Random ramblings about not necessarily anything in particular, and not much more....
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Every once in a while, you come across an awesome video online, and you realize this interweb thing is actually pretty cool (even if it does suck hours of your life away into nothingness). Kinda made me want to visit China, and not just for their sesame chicken either!
The last couple of weeks are a bit of a blur, with lots of fun stuff fitted in, and I definitely learned a lot. Here's some of the things from the past 2 weeks
Nothing can beat fish and chips. And buying them from a chippie next to the sea is something I took for granted for 25+ years.
Parking spots in England are too small (or my parking skills are crap after 11 years of parking in US car parks). Of course, this provides untold entertainment for my brothers.
The UK seems a lot smaller after living over here for so long. A trip down to Birmingham for the day never really seemed like a long way (and it was well worth it to see Jeremy and the boys)
Going out with your lifelong friends always feels like you only saw them last week after about 2 minutes. It's a great feeling that you appreciate even more when you didn't see them last week (or last year for some of them).
Karting is fun on both sides of the Atlantic (and I'm going to try and lose a few pounds by my next trip over so I at least have a shot at beating my kid brother)
House prices are way out of control over there, especially in London (even though they're down from their highs). Not sure how anyone actually affords to live to be honest.
Ella's too cute for words, and she gives the best hugs.
Working remote for a week = massive improvements in productivity. But more than a week, and I think I'd go stir crazy
iPhone without data = realization that the iPhone is really a little computer, rather than just a phone (and technically I could have turned on the data roaming, but I was a little scared I'd have a bill for a couple of grand when I got back, so was pretty good about using wifi only, apart from the times I got lost)
I laugh a lot more in England. Not sure if it's coz I'm on holiday, coz my brothers are too funny not too, or if I'm just more relaxed generally over there, but I notice I end up with tears streaming down my face at least 3 times a trip.
The Trafalgar Hilton is our new favourite London hotel - friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere, great bar, and decent rooms. We'll definitely be back here.
Center Parcs is a great place to go for a break in the UK, especially with kids (and kids at heart). And I forgot how much fun slides in swimming pools where (and how disappointing wave machines are)
Tynemouth still gets great surf (I even considered renting a board and wetsuit to get in one day, but then remembered how cold the water would be, how out of shape I actually am and that I haven't actually surfed in way too long).
Exchange rates are better now than they have been in a good few years.
All told, it was a great couple of weeks. Thanks to everyone who made it a blast, and for coming out to various bars and restaurants to meet up for a couple of hours here and there.
It had obviously been way too long since I had a travel nightmare - the summer seemed to go by relatively stress free as far as travel delays. I had kinda put this down to the switch from United to Frontier, but to continue the run wasn't going to happen for forever.
And so, it came to pass, on a sunny Georgia day.....
The travel day looked like it was going to be good - the team had spent a very full week of travel already - fly in Monday, drive a couple of hours each way on Tuesday to visit a client office, work Wednesday in Atlanta and then drive 4 hours down to Savannah, work Thursday and drive 4 hours back, getting back into Atlanta around 10.30 or so (and 700 miles later). Friday we managed to leave the office on time, got the car and us checked in fine. Mark got his earlier flight confirmed and headed out smiling. Even United was on time - what could possibly go wronf with mine and Dennise's Frontier flight?
This is when things started to go wrong. 15 minutes before we were meant to board, an announcement was made that the plane had been struck by lightning on the way in, and an engineer would be out to check it out - probably a 1 hour delay, nothing to get worried about. Of course, the plane was eventually declared unfit to fly until something had been sorted out, and at around 9pm that night, the flight was canceled. In between, a huge storm shut down the airport for an hour, both of the other Frontier flights back to Denver were declared full, and I ran out of cigarettes.....
One of the benefits (?) of traveling so much is learning to gauge the mood of the staff behind the counter to get an idea of how much trouble we're going to be in. Around 7 (with neither of the other flights left yet due to the weather), the staff went into calm but panicked mode, so I hung around the check in desk to work out what was going on. There was a whisper that the original flight was going to be canceled, and they were calling the people up with connections that they were trying to get on each plane. This wasn't working too well, as it appeared the names they were calling were already on the plane. I called Dennise over, and we went and stood over by the plane that they were still trying to fill. It turned out to be a good call, as we somehow managed with a wink and a nod to get allowed on the plane with instructions to "find a seat and sit down". We both even got aisle seats!
So, of course, the luggage didn't make it, but we did get to leave from DIA around 10.30pm last night (instead of our project 4.30pm) - but we were one of the lucky ones - one lady phoned her friend who was one our original flight and she was still at Atlanta airport, and waiting to get on a Delta red eye out of there. And the luggage is here now and in one piece, so no complaints I guess.
Of course, if I had been really lucky, I would have been with the wife on her work trip in Vegas. Check out her suite below - one of the perks of a hotel running out of regular rooms before you check in I guess.
It seems like only yesterday when the big Vegas trip was planned for my stag/bachelor/bucks party, but it turns out it was well over 2 years ago now. Plenty of great memories, lots of friends, a blow up sheep, and the Captain America helmet, which I was somehow persuaded to wear all the way up the strip (and then even in a few bars and clubs if memory serves me right, although the whole night got a little vague towards the end).
Well, it's all going to be happening again this weekend - not mine of course - you only get one of those (or two I guess if you can squeeze in an extra one back in your home country ;-), but the incredible Mr Tonkin's. The usual suspects, plus a couple of early arrivers from Oz are heading there tomorrow, which is unfortunately a little too soon for me to be able to order this fantastic Pac-Man Helmet and have it arrive in time. I guess it's the thought that counts, right? And I'm sure Ash has something equally fitting sorted out, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Finally, lighters are going to be allowed on planes again. Despite there being no logical reason for banning these in the first place (you could take 4 books of matches still), it took a good couple of years for this to finally get revoked.
This is going to save me untold levels of stress, and should hopefully reduce the number of half books of matches I end up having laying around the house in preparation for my trips.