September 2009 Archives

LHR adventures.

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Early wakeup, late bags, self-transfer, baggage charges,  'flight connections' where you have to clear security to go between terminals, arguing with the Skyteam lounge attendant on whether my presidents club card was valid or not, loud american shouting across the lounge, champagne not available till 5pm. Bah.
On the up side, got in the lounge, got a network connection, got a gin/tonic connection, and am heading home to drink gallons of iced tea.
LHR's Terminal 5 is pretty.. shame its so far away from the rest of the airport.

Damned Jetstream

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FlightAwarelhrord.jpgThe flight I'm going to take tomorrow is running a bit behind today. Dang.

Seriously. The light.

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Another view..

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IMG_2180.JPGSeriously, the light changes it all again. And the wine makes it that much more impactful.

View from your Edinburgh hotel Window

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IMG_2179.JPGI don't know how to pronounce Holyrood, but that's the name of the green thing rising up out of the city there. I have to say, this is a great view of water and land and city. I especially like the color of the water changing as clouds and sun play over the bay. I'm pretty sure that's north over the water. I've finished this project for now, with the exception of some documentation, now just to do some testing and administrative gorp, then I can have a nice dinner, go out, have a bath and fly home tomorrow. Boarding passes are printed, need to sort out the baggage so I don't have some crazy overage, but its downhill now till I have to chase the sun westward tomorrow. I'll be back here.. there's some cool things I didn't get to see.

So I tried the haggis..

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and it wasn't actually too bad.
IMG_2172.JPGI imagine it would look much different if the EU hadn't mandated compact fluorescent bulbs, but this was an amazing pub with a ton of hand drawn ales, including the Stewart Ale I had that had a distinctly apple-ey taste. I took a photo of the pub in black/white as well, and might post that one. Most of the evenings this week were taken with socializing with the work team. I did my duty and bought the round when it was my turn. That's pretty important around this land to carry your weight and insure that if someone got you a round, you return the favor.
Work has been good, and evenings have been pretty quiet, considering the town rolls up the sidewalks pretty early here. There are some "Literary walks" or "Ghost tours" to take in the evening if I were so inclined, but I'm not very much inclined to walk in a basement and have someone tell me spooky stories.
I think I've got all the take-home gifts I need to get taken care of, with the exception of a few rugby jerseys and shot glasses that I'll get tomorrow. This feels like the downhill slide, and I'm ready to be home at this point. I'm working out a plan to spend the last of my scottish pounds along the way; evidently they're not favored in England
213043.jpgNow it feels like I'm heading toward home. My stuff is all together, I've got a good week of work to do here, and the next time I get on a plane, its not going to be an interim stop, but rather the trek back home. I still have to find some scotch for Charles, as that was his requested business trip gift. The selection here is a little overwhelming.
The weather turned a bit nasty here, so it was a disappointment to leave sunny Munich and land in a gale in Edinburgh. Hopefully my morning commute will be a dry one. Another disappointment was coming to a quiet corner of the bar, only to have a loud-talker pick the table next to mine. *grumble*
Oktoberfest was a blast as always, though this is the first time I didn't get into the tent. I don't think I missed too much, other than 9 euro liters of beer, and some racous singing. Franz and I walked through the midway, snapped some of the costumes, had some food, and made a break back to familiar territory, pretty much intact. The sun was shining, and it was a great day, all told.
IMG_2024.jpgLast night at the Friday night warm-up party, Pascal mentioned that there were a couple of Dutch guys here in town at the Edelheiss, our regular bar. Of course I asked right away if it was Jan & Timon, and while he couldn't confirm that it was them, of course as morning broke and I checked my messages, it is indeed them here in town this weekend for the Oktoberfest kickoff. Small world, this here planet. We've had a great day with them and a few other friends, starting with a brunch, and morphing into some coffee and beer on the Pestalozzistrasse, catching up on things. We've had extra special fun terrorizing the Germans as Henke and Jan put on their super-special dirndls for the afternoon coffee and were seen blowing kisses to the people walking by and gawking. I think the girls were just jealous at their very impressive cleavage.
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Calton Hill from North Bridge, Edinburgh

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IMG_1922.JPGI've had a couple of clear afternoons after work to wander around hilly Edinburgh, and managed to get a SIM for my phone so I've got a local number for a bit. Telephony has come a long way - they give the SIM away, so long as you buy minutes. That's the way it should be - the network is just a dumb utility line. Of course my coworkers think I'm carrying around multiple phones.. HA.

