Posts tagged ‘Travel’

News Cafe (Ocean Drive, Miami Beach)

imageI can only think of one thing better than breakfast on the beach, breakfast at News Cafe.  People watching opportunities are included for free! 

Its on Ocean Drive  at 8th Street, in Miami Beach, this restaurant is directly across from the ocean.  Open 24hours, News Cafe is a bar, a cafe and a newsstand with a menu large enough to satisfy everyone.  Breakfast ranges from yogurt to pastries, pancakes and fresh juices.  Stay long enough and have a traditional burger and fries for lunch while enjoying the sea breeze . 

Opened in 1988 as a bookstore and newsstand where local jazz musicians played and intellectuals gathered, this quaint restaurant oozes with history and vibrancy.  There’s no better way to start the day!

News Cafe
800 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139


July 4, 2009 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Texas de Brazil (Miami Beach)

imageAre you a hungry carnivore on Miami Beach? I have just the place for you – Texas de Brazil. 

Texas de Brazil is a Brazilian style steakhouse. Its an excellent place for a Caipirinha, the Brazilian version of a mojito, made with cachaça (rum made with sugar cane) and obviously steaks.  Now when I say steaks I mean rotisserie-roasted meats, and lots of them, coming around from table to table.  And for vegetarians (or amateur carnivores) there is an extensive salad bar with traditional Brazilian concoctions like hearts of palms salad, feijoada (Brazilian Beans and Rice) and faropha (toasted manioc flour)

It’s fun, lively, and very Brazilian. Go there with friends and go there hungry!

Texas de Brazil Churrascaria
Miami Beach 300 Alton Rd. Suite 200
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695-7702

May 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Riad Basin, Marrakesh, Morroco

DSC_0055 This guest house is a gem!

But if you aren’t used to walking 1/2 mile through narrow streets with people watching your every move this might not be the place for you!

I’d love to explain more about this but the web site is in French and I have only found a German brochure and I’d rather be out-on-the town in Marrakesh soaking up the experience.  I’ll try and find out more and update this post assuming I can get to this.

Meanwhile here are some pictures to capture your imagination of the raw romance of this Riad:

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Address: Riad Basin, 91-92, Derb Kbala – Kasbah Marrakech – Morocco
Tel: + 212 (0) 524 38 14 75
Fax: + 212 (0) 524 38 10 11

May 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Casablanca, Morocco


After one day I have fallen in love with Casablanca and I know that there is so much more to experience.  From the cafes, to the boulevards, to the 3rd largest mosque in the world, this city is full of surprises.

Casablanca (in Arabic الدار البيضاء ) means white (blanca) house (casa) in Spanish but curiously Arabic and French are the most used languages here. Casablanca is a city of about 3.1 million people in west of Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean.

IMG_0099Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city as well as its chief port although I learned today that another major port is being built in the north of Morocco to relieve the port of congestion and to help limit the city’s growth.  Casablanca is also the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Casablanca is the economic capital of Morocco by hosting many domestic and international headquarters and industry with the political capital being Rabat. Casablanca retains its historic position as the main industrial zone of the country.

imageThe Hassan II Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني‎) is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest mosque in the world after the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) of Mecca and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) in Medina. Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau it looks out over the Atlantic and can house 25,000 worshipers inside and a further 80,000 in the grounds. This is the first mosque that I have had the privilege to enter and it was a wonderful learning experience.


IMG_0098Not only do you get to enjoy views of the Atlantic from the mosque but also from the boulevards running parallel to the shore.

Definitely worth a visit!

May 6, 2009 at 1:21 am 1 comment

The Peabody Hotel (Memphis, Tennessee) 

imageEach hotel has a story and the older the hotel the longer the story. 

The Story: In 1869 Robert Brinkley decided to build “the finest hotel in the South” and for it to be an oasis of elegance and good taste and name it after the financier and philanthropist George Peabody. 

I have been staying in this four star hotel this week (April 2009) and the hotel lives up to Robert’s dream and the South can be proud of this little gem.  The hotel is located just blocks from Memphis attractions like Beale Street, the Memphis Rock NO Soul Museum, Gibson Guitar Factory, Fedex Forum and Sun Studio. And whilst you are in town don’t forget to make a trip out to Graceland and visit Elvis’s shrine.

imageThe rooms of The Peabody are well kept, the staff are wonderful, the food is exceptional, and the ambiance of the lobby reflects a warm inviting style.

If you are in Memphis drop in to the lobby, pictured to the left and enjoy the peace and style of the South. 

image If you are around at 9am or 5pm enjoy the The Peabody Ducks that march to and from the Grand Lobby twice each day in a time-honored tradition dating back to 1933.  It draws a crowd every day for something that is silly but fun.

So I’d say that this is a great place to stay to enjoy charming Southern hospitality and style.

April 8, 2009 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Questionmark Symposium in Munich Germany

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March 19, 2009 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

World Values in an Assessment Context

clip_image002Last week a good friend of mine, Eugene Burke of SHL, introduced me to the Values Map, developed by The World Values Survey (WVS).  The map shown to the right came from the PhD work of John Sponney that was shared with Eugene some years ago.

Divided by categories like Self-Enhancement, Individual Dynamics, Group Dynamics, and Consideration for Others, the diagram clusters countries together in cultural patterns to explain educational standards, which directly affect the value systems of individuals.

It was great to have my friend reveal to me the potential impacts of culture in the assessment context.  No perfect models exist for cultural analysis, especially in the context of current migration patterns, but consider the following possibilities:

  • Folks with Anglo-Saxon tendencies might have more of an analytical approach to the individual.  In regard to testing, organizations and individuals may draw more comfort from the results of an assessment of knowledge/skills/aptitude/attitudes that from an interview or knowledge of a person’s family background.
  • Whereas, in a Latin European context, tests are given less credibility and face-to-face interview and confirming that an individual can stand behind their presentations, thesis, etc., holds more credence in the eyes of the beholder.  An individual might undergo a series of face-to-face interviews that allows the interviewee to express themselves, which also gives the interviewer room to establish an opinion based on an emotional connection.

Try judging which is right and which is wrong and enjoy the barrage of comments!  Some people passionately believe in a measured/testing approach and others in a personal connection/interview/q&a approach.  From my point of view value comes from considering the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes required and the context of the assessment (couching, decision making, diagnostic, prescriptive, etc) and then using the right balance of one-on-one and testing approaches.

Within the diagram it’s easy to see the intuitive differences that might drive us to use different kinds of assessments. An example that jumped out at me relates to a contrast in the values system. Cheating, it could be concluded, is wrong.  But the minute we take into consideration the cultural context we might discover that cheating may be thought of as solidarity within a culture that promotes collectivism and loyalty.  This adds the nuance that “helping” is not “cheating”.

The clusters represented within the diagram are oversimplified based on location and migration patterns will cause some cultural traits to commingle, which will cause further challenges to conducting multi-lingual assessments of knowledge, skills and abilities that are valid and reliable.  But let’s not give up; let’s reminded ourselves of the differences in order to provide the right stimulus in the right context in order to track the right measure in a timely fashion and then provide the right feedback to the right person at the right time!

Every cloud has a silver lining and every silver lining has a cloud!

March 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm 2 comments

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