Cuba is a magical land where you slip a few decades back, and time slows down. Time to relax, time to drink a few rums & smoke a cigar. Beach life & farm life are the casual norm – and why wouldn’t they be with epic Caribbean beaches & beautiful mountain backdrops over well groomed tobacco farms. “¿Taxi Amigo?” hustlers soon get drowned out by the awesome old cars or horse & (rugged) carts that shimmy by. Oh & the breakfasts/dinners – massive servings & pretty yum!
Old town in Havana was a hit, lots of Cuban Casa life, cars & street culture to soak in. Trinidad was a smaller version of Havana with more farm life influence. Beaches to die for. Viñales was even more farmy. Highlight: a visit to a tobacco farm meant dropping by the drying hut where a farmer would roll you up one of their finest cigars with a seal of honey & shot of rum to see you out (video to come).
No Internet was incredible (dialup in very few places for 9USD / 40mins). Strange at first, then really nice. Its amazing how much non living in the moment / surroundings that happens when you have an iPhone / Internet. Refreshing. Its true that you don’t need it all the time. Something to try & maintain once a month in the “real world”.
Coffee life was simple but a staple in Cuban culture. Espresso or perk with heaps of sugar – perhaps masking the often bitter (rubbish) coffee. A lot of (tobacco / fruit / vege) farmers grew a few coffee plants for their own personal consumption. Awesome. Didn’t make it east to the coffee plantations, saving this for COE (Cup of Excellence) farms in Guatemala / Mexico. Head over to espressocorp.com for more info / photos on coffee.
A few photos of our trip.
What do you do when you land in San Francisco, the tech capital of the world? You download and use all the cool apps that have come out of SF & the Valley, that’s what!
Starting with Uber, the best way to get around a city… So how does Uber work? In short, it is an app that helps you find a taxi or car ride nearby you, allows you to get a quote, accept a driver & ride then after your ride it bill you via the app. Every things is shown in real time, including your taxi’s location & ratings on the driver + it is very easy to use. It has more than just taxis – locals can even put their cars up as private taxis too. Below are some screen shots showing how Uber works:
Get your bags and babe ready! You will be notified by text message when your ride
arrives too, or just wait on the road when you see it approaching on the map.
As you are driving, you will be able to track the route in real time too.
When you get to your destination, the driver will end the trip on their app which in
turns bills you via your app. You can see the price on the taxi meter to compare too.
In our case we were heading to the airport which is why you can see the additional
airport charges in the photo above.
As you can see, its damn easy and fun to use. A recommended solution to calling for a cab.
The NZ barista champs are nigh… Just had a look back on these classic vids of the Coffee Catcha in use at the champs.
I love the 2011 clip (below)! Our first real evangelist of the Catcha, Leanne – trainer from Altura. Shot awesomely by Mikey Farr. Whilst Leanne didn’t make the finals, she got the highest score for technical smashing her marks for “Acceptable Spillage & Wastage” and “Consistent Dosage”.
The 2012 barista champs really helped give the Coffee Catcha a name in the cafe scene with 8/30 competitors using it – and one of them came third! Check out the vid below.
Lets see what comes of 2013!!! All the best to all the competitors competing next week. See the list & order of competitors here.
My babe is a big fan of Fly My Pretties. So when she invited me and a few mates along, I thought I’d go along and check them out. I was pretty impressed. A collection of cool kiwi musicians. Great night out & have since seen them a few times. Naturally I had my 60D & 50mm with me as I was up for one of my fave types of shooting – night & black and white! Check them out if you like (the photos and the band!)
INTERVIEW: Simon Morton, presenter of the “This Way Up” show on Radio New Zealand – talking to Ben Cartwright, owner of the Mojo Waterfront cafe & Steve Guinness, founder of the Coffee Catcha
> The process of making an espresso – grind, dose, tamp
> Waste & spillage, how much this costs – 45 coffees wasted, $180 lost / kg!
> The problem – 5-10% waste
> The solution, the Coffee Catcha – a funnel with handle
> The funnel stops the spillage – no wastage, no money lost
> The EXACT amount of coffee in the portafilter – consistent quality
> The Coffee Catcha is natural to use & doesn’t slow down the process – it is part of the routine
> A simple tool to reduce waste and increase consistency
Smashed a 75km run on Saturday. BOOM!
Dave Insull summed the experience up in 3 words: Adventure. Preparation. Determination.
I like this. Here’s my breakdown…
It all began about 2 months ago. There I was, sitting eating one of the finest eggs bennys with a delicious flat white at Bennidiction Cafe (a not too uncommon scenario for me). A couple of the boys, lns and Shoey were chatting about this epic 75km run around the top of the Coromandel. It was to be a truly beautiful scenic run, and one that no man had done before – well none of the crew anyway. They said I should do it. I said OK. It was a no brainer really.
Not really being a runner and my biggest run being a cruzey half marathon (21km), why wouldn’t I sign up to it???! With less than 8 weeks to train, the boys (SMM crew – Ins, Shoey, Henry, Tom and now me) formed a loose training schedule which consisted of 2x 1 hour runs at 6am every Monday / Wednesday and one bigger run in the weekend. The idea was to not take up too much time out of our busy lives, still be able to party but be ready to run the distance. The old SMM crew have done a few events over the years including multiple marathons, the Otago Rail Trail (150km run over 2 days), Oxfam Taupo lake run (100km) and Shoey had done an Ironman. So a lot of the training was focused on getting me up to pace! We only managed about 4 big weekend runs including a 4hr AK unban run, a 6.5hr slog in the Waitak’s and the Orewa half marathon – but all of these were breaking barriers (for me) and time on the feet was being banked. Lots of rest & the right food the week leading up, some Voultarin’s at the ready for a niggly hip, some new running gear and a focused mind meant we were as ready as we could be for the big day.
In my head, I was up for a challenge. I was completely ignorant to the distance, but most importantly I believed I could do it. A couple of circumstances (timing) triggered this. Firstly, my mum passed away earlier this year from a 2yr battle of cancer. She was a determined lady in her later years and had many adventures with her mates including trekking the foot hills of Everest. She is now forever in my mind giving me extra strength to achieve anything I want to. I knew this would help get me through it. Secondly, I parallel my running to business. What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve (N.Hill). I have huge determination, desire and hunger to achieve great success in business (and life) – and really, its all about channeling this energy into other things when needed – eg. running. Its a good lesson to try these things, break barriers, succeed then know you can repeat the model in other situations. Strengthening the mind. Inspiring yourself. So on the day, the training, preparation (physical and mental) paid off. As well as the personal side, a team of motivated, pumped up supportive amazing humans were at my side, breaking a few barriers themselves, but all leaders (and legends) in their own right helping me (and collectively the whole crew) get through it. This all made the 75km was pretty straight forward. We dominated it.
Highlights on the day
> The crew supporting and pushing me to the limits – breaking barriers and succeeding
> Running with headlamps at 5.30am for an hour then looking at the incredible views as the sun came out
> Shit talking banter the whole way with good crew
> Shoey trying to cross an uncrossable river without getting his feet wet then eventually falling in
> Lunch + smashing a 75 Voultarin, 4 neurofens, 2 pannies
> Breaking a pain barrier and running the fastest 5km at 55km due to zoning out to some Shapeshifter
> Finishing strong. The feeling of elation
> Jager & Keg afterwards!
Bit of window shopping this weekend on Great North Rd. Love the Murchy so much aye. This little number is the 6.2L 2002 beauty.
Am super excited for this little number here – the Aventador LP700. Two pre-orders in NZ and expected to arrive later this year in Sept. Such a sick metallic orange! 2.9sec 0-100km. WOW!
Write up in the latest Idealog mag on Espresso Corp, the Coffee Catcha and my journey to date.
Classic image in there too (below).
LOOK AT THAT KIT!!!!!!!
Absolutely love this human. His fashion, style and the fact that he was the worlds best tennis player in his time. Have heard his book is incredible, will add it to the list.