Tag Archives: on the road again

Full steam ahead – 2017: a review.

Belatedly, Happy New Year folks!

Oh my goodness, we’re more than half-way through January already! Where did that go?

Time waits for no man, as they say. Well, with one exception: it waits for every Russian man and woman and child at the beginning of every year while they have a week-long national jolly – sometimes even a two-week one right the way up to Orthodox Old New Year on January 14. Oh those Russians.

Well now, the above-mentioned extended leave is finally well and truly over and it’s ‘back to work!’ again, as I like to say. Ahead of us lie a full 350 days of this year, and I’m sure most of them will be challenging workdays. All righty, let’s get going… sort of…

One thing I didn’t get round to doing in December of last year was my traditional review of the year. That in itself hints at the fact that it was a busy year. Indeed it was. It was also a tricky one, with all sorts of unexpected and unwarranted unpleasantness fired our way throughout most of it, as you’ll probably know already. But, just in case you missed it, or need some blanks filling out – herewith: a recap…

Read on: Quick rewind…

Non-stop country-swap; wooing in Wuzhen.

Hi folks!

Herewith, more on my time-warping theme, and on assorted tourisms – or their absence.

Sometimes I forget just how much city-hopping on planes I do in a month. It’s only when I look back over the month – usually by going through the photos I’ve taken during it – that I realize the actual numbers of cities visited are in double figures…

So, November 2017 for me went like this:

Like? I didn’t really. That was a tough November. I changed country (admittedly, twice three times – Germany, the UK and Russia) 11 times. I think that might be a record for a month – unless December beats it!…

Next up this month: Wuzhen, China.

Read on: City hop till drop; Wuzhen fusion…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Remember, remember, a hectic November.

Sometimes it seems such a shame there are just 24 hours in a day here on planet earth – normally. But it is possible to have less (why would anyone want that?), or – hurray! – to have more, if you’re careful with your choice of globetrotting-by-plane or certain-national-border-hopping-on-the-ground, that is…

But there are also occasions when you can lose a whole day, as in – a certain day you never see at all, it just passes you by or just never exists for you, and not because of a sleep-athon or coma or some such… I wonder – does that make you a day older? Younger? Hmmm.

So, how can you have a day just never occur for you? Well, here’s an example:

You board a plane, let’s say on August 28 and 14:30 in Santiago de Chile, and 14 hours later, with no night falling during that time, you land in Sydney de Australia. The local time at the destination: 17:30. But the day? August 30! WHAT? Where’d the full 24 hours of August 29 go? It disappeared down a black hole of time, aka the International Date Line. But if the IDL is imaginary… so, that means the day disappeared because of something only imagined and not real? Ok, I’ll stop there before your brain fries more than mine…

To help soothe your frazzled brains, herewith, a few entirely unrelated pics for your viewing pleasure, just when you need them most:

On the other hand, I’ve often had days that never seem to end.

For example, I’ve been woken up at around 2am by my alarm clock (hate that) in Thailand after a partner conference so as to get to the airport in time for my flight departing at 6am – to Tokyo (a timing/route mercifully since closed). Next up – a connection to San Francisco, California. All that in ONE calendar day (kinda), which ends up lasting something like 35-40 hours. Of course, one’s mental state upon arrival at the final destination is a cross between that of a vegetable and a zombie: red eyes, one side of the face lower than the other, perma-frown, very grumpy, etc., etc.: not a pretty sight. But what can you do? Duty calls.

So that’s how regular long-haulers lose or gain hours to their lives up in the air. Meanwhile, down on the ground you get a similar thing, only on a much smaller scale. You can’t go anywhere near as fast as a plane, so the most you can add or take off a day is an hour or two, possibly three at a stretch; more – only if there are two hours’ difference on a border and daylight saving time affects things.

So where can you get spookily-vanishing or magically-appearing hours of a day on the ground?

Read on: MMMM: Must-see Magnificent Maritime Museum!…

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LCY – AMS: Quicker flight than the taxi ride to the airport.

