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Category Archives: Travel Notes

Vodka – Connecting Peoples?

Aloha, droogs!

Today I’m reporting to you from Hawaii, USA. Yes, it is nice for some :).

Vodka - connecting people!

Read on:

3, 2, 1… liftoff!

At last! Another dream of mine has come true – to see a spaceship take off! Hurray!

Last week it left Baikonur in Kazakhstan, and by the weekend it had already reached the International Space Station and docked. The crew’s made up of two Russians and one American – which perhaps explains why around town and in our hotel much American-accented English was to be heard.

We watched the liftoff from about two kilometers away, which might seem a long way off. But it isn’t. This isn’t U2 playing a stadium where being at the back is almost a waste of time and money… This is the Baikonur experience. The power generated by the massive rocket engines shook everything around so much it felt like an earthquake was occurring at the same time as the liftoff. Rather unnerving.

Baikonur Space Launch Center

The spike on the top means the ship’s manned; if it was without one, it would mean no crew – an unmanned remote-controlled cargo mission

Read on: Baikonur from inside…

Korean new office; Hainan déjà vu & fish.

Hi folks!

Another intense stint of globetrotting is over – finally. We’d been on the road for almost two months, visiting eight countries in total. It went like this: Dominican RepublicBrazilChile (Patagonia) – Saudi Arabia – Italy – Germany – Korea – China.

The second half of the journey turned out to be really tough – non-stop sprinting as opposed to the steady-jog pace which we normally aim for. Meetings, speeches, and moving around from A to B to C… with hardly any let-up whatsoever, not so much as a stroll after a long day – for two whole weeks! I was starting to burn out – when the habitual zip and zest and general lust for life just vanishes and everything seems either uninteresting or irritating or both. A bit like jetlag – which incidentally had also been building from acute to chronic… Cue some much-needed MANDATORY down time. Happily for me – in Hainan – the Chinese island some 30 kilometers to the south of the mainland. I had about a week there. Oh boy, did I need it. And, oh boy, how I enjoyed it.

Hainan, Sanya

Summarizing this latest world tour won’t take all that long as, since Patagonia, there was hardly any time for tourism. So, briefly…

Read on: It started with an intercontinental leap…

Patagonia: Pata-utopia.

Jules Verne, fat adventure novels, In Search of the Castaways, Paganel and Patagonia

Such childhood reminiscences are indelibly etched somewhere in the deeper recesses of my memory. I always conjured up images of mysterious countries in far-flung corners of the world, all exotic and unusual… but always beautiful.

Turns out those images were pretty accurate. For four decades later I found myself in Patagonia on a hiking trip, and if I was only allowed one word to describe the place, it would not be difficult choosing it: beautiful.

We wound up there after having a few free days left over after our visit to Brasília. And since that visit was a culmination of non-stop mental effort and oratory exertion, the timing was just right for some serious back-to-nature getting-away-from-it-all with lashings of fresh mountain air.

Of course, the whole of Patagonia can’t be checked out in just a few days as it covers such a massive territory. Still, we did manage to experience one of the most precious jewels in the Patagonian crown – the Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine National Park

Read on: 120 km in 5 days…

Not p-p-p-picking up penguins in Porvenir.

Tierra del Fuego, Chile. I’d always known it to be a mystically mysterious place if ever there was one, after having images of it seared into my brain as a child from being absorbed in the travel thrillers of Jules Verne and the like. Fast-forward three or four decades, and here I am – almost – in the Land of Fire itself. (Where the ‘Fire’ quite comes from I’ve yet to fathom, as there’s nothing hot about this place.) Actually, we’re just across the Strait of Magellan from it – in Punta Arenas, from where the fiery archipelago can be viewed with the naked eye! Once observed from over the water, that was it – we just had to get over there and check it out, if only to cure our curiosity…

Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Read on: Hallucinogenic landscapes. Unusual. Unreal…

Punta Arenas nostálgico.

Greetings all!

Punta Arenas – Sandy Point in English – is right at the very bottom end of Chile. It’s on a bank of the Strait of Magellan, across from the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. In other words, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. Unless, one day, you might fancy flying down to Antarctica… then it’d be where you’d want to be in the middle of, as flights down there leave from here. Actually, you’d need to be a little to the south of Punta Arenas, not in the middle of it, but that wouldn’t have given me the pseudo-witty play on words.

Punta Arenas, Chile

Read on: This was not my first time in Punta Arenas…

Brasília: capital city, minus the traffic jams.

Olá folks!

As you’ll have gathered from the title, I’m writing this in the capital of Brazil – the South American upcoming powerhouse with a burgeoning economy. It’s a city of 2.6 million, but there’s no traffic congestion here. You find this with some capitals of large countries, just not often. But here’s a +1 of such capitals visited for me – Brasília, the capital of the republic of soccer, Cachaça, Samba and carnivals…

Brasilia!

You didn’t believe me?

Read on: an alternative way of getting to Brazil…

Locks, new office block, and 60 mysterious stones.

What-ho, peeps!

How many times I’ve been to London I lost track of long ago. How many miles I’ve walked in parks, along river banks and down side streets I couldn’t even give a ball-park figure for. But a stroll along London’s Industrial Revolution-era canals – no, that was a first.

London canal stroll

Locks, water stock and two trees

I really recommend checking out this somewhat lesser well-known side to the UK’s capital. It’s a network of mini-canals, which connected London with the rest of the country so Industrial Revolution-era raw materials and goods could be ferried about.

Read on: thousands of miles of canals …

2013 – hardly unlucky for us… 2014 – up all year to get lucky.

As per tradition, the festive season for KL kicked off with our Christmas/New Year shindig – this year on the already decidedly tipsy December 20.

The following week another tradition was duly observed – the annual tour of every room in the office by Santa (me) and his little helpers, which this year also took in some of our neighbors’ offices, to personally wish everyone personally a merry Christmas and a happy upcoming New Year.

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+ two snow queens + one snow queen More: 2013 – hardly unlucky for us… 2014 – up all year to get lucky.

Time to move on. Just like a Christmas tree on the Thames.

Hi folks!

Well here I am, back in a frosty London – one of my fave capitals.

One of the first things I saw here was a Christmas tree bobbing down the river Thames! I think it was a sign… a reminder that the festive period is o v e r, period! Enough already! Back to work!

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More: Time to move on. Just like a Christmas tree on the Thames.