Gypsy King Traveler

Welcome and thank you for taking the time view my Blog. “My Random blog” is not tied to any specific subject. My main goal is to show you how the world is beautiful and full of amazing things from my own eyes. Sharing knowledge, ideas and striving to learn new things are my niche.  Feel free to comment in the box below, share your thoughts, experiences, opinions and adventures with the world. BON VOYAGE!

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The World After COVID-19

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COVID-19

The world has taken a tremendous turn since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. As of today more than 1,000,000+ cases in more than 190+ different countries and increasing. Social media, news, UN, WHO, and CDC are all busy tracking this virus in order to slow/stop the spread of this terrible disease. Thanks to our scientists, doctors, nurses and medial personnel who are working hard every minute to find a vaccine that can save our loved ones from being infected. Recent studies states are saying that is just a lipid molecule that attached itself to the membrane.

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It is a global crisis whether you believe this virus is natural or man made, however this is not my main focus. We “The People” of the world have to work together, pay attention on the the upcoming events, help stop the spread, become selfless, and think about others. We are all facing a common invisible enemy and it must be defeated.

Today I want to project a vision of this world after this global pandemic. COVID-19 will shape the world and take into many different directions. Hospitals, individuals, families, companies, governments, institutions, economists, e-commerce, online businesses, and hospitality businesses are going to reconstruct different strategies in order to prepare for the next crisis.

Hospitals

In many countries with high numbers of Corona virus cases, hospitals are doing their best to treat their patients despite the limited resources such as beds, PPE and masks. We must keep in mind that our most valuable resources are doctors, nurses, scientists, and medics. After this pandemic, hospitals are going to increase their capacity by buying more medical supplies, hire more nurses and reshape their ER. Telemedicine and online consultation will be the new trend from now on. People will have the access to doctors through a screen. Some people may deny this ideas but eventually it will take off.

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Human Behavior

People are going to change their behavior towards daily life, work, travel and social interactions. Many who lost their jobs are going to either switch careers, or look for different and secure ways to provide for their families. Social interactions will decrease in the beginning until this whole crisis pass. The ‘social/physical distancing’ idea will be marked for life. Daily life style will be more about distancing with the ‘6 feet rule’, so you might not see people getting in crowded areas such trains, busses or even public places. Shopping will take a new look or even more online. Waiting for the next train will be a better idea because of safety. Disgust trait will take over many people despite many people may be more leaning towards extroversion and openness. Masks are going to be the new fashion trend.

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Hospitality

Many fancy dine-in restaurants are going to adapt to the situation by creating a TO-GO menu. What if your restaurant is too expensive for take out? Simply, the restaurant will have to create a different menu catered only for take out orders separate from the original menu. It means that many restaurants have to rebrand themselves. Health departments are going to issue new rules on wearing masks in the kitchen, and emphasize on wearing gloves, washing hands and sanitizing. Speaking of extra cost! It will be cheaper than a ticket and a major shut down. Third, the health department might decrease occupancy based on the 6 feet rule. This might shift some restaurants to remodel and set up their seating areas differently. Say goodbye to crowded restaurants and long waiting lines in the lobbies or bar areas. Reservations are more enforced to avoid large number of guests in restaurants at once. A two hour for party that consists of four people is highly recommended in most cases. Many corporations will shut down their slow locations in order to focus on keeping the busy locations running. Many restaurants who laid off their employees already will have to hire new people that will comply with stricter rules and regulations. Recruiting, hiring, training and coaching will cost more because some of the laid off employees are going to question the company’s values and mission statement after being let go. Many will look for the alternatives and waiting tables is not one of them. Small local restaurants are going to benefit from the boom of unemployment. Finding a job in a local restaurant will be much easier as these incidents will be beneficial for them to bring in their formal experience which comes with great value.

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Companies

This pandemic is the biggest challenge for companies whom their employees come to work everyday in shared areas. They will add more rules to the book. This means it is the time for HR to get busy. Also it will shift into more online interviews and testing. IT and software engineers are going to be super loaded to build new websites to shift job descriptions from office to remote work in order to lower the amount of interaction in between employees at work. Major layoffs are in process and many companies will change their strategies to adjust. How would this help with their brand, leadership, and wages? It all depends on the company and how they address these issues to their employees. I say transparency is the key to great leadership. Remember if you get laid off now, the thought that you will get rehired after might not be an option. Many employees are going to find different ways to make a living without going through this cycle. Some will be better off working as an ‘essential worker’ rather being tossed around for the next economic crisis. Others are going to trust their formal companies and will look for better opportunities. Say hello to more new entrepreneurs and self-employed work force.

Real Estate

We know many companies will shift into remote work, so renting big spaces is not necessary. This will lead to many obsolete buildings in the major city areas. Commercial real estate will have to find different ways to make money. Price increase on big corporations and individuals that have small private businesses will drive them to look for other solution ways to save money. Big corporations will look for smaller space and small private businesses will look into working from home if their job allows them to. Commercial builders are going to get busy remodeling buildings from offices into residential. Real estate companies will see a drop in their revenues in the next year. We will see a boom in commercial construction after few months or even a year. In the meantime real estate market will see a freeze as many people have zero income to invest or rent.

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Europe

Countries will follow strict travel laws and regulations. Borders within the EU will be enforced until the crisis is over. This mean that traveling within the EU will be like traveling to foreign country. They will take these extreme measure to protect their citizens from any future outbreak. Because Italy suffered tremendously and their healthcare system almost crashed, EU will see this a learning experience and they might change their traveling rules. Many countries will enforce different rules on the Chinese citizens. There will be strict corona virus testing prior to departing and on arrival at the airports, or might be a ban for another 6 months. Unfortunately, the Chinese people are witnessing discrimination in many different countries, however after this crisis, the world can not trust the Chinese government and the way they dealt with the corona virus situation. Some European countries are going to look at leaving the EU because of their horrific experience dealing with such issue and questioning the existence of the union in the first place. Going back to borders, currencies and economic dependency will be taken into consideration.

United States

United States will take extreme measures after this pandemic. We will see a different economic shift from China. Some companies are already looking to transfer their manufacturing to different countries such as Mexico, Latin and South America. Issues like corruption, cartels, and laws might be in the way of trust. However, there will be special assigned zones that are protected by both collaborated governments to provide security for their employees and the property itself. Other countries depending on their location will transfer to South East Asia, Africa and eastern Europe. This might seem very redic but the travel in between states will be limited and some might be banned and locked down. The federal government will make that decision which may cause a little noise in bigger states and may want to declare their independence. Immigration laws will pause many immigrants to come into USA, with the exceptions for healthcare professionals. Expats will face stricter screening, processing and companies will have to pay higher fees for sponsorship. USA will face major challenges in this pandemic as the government signed on a stimulus plan of $2.2 Trillion. We have to wait and see the impact of this stimulus plan when it takes place. The elections will take a interesting turn. People are looking for better ways to for healthier life style. They will base their decisions on the core base which is healthcare. We might see a new era in the USA after this pandemic.

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The World

The “PEOPLE” of the world will start questioning their governments and systems, despite the fact some countries were dealing with the pandemic better than others. Healthcare will be number one priority. New systems will emerge and evolve around the idea of universal healthcare. After this world ciris, people are more concerned about their health than anything else. As we all know “Health is Wealth.” Underdeveloped countries will follow those who are successful and follow their lead. Socialism will be the highlight for many people around the world especially in capitalist countries.

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Capitalist Surveillance will be the new trend. All corporations want to control their employees, clients and consumers via AI. The 5G towers are being installed for more speed. Governments will track their citizens with live update in less than four seconds. We are being watched every second.

We would see a major change in the world economy. Governments are working hard to keep there systems running. Unfortunately We do not see the truth, but eventually it will come out. Few important questions to ask.

Is this crisis man made to we can have a new world order? or is nature trying to tell us something?

I believe this is our wake up call to change our behavior towards each other and start thinking of the future and what it holds for our next generations. It it time to put our wars, fights and differences behind us and unite towards fighting an invisible enemy.

EARTH HAS SPOKEN BACK TO US, WE NEED TO LISTEN.

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Picture Resources:

1.https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24532743-500-were-beginning-to-understand-the-biology-of-the-covid-19-virus/
2.https://www.newscientist.com/term/covid-19/
3.https://billingsgazette.com/news/local/billings-area-restaurants-hope-to-survive-covid-19-closures/article_5c8b955d-0436-5fd1-b990-e94005ae8898.html
4.https://www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/first-covid-19-case-reported-wyoming#stream/0
5. https://www.euronews.com/2020/02/10/coronavirus-outbreak-uk-declares-virus-serious-and-imminent-threat-to-public-health
6.https://989bull.com/us-overtakes-the-world-as-the-country-with-most-covid-19-cases/
7. https://www.livescience.com/warmer-weather-slow-coronavirus-spread.html

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Rome dips and tips

Intro

I was very confused at the beginning when I heard that ” Ciao Bello” can be for both males and females. While having breakfast at Yello bar in Rome, Italy, Ciao Bello was the most used phrase. Really cool! For someone who does not speak Italian, it was interesting, but this is why the simplest things we learn are from our experiences through interacting with people from different parts of the world.

Rome

Can I say romantic? historical? magical? charming? Rome is combination of everything. It is a beautiful city with lots to see. There are many landmarks such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican City, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, and the famous Leonardo Di Vinci  artwork at the Sistine Chapel. These are some of the major attractions in Rome. The city contains history of never ending stories that will blow your mind. I would like to focus on more important things so it can help you ease your travel once you land in Rome.

Airport

Once you land in Fiumicino Airport aka “Leonardo Di Vinci Airport” make sure you know these tips:

  1. If you want to purchase a phone line with internet -highly recommended- DO NOT get caught buying WIND service. It is very expensive and the internet connection is bad. Buy -VODAFONE- which is cheaper, great connection and works all over Europe if you are within the EU. I paid $45 for 1000 Minutes and 8G internet.
  2. Once you exit the airport, the train station is across the street from the arrival terminals. You want to be in the area of Termini station. That area is where all the hotels, hostels and the main attractions are a walking distance. Most people arrive to that station and either take the bus, or walk towards their destination.

Renting a Car

It is recommended if you can afford it. Here is why:

  1. Renting a car requires passport, driver license, credit card.
  2. If you choose to pay a 3PL company for your full coverage, you are required to pay $1600 deposit to the car rental company.
  3. If you choose to pay the car rental company the insurance coverage, it will cost you between $27-$35 per day (highly recommended) depending on the car.
  4. Gas is very expensive in Italy. Prices are between $5.6-$6 per gallon which is equivalent to $2.73-$2.9 per Liter. Make sure you get a car that will give you at least 35 Miles per gallon which is equivalent to 56 KM. 1 gallon = 3.6 Liters
  5.  Tollways between Rome and Florence are calculated depending on how many miles you drove. It is about $20 going one way.

I rented a Fiat 500 2 door which was very good on gas. It helped me move around in Rome, and drove to 5 different cities. Think about going to 5 cities by buss or train, it might cost cheaper but you will not have the freedom to move around and stop whenever you want. I was very happy that I did.

Parking

Parking can be very expensive if rent a car. There are 3 colors on the streets of Rome that you need to know about:

  1. Blue means you need to pay for parking. You will pay either hourly or daily.
  2. Yellow is for special plate parking only.
  3. White means parking is free but you need to be lucky enough to find those spots. Since Rome is full of tourists from all over the world, this could be challenging.

Driving

Driving in Rome is very different from many cities that I had driven in. You have to watch for signs and roads attentively. There are lanes only for buses. Sometimes you will turn right but there are 2 roads on your right. YUP! It is very challenging and my best advice is to drive really slow once you come up to a turn. There are some roads that allows only taxi drivers to pass. It happened to me when a police had to stop me and luckily did not get a ticket.

Roads

Inside Rome city, roads are very tight, narrow, and full with holes. Outside the city roads are good but you might encounter some wavey roads that could make your car jump up and down. If you are driving a small car, be careful not to blow one of your tires. Pay attention to the speed limits.

Polizia

You might get pulled over randomly like they did to me. Do not be afraid! This is a normal procedure that the police do to make sure that you are legally driving. make sure your paper work and driver license is with you all the time while driving.

Transportation

There are busses, trains, and bus tours. It all depends on what you are comfortable with. Bus tours have different prices depending on the attractions you choose. Buss and train tickets cost about $2 and you have 100 minutes of usage-this could change- once activated. In general it is easy to move around inside the city. Internet and maps are highly recommended.

Walking

Prepare yourself to walk at least 10 miles per day in Rome. All the attractions are close to each other relatively. Wear a good walking shoes and if you are visiting in the summer, sun screen and umbrella are a must. Weather is unpredictable at that time of the year in Rome.

Food

This will shock you! The food in Rome is very tricky. If you want to eat in a nice restaurant, double check the menu, prices and area. Mainly touristy areas have tons of restaurants and catered to tourists. You will not get a quality rather than just something to get by. If you really want to have a real experience with food, you must go outside Rome for about 30 min to some village. You will notice many shops sell pizzas by slice for $3 or more.

I will definitely go back to this amazing country. There are so much to see and do and 2 weeks was not enough. Plan your trip accordingly, be ready for it and HAPPY TRAVELING!

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Puerto Rico Blog

If you never visited Puerto Rico, this island is one of the must see destinations because it is full of life and lots to do. Puerto Rico is an American territory but main language is Spanish and English is second language. We all heard the stories about the pirates and this is where all started. Puerto Rico is known for its Rum. The world known Rum company Bacardi is located in Puerto Rico. Before you pack your suitcases and get all excited to visit Puerto Rico here are things that you need to know.

Visa

Applying for Visa can be hard because you are basically visiting a US territory. Once that is taken care then call it a success because I will mention another surprise for you in the end of this blog. If you are a US citizen, you do not need a passport, you only need a photo ID. I recommend you carry your passport in case you want to jump to neighbouring islands.

Rent a car

If you want to move around in the Island, it is better to rent a car. It may look like a small island but moving around paying for taxi can be costly. The downside of renting a car is finding a parking space if you are staying in Old San Juan. Here are the reasons why I recommend renting a car:

  1. Old San Juan to El Yunque Rain Forest- 1Hr drive
  2. Old San Juan to the Ferry-ship- 1.5 Hr drive
  3. Old San Juan to the Longest Zipline on the other side of the island- 2 Hr Drive
  4. Weather is unstable, so imagine taking a cab and then it starts raining. Hard luck!

Old San Juan

I highly recommend staying in Old San Juan. The area is full with hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping and all tourist attractions. It is very nice and safer than other areas in Puerto Rico. You can walk around or hop in a cab for another attractions such as the casino, or the fortress San Cristobal. Old San Juan is full of life at night. Lots of bars and clubs for dancing depending on your choice. Old San Juan has beautiful architecture. Lot of colors and nice building with graffiti on the walls. You can relate the city to the Spanish history.

El Yunque Rainforest

El Yunque rain forest is about one hour drive from old San Juan. The forest might seem small on the map, but do not be fooled. You will need a whole day to hike depending on the weather conditions. The forest is known to be safe from any wild animal and rarely any snakes. You can drive inside the forest, and find parking on a week day. Also there are maps for the trails provided if you decided to hike. The trails are muddy so a special shoes and ponchos are a must. There are some waterfalls inside the forest and some people like to to swim. Another cool activity that I did was ziplining inside the forest. Check the weather in advance because sometimes they close due to heavy rain.

Vieques or Culebra

There are two neighbouring islands that are about 45 minutes ferry ride. This part is tricky when it comes to seeing these islands. These are the things that you need to know about visiting these amazing islands. Vieques is known to have great activities. Culebra is known for the best top ten beaches in the world.

  1. Check the weather before you go
  2. You have to be at least 2 hrs in line waiting for the ride and you maybe lucky to find a place on the ferry.
  3. Once you buy the tickets, stand in line, and do not leave. Local people have the priority, so purchasing the ticket does not mean you have a secure place on the ferry.
  4. Book a hotel with transportation in advance because you will be lucky to find any.
  5. Depending on which island you are going, they have different times of leaving and returning.
  6. The other way to get to these islands is by plane.

Night Life

I love music and dancing, and Puerto Rico is the place to be. We all know El Gran Combo, Hector Lavoe, Mark Anthony, J Lo, and famous “Despacito” song by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. All from Puerto Rico. If you are ready to get down, you have to practice on some moves.

