Thursday, December 30, 2010

Paris and Bordeaux

Paris Bordeaux 2010


Paris and Bordeaux in November, 2010.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ireland and Scotland

Ireland Scotland 2009


Pictures from my trip to Ireland and Scotland. We had a layover in London where we got to meet up with Linsey and V, and then flew into Dublin. From there, we drove to Wexford, over to Dingle (via Cork and Waterford), up to Ennis, then around Galway to Westport. After that, we flew out of Galway to Edinburgh, and went to Fort Williams, Loch Ness, and Oban. Good times!

Peru Travels

Peru 2009


Pictures from my trip to Peru with good friends for Mateo's wedding.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Morocco Fun

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hiking in Torres del Paine, Chile

Chile - Torres del Paine


These photos are from my 6 day hiking trip in Torres del Paine, in the far south of Chile.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stellenbosch and Cape Town (2nd Trip)

Cape Town 2


Last week I headed back to Cape Town. I had been invited by Dave Duarte to lecture to an Executive Seminar on Mobile Marketing at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. The lecture went well.

I had meetings on Thursday, and then drove to Stellenbosch for more meetings on Friday. Friday night, Evan Reas and I met up, and then on Saturday we headed out for wine tasting.

Our first stop was Rust En Vrede, which was top on my list after having an amazing Cab from there at dinner at Baia on Thursday night. The Cab was not as good when I tasted it (much less robust), but their Merlot is very good (young, so should mature nicely) and I got a bottle of their Estate, which was in the Top 100 wines for four years running.

Next we hit De Trafford, which was a long drive up a road that kept getting smaller and more and more falling apart. We arrived with 5 minutes before they closed. De Trafford, however, had a wonderful Cab, and the Shiraz was the best I've tasted; a deep royal purple. I wish I had gotten more of their Shiraz, but I'm running out of space already.

Next we headed to Waterford, which had been recommended by all. As we drove in past the ducks, fountains, and manicured trees towards the massive stone building, we figured we were in for a treat (they did wine and paired chocolate tastings). However, the wines were like water (really, the whites were the same color as the water in our pitcher), and none of them were impressive. The atmosphere was nice, and we decided we'd just call it a chocolate tasting.

From there, we went to meet Mary Haw and her friends for a bit of a trivia bowl. Next, we met with Patty, who had driven out. Patty, Evan, and I rolled out for more wine tasting. Arriving in time for our 7pm dinner reservation at Kleine Zalze. The dinner was quite good.

The next morning, I was up early to get back to Cape Town for a meeting at Cafe Neo. Then, Tracy-Lee, my friend and Cape Town guide met me, and we headed towards Simonstown. We had lunch in Kalk Bay, and enjoyed the coast, before I headed off to the airport.

All in all, a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cape Town and Stellenbosch

Cape Town


Last week Clay and I flew down to Cape Town on business. There were lots of good meetings, and I enjoyed the chance to see the area and some friends. Mary Haw and I got together for brunch ( I haven't seen Mary in about 4 years), and on Sunday, Patty Buckley, Clay, and I went wine tasting. The wine was, unfortunately, disappointing. The company and scenery, however, were spectacular.

Clay and I also attended the Manchester United/Keizer Chiefs game on Saturday, as guests of Apurimac Media. The game was a tie (1:1), but a wonderful time.

Click on the picture above to see some of the highlights.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Drakensberg

South Africa


Pictures from my weekend trip to the Drakensberg. I drove down on Friday night after work, and got into the Champagne Castle Hotel a bit before 9pm. The next day was cloudy, but I got in a good hike up to the base of the big peaks. Sunday dawned as fine and clear weather, and I got in a helicopter ride before driving back to Joburg, via Harrismith (the scenic route).

To see the pictures, click on the picture above.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Adventure Continues

I've arrived safely in Joburg, and have been here since last Saturday. It's been an adventure thus far, relearning how to drive on the other (some might say, 'the proper') side of the road, figuring out where to get food, how to pay for things, and how to get internet.

Internet has been my largest issue, and I've tried nearly everything to get a fast connection. My apartment, it seems, is located just outside of the 3G coverage by Vodacom, which means I'm working on just about dial-up speeds. To remedy this, I've been spending time at Mugg & Bean, a coffee shop in the mall, where I get fast coverage. However, been the two hour life of my battery (no plugins), and the numerous cups of coffee I consume to justify my taking up a table, it's not very sustainable.

