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Processing Vietnam’s The Hanoi Hilton Prison

April 30, 2013 by  

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The Hanoi Hilton isn’t a hotel; it’s a prison. It’s officially called Hoa Lo Prison but has earned the nickname “The Hanoi Hilton” over the years. It’s no longer used as a prison and is now a fully functional museum which acts as some kind of insight into what life might have been like here years ago.  Guillotines and guns…below is a sign on the way into Hoa Lo Prison. hoa lo prison the hanoi hilton Most tourists will walk there and if you’re staying in the old quarter, it’s only a 10 minute walk to 1 Hoa Lo Street, which is just off Hai Ba Trung, south of the Old Town. corner and entrance to Hoa Lo prison the Hanoi Hilton As of August 2012 when I went the price is 20,000 Dong to visit the museum. ticket for Hoa Lo Prison Hanoi Hilton Vietnam prisoners uniform in Hanoi Hilton Hoa Lo Prison Vietnam cells at hanoi hilton hoa lo prison… <a href=

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A Whirlwind Cultural Tour in Dallas Texas

April 30, 2013 by  

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Klyde Warren Park I take a bite and am instantly transported to a campfire, deep in the woods.  We are dining on gently roasted potatoes and hen of the woods mushrooms, both of which have been soaking up the essence of a wood-fire for what must have been hours.  I am entranced by the texture, flavor and simple complexity of this food.  So much so that it takes a few moments for me to realize that I am not surrounded by thick, lush woods and a crackling fire, but rather sleek, straight-lined wooden tables and chairs, heat radiating from the open-air kitchen.  FT33 is buzzing.  A steady stream of conversation sails through the air, uninterrupted and smooth. A Chef stands at marked attention at the pass, inspecting every plate before it is released to it’s new owner, using needle-like tweezers to place delicate herbs and final garnishes atop the artful dishes.  FT33 is a new restaurant in Dallas’s up-and-coming Design District and from the moment my brother Willie and I walked in the door I knew that this was a far cry from the Dallas that made up a great part of my


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San Francisco’s ‘How Weird’ Festival Features 10 Stages, Electronic Music & Color

April 30, 2013 by  

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WierdFestival 1   San Francisco’s How Weird street fair is always fun and difficult to categorize.  Here’s how it describes itself: http://howweird.org/ The How Weird Street Faire is a world-class music festival, featuring a wide range of electronic dance music. There will be 10 stages of great music, art, and sound systems from Symbiosis, Muti Music, Groove Garden, Enchanted Forest, Opel, Opulent Temple, World Famous Productions, Basscraft Soundsystem, Urge Productions, Pink Mammoth, SF House Music, Temple Nightclub, SWAG, Pulse SF, Space Shaping, PK Sound, The Boombox Affair, Party Babas, Red Marines, Psycircle, Happy Camp, and more. Here’s some photos of the festival from past years: WierdFestival 1 2 WierdFestival 1 4 WierdFestival 1 6 WierdFestival 1 5  


Alas, Twitter is Coming of Age in America

April 30, 2013 by  

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Twitter is finally coming of age in America. The citizen journalists of twitter far surpassed the real time coverage of cable television of the events during the Boston and Watertown siege. Those like @michaelskolnick, @diggaduh, @wesleylowery, @sethmnookin, and many others too numerous to name, rocked. They were individually and collaboratively monitoring police scanners, reviewing multiple feeds, often standing in the streets, and tweeting live coverage, thereby, emerging the victors of the news cycle spoils. It was fascinating to watch, and an honor to participate. This was guerrilla crisis management in the streets come to America. Remarkably, Fox News rose to the occasion getting their helicopter up in the sky over Watertown Thursday evening, while CNN limped along with a sleepy and often foggy Jake Tapper. Given the sheer volume, it is perplexing that only the next morning did the authorities notice and move to shut down the twitter feed for security purposes during the continued manhunt. To put this in context, we know that all facets of social media (predominately twitter) came to fruition during the Arab Spring. But that was over two years ago, and social media has matured, grown in power, penetration and numbers from…

