Justin Delaney is a freelance writer and photographer with a penchant for developing countries. A student of finance, he began traveling the world during the Great Recession, day trading his way from country to country. He is located in Dallas, Tx with his beautiful fiance Kristin and is heading to business school for his masters in the Fall of 2011. His photographs can be found at justindelaney.com, and his personal blog is located at goboogo.com. Feel free to solicit him with any travel related start-up ideas.
Every city needs a quick getaway spot, even global centers for tourism. Parisians head for the lakes and beaches of southern France, Hong Kongers ferry to Macau for quick gambling fixes, Bostonians head for the cape to be seen and sun, and the people of Dubai escape the city for...the desert? Yes, the desert.
Indeed, the desert seems an unlikely place in which to unwind and be pampered, but a resort just outside of Dubai has perfected the art of luxuriously stranding its guests among the dunes. Al Maha, a desert-resort situated on a conservation reserve, outclasses much of its Dubai counterparts in the hospitality industry, which is no small feat. The property provides exclusively personal villas with private pools overlooking the unique wildlife sanctuary as well as all-inclusive dining and excursions. Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa lends a paradisial quality and adventurous spirit to a land known as the empty quarter.
Gadling, travel blog and time-lapse video enthusiast site, is proud to present this stunning video shot in Tajikistan of the total lunar eclipse last month. The eclipse was best viewed from central Asia and Africa, and vimeo user Jean-Luc Dauvergne captured it expertly in full time-lapse glory. The clarity of the stars and the silence of the Tajik steppes combine to accentuate the interstellar view. This rare central lunar eclipse only happens when the moon passes through the center part of the earth's shadow, providing the darkest type of eclipse.
Yellowstone is a wild place of fire and ice. The first son of the United States national parks system, and the first national park in the entire world, is a rich ecosystem of wild creatures and geothermal wonders. With snow capped peaks and alien-looking hot springs, Yellowstone's diversity prompts millions to visit the high altitude Serengeti yearly.
While Old Faithful performs on schedule every hour or so, much of the park changes year over year. Hotbeds of geothermal activity spread and recede. The animals behave unpredictably, taking cues from weather, water level, and crowds. In one year a visitor may see only a handful of bison, but the next year, thousands may come into view at the same location on the same day. And the holy grail of Yellowstone, a bear sighting, is likely in some years and near impossible in others. (Check out these tips to safely exist among bears in the wild) This dynamism provides a unique experience even for repeat visitors.
From stopping at Bison traffic jams to kneeling quietly at a shady brook to watch a mossy antlered moose cooling off, Yellowstone provides a glimpse into what the United States looked like before being settled from coast to coast. Every American should feel obligated to visit two places in their lifetime: Yellowstone Park and New York City. One shows what we are, the other, what we were. Check out this gallery of Yellowstone beauty.
It happens every day. You amble up to the TSA security checkpoint, and with the customer service touch of gulag overlords, the TSA officers slowly herd you through to freedom on the other side. They stare you down with steely eyes, inspect your ID with hawkish intensity, berate you for forgetting the hand sanitizer in the deepest recesses of your backpack, and apparently, occasionally stuff your electronics into their pants.
That is what one Florida TSA agent is guilty of - stuffing items of material worth into his TSA-issued pants. Nelson Santiago had all but perfected the art of the security checkpoint heist. He would pilfer items out of screened luggage such as GPS units, tablets, laptops, video cameras and more. He would take pictures of his loot (probably with a stolen camera) and immediately post the stolen goods online to sell. The goods would be turned around and sold before his shift even ended, making him a nimble bastard of the highest order.
And then one day, while casually stuffing a gleaming iPad into his pants, he was caught red-handed.
From an island microslum in Colombia to a haute enclave in central Paris, the ten most crowded islands in the world bear scant similarities in class or culture. In fact, every entry in the top ten comes from a different country. But being islands, each shares the common thread of scarcity - whether it be land, resources, or housing. In general, these islands are prophetical microcosms for an overcrowded earth - finite spaces where self sufficiency governs and demand pierces supply.
