Archive for the ‘travel observations’ Category

Manila Drivers
January 7, 2010

Manila is a very interesting city, full of contrasts. I am not going to go into an entire socio-political-geographical discussion, but instead focus on one specific contrast. Their roads look just like ours—they are mostly well maintained, with overpasses, green and white street signs, and lane stripes. There is a difference though: drivers in Manila must be the best drivers in the world.  Despite the fact that no one seems to notice the lanes, and everyone drives like there are no other cars on the road, I have not seen one single accident, much less the mass fatalities one would think would happen with the insane driving here. The buses just change lanes, moving over regardless of whether there is a car, or a motorcycle, or a pedestrian in their desired spot. And pedestrians just walk in between the cars, whether traffic is moving or not. Often, people don’t even drive in one lane—they kind of hover between two lanes, or three cars will fit into two lanes.

And the horns! They use horns to tell other cars where they are, horns to yell at cars for moving over into their space, horns to get the pedestrians to stop…..one time we were driving down a deserted road and my driver honked at nothing. Out of habit? To hear himself honk? Who knows.

I have to close my eyes sometimes because I am sure that this is the time that bus is going to run us off the road. So far it hasn’t happened! I am in Manila for another three hours before I head for the airport. Hopefully I will make it safely. See you back Stateside!!

Landed in Manila
January 4, 2010

I have arrived in Manila! It took 27 hours of time to get from my house Sunday morning to the hotel Monday night.  It is 1am here and I am about to leave for the office, because the office here works at night in order to work during American day-time hours. What a crazy world!

A couple of quick thoughts about my trip. First of all, the flying was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Business Class for the longest leg certainly helps, but even on the flight from Tokyo to Manila the plane had a lot of empty seats so I had four seats all to myself.

The airport in Tokyo was like all other airports (besides the writing in Japanese) except for one thing–in the ladies’ room, one of the stalls had a toilet in the ground instead of the one I am accustomed to. If anyone knows why this is so please share! I walked past that one to the normal toilet, but am dying of curiosity.

Finally, my hotel has excellent coffee, which is great since I will probably be needing copious amounts during my short stay.

More later!

Up in the Air
December 29, 2009

Time for my movie review! Finally got to see this movie last night.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell you anything about the plot-line, or the story, or anything else. What I will tell you is that I really enjoyed it. As did Home Warrior, who does not travel like I do. So clearly it appeals to more than just the constant travelers of the world. I felt the acting was very real, and the story was believable, and very relevant.

The thing that amazed me throughout the movie is that all of the business travel details were dead on. I kept leaning over to Home Warrior saying, “That’s where I stay!” or “That’s what I do!” That key thing? Been there. There was one time when everyone in the theater laughed (I forgot where) and I remember thinking, What? That’s how it is!  So that aspect of the movie was really cool. It helped me remember there is a greater community of business travelers out there that I can relate to, and that get the craziness I go through in a normal week.

Plus George Clooney is, as always, super hot. And the actress who played Alex had awesome clothes throughout the whole movie, and I want to dress like her.

Overall, I highly recommend to men and women, travelers and non-travelers, basically to anyone who likes a good movie. Hope you enjoy it!

Treats On A Plane
December 2, 2009

Happy late-Thanksgiving everyone!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I had a more eventful holiday than I would have liked (pipes getting clogged, dishwasher draining into sink, water spilling out onto the floor, plumbers called…..sigh) but it was still lots of fun and filled with lots of family. The only traveling we did was drive a few hours to spend time with Home Warrior’s parents. Our drive was completely uneventful, although it was entertaining to see how full all of the store parking lots were at 8am.

I know there are many others (including my own family) who did lots of traveling, and therefore have some very interesting anecdotes. I have read many stories in many blogs, but this is by far the best.  One of my favorite blog-writers, Just Bea, had a heck of  a plane trip to visit her family.

