Tag Archives: flying

Flying business

20 Sep

As I mentioned before, I have traveled a lot in the last four months.  I’ve been all over – the States three times, South Korea three times, the UK (Britain and Scotland), Australia, Singapore and Indonesia.  All told I was traveling over two thirds of the time from May through the end of August.

Blue skies

Blue skies

With that much travel, I spent a lot of time in airports – on planes, in lounges and in the duty free shops.  I also saw many, many more blue skies than if I had stayed in China.  My status on Delta and its alliance partners has ticked up to the top and I must admit that I’m getting a little spoiled from not standing in line, cutting security queues and having first access to the plane.

In London I got to explore the Virgin Clubhouse lounge which has waiter service, a hair salon, a music studio and a pool table inside.  In San Francisco, Korean Air uses the British Airways lounge where I was the only person in the highest lounge for nearly an hour with a full buffet to myself.  In Shanghai I now know which lounges let you access the plane directly and avoid the scramble around the gate above.  Sydney’s lounges have a full barista set up where I could get a fresh cup of chai and homemade scone.

A buffet for one

A buffet for one

I bought English breakfast tea and Winston Churchill’s caramels in London, kangaroo jerky in Sydney and my ultimate foot lotion socks in Seoul, plus lots of candy and other small gifts as I made my way through the airports.  I completed a survey on the Seoul airport and got a free toothbrush.

The best way to pamper your feet - only found in Korea.  Single use lotion socks that are incredible!

The best way to pamper your feet – only found in Korea. Single use lotion socks that are incredible!

I spent a weekend exploring the area near St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, I ate traditional Korean food in Seoul and caught up with old friends in Singapore.  My boss bravely tried haggis in Scotland where I marveled that there was whisky on the breakfast buffet.  I met up with a former colleague for a weekend in San Francisco where we had sourdough bread and met people I haven’t seen in nearly 10 years at an actuarial conference.

My visit to Jakarta was punctuated with a breakfast with one of my first friends from Shanghai who was in my Chinese class way back when I was teaching English.  She’s Indonesian and had moved back with her husband a couple of years ago.  One visit to the States I had a rental car and enjoyed driving again with the windows down.

Of course I also met with clients and colleagues and had conference calls at odd hours.  I struggled through jet lag and time differences and not remembering which room was mine at the hotel because I had three different room numbers in a week and none of them stuck in my head.

Will my carry-on fit?  Of course... I am flying business!

Will my carry-on fit? Of course… I am flying business!

It was fun and invigorating and exhausting.

In short, it was business travel.

I’m ready for a break.

Have you ever traveled a lot for business?  What are your favorite memories?

 

Cambodia Day 4 – A Balloon Ride

16 May

This post is part of our adventures in Cambodia, to see other posts in the series, please click here.

One of the items in the tourist brochures we looked at that appealed to both of us was a hot air balloon ride over the temple area.  We did some research and there were two types of balloons – one a free hot air balloon and the other that was attached to a cable and winched up so it wouldn’t blow away.  We decided on the second option, as it was more flexible and also more affordable.

We started our day trying to go up in the balloon, but after snapping a photo, we were informed that the wind was too strong and to try to come back.

Our first attempt to ride the balloon early in the morning

Our first attempt to ride the balloon early in the morning

We then went to explore several other places and then returned again after lunch.

Once again they told us that they weren’t sure when/if we’d be able to fly.  This time though we really didn’t feel like going back into the hot afternoon sun and decided to sit and wait for a while.  The ticket takers said we could wait, but we didn’t need to pay until they decided if it was safe to fly.  We watched group after group come, listen to the weather report and then leave.  Finally, after waiting for over an hour they told us that we may be able to go up.  We took a couple of “happy pictures” with the balloon from below and then waited along with a group of German tourists for our turn.

Yay!  We finally get to take a ride.

Yay! We finally get to take a ride.

Look at the blue sky and puffy clouds - it was still pretty windy up there.

Look at the blue sky and puffy clouds – it was still pretty windy up there.

Even though the balloon was very large, only 8 people could go up at a time.  We watched the earth get smaller and smaller as the winch let us float above the fields below.

My guess is that it was a German balloon.  That's a good thing - I trust German technology

My guess is that it was a German balloon. That’s a good thing – I trust German technology

The winch letting us up

The winch letting us up

The beautiful pattern of the fields below

The beautiful pattern of the fields below

Finally then, we were able to see Angkor Wat from above.  To think that so many hundreds of years ago this temple was there – before hot air balloons or airplanes – was mind boggling.

See Angkor Wat over Li's shoulder?

See Angkor Wat over Li’s shoulder?

Angkor Wat from above

Angkor Wat from above

The ride only lasted about 20 minutes, but we had a wonderful time.  I would highly recommend it if you are visiting the Angkor Wat complex.

Heading down after a great ride.

Heading down after a great ride.

After finishing our balloon ride we then headed to Phnom Bakheng hill which was the recommended spot to watch the sunset.  Stay tuned to see if it could match the sunset of the night before!

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