caribbean queen: charlotte amalie

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Charlotte Amalie is the capital of the US Virgin Islands and is located on St. Thomas, the second largest island of the USVI.  Known for its history of attracting pirates and other colorful characters, St. Thomas is now one of the most popular cruise ship destinations of the region.  And it’s no wonder, there’s gorgeous white sand beaches, renowned bays, natural wonders, and of course, treasures to be found in duty free shopping.

It seems like there are more jewelry and perfume stores on this island than people to buy them, which is why I guess it’s good that there are up to 11 (!) cruise ships stopping daily filling the streets with tourists and potential money spenders.

Despite that fact, I highly recommend staying longer.  There’s so much to see and do in the region that a few hours doesn’t do it justice.  There are many Airbnbs and resorts across the whole island, so why not enjoy more R&R here, where time runs a little more languid?  Everyone loves an island vacation, and spending a week here was just what this doctor ordered.  And the best part is that it’s all in our own backyard, negating the need of a passport or a change in your cell phone plan.

be like the pina colada song, come with me and escape

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livin’ las vegas loca

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Now that I’ve been grounded from international travel (can’t risk getting quarantined somewhere), local trips have been key.  And there’s nothing closer to feeling like you’ve BEEN somewhere than going to Las Vegas.

My home away from home, it’s ~35 minute flight and I have family in Vegas, so we make the trip a couple times a year and every time it seems to change more and more.  The real Vegas is where its at, with thriving local businesses, eateries and shopping galore.

I love you, Las Vegas, don’t ever change…

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historical boston: one minute man

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Although March 17 is synonymous with leprechauns and pots of gold, there’s a secondary celebration in the city of Boston, MA known as Evacuation Day.  This day commemorates the retreat of British troops from the city in 1776 after the Siege of Boston, or the start of the Revolutionary War.  So while you don your shamrocks and drink your green beer, pour one out for those who fought for our freedom to exist as our own nation.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, I think you may be able to tell that I’m a little bit of a nerd.  And I’m proud of it, I like reading, learning things and knowing about history.  And so, traveling around this vast country, I am fascinated by the communities that played vital roles in fabric of American creation and evolution.  We’re not an old country comparatively, but we’re rife with important figures and events.  We have a lot of museums and monuments to preserve this culture (some of it not great but it’s probably important to be familiar with that, too), and these are tools to promote lifelong learning.

Boston is chock full of Revolutionary War history, as the seat of some of the most famous protests and uprisings like Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s house, and the aforementioned Siege of Boston.  I’ve been through all these sites in the city proper, but on a road trip back into town from the Berkshires, had a chance to visit the outer lying areas where the actual sh*t happened.

Sorry for the language, but when in Boston…

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i believe in nashville

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The hits keep coming, don’t they?  While the world was reeling from the COVID-19 effects, my beloved former home of Nashville suffered one of the most devastating tornadoes in recent past.  Fortunately for me, my friends and colleagues are okay, but there are so many people who were not as lucky.  The scenes of the utter destruction, splintered buildings, razed businesses that were once so lively and vital to this town are heartbreaking.

If there’s something I know about the city of Nashville, it’s that it is resilient.  When I moved there in 2014, they had near completely recouped from the horrible floods in 2010.  I know the community will come together and rebuild and be back better than ever.  If you can, consider donating to cmft.org.

Until then, I believe in you Nashville, and here’s my little love letter to you

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avoid going viral: travel healthy

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I have to be honest with y’all, I’m a little bummed right now.  Why you ask?  At this very moment, I should be preparing to fly to Singapore, getting ready to embark on a cruise through several Asian countries.

I think you can guess why that’s not happening.  Co-vid 19, colloquially known as “coronavirus,” has reached global epidemic status (or panic at least) setting off a domino effect in the global economy and in life and society itself.   With no signs of slowing yet, this outbreak is severely affecting the travel industry.  Especially within the cruise ship sector, people are concerned, rightfully so, that they could be exposed to this “novel” threat.  I mean, we saw first hand what can happen with the Diamond Princess in Japan, and although the show must go on, the cruise I was about to travel on had changed almost all of its itinerary due to certain countries no longer allowing passengers to disembark.

And even though the risk of me, a physician who is regularly up in everyone’s nose and mouth area, contracting the virus is probably lower than say, getting the flu, the thought of being quarantined for any extensive period of time was enough to make me cancel.  It is my literal nightmare to be stuck on a boat, and I want no part of it.  My business and career would also suffer, so for now, nonessential travel is put on hold.  Which sucks.

