Monday Travel Update – Stranded in New York Edition

Posted: June 25, 2012    Categories: Travel

Castell group performing in New York City

Castell group performing in New York City

Last Wednesday I visited New York for what was supposed to be a quick 2-night stay to speak at a press event for Catalonia Tourism. The event went smoothly and when I was schedule to fly out on Friday, there was a wall of thunderstorms which hit the east coast. That, coupled with a fire in an air traffic control center grounded everything in New York for several hours. The backlog was enough to fill all the outgoing flights on Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, I called up my assistant Amy who managed to get me on a Sunday night flight out of Newark.

The two extra nights gave me a chance to see the premier of a documentary film about Catalonian Castell groups called Enxaneta. They create human towers sometimes up to 10 levels high and it is a tradition which has been declared a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The top levels are usually topped off by small children who are the lightest of the group. The castell group I saw in New York flew 140 members all the way from Catalonia to perform.

Here is a short video I took of them creating a 7-layer tower. Note the music and how it is synched to their progress in the tower. The people on the lower levels of the tower know how far along they are by the progression of the music.

I’m in Wisconsin for a few days before heading out to Northern British Columbia on Friday where I’ll be visiting Hadii Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). I’ll be there for about a week before heading off to Sweden to drive a a Volvo around the country for a week!

I’ve been working on a lot of back end projects the last week including a revamp of the website (no more white text on a black background!) and some bigger projects I’ll be launching this summer.


Did you know that if you are a reader of my site, you can get 20% off any and all purchases from Scottevest every day? It’s true. Scottevest is literally the only clothing I carry now when I travel.

There are two items I’m recommending this week, and they have become my favorite articles of travel clothing:

  • Hidden Cargo Pants – These have become my everyday pants when traveling. They are rugged enough to take the daily wear and tear of travel yet look good enough to wear in a nice restaurant. The best part are the incredibly deep front pockets. Not only are they big enough to carry my wallet, iPhone and Kindle, but they are virtually pickpocket proof without having the Fort Knox style zippers that some other travel pants have. You don’t have to mess with taking things in and out of the pockets.
  • Transformer Jacket – My navy blue Transformer Jacket has become my go to jacket of choice. At first I thought the removable sleeves were just a gimmick, but now that I actually have one I find myself using it all the time.

If you meet me in person, there is an 80% chance I’ll be wearing one or both of these items.

What I’m Reading

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined I picked up The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker because I was a fan of his previous book The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. The premise of Better Angels is very simple: violence in the world has dropped and has dropped dramatically over the last several hundreds and thousands of years. Despite the horrific wars of the 20th Century and the constant news we hear, our world is a much safer and humane place than it has ever been in history. The past was incredibly violent and cruel and even the worst places in the 21st Century are probably better than an average place even a few hundred years ago.

Civilization: The West and the RestI’ve just started to read Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson. I confess I purchased it just because of the premise of the book, which isn’t that different from the premise of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. I think the question of why western styles, ideas and norms have caught on around the world is an interesting one. That, coupled with the fact that I’ve read previous books by Ferguson was enough to sell me on it.


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