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Historical La Serena, One of Chile’s Oldest Cities

April 30, 2013 by  

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La Serena.  One of Chile’s oldest cities, today it’s about 8 hours by bus North of Santiago.  But at the time of its construction, it would have been a far-flung colony, meant to serve as a link between the Spanish colonial center of Lima in Peru further North and the newly founded Santiago to the South.  Thanks to its historic origins, it still retains some colonial architecture much like you can find in other Spanish settlements around Latin America.  Simple, flat-roofed, one-story buildings in an adobe style, or more ornate government buildings and cathedrals such as the ones you see above.
It’s interesting that the local government of La Serena, like Santa Fe in the US, made the policy decision in the 1900′s to enact a revival of the colonial architecture of the city, restoring some of the older buildings and constructing new ones in a similar style.  Any city in Chile interested in architectural preservation has a special challenge, though, due to the powerful earthquakes that regularly strike up and down the length of the country.  Read descriptions of many of Chile’s towns and cities in a guidebook, and


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A Greek TEDx Talk: Optimism is About Being a Tom Sawyer Looking for a View of the World

April 30, 2013 by  

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I was asked to give a talk at TEDx Thessaloniki, I had mixed emotions. While I am infinitely curious, and passionately share TED’s “belief in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world,” this time I hesitated. The city which I left more than thirty years ago rings a special emotional connotation with me – about roots, country, family and heritage and somehow the responsibility loomed even larger. Traveling all over the world, it’s easy to get lost in the anonymity of strangers and crowds but this city is somehow mine. No strangers here – even if I have never seen most of them in the auditorium before in my life. Contradictions, conflicts, regrets, pain of separations, so many farewells and unfulfilled promises of the prodigal daughter return. And along with the agony and creative struggle of formatting the ideas in my head – came the language dilemma. In my bilingual life, I primarily write in English – as Greek is a luxury language for the non-Greeks. But as a presenter, the speaker’s primary responsibility is to the audience. You honor them; you give the talk for them and not for…

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Quirky Travel Tidbit: Las Vegas Taxis Overcharged Passengers By $15M+

April 30, 2013 by  

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gamble You may want to be wary of your taxi driver’s route next time you’re in Las Vegas. According to a legislative audit released Monday, Clark County cab drivers taking tourists to and from the airport overcharged them by about $14.8 million in 2012, many choosing to take the “scenic route” to get visitors to their hotels. “Taxicab trips are often the first and last experience tourists have in Las Vegas,” auditors wrote in a release. “Therefore, long hauling may result in tourists having a negative experience.” Keep this in mind for your next trip to Las Vegas: To get from the airport to the casinos on the southern end of the strip (ie the MGM Grand) should cost between $12 and $17, while a ride from the airport to downtown should cost between $22 and $27. Image via prolactina.


Spain’s Valencia: The Checklist Guide for Mixing Culture With Beach

April 30, 2013 by  

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While most travelers going to Spain head to Madrid and Barcelona, I decided to head to Valencia, Alicante and Torrevieja to experience Spain slightly off the beaten path. Valencia combines urban life with sea and countryside. Below are five great things to take in should you want to add it to your Spanish itinerary. 1. The Old City (Ciutat Vella) After Barcelona and Madrid, Valencia is probably the third most important Spanish city and its history is clear to see, it dates back to the year 138BC. Visit the Old City while you’re there, known locally as the Ciutat Vella. The Barri del Carme is great for a leisurely stroll and along the way take in the ancient towers: Serrano and Quart Towers. You’ll also find the Cathedral (La Seu) is worth a visit and provides a decent view of the city. Valencia fountain Spain 2. The Mestalla (Football Stadium) I must be honest that my real reason was visiting Valencia was to see the football stadium! The Mestalla is a magnificent stadium and Valencia have been European Cup Finalists twice in the last 15 years (although they lost both times),…

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