Jeff Nagengast

SlavicNerd

Jeff Nagengast

Bostonian who loves to travel. China, Dubai and possibly Vietnam are on the docket for 2016 :-)



Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 7th 2016

Saturday morning was my last in Vietnam, and a hangover wasn't going to stop me from making the most of it. I had purposefully arranged a red-eye out that night so I had the full day, but this meant I'd arrive at 4:30am Sunday in Dubai, with Sunday being the start of the work week. I did manage to arrange for a 2pm checkout, so at least I'd be able to shower after inevitably sweating all morning and be slightly less gross for my flight that night. Around 9:30 I headed down to breakfast for one last amazing Asian buffet, then ran out to get more dongs since I'd be hitting up the market. My hotel had free shuttles to the main market, Ben Thanh, so I arranged for the 10:30 one and had a quick, ... read more
Just gutting some fish at Ben Thanh!
Aircraft outside the Vietnam War Remnants Museum
Fairly horrifying depiction of a war detainee

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 6th 2016

Thursday and Friday were overall pretty low-key. Finally I got a good night's sleep, so moving forward there should be no more jetlag :-) Thursday was a full day of work - I spent the first half of the day with my admissions counterpart and the second half leading a training for the whole Southeast Asia team. Lunch was catered by the restaurant I had gone to on my first day, propaganda, but they screwed up my order so instead of the duck curry I got duck spring rolls. Life goes on. After the work day was over I grabbed a Filipino beer with my trainee to kill time before our dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. Lebanese, Brazilian - Ho Chi Minh City has it all - can't say I would have chosen to eat either ... read more
First motorbike ride!
Vietnamese Hot Pot
Vietnam team at Vuvuzela

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 4th 2016

After putting in a few hours or work the first full day I met up with the Regional Director for Southeast Asia for a drink at the hotel bar before our other colleague joined us for dinner. Oddly enough we ended up at a Lebanese place complete with belly dancers and blaring music. It was an outdoor-ish restaurant, which was the style of many restaurants here, a semi-enclosed garden/patio-style place. It had fans blowing but it was still above 90 degrees at at 8:30pm so it wasn't exactly comfortable. We had a bottle of red, some assorted meze, and a mixed grill - all really good, but the meat portion took probably 45 minutes to arrive. I was still somewhat jet-lagged and had also been up since 4am, so once dinner was done I was ready ... read more
Cyclo parade!
Thiên Hậu Temple
Trying to not be awkward

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City » District 1 May 3rd 2016

Celebrating one's 30th 3 nights in a row and then embarking upon a ~22 hour journey in the sky is not highly recommended, but hey, you only turn 30 once. Sunday morning I was out of bed by 9 after already oversleeping to frantically throw more things into my mostly-packed suitcases and head to Logan for my 11:55 flight. It was gonna be a doozy - 12 hr 40 min to Dubai, then 7 hr 30 min to Ho Chi Minh City. I was flying Emirates for the first time, so I knew it wouldn't be truly nightmare-ish based on the qualify of the airline, but realistically i spent that first 12 hours drifting in and out of consciousness and turning away drinks from the over-attentive flight attendance. The flight was surprisingly empty and I had ... read more
Sofitel breakfast buffet
Working from the rooftop pool
Saigon Central Post Office

Asia » China » Shanghai » Huangpu April 10th 2016

The week had honestly worn me out, but I wasn’t about to sleep in my last morning, so by 7 I was up and at the gym before breakfast and meeting coworkers in the lobby for a whirlwind 4 more hours. One of my colleagues from the Beijing office happened to be in Shanghai for the weekend and was staying at the same hotel, so he joined us at well. The plan was basically to see People’s Square and then do some shopping and eating, but I deferred to my hosts for a more solid game plan. I hadn’t taken the metro yet, so this was my final golden opportunity to check it out. It’s known to be clean, efficient, etc. so just like every other public transit system in the world it’s the antithesis to ... read more
Umbrellas advertising people's children for potential suitors and other matchmakers
Food stall in Yuyuan Tourist Mart featuring miscellaneous fried things
Looking down East Nanjing Road

