Sunset cruise on the East River.

Sunset cruise on the East River.



East River sunset.

East River sunset.



Sailing south on the Hudson, looking north.

Sailing south on the Hudson, looking north.



Surfing the Embargo

roadsandkingdoms:

Roads and Kingdoms’ Alexa van Sickle braves sea urchins, jagged rocks and myopic U.S. foreign policy to surf Havana’s Calle 70 break.

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"It was so shocking, I was momentarily frozen. I was on the phone with the desk and my editor Kyle Crichton told me just to dictate what I was seeing. It’s hard to describe because it was this incredibly beautiful landscape: grassy fields, sunflowers, wheat fields, and then in it, this disaster. There were bodies everywhere. I just walked through, first dictating and then writing things down in my notebook. You would come across one body, and then another. They seemed to go on forever. Only later did we learn that the crash site was 13 square miles. The sadness was just crushing. I have been in conflicts, I’ve been in Iraq, I’ve seen suicide bombings just after they happened, but this was almost indescribable."


Anable Basin and Long Island City, from Roosevelt Island.

Anable Basin and Long Island City, from Roosevelt Island.



A very nicely produced ad for the Hare Noi hotel on Easter Island, a relatively new resort that’s owned, I’ve heard, by the former mayor of Hanga Roa and has poached lots of staff from the Explora Rapa Nui.



"Our primary competition is other discretionary spend, like Amazon.com."


The elevator at NBC’s 30 Rock studios.

The elevator at NBC’s 30 Rock studios.



Some notes from my first time on Southwest Airlines
  • They serve Dr. Pepper, which is also from Texas.
  • Our wifi was “broken” even though there were signs advertising it throughout the cabin.
  • Since there are no classes of service, you get to use the lav in the front of the plane! (This shouldn’t really be that exciting to me!)
  • Drink orders are taken by pen and pad and hand delivered.
  • A woman was trying the very bold middle-seat move wherein you try to claim a whole row by challenging people to sit right next to you when you could just get a window or aisle seat a few rows back. I didn’t go for it—but it turns out her granddaughter was behind her in the boarding order, and the grandmother was saving the window for her.
  • They still serve peanuts.
  • There were indeed heart shaped swizzle sticks.
  • Drinks are only five bucks, and, thanks to a special promotion, you could get a Jack and Coke Zero for $4 if you are a person with terrible taste and four bucks.
  • One of the pilots announced our descent and mentioned that we were “currently 91 nautical miles from the field” with no further translation of that terminology. He also used the professional term “light chop” earlier in the flight. I obviously thought this was really great.
  • Boarding with B group: It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t recommend it.


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