Category Archives: Travel

Baraka — Planet Earth, for the More Bizarre

Baraka

I recently checked out Ron Fricke’s Baraka, a Planet Earthesque film shot across 24 countries. This is one of those movies that you need to watch on Blu-Ray, and generally appeals to people that like movies that are “good to look at.” The movie focuses on landscapes, animals, humans, and industry — basically anything amazing to look at across the globe — using slowed down and sped up photography for effect. The movie alternates between scenes of chaos and tranquility, all the while coupling music from around the globe to the images on the screen. You see some pretty weird tribal types doing some really bizarre rituals, let me tell you. This film should be required viewing for the leaders of every country, as it does have a slight cross-cultural agenda, albeit an effective one — it certainly opened my eyes to a lot of the nonsense going on across this planet of ours. Much of this film focuses on northern Asian cultures, which is unfortunate in my eyes as I have about as much interest in northern Asian cultures as I do in eating low-fat, plain rice cakes. Otherwise, this movie is pretty astounding and certainly worth a watch — especially if you are a Discovery Channel type.

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howiGit Does Atlantic City — Harrah’s Pool Bar Style

Harrah's Pool Bar

So this past weekend I ended up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a college-buddies-reunion type of ordeal. Having gone to school in Philadelphia, this was not my first trip to AC. That said, Atlantic City is only slightly more attractive than the pit that is the Jersey Turnpike and the hellish nonsense that borders the highway (Jets Stadium included). What a dump of a state, although I admit no one goes to Atlantic City for the scenery (unless you’re looking for the seedy strip-club type).

Anyways, Atlantic City is a good place to have yourself some fun, gambling aside. Almost all casinos blur together for me, into one big, hot, cigarette-scented sensory overload filled with desperate and decrepid grandmas throwing their life savings away. Until this trip I had actually never left a casino having made money — I did this time. As I walked out of the casino on Sunday morning I put $5 into a slot machine as I waited for a buddy to buy a water, winning $21 on my last spin of the wheel. Yippee! I was smart enough not to put my winnings all on black and walked out up. For once.

The main reason I was able to avoid the casino all night was a lovely place called Harrah’s Pool Bar. Harrah’s is one of AC’s biggest casinos, and generally didn’t impress me any more than any other casino. But their Pool Bar is quite unique — I doubt I’ll go back to AC without hitting this place up again — it’s definitely one of the cooler venues I’ve ever found myself at. Pool Bar is essentially a large pool surrounded by hot tubs and cabanas, which turns nightclubish at night. There’s a DJ, a whole bunch of dancing, and a second floor that overlooks the pool and cabanas. The entire pool area is encompassed in a massive glass dome, with Harrah’s hotel and its flashing lights rising above it. A very cool atmosphere, and a very good time — I’d highly recommend it.

Audrina from The Hills was sponsoring the evening, and the infamous “Situation” was also rumored to be in the hotel although I failed to lay eyes on either of them. Regardless, if you find yourself in AC, Harrah’s Pool Bar is worth checking out.

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howiGit Cruises Florida and the Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

So every now and again I must leave my precious laptop, turn off my cell phone, and leave you all temporarily without the best blog on the web. Vacation vacation vacation, the word is music to my ears. I went on my first cruise, aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. I must admit, I was a bit of a skeptic about cruises at first, and many of my hesitations were in fact true. Cruises are a bit tacky, a bit artificial, and the boat was filled with fake gold railings and several chain-smoking seventy-somethings that never left the confines of the bar. That said, there’s not a cooler way I know of to bounce between Caribbean destinations. You’re on a floating palace, fully equipped with bars, hot tubs, all you can eat food, great views, and plenty of fun people looking to have a good time. I’ll break it all down for you, one stop at a time.

Miami, Florida

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I started my trip by taking my talents to South Beach. I didn’t see Lebron or D-Wade, but I heard they were out on the town looking for me. South Beach, on a whole, was pretty much what I expected except it was a touch less flashy and a touch more dirty. The beach itself is gorgeous, and wasn’t too packed. Oh, and apparently it’s topless? Surprise surprise. The strip on Ocean Drive is awesome. It’s filled with great outdoor restaurants, bars, and clubs. You’ll be harassed by hostesses trying to get you to enter their establishment, and they all seem to be offering “2 for 1” drinks. Well, here’s what the drinks looked like. Yes,South Beach Drinks they were big. Yes, you needed to order a 4 drink minimum. And yes, the drinks cost….drumroll please….$25 bucks a pop. Ouch.