But, that's the adventure, no?

Everyone I've met here has been very friendly and helpful, from the security guard at my apartment complex, who drove with me to the mall 10 minutes after I arrived so he could show me where to buy groceries and get a SIM card for my cell phone, to the advertisers, publishers, and other folks I've spoken with for business.

This is going to be a fun, challenging, and good summer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In London

I had forgotten just how long international flights with layovers can be. My plane took off from SFO on Monday at 3:10pm and after a layover in Amsterdam, I arrived in London 25 hours latter. Add in time to get to the airport, and the cab from Heathrow to my hotel, and it was the better part of a day and a half of travel.

London has been been a good trip thus far, other than jetlag. The office is in 'NoHo', or the north part of SoHo. It looks to be a fun neighborhood, and walking to and from the office, I've passed many restaurants. There are always people out and about, and due to the good weather, all the pubs had large crowds out front last night, drinking pints or glasses of wine, and enjoying a nice London summer evening.

Beyond work, my social calendar has filled up. I'm meeting with school and past work friends. Looks like it will be a busy couple of days before I fly to South Africa.

On the South Africa front, it appears I now have housing. I'll be living in Sandton, which is a very good neighborhood (so, take heart all of you who are concerned for my well being).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Egypt

Egypt


Some pictures from Egypt. Fun times!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dubai Day Three

Dubai Day Three


Pictures from Dubai, Day Three.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Dubai

Dubai


Here are some pictures from the first day in Dubai. It's been an interesting trip. It did not have an auspicious start, considering we boarded the plane at SFO then sat for two hours, then I missed my flight in London, then upon arriving in Dubai, it took them an hour and a half to determine my luggage was lost, at which point there was no one waiting to meet me. All said, long trip here.

But, the visits have been interesting and fun. We did sight seeing the first day, and have had two days of business meetings. We've more meetings tomorrow, then it's New Years Eve fun.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Byron Bay, Australia

Byron Bay, Australia
On Saturday I hopped on a plane and headed up to Byron Bay to meet Mike and Rebecca. From the airport, we stopped by a bottle shop, and then hit the beach, watched the sunset, and chatted under a half-moon and lovely stars. Dinner was back in town, and then we called it a night.

The next day we tried to find surf lessons, but were either too late or too early, so we headed up to check out the lighthouse, which is on the easternmost point of land in Australia. From there, it was off to the beach, and then back to the airport.

It's now Monday morning (Sunday afternoon back home). I'm in Starbucks before heading to work. I've been waking up early, so am trying to utilize the morning hours.

Cheers Mates!
Spence(r)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Morning in Sydney

Sydney Morning
It's a lovely day here in Sydney, Australia. I was up early (went to bed about Midnight, woke up at 3, 4, and 5am. Got up at 5 something, hit the gym, had breakfast, and then went for a walk down to the harbor. Perfect way to start the day.

This afternoon I'm flying up to Byron Bay to meet Goots and Rebecca. Should be good times. Excited to be here in Australia. Looking forward to meeting folks in the office and doing some good work, and also to exploring. I'm thinking of trying to catch a rugby or footie match while in town.

Cheers,
Spence(r)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Uganda

Uganda Trip


I got back just this Wednesday from Uganda. Kelsey, Kelton, and I traveled over and spent parts of six days in-country for Winnie's giving away ceremony. We took off from SFO on a Tuesday and arrived Thursday morning. On Thursday we drove to Winnie's village, on Friday we explored and helped get ready for the ceremony, and then Saturday was the day of the ceremony. It was great times.

Sunday, we took off to Queen Elizabeth National Park and stayed at Mweya lodge. We got up early on Monday to go on Safari, and then headed back to Kampala. Tuesday, we met Geoffrey and all went to the source of the Nile, had lunch, and then headed back to town for last minute gift shopping, and then we headed to the airport. We flew out Tuesday night to Nairobi, then to London-Heathrow, and finally back to SFO.

While in Uganda, I got the absolutely amazing news that I've been accepted to the Stanford GSB. I accepted my spot on Wednesday, and am now preparing to be a student again in the fall. So very, very, exciting.

