Gliding down the world’s longest zipline

Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais mountain in the U.A.E. is home to the longest zipline in the world. The video below is from a GoPro camera on my helmet and was shot on 2019-03-14. I was the last person to zip down that day. There are two stages to this zipline site:

  • Stage 1: Is the longer of the two stages and you “fly” while lying down on a harness with your hands holding straps behind your back (for optimum aerodynamics). The view is spectacular!
  • Stage 2: In this stage you are in a “sitting position”, and truth be told, based on my experience and observation, I detected more apprehension from the people on the platform with this setup.

As you’ll see in the video, I fell a tad short in both stages, and had to be pulled in by the crew:

While I would not consider myself an “adventure traveler” or an “adrenaline junkie”, I found this to be an exhilarating experience and one that I would recommend to people traveling to the U.A.E. Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) has many things to offer and the area is full of spectacular things to do for travelers who love the outdoors. I leave you with a few photos from the desert in RAK:

Books I enjoyed in 2018

Here are nonfiction books I enjoyed reading in 2018 (more precisely, these are books I read during the second part of 2017 through 2018). Not all of these books were released this year, although most them are 2018 releases. I read many of these using Apple Books on my iPad but I’ve also gotten back to scouring thrift stores and used bookstores (where I’ve gotten some amazing bargains this year).

My wife and I have taken several trips to China over the last few years, and along the way I’ve enjoyed several books that I list below:

  • The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power – This highly readable collection of essays is truly an essential resource.
  • Continue reading “Books I enjoyed in 2018”

    Hong Kong 2016

    We just spent the past week in Hong Kong and below are some tweets from our trip. The weather was perfect – the temperature was just right. Their metro/train system is world class and easy to use and navigate. I’m looking to returning soon!

    Wan Chai

    We stayed in the vibrant Wan Chai district which among other things, has a very active market scene. This is a typical evening just off of the Wan Chai market, and right on Wan Chai road itself:

    Strata NYC 2016 is next week

    Complete schedule is HERE.

    Beijing Restaurants: Strata 2016

    Here’s a partial list of the many memorable restaurants we visited in Beijing during the week of Strata 2016:

    Tricycle Diaries

    On a recent visit to the Philippines, I found myself gawking at two iconic modes of (public) transportation, the tricycle and the jeepney. They remain major sources of gridlock, chaos, and pollution, and many local residents would love to see them banned from the streets of Metro Manila. I doubt that will happen anytime soon, as they remain a cheap mode of public transportation, for a city lacking alternatives – save for a train system that doesn’t really cover large swaths of the metropolis. (For a good overview of traffic in Metro Manila, see this recent Economist article.)


    Hanging on to Jeepneys in the manner above, is technically illegal (citation + fine) but it doesn’t seem to deter passengers much. Apparently people indulge in an even riskier practice with tricycles (also illegal). The photos below were taken while I was an Uber passenger in cars trailing these tricycles:


    While most tricycles are motorized, many in the Intramuros and “Old Manila” area were pedal powered:


    Jeepney (“the king of the road”)

    The Jeepney as a “school bus”:

    Packed Jeepney, and it’s not even rush hour: