Sunday, April 29, 2007

Grounded for Now

I'm glad I did that video blogging of the trip itself, and the trip home, because otherwise in my mind it would've been some strange dream I had. It all went by way too fast to take any mental notes. That's the way these international-one-country-a-day things always go.

To follow my trip back click here to read the post called Going Home, Part 1 and then click the "Newer Post" button at the bottom to go on to the next part. That'll give you the whole story chronologically.

I'm in SF for a few weeks, then a week in NYC. End of May I go to South Africa and directly from there to Europe. Panama will be at the end of June. Then, as of July 1, I get my wings clipped for awhile as baby is due August 8 and I will not be going anywhere outside of San Francisco from that point until the end of September at the earliest.

There's no place like home.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Going Home Part 3

About to board the flight now, so I'll be uploading the rest of the story once I get to SF today (yep, I leave HK at 4:25pm local time, then arrive in SF at 1:50pm local time on the SAME DAY!!!) Time travelling, gotta love it.

This is where I'm sitting on this massive 747-400 (that's not my actual plane, obviously, but it's the same brand & model).

Upstairs on a 747 is absolutely the best. It feels like a private plane, there are only 24 passengers and 2 crew memebers. You're also less likely to get sick, since you are breathing in fewer peoples' germs.

By the time you read this, I'm probably over the Pacific Ocean somewhere . . .

Going Home Part 2

Left the hotel in a Benz (they do hook you up nicely at these Asian luxury hotels). Crusing through Kowloon on the way to the airport.

It's Saturday afternoon here, so there's no traffic whatsoever. Got to HK International in 20 minutes flat (may have had something to do with my driver going 90 miles an hour).

Time to savor my last breath of fresh air before spending the next 20 hours in airports and airplanes.

Got through immigration and security in a snap, although at the check-in desk there was some serious drama. People yelling and screaming at the check-in folks as the flight to LAX seems to be very overbooked (thank goodness I'm on the SFO flight). Not the way to handle yourself at an airport regardless of how badly they screw you. Aaah, I'm gonna forget about that one.

The Cathay Pacific biz class lounges (there are two here; The Wing and The Pier) are the best I've ever been in. There are several bars, food outlets (free cook-to-order noodles, dim sum, and western food), a video game lounge, massage chairs, and a very accomodating staff. I like to hang at The Wing.

I'm not leaving this lounge until my flight boards. No reason to.

Aaah, freshly cooked Shanghai-style noodles.

If you fly to Asia on business, and you fly a US carrier, you don't know what you're missing . . .

Going Home, Part 1

The best part of any business trip is the flight back home. Too bad the one I've gotta take today is 14 hours long (Hong Kong to San Francisco). At least it's on Cathay Pacific, not some chump outfit like United.

About to leave my hotel room at the Shangri-La Kowloon where there's a particularly amazing view of the HK skyline.

Am going to try and show you my trip home, step by step by step. Have a look:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Random Notes from Asia

Happiness in a bowl: Nyonya Laksa in Malaysia.

The most well designed airline cabin in the world on Cathay Pacific.

Rambuttans galore in Bangkok.

A room with a view in Singapore.

Looking straight down from balcony in the same room (from 57th floor). Not for those with vertigo.

Cheap (and nerve wracking) transport in Bangkok. Called a "Tuk-Tuk" because that's the sound the motor makes. Should be more like "Choke-Choke" given all the air pollution.

I Need A Shower

It's over 100 degrees Farenheit today in Bangkok (for those of you in Celsius land that translates as TOO FREAKING HOT!!!!!). I knew this would be the case so I left the hotel at 7am to have a walk around before it got too hot. No such luck:

It's enough of a challenge to write this blog from Thailand, YouTube censorship aside. I pull up blogspot (where I write my entries) and this is what I get:

Not as confusing, though, as my breakfast this morning:

Aah, yes. The Rambuttan and Mangosteen, fruits you can only get in this part of the world. And they're in season. Open 'em up and this is what you get:

Sweet, succulent, juicy. Nothing quite like it, hard to compare to any fruit I've ever eaten.

In the Cathay Pacific lounge at Bangkok Airport waiting for the flight that takes me to the last stop on this tour, Hong Kong.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Banned in Bangkok

You won't be seeing any video from Thailand (where I currently am) because the government has banned YouTube, where I host the video for my blog.

When I go to nothing loads.

When I look at this blog from here none of the video loads.

First time I've actually seen censorship first hand.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Big Tease

I stay in some really great hotel rooms on my business trips, such as the one I'm in right now on the 58th floor of the Swissotel The Samford in Singapore. The problem is that I'm usually only in the room for a few hours (arrive late night from the airport, sleep, wake up early and go to work -- after which I go to the airport to go on to the next city (it'll be Bangkok tomorrow night).

But short stay or not, the view from my 58th floor balcony (how about that, a hotel room this high up with a balcony) is pretty darn amazing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mmmmm. Fooooood.

This kind of business trip involves three things -- working, flying, and eating. The eating part is by far the best.

I may not get to do any sightseeing on this trip, but there is some killer local food around the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur where I'm writing this at 6:30 Monday morning.

That's called Nasi Kampur, a popular Malay dish. It may look like a bunch of random stuff dumped on a plate, but MAN it's tasty. That's chicken sate on the upper right, a deliciously flavored chicken leg on the upper left, and under that fried egg there's a heap of Malaysian fried rice.

Work starts for me in a half-hour so it's time for breakfast now. More later...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wha Hoppen?

I'm back on the road with a vengeance. Just stepped off a 14-hour flight from SFO and am now in Cathay Pacific's "The Wing" biz class lounge at Hong Kong International, where it's currently 7:30am on Sunday morning, waiting for a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Another 3 and a half hours in the air, oh yay.

The Cathay long-haul biz class experience was excellent as always (thank goodness for those upgrades or I'd be dead by now). Will be in Asia the remainder of the week, a different city each day, so stay tuned to see my tired ass bringing you more of the little things I can see on the way from the airport to the hotel.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


I've got something ridiculous, along the lines of 4 flights or so, that I haven't blogged on yet. I'm so sick of planes I can't even bear to write about them. So in a hope to spark some inspiration I'm moving to a more video oriented format. So here's a moment of this flight back home, in which I got an upgrade to the unparalelled domestic travel experience of United's "PS" flights between JFK and SFO/LAX. You get their international business class seat in biz class (where I sat) and I could stretch straight out and not have my feet even brush against the seat in front of me.

The 2 guys taking care of our cabin were hapless, one younger dude who was trying hard but just didn't get it, and a very very senior guy who also tried hard but was just plain forgetful. I sat next to, and had nice conversation with, one of the founders of a fantastic winery in Carneros (Napa side) who co-lamented with me on the sad state of affairs. But still, this is the best biz class domestic coast-to-coast experience currently going (please keep it up UAL).

Going Where No Man Has Gone Before

What a pompous title for a blog post. In fact, I'm just trying to get some video going on my respective blogs. If this experiment works here, you'll see me geeking out beyond belief at tonight's Giants vs Dodgers game @ AT&T/SBC/PacBell/MaysField. If not, then I gotta try something else.