Treats on a Plane

“I don’t blame you for having kids.  I think kids are great.  I someday hope to have a couple of the little buggers.  However, what I do blame you for is you and your spouse bringing four kids under the age of five on an airplane and falling asleep while they kick my chair for two and a half hours.  Oh and then dirty themselves.  I do not understand why it took you almost twenty minutes to notice.  I noticed.  I noticed immediately.

I get it, really I do.  You have the same rights that I do to travel freely about the country this merry holiday season.  But I do not think that you have the right to fall asleep, both of you, for the entire flight.  It seems tough not to notice your sons playing tug of war.  From two separate rows.  Also, hard to believe that you can’t hear them yelling to each other about the “snow” (which is actually clouds, which is kind of cute but whatever).

That’s all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.”

Napa was fabulous
October 30, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, the Home Warrior (aka my husband) and I went to Napa for a short vacation. Since my sister lived in San Francisco for a while, I have been to Napa and Sonoma several times. However Home Warrior had never been out there, so when he had a few extra vacation days that’s where we decided to go.

We flew into Sacramento because we have some friends that moved out there last year. We stayed with them that night, and went to eat at Hot Italian.  At Hot Italian you can buy pizza, gelato, good wine, and outfits to wear while driving your Maserati: a true Italian experience.  There were a lot of different pizzas on the menu, and some you could get as either a pizza or a calzone, or a pizza or a salad. Home Warrior got a fabulous pizza with gorgonzola, prosciutto, figs, and arugula. I got a pizza that could also be a salad with spinach, craisins, gorgonzola, and pears. I was expecting my pizza to be a little more like Home Warrior’s, which was a traditional pizza with the aforementioned items as traditional toppings. Instead what I got was a pizza crust with a salad on top of it. Although it was not exactly what I was expecting, it was delicious, as was the gelato we had for dessert. A special thanks to Eric, Tara, Taric, Jasmine, and Venus for letting us crash at their place and for entertaining us Saturday night. It was great fun to hang out with friends.

Sunday we got up and drove to Napa Valley, where we stayed until Wednesday. We went to several wineries, ate some amazing meals, and stayed at the very comfortable and affordable Eurospa and Inn. Some highlights:

Domain Carneros—my favorite place to go for sparkling wine. The wine is made in the traditional méthode Champenoise, is complete organic, and the tasting is a great deal at three three-ounce tastes for $15. The soft cheese plate is a great accompaniment, and the views cannot be beat.

Gustavo Thrace—great wine, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and Gustavo was featured in the movie Bottleshock. I actually got to meet him when I was there last March which was really cool.

Duckhorn—it’s worth it to go here for the building alone, which is beautiful but cozy at the same time. The wine is delicious, the pours are quite generous, and the staff is very friendly.

Culinary Institute of America Greystone Restaurant—Best. Meal. Ever. Enough said.

Eurospa and Inn—boutique hotel in Calistoga. Very cute, clean, with Jacuzzi-tubs and fireplaces in all the rooms. The owners are really nice and spot on with recommendations to eat in town.  They also give a great breakfast in the morning and set out cookies and cheese in the afternoon.

It was cloudy the whole time we were there, and rained torrentially the last full day, but it was a great vacation and we can’t wait to go back.

How Fliers Avoid Friendly Skies
October 15, 2009

As I was looking at the USA Today in my Salt Lake City hotel room this morning, I came across an interesting little survey. The question was: how do business travelers avoid talking to people on planes? Here are the results:

Start reading                           50%

Listen to music                        38%

Don’t try; enjoy talking          24%

Hate to be rude; will talk        20%

I will admit, I could have answered all of these at one time or another. Mostly I listen to music and read. Once I had to tell someone who didn’t get the music/reading hint (truthfully) that I was losing my voice and had to stop talking.  Sometimes I cave and talk to people anyway. And a few times I have really, truly enjoyed it.

How do you avoid talking to people you don’t want to while traveling?

