Out and About

Beef bacon, Turkey ham, and Chicken sausages have been the week's breakfast menu - one of the side effects of visiting Malaysia. I spent last week there saying the same thing 100 times a day, as the company I work for was exhibiting at a trade show.

As a Muslim country, Malaysia attracts visitors from the Middle East. It's strange to see couples on holiday at the hotel, where the man is dressed in shorts, T-shirt & sandals, but the lady has on the full head-to-toe black outfit, with just the little letterbox cutout for the eyes. Then as another contrast the local Muslim ladies commonly wear jeans & shirts and a colourful head scarf.

What else to notice about a week in KL ?
- The spoken Chinese dialect is most commonly Cantonese, which means you can pick up all sorts of useful things in meetings. Now I'm in Singapore, where Cantonese is rare to hear.
- Oh, as well as the "No smoking" logo in the taxi to the airport, they also had a "No kissing" logo !
- The Chinese food is so-so, despite our hosts pride in their choice of restaurants. I'd save Chinese food when you're in HK, and enjoy the satay and rendang instead.
- Traffic jams... Allow plenty of time for travel between meetings, as the city is pread out and the roads get chokes.
- The fake DVD store had better service than a real store in HK ! All the disks laid out in alphaabetical order, advice on what disks where good quality, and which were the ones to avoid, and all sales run through a computerised point of sale system.

Only two days until I'm home again. Business trips have certainly lost their appeal since the arrival of BabyB.


Trip to USA

The Talls have just returned from a longish trip to the USA, with stops in southern California/Las Vegas, then a trip to the ancestral homeland in Iowa.

Not much of excitement to report; I’ll just drop a few random points and observations on you:

  • We arrived in Los Angeles at 7:00 in the morning. I don’t recommend this, much. We had to try to stay awake all day, and since we didn’t want to accomplish this within the loving bosom of Los Angeles International Airport, aka LAX, this meant picking up our rental car and driving somewhere. We ended up down in Laguna Beach, on the Orange County coast, and it’s a place I very highly recommend. But our journey out of the airport on the notorious 405 freeway, then on to the truck-choked 710, was, ah, not the best showcase for my driving skills. Let’s just say it would have been better for me to have adjusted at least one of our minivan’s three mirrors before we set off.
  • Visiting Disneyland on our first full day, then Knott’s Berry Farm, another amusement park, on our second day, was the perfect antidote for jetlag. The combination of fresh air and sunshine (the weather was spectacular); mild shots of adrenaline provided by thrill rides; and overall atmosphere of compelling interest for Daughter Tall kept us from even thinking much about what time it was or how much our bodies wanted to sleep. Daughter Tall in fact had virtually no signs of jetlag whatsoever – a big contrast to our return to HK, as she’s been passing out in her ricebowl the past couple of evenings.
  • A tip to travelers to the USA: don’t – DON’T – underestimate the amount of sheer wasted time the current security inanities are going to cost you. We (fortunately, in retrospect) had to drop off our rental car pretty early the day we flew from LA to the Midwest, so we got to the airport three hours before our flight. Well, it took us fully two hours just to make it to our gate. Long lines at check-in started us off wrong, compounded by the fact that after we’d made it all the way through the check-in line for domestic flights, we couldn’t check in because our flight was a leg of an international itinerary; the only way we could manage it was to endure the entire international check-in line as well. Viva Northwest Airlines, yet again. Oh, and they lost our luggage on two of the trip’s three legs.
  • We were hoping for snow in Iowa, but were stymied; it was a bleak brown Christmas. It snowed there later in the day we left, actually. But we were compensated by a day of snowplay in LA! We were visiting friends in Pasadena, who took us up into the San Gabriel mountains one day, after a fairly hefty snowfall overnight in the higher elevations. Great fun.
  • A couple of mornings ago, i.e. a day after we’d returned to HK, Daughter Tall burst into tears.

    ‘What’s the matter?!’, we implored.

    ‘I’m sad!’, she replied. ‘I miss Grandpa and Grandma!’

    ‘Awwwww. How sweet!’, thought Mrs Tall and I.

    ‘And I’m sad because we don’t have a big house!’, added Daughter Tall.

    A bit less sweet, that.

opp of cross eyed

wall eyed