Monthly Archives: December 2013

In which Josh shows you his adopted American hometown of Balitmore

baltimore_at_nightOne of the things that I have realized since moving to Pennsylvania is that state pride is as abundant in states outside of Maryland.
Maryland Pride, ney Baltimore Pride is something that can always be found once you pass the border to Maryland.
I love my adopted hometown, really and truly. We have a crazy sense of community and statesmanship that I can’t seem to find outside of Maryland. (Though I really haven’t been around to that many states yet.)


Regardless, it brings me great pleasure to introduce you all to what I believe is the greatest state in ‘Merica, the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore.

Baltimore is the biggest city in the state of Maryland. Often called the city of neighborhoods, “Charm-city” is well known for it’s incredible sense of community. Although I don’t technically live inside of the city (I live in Baltimore County, about 20 minutes from Baltimore City) I work for Johns Hopkins Hospital in the city and I need to go to the city quite often. Home to 2.7 million people, Baltimore is the 20th most populace city in America. Though it use to be a largely industrial city, de-industrialization has lead Baltimore to become more reliance on the service industry and tourism.

Truthfully, the city is not the most flashy or attractive on sight. Major portions of Baltimore lives in poverty and much of the infrastructure in the less developed parts of the city still lies in ruinous conditions. But in the past decade a movement to rebuild and improve Baltimore has done an incredible job lifting Baltimore back on its feet. baltimore, contact, inner harbourIn the more touristy parts of Baltimore, like the inner harbor, people can enjoy first rate shopping, dinning and entertainment. Home to the Baltimore Science Center, the National Aquarium at Baltimore and many other sight seeing musts, the Inner Harbor is a great place to visit for both children and adults.baltimore-waterfront-blog1


If you’re more in to sports, the city is home to both the Orioles (MLB Baseball) and the Ravens (Football) and from a first person perspective both stadiums are gorgeous. One of my favorite past times is taking the light rail and going to a baseball game with a few high school friends. The surrounding areas of  both stadiums are also great locations to take in the city since their both tourist destinations. Great restaurants like Aldo’s and Charleston aren’t very far from the stadium or Inner Harbor if you want to sit down to a fancy meal, just make sure you reserve a seat in advance.FogoDeChao-Direcotry One of my favorite restaurants is also located squarely in down town Baltimore, Fogo de Chao. Though it is part of a chain restaurant, Fogo’s is probably some of the best buffets I’ve ever been to. If you can afford the 50$ price tag I definitely recommend Fogo and their insane cheese balls.

ACF17362On the topic of food, I can’t fail to mention the infamous Baltimore seafood, more specifically our love for the blue crab. Crab cakes, boiled crabs or steam crabs, it really doesn’t get much better than seafood in Baltimore. The Corner Stable, a Maryland chain restaurant with locations all over the state is my personal favorite for crab cakes.

If you ever get a chance to drive through Maryland, I highly recommend stopping by Baltimore City and indulge in all to great food and entertainment the city has to offer. Although Baltimore isn’t perfect, we have a great sense of community and citizen ship to the city that more than makes up for faults.
I am very proud to call Maryland my home town (adopted).

In which Josh examines Dubai, and becomes intimidated

Lets just start with the difference Dubai has witnessed in the past


The top picture is Dubai in 1990 and the bottom picture is Dubai in 2007. In 17 years, Dubai has become a major geographic landmark on the Persian Gulf. One of the wealthiest cities in the world, Dubai is quickly becoming a key city in global economics. Filled with some of the most amazing infrastructures in the world, including  Burj Khalifa the tallest building on earth, it’s important to realize just how far and how fast Dubai has come.

1500px-Dubai_banner_2Though many would say that Dubai was built on the wealth of the Emirates and their oil, I would venture that Dubai was built more on dreams. In particular, the dream of one man, Sheikh Muhammad. 394397164Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, and constitutional monarch of Dubai, Sheikh Muhammad now over seas the rise of Dubai. Started as a infrastructure boom beginning in the 1990’s, Dubai practically rose overnight from the sand in to a 1,600 square mile of buildings, sky scrapers, golf courses, ski  and infrastructure. Even man made islands and indoor ski slopes aren’t counted out of the loop, it’s no wonder the main economy of Dubai is based on its tourism sector. With real estate, trade, and financial services as its most valuable assets, Dubai’s economy is growing strong, especially after a huge financial decline in 2007. But this is a travel guide, so lets visit one of the most EXPENSIVE countries in the world.

Imagine a place where water is actually worth more than oil, now imagine that same place using an ungodly amount of water to power unnecessary luxuries, welcome to Dubai. From living unimaginable luxury to experiencing low class culture, Dubai’s extreme range of inhabitants allows visitors to witness and experience cultures out of the normality. But what this city is known for is luxury. 240px-Burj_Al_Arab,_Dubai,_by_Joi_Ito_Dec2007 Starting with Burj Al Arab, widely known as one of the best hotel in the world. I’m fairly sure you have seen this hotel before, a famed piece of infrastructure the Burj Al Arab looks remarkably like a sail. But the “World’s only seven star hotel” comes with  a price tag suited for that nomination, with rooms starting at $1,000 dollars per night to $28,000 dollars per night.

Do you get a sense of where we’re going with this ridiculous city? The luxury doesn’t end there however. There’s also Ski Dubai – a SKI SLOPE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING DESERT. 300px-Ski_Dubai_Slope

Remember what I said about water being expensive here? Think about how much ice would cost. The thought of the carbon foot print that ski slope leaves could give any environment freak an aneurism. 240px-Burj_Khalifa And we could hardly forget the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the entire world. I mean, these people just don’t know when to stop. At a height of 2,717 ft the Burj Khalifa took five years to build and is the shinning jewel of Dubai.

Mall of Dubai

As for shopping, Dubai is home to the largest mall in the world, the “Dubai Mall.”

If you are the son of an oil family from a nearby emirates, own a fortune five hundred company, or have the midas touch than Dubai is the perfect place for you.

I wanted to talk more about the food scene in Dubai, but unfortunately I couldn’t find many information other than the fact that the wealth of the city allows for cuisine from all over the world. Fancy cuisine too, with a Gordan Ramsey restaurant and five star world famous establishments. The simple act of googling Dubai food made my wallet lighter.9_17_Dubai_Dining_565x215_tcm233-805008

Gordon Ramsy’s restaurant in Dubai


It’s important to note that there is also an entire subculture of Dubai not built upon the wealth of it’s more fortunate inhabitants. With much of the population built upon the backs of Indian laborers and extremely poor workers from the middle east, a subculture of Dubai exists outside of the boulevards and paved streets. This is what I meant when I said that you can experience both sides of the extreme here. Like wise to their wealthier counter-part, the less rich and decadent side of Dubai is also an important part of the city’s identity. With their own cultures, traditions and food, these people contribute to the rich character of such an amazing city.

The next time you’re in the middle east and have a couple million dollars burning through your pockets, than perhaps think about visiting Dubai. Oh..and also don’t forget to take me with you