I had the privilege of being invited to MaiTai Kite Camp 2010 in late May. It’s a fantastic annual event which started four years ago when professional kiteboarder Susi MAI and venture capitalist Bill TAI from Charles River Ventures invited a few of their friends to kite with them. The event has grown to over 150 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who come to network and kiteboard! The setup is really smart: networking events start early in the morning and end at 11 am and start again at 6 pm. In other words, we’re completely free from 11 am to 6 pm to kite all day long –and what a kiting experience it is!
I was a bit wary to travel so far (12 hours from NY when you include the stopover in Honolulu) to kite given the rotten luck I had the last three times I had gone to Cabarete (2 days of wind out of 20 days total!) and in Margarita (2 days of wind out of 11!). The minute I landed my fears were put to rest. I had never experienced so much wind! There was 25-30 knots of wind with gusts over 40 knots! Not wanting to fly into the stratosphere, I left my Cabrinha Switchblade 12 in the trunk of the car and borrowed someone’s 7. For guys my size – 6’3”, 185 pounds – 7s are usually trainer kites you learn to fly on the beach when learning to kite. It seemed inconceivable to kite with one, but with that much wind if anything I was overpowered! I bought a new Cabrinha Switchblade 8 later that day and kited with it the entire week. The experience was amazing. When you are so used to light wind and big kites, the responsiveness of a small kite is thrilling and empowering!
Kiteboarding also makes for great bonding opportunities and the kiting community is very close. Kiteboarders look out for each other: they help each other launch and land their kites and most importantly bail us out when we have kitemares especially far out at sea. Everyone who kites has needed to be helped or rescued by someone at some point. Knowing you will need help one day makes you much more understanding, appreciative and willing to help! As a result, the event made for fantastic networking. I got to meet fantastic new people, made new friends and became even closer to existing friends.
Maui is also fantastic in its own right! I stayed near Paia at the Inn at Mama’s Fish House around 20 minutes from kite beach. The lodging was great and the food even better! The locals were extremely friendly and helpful and the sunset from the Haleakala volcano was breathtaking!
I will definitely be back!
You can also Forbes’ article on the event: Kiteboarding: The New Golf
The movie is not quite as good as the original but still very good. Robert Downey Junior is as good as ever. Mickey Rourke is fantastic as the bad guy and has significance presence despite his few words. The story is interesting and a lot of the speeches and dialogue reach the level of the first movie. I was laughing out loud at the beginning when Robert Downey Junior does not say how fantastic he is 🙂 The tone has remained appropriately light and campy and I very much enjoyed the story.
What bogs the movie down relative to the original is the introduction of too many new characters which are barely developed. They are trying to set the stage for an Avengers movie and Captain America, but the introductions were distracting. Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson should have had bigger roles to play or should not have been there (more likely the latter).
If you are somewhat self loving, as I can be at times, the movie is fantastic therapy. Watching Tony Stark’s narcissism will make you feel like a well adjusted self loving individual 🙂
Go watch the movie.
As I am from Nice I keep getting asked what to do when visiting the South of France. Here are my recommendations:
- Eat dinner at “La Petite Maison”, my favorite restaurant in the world! Make reservations ahead of time. Once you are there tell Nicole you are coming from Fabrice Grinda and you want to try the sampling menu with sea bass as the main dish.
- For great local fare in a more casual setting, eat at “Le Safari” on “Le Cours Saleya”
- Walk on “La Promenade des Anglais,” “La Zone Pietone”, “Le Cours Saleya” and visit “Le Château”
- Eat Fenochio ice cream and sorbet in “Le Vieux Nice” (over 70 home made flavors!)
- Cultural activities include the Matisse Museum, Museum of Modern Art, etc.
St. Paul de Vence:
- Beautiful little village 30 minutes away from Nice that gives you a sense for the relaxed life on the Cote d’Azur
- Eat at La Colombe d’Or. Don’t miss looking at their art collection which includes a Picasso!
- Explore the old town and its art galleries
- Walk on “les ramparts”
- Take a stroll in the gardens of “La Fondation Maeght” and admire their modern and contemporary art collection
- 30 minutes East of Nice by car or train
- Just walk around the city and the main Casino it’s beautiful
- 30 minutes West of Nice by car or train
- Most well known for “La Croisette”
- 1 hour 30 minutes West of Nice by car or 20 minutes by helicopter from Nice airport
- It’s the “Ibiza” of France – beautiful and rich people go party there
- Walk around the town, eat lunch or dinner on “La Place des Lys,” walk alongside the huge boats in the harbor, eat ice cream at “Barbarac” (70 amazing flavors).
- Visit the beautiful sand beaches “Les Plages de Pampelonne”, especially “Club 55” or “Kai Largo” 20 minutes outside of town (great places for lunch too). Go to “Nikki Beach” if you want to see how the young idle rich party.
- Go to the night club: “Les Caves du Roy”
Nice, Monaco, Cannes and St. Paul can all be done from where you are staying in or near any of those cities. You will need to rent a car to get around.
Stay a few nights in or near Saint Tropez. With the nights you will have there, you will not want to be doing any commuting!