Asia » China » Hubei » Wuhan April 9th 2016

After the GEA event was over we took a cab to Shanghai's other airport to the west, Shanghai Hongqiao International, where most of the city's domestic flights depart from. I would be flying China Eastern Airlines, China's second largest airline and a member of the SkyTeam Alliance, which includes Delta, Air France, and other more well-known partners. Wuhan, with a population of over 10 million, is the capital of the neighboring Hubei Province and the most populous city in central China. It's also a transportation hub and as such is known as the "Chicago of China, or at least Wikipedia seems to think so. My coworker had told me that the city was known for two specialties - "hot and dry" noodles and duck necks. I already had two clear goals. And I would fail at ... read more
More chicken feet!
China Eastern Airlines meal!
Last evening views of Pudong

Asia » China » Shanghai » Pudong April 8th 2016

I woke up Thursday morning at 5am, which apparently was my new normal wake-up time, and did my usual routine of work, gym, and getting ready before breakfast. Once again I stuffed my face at the buffet - my low-cal start to the day included a Japanese beef soup, sesame ball, kim chi, Singapore friend noodles, air-dried beef, shrimp shumai, sushi, and a few other things washed down with coffee and watermelon juice. I had to refrain from a full plate of seconds. The morning in the office was again fairly leisurely, with only a couple hours of training before it was already time for lunch. My coworker Xiuran invited me out with him for a sort of street food from a hole in the wall own the street. "Not healthy, but I like it", as ... read more
My spicy fried chicken and wonton-filled pancake
Literally can't stop taking pictures of these massive buildings
Food court realness with chicken feet, crab soup dumplings, and iced lemon green tea!

Asia » China » Shanghai » Pudong April 5th 2016

My first night's sleep went reasonably well considering all of the warnings I received regarding the jetlag, but people are also basic and don't know how to help themselves adjust. I woke up a couple of times in the middle of the night but fell right back asleep, and by 6am I felt relatively well-rested. Due to the crazy commuting situation for the millions of people in the city, our offices don't open until 10am and people work a later shift as a result. That being said I had a solid 4 hours to get some work done, hit the hotel gym, get ready, and do breakfast before meeting Monica to walk over to the office. The breakfast area was legit - everything from sushi and kimchi to eggs benedict and western-style pastries were available. I ... read more
Shanghai Tower and Shanghai World Financial Center from the office
Assorted meats - pork, chicken, and goose along with some eggs
Fried bullfrog? Yes please!

Asia » China » Shanghai » Huangpu April 4th 2016

Nihao! It’s been only 16 hours since landing in Shanghai and I’ve already seen and eaten so much – I can’t believe I have an entire week ahead of me! My morning in Chicago was a blur to say the least – had a wee bit too much fun at Kasia’s surprise 30th so after waking up it was basically a scramble to make sure I had everything, shower, and run out the door. O’Hare wasn’t bad on a Sunday morning, and the check-in process wasn’t anything out of the ordinary apart from having my visa checked a couple of times. Since I was flying from Chicago I had 2 hours of flight time cut off from what it would have been from Boston – any little bit helps when you’re flying for over 14 hours. ... read more
Entrance to the YuYuan Tourist Mart, Gardens, and Temple
Temple of the City God
Looking less than refreshed at the YuYuan Gardens

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv June 24th 2015

The next two days in Tel Aviv were an absolute blast and full of sun, sand, dancing, and debauchery. Established in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa/Yafo, the city is very young and vibrant and has the 3rd largest economy in the Middle East, killer nightlife and a round-the-clock culture. Not sure how our group of lushes survived! After our first late night we let ourselves sleep in a bit before heading out for a sushi lunch and a break from Mediterranean cuisine. In fact, Tel Aviv apparently has the highest number of sushi restaurants per capita after New York and Tokyo, so we had to give it a go. We found a fun little place with an outdoor patio and really reasonable "businessman" specials with 3 courses - much needed. ... read more
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