Saturday, April 30, 2011

Danger Ranger

My Red Ford RangerWaiting around for something to happen is boring. So i take initiative into my own hands. Doing so I decided to take a road trip to the beach. With me I had my dog Toby a (german shepherd) and my old lady. We left bright and early at 630 am eastern time and road out in my 99' ranger (danger ranger). We made it there safe and sound just took us a lil while cuz my truck only does 65 without falling apart, i guess that's just part of owning a Ford. Next time I'm gonna get a Toyota for sure. During our trip up there we stopped a couple times for bathroom breaks for us and the dog and snack breaks as well. We had to reenergize after all that driving. When we finally go to the beach the sun was up and the weather was gorgous.

Upon our arrival we decided to walk the dog up and down the stretch that we were staying at. The dog loved it and so did we. We even swam around with him a little bit since he loves the water. We wanted to go fishing but the surf was just too rough to cast into and we wanted to relax some anyway. We got our tan on and drank a few cold ones while we admired the weather and the sun. I definitely got a good tan out of it and had a nice time as well. You will love Cocoa Beach if you have never been, i recommend taking a trip there for sure. The scene is great and it's not always as paked as some other Florida beaches such as Daytona. We also parked right close to the beach in the danger ranger. So it's a win, win situation. You really can't go wrong when you choose Cocoa Beach.

After spending some time at the ocean we decided to drive back in the Ford. That piece of crap almost fell apart, next time I'm probably gonna have to rent a car and my girl recommended rentalcarmomma so I'm going to give them a shot next time. I hear they have unbeatable rates and great cars that you can choose from as well. We finally got home around sun set time and we got to relax from the hard day of playing. I cannot wait to head back to the ocean and enjoy the surf and sun.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Martha's Vineyard Pt.1

Rafi on his bike in Martha's Vineyard
So my sister and I went out to visit my aunt in Massachusetts, and she made plans to visit some of the nicest places around town. It is summer time, so we wanted to enjoy the nice weather and the awesome food found in the area.

Martha’s Vineyard is an island that is off from the coast of Cape Cod, and you can get there either by ferry boat or by airplane. We choose to go thru the ferry, it was nice cause you can see the scenery, plus a major thing is you can carry your car. We decided to go with our car, so as usual we went with our favorite rental car place, Budget. It was an SUV, and we added the bicycle rack on top. Then with the car full, we headed to the ferry, we pay the additional fee to bring the car and we went to the island. It was a pretty nice trip, the sights from the travel are awesome and definitely you should get your camera ready cause you can capture live animals. As soon as we dock into the island, we found a nice parking lot and that’s where we left the SUV and use the bikes in the island. Since my sister and I didn’t have our bikes, we stop into the bike rental place and got ours.

We found that the majority of the locals used the bike as their mode of transportation. It was totally a different way of living here in the island; people are friendlier and really helpful in getting to the different places. While we were pedaling our bike, we saw that all the places around had a bike rack where you can park the bicycles, the only thing that it was needed was a chain with a combination-type lock, which we received with our bikes in the bike rental place.

Most of the guys in the group have come here, so they knew their way around, in some junctions, they waited for my sister and I. I was sightseeing and for the most part stopping in certain areas cause the views were really awesome, I even put few of these pictures as wallpaper in my laptop.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A weekend trip to the beach

4x4 Truck
I recently took a trip to the beach with my friends. I didn't' have a car or truck at the time so I had to rent one. Luckily I had found a good rental car coupon from Avis! I saved 35% on my rental and I loved it! I got to use it the whole time I rented it and I had zero issues with it as well. The booking process was great and I wouldn't want to book with any one else now. I love the beach and it seemed like the only sensible place to go while vacationing for the weekend, since it's close and relatively cheap to have a good time. So what I did was loaded up the back of the new explorer that we rented and headed towards to coast. The rental had plenty of room and also got great gas mileage. I couldn't have asked for anything better,especially for the price I paid. It was a great time and I can't wait to go back.

While there at the beach I enjoyed such activites as Skim-boarding, surfing, jet ski riding, parasailing and tanning. I had a lot of fun and got a good tan on. My friends and I rented out some jet ski's and that was a blast. I can't wait to do that again. While we were there, we had brought a cooler full of cold drinks that kept us hydrated and wanting more as well. So every few hours we had to run to the store and restock. Luckily our explorer was four wheel drive and we could drive it on the beach, that helped us save a lot of time also. Cocoa beach was a great place that still offers some amazing thrills for anyone willing to come on down. With my Avis coupon I ended up saving enough money to stay an extra day at the beach, so it made the vacation even better. I cannot wait to come back and stay even longer next time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coney Island

Coney IslandI grew up in the heart of New York and one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was visit Coney Island with my friends. To us it was the Disney World of New York and whenever we could scrounge up the money to go we would go see and enjoy the quirky theme park. Well recently my mom informed me and my wife that the famous Coney Island is set to undergo renovations and the park as I know it is going to get a huge makeover. So I figured I would take the kids and the wife back to the popular park and enjoy some good old fashion fun, at least that is the way I remember the island.