I used to think this nation's obsession with admonishments to "please do this" and "please don't do that".. stickers everywhere was over politeness, but I'm speculating now that this might actually be some sort of passive-aggressive neurosis that is expressing itself. Signs on a construction area about "Parents are especially responsible for children tresspassing.. blah blah" and signs all over the customer's office about where mobile phones can and can't be used and to plead with people to "respect their colleagues and not walk through their aisle" on the way to the canteen are nothing but fodder for passiveaggressivenotes.com. There's some serious work to do for therapists here, but perhaps it's beyond all that.

I caught the Peter Jackson film District 9 tonight, and thought it both cool in the grimy splattery effects, and clever in the execution. I've always admired the linguistic talents of the Dutch, so the role S. Copley played as Wikus knowing the prawn language(?!) totally suckered me in. That and the total affinity for bureacracy. The Dutch have that down pat.

I'm 12 days from being home... and looking forward to it at this point. I did have a nice steak here in Scotland for dinner last night.. I never really think about the fact that almost everything in Germany is a pork dish, until I get somewhere for a steak. It was quite delicious, but we have them bigger at home, with large glasses of iced tea. Mmm.

View from the Scotsman

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IMG_1913.JPGArrived easily enough, though EasyJet got a chunk of change for baggage. It was cheaper to ship me here than my luggage. Go figure. Seems to be a beautiful place, before it was dark, there was lots of green. The hotel is überswanky but the travel agent got a deal on it. Will have to figure out how to get to work tomrrow. Should be interesting. I'm kind of liking watching a movie on TV in English - one of the X-men movies is on.

Saturday sliding down a mountain..

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On my first trip sliding down the Alpine Coaster, I tried to make a video of it as well, but its rather distracting trying to film while giving gas to the sled. What a ride.. hills, banks, curves, cows, trees.. They advertise that it takes 9 minutes to go down. I timed it at 5:32. Franz and Pascal and Ralf and I rented a car to head down to Imst for this. Franz had been there a few days ago with an American that found out about it, so was eager to show off. We each rode 3 times, comparing notes on which curves were the best, and where to let it fly. It took a bit of coordination to make sure noone was on the track in front of us, so that we didn't have to slow down much. As it was, on the video above, Pascal was in front of me, and despite all his tough talk about "You can't fly off, I'll go full speed", he rode the brakes and I nearly caught him. I think by the 3rd ride, he was flying down catching up with people as well.
I've got things nearly packed for my trip to Scotland to Edinburgh for this week's work. This is the original work I was supposed to do in London, but its moved up that way. Will be a busy week up there, then back to Munich for the Oktoberfest kickoff. I look forward to that, and hate having to leave right now.

I'd rather be snoozing in the sun too

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IMG_1775.JPGThis guy has the right idea, snoozing in the afternoon at the salon on Klenzestr. while everyone inside is doing business. Interesting times at work, with a customer getting off their wallet just about the time I'm ready to head home. It's great how everyone else's inaction somehow becomes a crisis for me. Nothing new, however.

*grumble*

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Good news first. The positive aspect of health care regulated here in Germany is that when I went to a doc today, with no appointment, just walked in for care, the grand total for my visit was €138. No insurance, even some obscure tests included.

The bad news is that despite me telling him specifically that my eustacian tube has some kind of infection (which were verified by the tests.. "Oh look, the test shows you have a clogged tube on the left side"... "I told you that 30 minutes ago"), he wrote me a script for some crappy decongestant and told me to drink lots of fluids and chew plenty of gum to clear it up. So instead of getting a z-pack and being done with it in 3 days, I'm going to have to look around for a doc that realizes that antibiotics can eliminate the CAUSE of the infection, thereby making the symptoms go away. *grumble*

Friday FREI!

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Having most of the week behind me and a Monday holiday on tap, makes for a nice opportunity to get away to Berlin for the weekend. Sleeping in was a luxury, and I feel relaxed at the airport. The Lufthansa terminal feels like a lounge throughout, lacking announcements of "BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING" or noise whatsoever. You can hear the air conditioning purring over the murmur of people wandering about. There were two people in front of me to check in bags, which went quick, and security screening while thorough was unobtrusive and also had only a couple of people in front of me. Having had a lunch of salmon and Roesti, my gate is just down the hall. A change of scenery will be fun.

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