Adventure in Belize

Today’s blog post is written by guest blogger, Josh Agate, Manager, Global CRM.

Picture from airplane approaching Ambergis Caye

Approaching Ambergis Caye.

Adventure is relative. Most people are looking for new adventures in life, and those can range from planning where to go on vacation to starting a new job. What each person looks for in an adventure and the level of thrill they seek is different. When I learned that Promega had awarded me a trip to a destination of my choice with my family for my job performance, I was excited to plan this new adventure with my wife and two daughters (ages 4 and 6). We decided on a trip to Belize.

The trip required two commercial flights, followed by a puddle jumper flight (with hand-written boarding passes), and a 30 minute boat ride before we arrived at our hotel on the island of Ambergris Caye.  This island, off the northern coast of Belize, would provide the backdrop for our family’s greatest adventure to date. The trip to get to the island wasn’t tedious travel for them; it was a wild ride that included a plane that held 12 people, flying over crystal clear waters and a boat trip, where our hair flew wildly as we were sprayed with ocean mist. Continue reading

Exploring the Land of the Silver Fern—Part II

In 2014, Promega created a special incentive to reward field science consultants who help the scientific community take advantage of our on-site stocking program. The winners had to meet ambitious criteria to receive 2 round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world, a week of paid vacation and spending money. Our four winners from 2014 will share photos and stories about their journeys in a semi-regular Friday feature on the Promega Connections Blog.

Today’s travelogue is Part II of the adventures of Sarah Theos, a client support consultant, who used her award to travel to New Zealand. You can read Part I here.

Day 7: Queenstown to Te Anau

My husband surprised me that morning by booking a massage appointment at the spa to soothe my aching muscles. It was a rainy morning and we had a long drive ahead of us to the town of Te Anau, the stopover town on the way to the Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound.  We also saw that we had lucked out on our itinerary as it was supposed to be a beautiful day in Milford the next day (a place that gets over 300 days of rain each year).  Therefore, we didn’t mind one more day of rain if it meant the next day would be amazing.  We drove through the Canterbury plains, passing tons of sheep and dairy farms along the way.  We also found it interesting that they farm deer in NZ.  We drove past a lot of deer farms.  When we arrived in Te Anau, we grabbed some food and went to the local grocery store to stock up on snacks and more wine.  New Zealand has a booming wine industry and we thought that it was worth sampling as many wines as we could.  The day was gray and cold but we decided to walk along Lake Te Anau anyway.  It is a beautiful, massive lake but we didn’t see very much of the surrounding mountains because of the fog.  We stopped briefly at the bird sanctuary to see the Kaka, the Crested Grebe, and other beautiful birds.  That evening, we had the most amazing 5 star dinner at the Redcliff Café and loved it so much that we booked a table there for the next evening!  Since we were getting up super early the next day to drive to Milford, we went to bed early.

Day 8:  Drive through the Fiordland to Milford Soundnew-zealand1a

This had to be my most favorite day of the entire trip.  Not only was the weather amazing, the entire drive to and from Milford Sound was mind blowing.  The New Zealanders call Milford the 8th Natural Wonder of the World and it is easy to see why.  It is in a remote part of the island and 99% of the Fiordland will never see a human.  The Fiordland has waterfalls aplenty, sweeping, colorful landscapes with millions of gorgeous lupin flowers and gigantic, snow covered mountains.  It truly feels as though you have entered another world.  We left early so we would avoid the dreaded crowds and tour buses that clog the two lane road from 10am-4pm. We stopped constantly as the views just kept getting better and better around every twist and turn.  One notable stop was The Chasm.  The Chasm is where the raging Cleddau River has worn a path straight through the mountain so it virtually disappears into the rock.  There are many massive, perfectly round pothole formations in the limestone where pebbles have worn their way through the rocks.  We were the only two people there at that time of the morning.  It felt majestic just to stand there and listen to the tremendous sound of the powerful river disappearing into the mountain and reappearing on the other side. Continue reading

There and Back Again, Part 1

In 2014, Promega created a special incentive to reward field science consultants who help the scientific community take advantage of the our on-site stocking program. The winners had to meet ambitious criteria to receive 2 round-trip tickets to anywhere in the world, a week of paid vacation and spending money. Our four winners from 2014 will share photos and stories about their journeys in a semi-regular Friday feature on the Promega Connections Blog.

Today’s travelogue comes to us from Mica Zaragoza, a senior client rep, who used his award to travel to Australia and New Zealand.

When initially introduced to the ambitious Helix award, I was amazed at the prospect of selecting anywhere in the world to travel, while blogging about my the adventures. Both humbled and amazed to receive this opportunity, my wife and I embarked on a journey across the Pacific.

Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia.

Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia.

Sydney, Australia

Departing our home in Chicago, my wife Crystal and I started our journey with a 5-hour trip to San Francisco for a layover before the 14 hour journey to Sydney. After jumping into the future (Thurs became Saturday), our first visit was to Central Sydney’s Hyde Park.

Taking jet lag into consideration, we decided to double-down by freshening up and dropping luggage to kick off our day at 7:30am. My first Australian purchase? Coffee! Continue reading

“Carpe Diem!” Lessons From A Humbled Foreigner

There I was in the town of Saint Nazaire on the west coast of France—a cute seven-year-old with locks of auburn hair. Days earlier I had arrived for a two week stay with a host family as part of a student exchange that had been organized through my school. We had traveled down from the Loire valley city of Angers to visit the grandparents who lived in a beautiful coastal home. And lunch was waiting for us on the table—tomates du jardin, les rillettes, and a tender cut of beef from the local charcuterie. The setting would have made the perfect advertisement for a French holiday had it not been for a little nuisance that lay in my way.  Before I could savor these delights of French cuisine, I had to attend to my bladder’s incessant demands for relief. That’s right, I had to go to the bathroom. I made my intentions known in my best French “Je vais au WC” and dashed down the corridor to where I knew I would find that all-important room called the ‘Water Closet’. 

Up until then, the WC acronym had been a source of amusement for my French hosts. It epitomized the liberal exchange of French and English words between our two cultures—one that would later spur on the Franglais revolution. And being an English school boy, I should have understood what this particular combination of two simple words meant, right? Continue reading

Better Living through Design

ClearviewHwy in use on road signs in Madison, WI

ClearviewHwy in use on road signs in Madison, WI

Perhaps this is a sign that I need a more interesting life, but I was thrilled to see some of the highway signage in and around Madison, WI, start to change over to Clearview, a typeface designed specifically for road signs.

Nearly everyone who’s driven a car knows the limitations of the current standard for road signs, FHWA Series fonts (it is affectionately called “Highway Gothic” by typophiles). At night, the letters seem to blur together and glow, and some characters are difficult to distinguish from others.

Clearview is the result of nearly a decade of work, making a typeface that is more readable without increasing the dimensions of the existing road signs.

You can read about Clearview on the official website, and of particular interest is the Research and Design section.