Check out the picture album above to see some of my Uganda photos.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spain - Madrid and Aranda de Duero

Spain- Aranda de Duero



Spain-Madrid


My pictures from Madrid and Aranda de Duero. Madrid was a business trip, and Aranda was pleasure for the weekend.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Weekend in Paris

Paris
Pictures from my weekend trip to Paris. WARNING: It's mostly pictures of Notre Dame. But, it's not my fault, the Cathedral is just too photogenic! If you notice pictures that are improperly labeled, let me know.

It was a most excellent weekend. My friend Sasha played hostesses tour guide, and translator. The trip was as excellent as it was due to her knowledge of places to see (or to get great food). Chocolate Croissants, Nutella Crepes, Moroccan food at Le Souk, and Steak and Frites. There was also local made ice cream on Ile San Luis (which I managed to order all on my own after being coached by Sasha while waiting in line).

There is far too much to see and do in Paris, and between visits to Rodin, Notre Dame, and L'Institut du Monde Arabe, along with parks, squares, and plazas, I barely scratched the surface. The great thing is, just walking around the city is beautiful in and of itself. After Dublin architecture, I loved the buildings.

I'll add to this post down the line with more descriptions of what I did, saw, and ate (hooray for food!).

The videos below are of Vespers being sung in Notre Dame.



Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Pictures from my recent trip to Galway, the Aran Islands, and up through Conamara and County Mayo. It's late, so I won't write the stories yet. But, let it be know that it was a wonderful trip. I think I'm still there mentally.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Today I went hiking with Uladzimir, Tania (his wife) and Julie at Glendalough. I met Julie outside of Google and we caught a 9:30am DART to Bray, where Uladzimir and Tania met and picked us up. It was a 30 minute drive, and we arrived at Glendalough. We started by walking around the ruins of the monastery, graveyard, cathedral, and tower. From there we walked past the lower lake, stopped at the visitors center for maps, and headed up the Spinc (a pointed mountain). The views from the top were fantastic, and we lucked out with blue sky most of the way.

At the top end of the lakes, the clouds rolled in, and it got a bit cold. However, it wasn't bad, and we finished off the hike. It was about 10-11km in total, and we lucked out by getting an early start. Walking back, especially down by the lake, there were tons of people.

After the hike, we headed back to Bray, where we stopped in at a pub for food. It was before 4pm, so only the carvery was open, but I got Tavern Pie, which was like Shepard's pie. Full and warm, Julie and I hopped on the DART at 5pm and headed back to Dublin.

I'm pretty tired, so it's going to be an early night.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

About town in Dublin


Yes, I've finally added more pictures. This album covers a wide range of things, starting with a Gaelic Football match at Croagh Park two weeks ago. It was the first time a game had been played under the lights, so I was there for a bit of history. I was also there to see the first person streak the field under the lights. He ran out and did push ups until the authorities came and covered him with a towel. The chaps in the row behind me commented "not bad form. He had some good ones there".

With the excitement over, Dublin went ahead and ran up the score. Which was great, because we were right above the goal. However, in the second half, Dublin went ahead and lost. Which I suppose was great, because the teams switched sides, so we were again above the goal with all the action.

For those of you who haven't seen Gaelic Football, it's 45% football (soccer) and 45% rugby. The players carry the ball, and have to drop and kick it to themselves every two paces, or they can bounce the ball every two paces. They can also punch the ball to teammates. Lastly, one armed tackling is allowed. It's well worth a watch.

It was a very cold night, and I ended up finally catching the post ski trip chest cold. I headed home and went to bed, and ended up missing work on Monday and Tuesday. It's two weeks later, and I'm still estimating I'm only at 90%.

Julie Beckman, a friend and colleague from Mt. View is in town this week, so today we went on a walk about town. We started at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, which I've now dubbed the BOK. While the book was interesting, the Long Room, which is just above it, was the highlight of the trip. No pictures allowed, but picture a two story room, plus an arched ceiling, with dark wood paneling, a spiral staircase to the second floor, and tons of old tomes, with busts of philosophers and writers lining the hall. The room smelled of books, and was probably 75 meters long. I'd like to have a library like it one day.

From Trinity, Julie and I headed to Dublin Castle. Since it was sunny today, I took more pictures of places I've already been. The castle wasn't open, so we headed to the Guinness Storehouse. Upon arrival, the line was out the door, up the street, and around the block. We decided it wasn't worth it, and we instead headed for the Jameson Distillery. Upon arrival there, we found it is closed until March. At this point, we read the guidebook, and found some more places we'd like to go, but were closed. Who actually closes tourist attractions on a Saturday? Silly. Just plain silly. And inconvenient.