So instead of frolicking on a boat, I’m here to provide a few tips on staying healthy while you travel along with some facts about the virus (since there’s a ton of misinformation out there).   Because even though the chance of getting Co-Vid 19 is low, it never hurts to protect yourself from all the other grossness out there.  Yes, grossness is a medical term 😉

Trust me, I’m a doctor

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laissez les bon temps rouler

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there is a house in new orleans, they call the rising sun

Well now that the Super Bowl has been won by Kansas City (GO CHIEFS), we can all move on with our lives, and move onto the next party. This is Mardi Gras of course!

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is February 25 this year.  This is the Carnival celebration that starts after Three Kings Day and ends the day before Ash Wednesday.  For us non-Christians, this day refers to eating rich, fatty foods before Lent fasting begins.  No one throws a party like the Crescent City, and this bonanza of a holiday is the grandest boum of them all.  No one throws a soiree like New Orleans.

Laissez les bon temps rouler…

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j’taime quebéc cité

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Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and what could be a more romantic gesture than stealing away to the most European city in the North America?  It’s moody, dark and sexy.  And yes, it’s in Canada.  Quebéc City, the government seat of Québec, Canada, is a jewel upon a hill, its stately skyline looking out over the Saint Lawrence river.  It’s as close to being in a French village as you could possibly get, yet still retains its own Canadian charm.

poutine on the ritz

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clearly canadian: saint john

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I just realized as I am typing this that I went to two places called Saint John last year.  One in the Caribbean and one in Canada.  There’s a lot of places named after St. John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher, who was considered the forerunner to Jesus, as it is believed that he baptized Jesus.  I also did not know that.  You learn something new everyday.  You’ll actually learn a ton when you visit this bayside beauty because this is a city of museums, and I love a city of museums.

Saint John is a city on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, and it is one of the oldest settlements in Canada.  A huge port city, it is also home to one of the foremost natural wonders of the world, reversing falls.  Everyone knows that rivers run to the sea right? Well sometimes they don’t, like in this case, the bay of Fundy waters flow backwards.

Sunday Fundy

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super bowl vice city

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south beach bringing the heat

I had every intention of writing a new blog post on Sunday to post today.  That did not happen as I spent the day devastated over the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death.   Kobe was one of my childhood idols, as a kid who grew up in Southern California, he was everything.  The greatest Laker to have ever played.  An icon who was more magic than Magic even.  Kobe Shaq early 2000s was the most dominating Little Big duo of all time, and I’ve had many great memories watching those games and championships.

We broke down all the games, bought the jerseys, reveled in the parades.  I always imagined Kobe as an elder NBA statesman, ushering in young talent of the league, he had seemed untouchable and invincible.  And the unexpectedness is maybe what hurts most, because he had so much ahead of him.  His daughter and the other victims as well.  It’s senseless, it’s so sad and it hurts.  RIP Kobe.

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Based on Kobe’s philosophy, the Mamba Mentality, he would’ve probably said well, life goes on, let’s get to the next stage.  And that stage happens this weekend in Miami at Super Bowl LIV.  And perhaps that’s what we should do, LIV it up because tomorrow is certainly not guaranteed for any of us.

Welcome to Miami…

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happy lunar new year: year of mouse

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The Lunar New Year celebration is based on the celestial calendar that is used by several Asian nations (namely China, Vietnam, Korea).  Each cycle of roughly 12 months is represented by one of 12 animals in the zodiac: rat, ox/water buffalo, tiger, rabbit (or cat in Vietnam), dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

This year is my year, the year of the rat.  I share this distinction with noted creator William Shakespeare and fearless leader George Washington, you may have heard of them.   Folklore tales abound, but there’s thought that the rat was the first to show up to a council of animals that was called forth by the Jade Emperor (after sabotaging the cat and the ox, those cunning little rats), or that the rat won a competition set forth by this leader (also by screwing over the cat by not informing it of the time of the competition).  Whatever the case, the rat is the first animal of the zodiac and is thought to be very clever and observant (and clearly you should watch your back around them).

If you haven’t already bought your ticket to head to Asia for this celebration, which falls on January 25, this year, then you’re probably a little late.  So how better than to celebrate it stateside by going to Disneyland?  One of the most notable festivals dedicated to this holiday happens to be at the Disney Parks.

It’s a big party this year as Disney has taken the liberty to denote this the year of the mouse (that Mickey loves to appropriate things to his benefit, doesn’t he? But, also see the Mickey x Gucci collab because it’s fire).  They did a great job though, as the California Adventure park in Anaheim and the Epcot China Pavilion at Disney World have a ton of pageantry and specialty merch all set up to welcome the new year.

Chuc mung nam moi!

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