With the world's population racing higher and higher, and the "megacities club" accepting new members yearly, some day the earth could bear the traits of one of these densely packed islands.
The tallest building in the world does not appear made for this earth. By day it looks photoshopped into its downtown Dubai surroundings, and by night, the hulking spire looks like a rocket bound for the furthest reaches of our galaxy. And like a giant middle finger to its predecessors in the tallest building club, the structure is a testament to the audacity of Dubai - an idea that, what they build is what they are, and they are going to try and build the best.
While the world economic markets receded, Dubai kept building the beast called Khalifa. At a cost of $1.5 billion and a height of 2,717 feet, it humbles the surrounding skyscrapers in downtown Dubai. It possesses at least fifteen world records. It has the highest restaurant, the most floors, and is also the tallest structure ever built. The Middle East has not been home to the world's tallest structure since 700 years ago, when the Great Pyramid of Giza was eclipsed by Lincoln Cathedral in England.
The lowest lying country in the world does not offer much above sea level, just 7 feet 7 inches at its highest point. This fine sliver of sun kissed atolls is so postcard perfect it borders on ridiculous. White sand beaches, Kool-aid blue seawater, and densely populated coral reefs are de rigueur in The Maldives. It is a different kind of world, a water-world with flying taxis and manta rays measuring over 20 feet from tip to tip, soaring over their colorful underwater kingdoms.
With 1,192 islands covering 26 atolls, the Maldives island chain covers a significant portion of the Indian Ocean between India and Africa. The scantly populated nation boasts only 400,000 humans, many of which are Muslim. The one time British protectorate and Islamic sultanate habitats only 200 of its many islands with the rest defending the deserted island ideal - groves of shady palms trees, tide pools filled with skittering creatures, soft white beaches that disappear into cyan water, and nary a human in sight to spoil the dream.
Dubai is a city of realized hyperbole. It has the tallest building in the world, man-made islands shaped like the world's continents, and a restaurant high high above the towering skyscrapers below. At.mosphere, a restaurant in Dubai's towering Burj Khalifa, provides a dining experience with a view reminiscent of glancing out the window of a plane. It is preposterously thrilling to savor a plate of foie gras 122 floors above what appears to be the world's largest game of Sim City developing below, spreading out into open desert.
Reaching At.mosphere involves a few steps absent from most dining arrangements. First, one must enter the tallest building in the world, approach a sleek metal elevator, and make a very important choice that is really no choice at all. Only one option exists in the elevator - floor 123. With no stops to make on the way up, the elevator travels with a speedy transcendence that feels just a few technological steps removed from teleportation - 33 feet per second. In the time it takes a middle school graduate to read this paragraph, the doors swing open to reveal a spiral staircase leading to the restaurant one floor below.
This creepy abandoned rocket factory once possessed aspirations to help send mankind into space using solid fuel rockets. Now, the graffiti splattered walls and crumbling facade tell the tale of stunted ambition. This documentary, called Space Miami, explores the story behind this abandoned rocket factory in the Florida Everglades known as Aerojet-Dade. Built in the early 1960's, the factory tested rockets in the deepest hole ever dug in Florida - a 150 foot deep cavern. The solid fuel rockets were too large to be transported overland, so a man-made canal to the Atlantic was carved to transport the rockets by barge. All of this effort proved needless when the Apollo space mission decided to go with liquid fuel instead of the solid fuel. The plant drifted into obsolescence overnight.
In 1969, the lights were turned off, never to be turned on again.
Seagulls are annoying bird brained creatures - beach vagrants with a tendency to pilfer picnics and poop on heads. This seagull in Cannes, France goes one step further, making off with some electronics and filming his proud heist. The enterprising seagull thieves a GoPro video camera and absconds with it to his secret hideout. The comedic shouts of an enraged human fades as the bird takes to the sky. Upon reaching his roost, the gull cackles like a madman, perhaps mocking the victims of this theft. And then...he tries to eat the camera, destroying his credibility as a filmmaker. Somehow the owner of the camera tracked down the displaced gadget and retrieved this strange video.