Dubai

Less than 72 hours. That’s all the time we had in Dubai. Not nearly enough time for our first visit to the Middle East. We were headed to Maldives for the December holiday but we wanted to break up the long flight so we took an extra day and night in the beginning and end of our vacation to rest and do a little bit of exploring in Dubai.

Dubai is a fascinating place with massive construction and build out during the last 20 years, with much if it taking place over the last 10 years or so. The enormous airport, the largest mall, the tallest building, all the hotels and offices. All new. The scale is hard to grok for a first time visitor.

Since our time was limited we could explore a few things. So we chose the spice market in the city and a trip to the desert about an hour or so outside the city. Both are bit on the touristy side of things but it still felt a million miles away from home.

The spice market was a packed with vendors with various foods and spices from the region. We brought back some saffron,pistachio nuts and local candies.

We really enjoyed the desert exploration. We rented buggies and went off roading. We road camels to dinner. The desert was so beautiful especially as golden hour approached. The colors so soft and warm.

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December in Nantucket

The winter months bring a special kind of beauty to Nantucket.The beaches are quiet and the boats have long left the docks. The days are shorter and the island prepares for a long stretch ahead.

The very first weekend of in December every year is known as Stroll Weekend. The town is fully decorated in holiday spirit and so do the visitors and residents alike. It’s a wonderful time & place to spend with loved ones.

Bahamas, Part II

Our daughter Ellie wanted to add a different experience to her high school life. She discovered a school is the Eleuthera, Bahamas called The Island School. The Island School offers high school juniors a special experience studying abroad.

Each day Island School students get up at 6am and either run or swim before breakfast. It’s training for a portion of their final exam which includes a half marathon or 4 mile open ocean swim.

After breakfast they attend their studies for a full day of classes that are immersive and experiential. They conduct in depth research with the local environment and community. They study biology in the ocean, learn history in the local townships and math outside.

Towards the end of the semester, students go on an eight day kayak expedition which includes two days of solitude. Just you, by yourself, with a journal, a tarp, food and water.

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I spent three days with Ellie, her classmates & their families and teachers for Parent Weekend in Eleuthera. We were blown away at the experience these kids are getting. We woke up at 6am every morning, did the morning run, jumped off High Rock together, ate together and laughed together. The founder Chris Maxey is an inspiration — and the staff and teachers are so committed. We also got a day off so the three of us could enjoy our time together and explore the island as a family. It was wonderful.

Ellie’s semester is coming to an end and she comes home next week. She will have been away for 100 days. We have missed her more than anything. She should be so proud of her experience and accomplishments.

I sure am.

(All photographs taken on a Leica M3 and Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California). 

Eleuthera, Bahamas, Part I

Earlier this month we spent four days in Eleuthera. The island is quite long, over 110 miles long. While I’m told the northern part is developed, we headed south. The southern portion of the the island is thoroughly remote. The nearest market or restaurant is about a 40 minute drive or so. We didn’t see any a single souvenir shops. Our rental car was provided by a resident, a gentleman named Robert. We paid in cash. Folks that grew up and live here will tell you that at one time this was a bustling island. But that has changed. All of that tourism has since moved to Nassau. Life on Eleuthera is quiet and remote.

But the thing that struck me the most was the kindness from everyone we met. Lauren compared it to going to our first trip to Ireland and talking with the locals. All the stories, life challenges, rich history and island beauty. Although we got a lot more hugs in Eleuthera than pints in Ireland 🙂

We were quite taken with this place. And have already made plans to visit again.

(All photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab).

Joshua Tree, California

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I took some time to celebrate our anniversary.

We started the week in the desert, exploring and hiking in Joshua Tree National Park and Coachella Valley Preserve. I visited Joshua Tree on my own a few years back and it was so much better to make the return trip with my wife.

After a few days we drove west and spent the rest of the week relaxing at the beach. The west side of LA has really grown on me.

Twenty three years and counting with my best friend. Luckiest guy ever.

 

Uruguay, Part I

 

December 2017
Last month we made our first family trip to South America. We spent most of our vacation in Uruguay.

Getting to Uruguay from the United States requires a long flight but it’s only a two hour time difference which makes jet lag a non issue. After a 10 hour overnight flight from Miami, we arrived well rested.

The drive from the airport to our hotel in Jose Ignacio was about a 2 hours. A rental car is a must. The Jose Ignacio region of Uruguay is along the east coast of the country. While nearby Punta del Este is bustling and tends to get more attention and fanfare, we personally were happy to stay in the Jose Ignacio region. It’s hardly a secret area but it is laid back with a chill vibe, and a place that offers beach, some shops, a gorgeous countryside and some wonderful restaurants.

It is summertime and the weather was quite hot during our week. We spent a few hours each day at the beach. The Arctic currents make the ocean really quite cold but after a few moments we got used to it and it’s quite refreshing. Getting on bikes and exploring all the little streets of Jose Ignacio was a nice way to see more and escape the heat as well. My wife and daughters love horseback riding and its a gorgeous place to ride. Sunset in Uruguay is mighty fine.

One week in a new place is not enough time to do it justice. But I can tell you that we want to make a return trip one day.

Part two with additional photographs here.

(Camera: Leica MP // Film: Kodak Portra 400 // Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California).