is below in case any of you make it here, to the end of the earth (Fin del Mundo):

 

Maybe This Time, We’ll Be Lucky…

March 5th, 2010 at 7:05 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Latest word is that our plane is in the air, and will be in Ushuaia in the wee hours. Current plan is for us to fly out of Ushuaia at 1:30pm tomorrow (Saturday), and arrive in Miami at 3:30am on Sunday.

Hopefully this will be our last post (except for a GPS track perhaps) until we’ve landed in Miami, found a bed or two to sleep in, and gotten some rest.

 

No Magellanic Woodpeckers, And Also No Plane

March 5th, 2010 at 2:40 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We just returned from Lago Escondido on the other side of the Andes mountain range here in Tierra del Fuego. Beautiful scenery along the way, and a spectacular roasted lamb for lunch, but no Magellanic woodpeckers to be found.

Roasted lamb in the Tierra del Fuego style - yum!

Roasted lamb in the Tierra del Fuego style - yum!

Returning back to the ship we found that in addition to there being no woodpeckers in sight, our charter flight to Miami was also in hiding.

Word is that the plane finally cleared all the Argentinian bureaucratic paperwork (there was a missing signature on a form, and that’s been the case for the last day), and should have finally departed Lima, Peru a few minutes ago, bound for Ushuaia.

This means we’ll be enjoying another night in the best hotel in Ushuaia, our ship, the National Geographic Explorer. It’s looking likely that we might actually leave tomorrow, but everything depends on when the charter flight actually lands in Ushuaia tonight (hopefully).