Monday, November 17, 2008

crocodile hunter in riviera maya

I can't say no to mexico (so, essentially, i can't say mexi-no!)... which brought me back to the riviera maya.

I spent most of my time reporting on the new Banyan Tree, a luxury resort due to open in February. It's in Mayakoba, which is relatively new. It's a truly amazing enclave of resorts that was completely underground with its own ecosystem. "Unroofed" ten years ago, it now comprises fresh water canals, tall mangroves, even crocodiles! I took a lancha (covered boat) to go look for some. Obviously, I'm no crocodile hunter, so instead we discovered these cenotes (underwater caves).

here is a sneak peek of the Banyan, right along the canal. Someone might kill me for posting this (I had an exclusive preview so it's not even complete or open to viewing for public) so absorb it while you can amigos before i'm forced to take this image down!

at one point, i got super bored from exhaustive touring so i took a lot of pictures like this.

and this. . .

and this...

luckily i was saved with a field trip to the ruins of Tulum.

Tulum still has the best beaches this side of the Yucatan.

Most of the journalists were from Denver, except 74-year-old Jim, who I went to Los Cabos with last year, and who is weird as an old man. Like, ran from the law when he was 26 weird.

love the euros. .

Our tour took us to Yal Ku, a completely white people-less area on the coast where fresh water meets salt water... there are cenotes here . . .

but not as cool as the ones in this park a few miles away. It brought to mind Turistas and Descent, although the only scary thing here was my gut.

the whole park was perfectly "jungle" like a hollywood set, though it was as real as these white canadians.

my resort, mandarin oriental, is fairly new (feb) and had some of the sickest rooms in the area.

but the beach at maroma stands unrivaled (ish to tulum)... travel channel has voted it one of the best beaches in the world, and I agree...

but whatever, i'm skinny now, and this is an aerial view of Fifth ave, the bustling main street in playa del carmen.

this is a hot dj who played shitty music.

and our hot server, andres, who I said buh-bye to after learning he just graduated high school

peter (behind us) got "i'm an ex-thespian" drunk.

this is the guy i wanted to get drunk.

and POSE !

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lost in Translation part 2

It's always nice to have a private driver + Rolls Royce at your beck and call when you're so over the subway.

After all, there's nothing like arriving in style at the uberluxurious thrift store ! (don't worry, kids: this was just a treat. i can't even afford subway fare back home)

oh, cool buildings abound in the Daikanyama neighborhood (shout out 1: thanks joshua!), home of cool boutiques (like APC) and thrift stores that sell shit they bought in the states that you're just buying back from them.

i had lunch at the popular noodle place where you order your meal from a vending machine, pass the ticket under the curtain in your personal booth and eat some fucking delicious noodles.

like this shit was gooder than Cup O Noodles.

In the Shinjuku neighborhood (remember, from Lost in Translation?), a sea of people, and i mean a fucking mean sea of people, is a little overwhelming.

You basically had to swim (get it?) through the sea of... yea.. you get it...

these fucking vending machines were ridiculously ubiquitous... as were, strangely enough, asian people.

oh, shit. i forgot to tell you there's a tunnel running parallel to the elevators in my hotel with floating art. they let me hop in at some point to see if these weird-ass things multiply

This crazy image of Shinjuku is 100% accurate in reflecting the hood at night.

the Prada store for the gays.

H&M/commes de garcon opened up today, which was a big deal considering they had about 8 cops for pedestrian control (not to mention the exhaustive line-up to get in was as long as the qeue at eastern bloc on a wednesday night)

I played the tourist by visiting Park Hyatt (Lost in Translation), where it effortlessly harbored the best views of the city.

But I obviously didn't care much.

Until next time!! Hai! Hai ! Hai!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

something fishy in Tokyo

i thought it would be nice to give the Peninsula hotel Tokyo a review (considering it opened less than a year ago with unfavorable timing (economy)) so i jetted over to the land of the rising sun (NOT forgetting my passport, thanks) to give it some editorial love...

The Peninsula hotel chain is one of the most fanciest schmaciest in the world (Peninsula Chicago is the top-rated US hotel).

My view of Ginza was off the chinkizzle.

not to mention my deluxe bathroom with like 40 control pads. talk about complicated royalty. at least the seat was heated, and the toilet lid came up automatically (sensor), with the seat lifting at the push of the button. There's also this button that has water squirting up your a-hole... "butt" let's not go there. .

oh, my other window had views of the imperial palace and preserved dirty moat !

of course the first thing i did was have a nice sushi meal !

it was either that or this....

ginza is the most recognized area in tokyo with a million shops and 24543 million people.

i was told a trip to tokyo wasn't complete without a visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest "port" in the world. These 200-lb tunas don't stand a fucking chance.

hey, look! it's the notorious blow fish!

tuna heads as vendor stall furnishings are all the rage.

naturally, i hopped on the subway to experience a ratless (and white people-less) commute.

oh, wait, let's talk about the art. it's, like, le everywhere.

and pretty fucking cool



here are the honky journalists who made me get on my knees at the Meiji temple.

speaking of getting on my knees...

what's fucked up in tokyo is that you can't smoke on the streets. how violating !!!

i ended up at harajuki to max out my credit cards (no lie)

i'll get you, tokyo!!!

to be continued...