Food

Puerto Rico has many different types of cuisines but they are famous for their Mofongo. They have nice breakfast places in Old San Juan. You can also hit some nice restaurant on the weekend depending on your mood.

Surprise

Once you get the visa to Puerto rico, it does not hurt to jump to the Virgin Islands-St. Thomas- check out my blog “Surrounded by water– It is with no doubt heaven on earth. Flights are so cheap from Old San Juan to Charlotte Amalie is about $140 round trip and 45 minutes flight. ENJOY PARADISE.

Conclusion

I had great time in Puerto Rico, check the weather forecast before you travel to that amazing island. People are very nice and friendly. The island has so much to offer and lots of beautiful scenery. I highly recommend visiting.

Bonus Tip

If you are from the US, T-Mobile phones work good without any extra charges. ATT has better connection in the caribbean islands.

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Surrounded by Water

Intro

Every year on my birthday I travel download app-somewhere I never been. It is more of a yearly tradition. One thing that I like doing is to experience things that is different and challenging. This time, I made a trip to St. Thomas Island which is considered U.S Virgin Islands. I made a trip to Puerto Rico and booked my ticket from San Juan to St. Thomas for $131 round trip which is about 35 minutes flight.

The Norms

A normal person will book a hotel room in a resort to enjoy the services and luxury of a nice expensive stay. However, I am different. I used to do that but after traveling many places, I started thinking about budgeting my travels and focusing on spending money on more important things such as activities and transportation. Mainly these are fixed prices. What about to tell you may not fit every person that loves to travel. Some like to have that luxurious service, some like medium and some just want to have a place to sleep and shower nothing more nothing less.

Drive Safe

After landing in St. Thomas, shuttle took me to the rental car place, and here are few things you must know:

  1. It is better to have your insurance upon renting the car. Call the rental place and make sure they accept your current insurance. If not buy cheap one online while renting the car.
  2. Renting a car is cheaper than taking cabs to go places on the island. It might seem small on the map but you will be surprised. Traffic gets bad, especially when the cruise ships passing by and dock.
  3. Driving is on the left side. Unlike normal driving in most countries, driving can be little challenging on the island.
  4. Do not get sand in the car, you will be charged at least $100 for cleaning. It is better to keep it clean.

The challenge was to get to the location where I had rented my sleeping, luxurious and comfortable place to stay on the island for the next 4 days. Driving on the left side was little dangerous if you are not paying attention because your left is right and your right is left. The location was about 1 hour away. ARE YOU READY?

Challenge yourself

I rented a sailing boat to sleep in for 3 nights and 4 days in a gated marina. Does this sound cool? Wait for it. At first thought, many people think it is cool and easy, but you will be surprised. It takes an adventurous person to take such chance to sleep in a sailing boat alone. To me it was a great experience, and loved every single moment of it. However it is not meant for anyone and here is why:

  1. Although sailing boat was in a gated marina, that does not mean it is 100% safe.
  2. The sailing boat will fit maximum 2 people although there are beds for 4.
  3. Phone connection with internet was very weak and most of the time was not working. If you have ATT service, it might work.
  4. You have to be quiet because there were many boats around with people sleeping in them, so forget about boat partying.
  5. You might be sleeping and storm comes, thankfully did not happen while I was staying.
  6. You will be sleeping like a baby sleeping in a rocker.
  7. If you are not used to sleeping in a boat, you will wake up sea sick and dizzy.
  8. It will get really hot if you sleep in the main bed, I had to sleep in the middle space.
  9. Bathroom is very difficult to use. You must follow instructions or you will face major problems with the owner of the boat.
  10. Make sure you tell the owner to fill up the water tank for the boat day in advance, and try to save water usage because you might run out in the middle of taking a shower.
  11. You have to be careful walking on the boat, lots of wires and ropes.
  12. You would wish for the water to be calm and smooth while sleeping, else the boat will be rocking left and right all night long preventing you from a good night sleep
  13. Buy snacks and water, collect trash and take care of it, else you will be charged for cleaning fees.

Create your moments

I had an amazing time waking up in the morning on a cup of green tea, and a book to read before I head out for activities. Water is clear and you can see fishes swimming around. Sunrise is beautiful, cool breeze is relaxing. I loved every single moment of it and definitely would do it again.