Now, I was only going to be in South Beach for one night and got a great deal on a hotel through Expedia. The hotel where I stayed, The Clay Hotel, is no 5 star hotel. We’re talking probably 3 stars, but the room was cheap and the hotel is located on Espanola Way smack in the middle of South Beach. The location is awesome, and Espanola Way is filled with awesome outdoor restaurants that stay open all night. I must admit the hotel knew that I was coming and would be writing them a review on howiGit’s blog, but nonetheless kudos to the folks at the Clay for putting their best foot forward. The staff was very helpful, and they upgraded my room at no cost to a suite. The room was great, far better than I expected, and definitely added to my good time. If you’re looking for a suitable, simple, and inexpensive place to stay in South Beach I’d recommend it. Like I said, the location is awesome.The Clay Hotel

Key West, Florida

In a sentence, Key West is a bit sleepy but otherwise pretty awesome in all ways. The downtown section is gorgeous, the people are super nice, and there are some spectacular residential streets filled with awesome houses. If you were looking for a great place to own a vacation home simply for the sake of relaxation, this would be a hell of a place to start. As advertised, the Key Lime is a big deal. We went to Kermit’s, and it was pretty damn good.

Nassau, Bahamas

Oh, Nassau. Where do I begin. As I left the boat I decided to rent a moped from a young Bahamian gentlemen was more than a little sketchy. He asked me if “I was a smart dude,” and when I replied in the affirmative he dropped the keys in my hand and off I went. Come to find out, they drive on the opposite site of the road in the Bahamas. Yup. So that was the first obstacle I had to encounter, all the while trying my best not to kill the young lady riding on the back of the moped with me. We cruised up the coast to Arawak Cay, where we had a beach with spectacular water all to ourselves. After a brief swim we

Arawak Cay, Bahamas

Arawak Cay, Bahamas

decided to leave, and the moped decided to die sporadically and accelerate as it pleased. We broke down several times, but each time a local Bahamian came to our rescue and helped us out. They are some nice people, for sure, when they aren’t harassing you to buy their crap with some scheme or another.

That night, we planned to have dinner then hit up the nightlife downtown. Good plan, right? Wrong. Apparently everything is Nassau shuts down at 6pm. “It’s the island way,” is the explanation we were given. I kid you not, nothing was open. The place was a complete ghost town aside from 2 bars that remained open — Senior Frogs and a local bar, the Green Parrot. In an attempt to be non-touristy, we chose to Green Parrot. Aside from semi-expensive drinks by island standards, it was a great choice.

Let’s talk about the Green Parrot for a moment. As the only local bar open in downtown Nassau, the place was filled with locals whoThe Green Parrot Pub had little else to do for entertainment. There was a highly competitive darts tournament going on, apparently something of a pastime for semi-bored islanders. The owner of the bar, Craig, came over and chatted us up, noting that we were the only non-locals in his establishment. He talked to us for a while and was a good guy, and although we were a bit weary of the lack of nightlife in Nassau at first, we ended up having a great time. His bar gets filled with some all-star alcoholics, but they added to the fun. We left having made several friends, and feeling as though we got a full dose of the local flavor. If you find yourself in Nassau, ditch Senior Frogs and head over to the Green Parrot.

CocoCay, Bahamas

CocoCay is a Royal Caribbean owned island that caters to cruise vacationers. That immediately made the island as lame as possible in my eyes (or as lame as any tropical island could be). When we pulled up to the

CocoCay, Bahamas

CocoCay, Bahamas

island it was as cheesy as I expected, but come to find out, the island was pretty damn huge. We did some snorkeling, seeing a whole bunch of tropical fish, a stingray, and a barracuda, all of which was cool. But then we decided to walk down the beach for quite a ways. Before you knew it, we were essentially on a deserted Caribbean island and it was absolutely spectacular. Very cool, winning CocoCay back in my eyes.

Overall, what can I say, it was vacation and I had a blast. It was 79 degrees and sunny everyday, further reminding me that you can order NESN from just about anywhere in the world if you wish.

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howiGit’s Outta Here — Vacation Time People

Nassau, Bahamas

Next stops: Miami, Key West, and a couple of places in the Bahamas. I know, I know, you’re week won’t be the same without me. You’ll have to make it on your own. You can expect an epic post next week when I return.

Think of all the fun your going to have watching the Patriots whip the Jets. Seriously though, I give the Pats a 71% chance of winning. The thing that nobody is mentioning is simple — the Jets have absolutely nothing to lose. Nobody expects them to win, and that’s a great mindset to have going into a big game. But I expect Tom to take care of business.

It’s going to be nice being the one sitting in 80 degree weather for once while the sky dumps on Boston and everybody sits around racking it up to “being a New Englander” and pretending they love it. Later, suckas.

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Danny MacAskill “Way Back Home” Street Riding Short Film

Danny MacAskill’s new short film “Way Back Home”……

Let me start by saying that I’m not into BMX riding, street trial riding, or most other endeavours dubbed as “X-gameish.” Redbull sponsors all kinds of wild stuff these days, but this video took me by surprise — it’s by far one of the coolest videos I’ve come across.

