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Taxicab Confessions: I Have No Idea Where This Place Is!

A cab ride is like a snowflake: No two are ever exactly alike, and if certain conditions aren’t met, it can lead to total meltdown. I’ve been in smelly cabs, music-blaring cabs, heat-cranked-high on a summer’s day cabs and burn-rubber cabs. Perhaps most disquieting for me was the cabbie in San Francisco who, after gliding through a stop sign at the top of Nob Hill, answered his ringing cell phone with a cryptic “yes, they’re kicking in, and, man, is this some good s*’&t.”

FlowRider, Take it Easy: The New Cruise Ship Surf Park

Don’t wear your lowriders on the FlowRider®! That’s the best advice I can give you after checking out the surf pool on board Royal Caribbean International’s newest cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas. This summer, I had the opportunity to scrape the surface of this floating skyscraper – its ice skating rink and boxing ring, the mini-golf and rock-climbing wall, its 22 bars and, yes, the fabled FlowRider, which became titillating in ways I don’t think the designers intended.

The Real Face of Boratstan

As someone who makes a living inspiring travel, I can’t help but feel a little sorry for Kazakhstan, given the flogging it’s taken lately with the success of “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” In the optimistic spirit of The Other Iraq (yes, really) and travel ads for Chernobyl, Kazakhstan has launched a slew of TV ads, promoting it as the “heart of Eurasia.” I love a savvy marketing campaign as much as the next gal, but I’m guessing it’s going to take a whole lot more to get people to spend their summer vacations in, say, Northern Iraq. All empathies aside, “Borat” might just be the funniest movie I have ever seen.

Yield, San Francisco’s Organic Wine Bar

Red wine is practically the fountain of youth thanks to resveratrol, a natural substance found in the skin of grapes that supposedly offsets the ill effects of a high-fat, high-calorie diet and extends longevity. But like any other crop, grapes can be grown with loads of pesticides and chemicals. And what’s so healthy about sipping hundreds of chemicals in your Riesling while nibbling on 100% organic Camembert?

With its close proximity to some of the world’s most prolific vineyards, it’s been said that San Francisco has a one-to-one ratio of wine bars to city blocks. Why welcome another? Because this one only pours “green” wines, which are sustainable, organic or biodynamic. Head to San Francisco’s up-and-coming Dogpatch neighborhood and toast the opening of Yield Wine Bar.

Packing a Punch

I’ve taken 13 flights in the past two months, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned – besides mastering that “Lost in Translation”-like blank stare on people movers, escalators and airtrams – it’s that good things really do come in small packages. By small, I mean 3 oz. or less.

This really crystallized for me after watching a woman, who was undoubtedly somebody’s mom, cause quite a ruckus at security because she was forced to check her designer purse (or risk having the nearly $300 worth of beauty products that it contained tossed in the garbage). Then, there was another passenger who accused security of stealing her jewelry (while her husband moseyed toward the gate). I had a good chuckle because she was merely being asked to remove her necklaces before walking through the metal detector.