We decided to fly up there this time, mostly because we have made the drive several times and the two day trip doesn’t agree with some of the more restless ones in my family. So when we arrived at the airport we made reservations to have a Dodge Stratus from Thrifty Rent-A-Car waiting for us when we got there. We literally exited the plane, got our bags and went to the desk where we were handed a key, in no time at all we were off. We decided to visit Coney Island in the morning so we dropped our bags on the floor and spent the night in our hotel.

The next morning we made our way to Coney Island. It is pretty much just as I remembered it, just warn down with age. There are a bunch of carnival rides that were out of order and a ton of lights that weren’t flashing and just about graffiti everywhere I looked. The kids enjoyed the carnival games and the shows were just as good as I remember, but I can see why they are closing down to move to “Coney Island 2.0.” They are just in need of an update that will put them back on top.

I am really glad that the kids got to see the park in all its old glory, but I plan on brining them back at some point once they make the renovations. Heck, it will be new to me also, so maybe it’s not so much for them as it is for me! Anyhow it’s good to be back in my hometown, looking forward to spending the weekend here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Eternal City - Part Two

The Ristorante Alla RampaFrom there, we headed to the center of the city where it was awaiting one of a lifetime experiences. Alejandra and I are major Russell Crowe Gladiator movie. She likes the man, I like the action, it was a great way to compromise, she is happy and I am happy. So with that, we went thru the tour of the coliseum. Pictures doesn’t do justice to how big and enormous the place is. Once inside, it is like a huge maze. Corridors and other spectacular trams that left you knowing why this place holds fascination into people. Alejandra took pictures of the area where the emperors do the first thumbs up or down, they beat up the movie critic Ebert for about several centuries more! She also shot pictures of where the romans kept the animals inside the coliseum, and they told us about how the emperor treated the Christians and how they put them to death in the pit with the animals! To be there, you appreciate more the level of authenticity that the makers of the movie had, true it has certain free licenses but well its Hollywood but for the most part the guide told us that they got it right.

The sun was setting and they started to turn on the lights on the coliseum, which gave her the ultimate shot! And let me tell you, she has a great eye for picking the right angle for her photos! What a great shot that was! We were looking for the Italian food experience and our guide who was a very flamboyant guy if you know what I mean, the little bastard was flirting to all the girls including to Alejandra, but is a good thing she has that NY upbringing and can kick someone’s behind at any time giving! At the end, he did us good by recommending this awesome Ristorante as Italians called Restaurants. The Ristorante Alla Rampa was located near the coliseum, so it was an easy drive in our Fiat. So, Alejandra got the home-made ravioli with fresh fish and I got the spaghetti with clams. We gave each other a little bit of our plates and let me tell you both were totally to die for, we were licking our fingers cause it was that good!

We stroll by the city and the sights that we’ll see tomorrow. This is an amazing city and we ended up unintentionally in front of the Trevi Fountain. It was light up and there were tourists passing by and taking shots of the fountain at night. Then we flick three coins into the fountain, which in the traditional legend says that it will lead to a marriage, to that Alejandra sort of winked and smiled. We’ll see more of the fountain, but we were left totally enthralled with the looked of the fountain and the bright orange colors of the light fixture.

This first day in this amazing city left us tire but very happy cause this city was indeed very picturesque and colorful, plus its culture is friendly and you cannot have a straight face with the Italians cause they surely can make you laugh.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Eternal City - Part One

The ColosseumAlejandra and I are going steady and because of that we decided to take a trip in one of the most amazing cities in the world, Rome. I picked the city for its elegance, its food, and a major plus is that it gives Ms Hotness her ground to try new photography techniques. To say that this is city is incredibly beautiful is an understatement.

So we have plenty of time for ourselves, we decided to rent a car from Avis where we found a great discount. You have to realized that everything in Europe is expensive, so our economy car of choice was a Fiat Panda (which happens to look like a compact mini SUV) and we paid $619 for 10-days and unlimited mileage (or Kilometers as is the case here in Italy) We arrived at the airport which is called for Italy’s most celebrated genius Leonardo da Vinci, but Italians called it Feumicino that means little river and is also the name of a town that is adjacent to Rome. We went to the hotel and left our luggages, then we headed out to do a little stroll thru this incredible city. Smell the Italian air and hearing the sounds of its incredible friendly people. Our Fiat Panda is like a mini Honda CR-V, at first you can say that is like a sardines box, but once you enter is surprisingly roomier and very comfy.