Our next stop was for food. We decided to go to The Cedar Tree, a Lebanese food restaurant, which the guidebook informed us was in fact open at 1:00pm. Upon arrival there, we found it doesn't open until 5:30pm. At this point we went looking for food, but didn't find anything good. It seemed we were not meant to gain entrance to any of the things we actually wanted to do today.

We headed up Grafton Street to St. Stephen's Green, did a walk through, and sat on a bench, doing some people watching. I enjoyed watching a dad run and hide behind a tree while his two year old (give or take) son ran after him. Just when the kid was about to catch the dad, the dad would run the opposite direction around the tree, then run and hide behind a different tree. I think I liked this game because I used to play it with my dad. In fact, we still do, but now it's around the kitchen when Mom is trying to cook. We usually get scolded, but that only makes it more fun. Plus, I'm not two anymore, so I catch Dad sometimes. But, I digress.

From St. Stephen's Green, Julie and I headed towards the Marrion Hotel. We got there a bit early, so we walked around Marrion Square a bit, and payed our respects to the statue of Oscar Wilde.

At three, we returned to the Marrion Hotel, where we met Lisa, Fred, and Lauren for High Tea. The pictures speak for themselves, but I'll say that we had a charming, elegant time, with good food, and nice, warm tea.

And that, my friends, brings you up to speed. Tomorrow I'm off to go hiking with Uladzimir and his wife around Glendlaough. Julie will be joining us, and I anticipate a good hike in beautiful country.




Some live music in Temple Bar. Colm, his brother, his friend, and I headed to William Temple Bar for a pint and some live music after attending part of the Temple Bar Traditional Music Festival where we watched a fiddler and a piper.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Pictures from my trip to Italy. I'll post the story at some point.
Cheerio,
Spence(r)

Sunday, January 21, 2007


When I woke up today, the weather was still nice, so I followed through on my plans to explore Howth. For 3.60 I bought a round trip DART ticket, and about 37 minutes after getting on the train, I was getting off in Howth. After wandering through vendor's stalls and fishmongers I headed out to the harbor for a look-see. From there, it was a hike uphill to the summit of Howth Head. I then walked back to town along a cliff side path.
Lunch was at the Abbey Tavern, which is recommended by locals and guidebooks alike. The meal wasn't so good, but I did enjoy people watching from my spot near the fire (I think they were burning peat, since it smelled like a good malt from Islay).
After that, it was back home, where I've been uploading pictures and enjoying a lazy Sunday evening.

On Saturday the Ambassador crew got a guided tour around the City of Dublin by a native Dubliner, Shane. The purpose was more to see where everything is so we can come back at a later date.
After the walking tour, I returned home, and then went back out at around 9:30 for Michaela and Jonas's going away party at O'Briens. I walked the wrong way, so it took me a bit to get to town, and then I had to call Andrea and have him come find me on a street corner, but I did eventually arrive.
Last night reminded me that it is rarely possible to head out from a party at an "early hour". I started saying my goodbyes at 12:30, and ended up on the dance floor until 2:30 when they did last call and kicked us out. I feel this is sufficient justification for sleeping in very late.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spencer's Apartment in Dublin


Here's the first set of pictures from Dublin.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Dublin...The Next Adventure


I'm here! After far too long in a middle seat on a 777 across the Atlantic, and then dealing with a flight delay at London Heathrow (for those who don't know, beware...you're only allowed one carry on in the UK. As a result, if you're a silly American like me who brings two on in the States, they'll make you go outside and recheck in and check one of your carry ons).

The jetlag is catching up, so I'll sign off. But, I'm here!

Cheers from Dublin!
Spence(r)

The photo above is from the fairwell event at the Tide House in Mt. View

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Summer Palace, Beijing

My album from the Summer Palace. It was an overcast/smoggy day, so the colors don't stand out in the pictures. The doorman at my hotel informed me that I should "visit on a sunny day". However, I don't know how many clear sunny days there are in Beijing. Anyhow, click on the link below to see the album.

Simatai Section of the Great Wall

Pictures from my trip to the Simatai section of the Great Wall. Click on the link below.

My Forbidden City & Tiananmen Pictures

Click on the link below to see my photos from the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the new office.