Life is Beautiful

All the above were things that I didn’t know prior booking. However, it was a great learning experience and wanted to share them with you. In the end, traveling to me is all about challenges along the way that teaches you how to handle situations in real life. Over all I had an amazing time in St. Thomas. The island is beautiful, people are nice, and lots to explore. I hope this information will help you with your next trip.

BON VOYAGE!

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White Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Intro

It is the largest Mosque in UAE, located in Abu Dhabi State. For some of you who may know that UAE has 7 states. Dubai is the most famous among all of them. The mosque was constructed between 1997 to 2007. Most know it as Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand White mosque. This mosque represents the Islamic religion, culture and combination of old and modern architecture.

Entrance

If you are riding in cab or have your own car, you are allowed to enter and park in the designated spots. There are two separate entrances for males and females. It is recommended for females to bring their own “Abaya“-to avoid renting one– as you are not allowed to enter without it. You will be searched before you walk in. No cigarettes, lighters, or any hazardous material allowed in the mosque. Believe me they are very strict. The mosque is huge, lots of barefoot walking, bring a small bag so you can place your shoes inside that bag and carry it on your back. If you wear expensive shoes, ask one of the security guards to put your shoes inside a private room with shoe racks. Not too many people know this but I did it.

Gate

After 5 minute of walking, you will see a water fountain, with two pools on each side of the entrance. The gate is very high and beautifully designed in the arc shaped islamic architecture. Before walking in, take off your shoes. Place them on the shoe rack and remember their spot.

White Mosque

As you see in the pictures above, beautiful architecture, high ceilings, clean, shiny marble, flowery designed walls and floor. It is a great piece of art and recommend it to every visitor in Abu Dhabi. Best time to visit this amazing place is before sunset depending on the time of the year. Remember that UAE is very hot during summer times. Avoid noon time on a any Friday, unless you are going for prayer. The mosque can fit 40k people, and it is mainly for praying at that time. There are security guards monitoring the areas where you can walk. Follow the rules and watch for signs as you walk around.

Fun Facts

  1. Carpet was made by 1300 Carpet Knotter, it weighs 35 ton , there are 2,268,000,000 knots in the carp, and took 2 years to complete
  2. Mosque took 10 years to build
  3. More than 3000 workers were used to finish the project
  4. Gold, precious stones and Swarovski crystals were used in the mosque
  5. Rihanna the singer was asked to leave after taking inappropriate pictures with the mosque in the background back in 2013

It was a great experience. The Grand White Mosque is the 2nd most visited landmark rated on Tripadvisor. ENJOY!!

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ALUX Restaurant

Perhaps one of the most amazing restaurants I have ever experienced was ALUX in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. We were a group celebrating a friend’s birthday where we decided to pick a nice restaurant and ALUX came through. I have to say our minds were blown up after we left. It is very hard to find restaurants with a unique experiences that combines nature, experience, and food all at once.

Entrance

We were welcomed by two Mayans as soon as we walked in the gate. They were reciting some rituals “I HAVE NO CLUE”, and playing some instruments. According to what I heard something has to do with Sacrificing a Virgin. I might be wrong but again it was very cool to experience such warm welcoming. As soon as you walk in, the stairs for the restaurant is on your right. Entrance was nicely designed, although it will not occur to you that you are walking inside a huge cave.

Dining

Atmosphere, ambience, lighting, and setup are all very nice and well designed. We were sat next to a falling water from the limestones next to a small spring. It was very soothing and relaxing. I loved every single moment of it.

Menu

The menu is in two languages, English and Spanish. I love restaurants that have the courtesy to make it easier for their customers. I believe it is very important since management know that people from all over the world would come and visit. They serve appetizers, soups, salads, seafood, and Steaks. The variety is there so no worries when it comes to selections. Wine selections are from all over the world, ask your waiter/waitress to take you inside the “CAVA”.

Recommendations

I would recommend to take your time, do not rush if you are visiting ALUX. It is not only a restaurant but more of an excursion, and great experience. If you are planning to go after party, call and reserve early. It is highly recommended for couples and special occasions. Garden salad, Portobello mushroom, and Bone ribeye steak are delicious. If you are looking for cool dessert, as for the flamin coffee.

BON APPETIT!!

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