5 December 2005

The Past Week

To recap what has happened for us over the past week.

After leaving Tokyo, we flew into San Francisco for a few days, to visit our company office and to have conversations with some of our clients, as we learn more about their industries in order to provide them with solutions.

While we were in SF, we had a free weekend – and 2 Saturdays! Flying over the International Dateline from Tokyo meant that we had Saturday all over again, as we left Tokyo at 5pm and arrived at 8am the same day. Very nice - we made the most of it and went shopping. Not many people can say that they shopped in Tokyo and SF on the same day! On Sunday, we rented a convertible and drove down to Monterey. It was a bit cold to have the top down, but we did manage to do the 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach while exposed to the elements. In Monterey, we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Both of us had been there before, (J in 1995 and M in 2000), but we both love visiting it. There are lots of great displays, and there are 3 very big tanks that have to be seen to be believed – the shark tank, the under the wharf tank, and the kelp bed tank. The bluewater Tuna are HUGE – I haven’t seen Tuna this big! They also have a lot of Hammerheads, 7 gill sharks, a Sunfish, Bonito, Eagle Rays – and something that neither of us had seen before – a Sturgeon fish. This is where Caviar comes from! We were very envious of the 2 divers who entered the under the wharf tank to feed the 7 gill sharks and California Eagle Rays. The rays were like puppies – getting underneath the feet of the divers and tripping them up in their bids for attention and food!

The jellyfish, penguins and giant octopus tanks are also cool to view, and the California Sea Otters are very cute. While having lunch, we were fortunate to see some of these creatures in the wild in the ocean. They dive for shellfish and crustaceans and then lie on their backs to eat at the surface. They balance a rock on their chests and bash their food against the rock to open it – one of the few animals other than man that has learnt to use tools.

After SF, we flew to Austin, Texas for an AMIA conference – the Association for Moving Images Archivists. It was an interesting time and our first participation in this event. AMIA’s next conference is in Anchorage, Alaska in Oct 2006 – that’s going to be an interesting place to go, and I hope that we get to go there!

Austin is more like a large town and we liked it. We saw a little bit of the town as J has a longtime friend living there, so we went out for dinner twice with John and saw his gorgeous apartment that looks out over the hills to the Southwest. Real estate is cheap there and so are the general costs of living. The Austin Hilton where we stayed for the conference is US$120 per night which is cheap in comparison to most US city hotels, and it’s a very good hotel. The Crowne Plaza next door is US$80 per night.

We’re now at Frankfurt Airport waiting to embark on the last leg of this journey – the flight to Dubai. By the time we get home, we’ll have been travelling for 26 hours from Austin, Texas via Washington and Frankfurt. Dulles Airport in Washington is shocking - avoid it if you can. This time in Frankfurt is the worst part – 6 hours between flights. Luckily with J’s flying privileges, we’re in the Hons Circle lounge which is what the Lufthansa’s First Class lounges are called in Germany. We made the effort to walk out of the terminal to the main Hons Circle Lounge which is a lot bigger than the others. We clear security and immigration in the lounge before being chauffeured directly to the plane by a Mercedes limo or Porsche Cayenne – damn! We get to walk out by the plane before ascending the stairs that lead directly to the airgate. We like doing this - not many people get to walk beside their plane and get a closeup look at it from the outside.

We’ll be glad to get home to Dubai and back to some relatively warmer weather in comparison to what we’ve had in Japan and the US.

All this travelling sounds rather glamorous, but living out of a suitcase and in aircraft; being stuck in windowless seminar rooms; continuously talking business; looking for new partners and clients; eating unhealthy hotel convenience food and not seeing much of our environment does wear thin. That’s why we make the most of our free time – to blow out the cobwebs and do what we want to do. Sometimes we don’t have weekends when we travel from one place to the next in order to be there for the new working week.

However, it’s what we do – for now!


moryarti said...

i hope you don't mind me asking this mate .. but what line of business are you in?

nzm said...

Hi Moryarti

Please email me at: nzm_uae @ hotmail.com (without the spaces) and I'd be happy to tell you!


DAMGIRL said...

ok, I just asked in my mail to you what is new and then I remembered your blog...hooray, now I know it all. it's really great you started this! i was at the monteray bay aquarium many years back and just adored the otters!! they should release a video of them or at least install a live cam, I could watch them for hours!
Looking forward to your next entry travel queens!

nzm said...

well - now you know what we're up to - even when we don't have time to answer the few thousand emails that go back and forth between the 3 of us each week!

next entry will most likely be on our trip to Muscat, Oman that is happening over the next 4 days.

we're off early in the morning - be on cellphone if you really really need to get us!

i must add your blog to my list!

genesis said...

Want to read all blogs from the UAE in one place? Check http://uae.iopblogs.com. If you haven't submitted your blog yet, submit it to be included in the Aggregator. so that whenever you post something new it shows on the front page and visitors can click to your blog and comment or read your blog.