Some quick statistics about women business travelers
August 4, 2009

  • In the 1970’s women were less than 1% of business travelers; now we make up almost 50%
  • Several hotels offer “Women Only” floors or packages specifically for women
  • Some hotels have yoga packages for women that include 24 hour yoga channels and mats (I want to stay at that place!!)
  • I recently passed a Brooks Brothers in an airport that had men’s AND WOMEN’S clothes for sale—first time!! 
  • We spend $175 billion on 14 million trips annually
  • 70% of all travel decisions are made by women

We are making progress sisters! The travel industry has continued to recognize that we make up a significant part of the market and are changing the way they do business to reflect that.

I love LOVE
July 14, 2009

Today’s post is short and sweet—go see LOVE, the Cirque du Soleil/Beatles show in Las Vegas. It is fabulous. Anyone who even halfway likes the Beatles will really enjoy it. It is all normal Cirque acrobatic dancing, even more visually beautiful than normal, to reproduced and re-imagined Beatles songs. As someone who was raised on Beatles music, I can’t tell how much this show moves me. I’ve seen it three times (!!) and can’t wait to see it again.

http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/love/default.aspx

Las Vegas: Home of the Over-sharer
July 8, 2009

It started on the first full day of my recent vacation in Vegas, but I didn’t realize it was a pattern until the flight home.  My husband, sister, future brother in law, and I had met at a restaurant for breakfast.  When our waitress came to take our drink order, as she left she said, “Happy Fourth of July!”  My sister said thanks and asked her if she was going to be working late, or getting off work in time to celebrate.  “I’m getting off at three!!” she replied. “I love Fourth of July. I just can’t wait to get f**d up!!”  Wow.  Have fun with that.

Then there was the cab driver who told us (as he was dropping us off at Circus Circus for dinner) that he would never go there ever, and anyone who wanted to go there was crazy, because it was the worst casino on the strip.  Tactful.  And the poolside waitress who, after sharing that she liked to let her dog kiss her mouth even after the dog had been cleaning its privates, let us know that the reason she’s been in such a bad mood lately is because she really needed to get laid.  And finally, our cab driver on the drive to the airport sharing that business has been so bad that she was crying earlier that morning, and made approximately $.70 per hour the day before.  Boundaries, people!

Why do people do this?  Maybe because they know chances are very slim of ever seeing again the tourist they just dumped on,  so who cares.  Or maybe the personality type that is drawn to live in a town like Vegas is very talkative.  A desperate need to talk to someone, anyone.  Likely it’s a combination of many things that I have no idea about.  I would like to find out though!

And one thing is for sure—this experience has made me want to be more aware of any oversharing tendencies of my own.  I will definitely be more careful in the future not to share too much.  Because I’m pretty sure the guy who checks me into my hotel next week doesn’t care one way or the other about how I have the cutest, best dogs in the world, or how I got lost on the way there and started crying in the car.  Or how much I am looking forward to getting f**d up that night.

More to come from the Vegas trip……

Where’s the help??
June 26, 2009

I travel a lot, and almost all of it is for work.  When I first started this position I searched the web for women business travelers.  Information, insight, packing ideas, anything—and I found zip.  The best thing I found reminded me that nylons could catch on fire if there is a plane wreck so it’s better to put them on once you get to your destination.  What???  How is that helpful??  I needed to know the best suitcase and travel bag, how to pack all the toiletries, what clothes to bring, tips for sleeping, etc. Where is this information?  Nowhere I could find.  So, now that I have been traveling for work almost every week for three years, I feel like I have something to add to the conversation.  Or, to start the conversation.  Or whatever. 

My goal with this blog is to provide advice, observations, and insight about being a woman business traveler.  I hope to help newbies or experienced travelers, and to provide a forum for traveling ladies to share ideas and relate. I know life on the road can sometimes feel so alone, and I think knowing that others are out there going through the same stuff will help. 

So let’s travel on! oh and don’t forget to wait to put your nylons on 😉