Sometimes, trying to save time sees you spending even more of it…

Every now and then you hear a frustrated business traveler complaining about it taking longer to get to the airport than to fly to their destination. Well, this time that business traveler is me, for I’ve just set myself a record: a recent drive to an airport took twice as long as the flight itself! It was in London, but the airport wasn’t Heathrow or Gatwick or Luton, it was London City Airport – just 18 kilometers from our hotel near Hyde Park: a lot nearer. But we were driving for a whole 90 minutes! Oh my grrrr.

// And before you wonder why we didn’t take the Tube, let me just explain that we had with us fat and heavy suitcases to see us through a whole week of business traveling across four countries. Tried it before; the only conclusion: never again! The Underground is far too cramped for comfort with big suitcases.

Read on…

A View to a Thrill.

Be careful what you wish for!…

…I’d been wishing for an aerial view – from an airplane – of Santorini for years. Well now it’s come to pass.

I had in fact flown over the Greek island before, only at night and/or on a cloudy day, so I never saw anything. This time, the conditions were perfect: a bright, clear day. The conditions were so perfect that even the pilots were taking pics!

Santorini!

Read on: Santorini from a plane – the beauty’s almost insane…

XIA – PEK – SVO – LHR – NAS – LHR – PHEW.

I’ve been getting about quite a bit this fall, and practically every day I’ve been as busy as a bee. It’s that slightly disorienting routine I get into every few months or so: each day something new – starting with the hotel room I wake up in.

But the other day it wasn’t a hotel room. Upon waking, my first question to myself was the usual ‘Where am I?’, but the answer this time came ‘in an Airbus!’ Indeed I was, flying Xi-an – Beijing – Moscow – London – the Bahamas – London over several days.

Such continent hopping in a short time with lots on the work agenda forces my happy-snapping habit into its minimalist regime. This isn’t so bad, as the pics that do manage to get taken are normally very much ‘greatest  hits’ and no padding. Thus, this post: ‘Greatest Hits of the Last Several Days’!

First, here’s a masterpiece from Petrovich taken at dawn at Danxia:

Before you ask about the fly, let me make the introductions: please meet our pet fly, whom we carry around the world with us in a jar and sometimes let him out for a walk fly :).

And now for a brief rundown of my recent continent hopping…

Read on: Asia > Europe > North America > Europe…

Chronicles of a very long week.

What a week! A working week, I mean – and one that included both weekends each end of it.

It started on Saturday, September 9, and finished nine days later on Monday, September 18. It was long and it was tough – so quite typical really – and it went like this…

On the Saturday I needed to be in St. Pete – so I off I popped. As I’ve said before on these here pages, I don’t get one bit the bad rep St. Petersburg has in terms of weather. I’m sure it’s an anti-St.P rumor-based conspiracy. Why? Because when I come here the sun’s always shining and the Petersburgers are strolling about all leisurely and tanned – some even wearing shorts. It’s in Moscow where the bad weather’s at – all murky and sticky and blustery and rainy. Meanwhile in Leningrad…

When in St. Petersburg – have a Belgian craft burger ).

Read more: Good news!..

SYX → SVX

Now, it’s time for another travel-related installment.

Sanya is a good place to get some R&R by the sea and catch up on sleep; if only the holidays weren’t so short…. Once again it’s time to board a plane, and… twiddle my thumbs for 3.5 hours, waiting for departure clearance. Yeah, such things happen here every now and again. Later, I heard that at the same time, some people had to wait for 6 hours for their departure at Beijing airport! That would be enough to drive you mad… When you’re actually traveling in a plane, time passes much quicker than when your departure is delayed indefinitely, and you’re just sitting around in the airport building or in a plane next to the runway.

And finally we’re airborne!

This place is sunny, the clouds are fluffy white, it’s all cheery, and palm trees line the sandy beaches.

After we have flown a little deeper into mainland China, the weather changes dramatically into the more familiar Chinese climate. The clouds are quite thick, lined up in several layers, making sure the sun cannot break through to the land below…

Read on: multi-colored bowls of Huanglong and Lake Jiuzhaigou…