The more you watch it, the more you are amazed by the stunts Danny MacAskill is pulling off — absolutely incredible. But don’t watch this video for the tricks. The video is beautifully produced, capturing the landscapes of Scotland from Edinburgh up though the Highlands. Edinburgh is amongst my favorite places I’ve ever been, and the highlands are certainly the most naturally spectacular. This video captures all that. With the music thrown in, it just all works.

A pleasant surprise for sure.

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I’m Moving — To a New Planet (Gliese 581g, Duh)

New Planet Found

After finishing a particularly troublesome argument this morning, in which some people tried to favorably compare “elite” quarterback Eli Manning to Tom Brady, I decided I’d had enough. I can’t share a planet with the likes of Eli and A-Rod, no way. They don’t deserve to live in a galaxy with a being as supreme as myself. I’m tired of having them bring me down.

Just as these thoughts flashed across my mind, the heavens opened up — literally. Researchers have discovered a planet “next door” to our universe, where temperatures range between -25 degrees farenheit and 160 degrees farenheit — both perfect for water and life. The planet is named Gliese 581g and according to one researcher, the chances of life on this planet are 100%. The planet is 3 times the size of earth, and revolves around a dwarf star. Catch all of the details on this new planet here.

I’m loading up the trunk with some beer, and heading out tonight with Ken Griffey Jr, Cameron Diaz, and Glen Rice in tow. Who’s with me?

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howiGit’s Las Vegas Vacation

Aria Las Vegas

As you may have noticed, howiGit’s blog has been quiet over the past few days — I went to Vegas for the first time, with our New York writer in tow. Luckily, we both survived and the blog will go on. Vegas….is…..wild.

While a few of my college buddies had been planning this Vegas trip for quite some time, I decided to pretend I was not going and then show up anyways. Good move on my part. Who doesn’t like surprises? The first great thing I realized about Vegas is the proximity of the airport to the strip — it makes getting there as well as leaving a breeze. You basically land right next to the strip. My first impression? Vegas looks pretty much as I pictured it in my head — tons of huge casinos, lights everywhere, strange castles and roller coasters all throughout the strip — it’s a lot to take in. We we’re staying at the Aria, a new hotel where Michael Jordan’s underage son recently stayed and tweeted about losing 35K gambling and drinking. Idiot. That being said, the place is awesome. While I’m sure there are lots of other great places to stay in Vegas, I see no reason to stay anywhere else. I will be returning.

The weekend did turn out to be very much like the Vegas portrayed in The Hangover. I gambled a lot, won some, but mostly lost. Everything is incredibly expensive, the gambling aside. I got a turkey club for $20, ordered a $10 lime from room service, and a bottle at a club was $500 or so. I’d recommend taking whatever your budget is and doubling it, and that’s if your not an obsessive gambling type. It was 100 degrees out but that made little difference whatsoever.

All in all, there is absolutely no point to Las Vegas besides having a great time. There is nothing there of any real use — it is just hedonism paradise. My guess is that about 93% of the world’s silicone breasts are in Vegas. I was surprised to find out that there are no open container laws in Vegas (I thought this was a New Orleans only deal) but everyone walks around drinking everywhere they go. You can bring your own drinks into casinos, bars, restaurants — it’s pretty nutty.

Everyone ended up very poor, very sore, and starved for sleep but had a great time. It’s the kind of place that I had a blast and was sad to leave, but I’m almost happy I don’t have enough money to go back too often. I’d fear for myself if I went there too much.

Las Vegas makes you feel terrible

A buddy of mine -- Vegas makes you feel like this.

As I waited in the airport for my flight home, my life in shambles, I wasn’t able to put together a full sentence. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open, and feared that I might fall asleep and miss my flight. I managed to stay awake just long enough to walk onto the plane, where I was incredibly dismayed to find out my seat was sandwiched between two Mary J Blige look-alikes — plus 200 pounds each. These two women strangely enough didn’t seem to know each other, despite their matching wax-filled hairdo’s, bursting cleavage, and wildly painted toe-nails. They looked pretty pissed to see me, as I folded back their cellulite rolls and sandwiched myself into my seat. Pissed off, I tried to fall asleep immediately. Then a shocking new revelation struck me — Vegas seems to have given me a horrible case of restless leg syndrome. My 60-year old or so father suffers from this ailment. Is this a common Vegas side effect? I twitch and sleep like a sketchy bastard anyways, but this was absurd. I spent the next two hours sandwiched between the two monsters, sweating profusely, my leg twitching wildly and waking us all up every few minutes just as I was about to doze off. I wept like a little girl, and slept for a day when I got home.

Go to Vegas. You’ll have so much fun. But be prepared to pay for it — both with your bank account, and with your new-found restless leg syndrome disorder.

Check out http://chrisross91.wordpress.com.

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