The next day we headed to our first look of Italy. We went to the Borghese Gallery located in the Villa Borghese Pinciana a palace that belong to the nephew of Pope Paul V and was an avid collector of incredible pieces of art, one of them being Bernini who is more than handsomely represented. There’s painting and statues. Once we arrive, we never would have guess that we were near the center of the city of Rome, felt like you were in the outskirts, that tells you the love of the Italians for keeping their culture and their heritage. Inside, you’ll wished you had a thousand eyes cause there’s so many things to see. Alejandra was trying to get nice lightning effects with the statues, specially we loved the Venus that was sitting in a sofa-like chair naked from the waist up, Alejandra caught a nice light that made this statue look incredibly. Another painting that capture our attention was after we walked thru the staircase we looked into the ceiling and it has this painting of a roman god of some sorts and it was with such realism that looked very 3-D. Alejandra was taking snapshots after snapshots and she was like pointing to certain things in the painting that were simply amazing the detail.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spain is the Game - Part Two

The second half started and it took merely like 20 minutes for Pedro to get the second goal, it wasn’t as colorful as the other one by Messi, but it was alright. As the time tick away, the people started to sense that the team was losing and only people from Barcelona stayed. At the end, it was like a college game with people singing and some people from Barcelona showing the Catalan flag, which is different from the Spaniard one. All in all, it was a festive game and one we’ll remember. Poor Martin had his head down. I was a little intelligent and got a Messi shirt at the half, of course, I had to hide my Real Madrid shirt and hope no one saw me, fear for my life if you know what I mean!

Casa de ValenciaSo we drove in our Audi following those two crazies of Martin and Pauline thru all the mazes of the Madrid landscape. Finally, we got into this lovely area and found our restaurant called Casa de Valencia, which is also the name of a city here in Spain. When we got out from the car, Martin and Pauline were totally telling us that they didn’t want us to leave without tasting the best Paella in town! We were seated extremely fast, and the place looks like a mix of hole-in-the-wall and nice restaurant, there was a lot of families and couples here and there, and the colors were between whites and reds with the waiters dressed in the usual black and whites. Martin ordered a paella mixta (this one goes with chicken and seafood and some chorizo here and there). Suddenly, like in about 30minutes tops we heard a few servers saying “walking in”, and I couldn’t believe it, they were carrying this huge rice container and smell so good. Ok, to say that we didn’t have our mouth watering was an understatement! It was put in the middle of the table and everyone started to dig in. if you come to Madrid, don’t forget to come to Casa de Valencia, we had to drive around thru the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid and calle Arguelles with Paseo Pintor Rosales, it was a drive but worth every penny and every hassle from the traffic, which tends to be like New York City bumper to bumper.

During the time we were in either Madrid and Barcelona, we had sucha fun time. One thing that we’ll keep in our memories is the awesome adventures we had with our dear friends Martin and Pauline. It was a good thing we rented out that car from RentalCarMomma cause at the same time we saved money on our trip, which since it was Europe was indeed a bit expensive.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spain is the Game - Part One

The Big GameAs you all know, the gang and I went on for our major trip of the year, this time around we decided to go to Spain. Visiting our awesome friends Martin from Madrid and the always wild and funky Pauline from Barcelona.

We visited some nice places in both city and left the grand finale of our legs with the required soccer game. Let me tell you, if you thought tailgating is a tradition wait until you see what real tailgating is. They have pinchos, they have all sort of meats, even paellas (which is like a huge rice container with all sort of seafood and meats and chorizo and steaks, it is delicious!), everyone is with the colors of the team. Martin was with the n#1 which corresponds to Iker Casillas who is the goalkeeper from Real Madrid, and Pauline with her favorite (mind you, she said “the hottest terroncito in the land”. Terroncito means little terron which is the biggest seller candy here in Spain) n# 7 David Villa from Barcelona.

Martin and Pauline found awesome shirts for us, the boys with Real Madrid and the girls with Barcelona. We started to get thru the masses who were totally pumped up for this game. We totally lost it with one guy who was incredibly fat and had a super humongous drum and he had the flag of the team and a Mexican sombrero who had little things that reflected the team Barcelona. There was guys painted in white, guys painted in blues and reds, and all sort of different costumes. The intensity was so contagious that we started to scream with the teams we represented and there were other people who was pumping fists and giving high fives.

So the game began and the whole stadium was going to explode. It didn’t take too much to see that this was going to be a tightly contested game. No goals and the time was beginning to settle when all of a sudden Messi the Argentinean striker got lost and whoever was supposed to defend him got late and went straight to the goal and shoot with sucha precision that the ball hit to the left hand corner. Oh my god, you can see one half of the stadium surge with emotions and the other half was like shouting to the poor goalie. The game finish the first half 1-zip and in the halftime we all got something to eat. I didn’t think that games will get you starving. If outside we found all sort of different food, inside the stadium was more varied. They have even spaghettis and other plates with seafood!