The Other Kind of Travel

Oceans and Seas
June 30th 2009
Published: November 13th 2009
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Just Some of my business travel in the last 4 years

Just Some of my business travel in the last 4 years

Solar plant in GermanySolar plant in GermanySolar plant in Germany

for the last 2.5 years I've been involved in the solar energy field which allowed me to see many solar power plants around the world some in nice locations
Counting the shear miles traveled, most of the travel I have done in the last 6 years was of the most unpleasant, most tiring, and non-blogged about travel called "the business travel". On most accounts there is inherently little in common between business travels and the relaxing and exiting vacation travel.
The worse thing about business travel is, naturally, being away from Hagit and Liya. For me it usually means missing them and missing the experience of spending time with them. From them, my work travel adds major burden since I am not at home to help in the day-to-day stuff.

Business travel is the same no matter where you go in the world. This is due to 2 important differences compared to leisure travel. The first is the sterility of having your employer pay for your visit. Because you are less price sensitive and can easily afford traveling in taxis from place to place, sleeping in top end hotels, waiting in the business lounge in the airport. This, on the most part, keeps you shielded from the world around you and keeps you in a business bubble. The 2nd difference between the business and leisure travel is the amount
Solar plant in GermanySolar plant in GermanySolar plant in Germany

sunset...i "got" to spend a full, cold, October night in this field in Bavaria
of time you have to actually experience something. Most of the time you are running between planes, meetings and hotels.

What I have found is that most of my bosses and colleges (and even some of my employees) like being protected in their “business travel bubble” and have no inclination to use the little time they have to learn about where they are. In their spare time, they usually end up doing one of two things that make them “feel at home” anyplace in the world: keep working (mainly through the mind-numbing escapism of Outlook) and shop (for some reason, entering a Gap helps people feel familiarity)

Nonetheless, if you keep your senses alert you might learn a few things about the world around you even through the protective shield. Especially if you take the time to exit the shield once in a while
The good part is that due to my travel from work I have had some opportunity to visit places I would not have visited otherwise - and also stock up on frequent flyer miles which help me get to the places I really want to be at.

Following is a mostly associative list
Paris, France Paris, France Paris, France

i had no time for any site seeing while in Paris. this photo was taken from the taxi on a cell-phone
of non-work experiences I recall while writing these words from the last years for business-travel.

Bangalore, India - on one of my travels there I had to extend my stay and no hotel room was available in the hi-tech booming city. I ended up spending a whole week-end alone in a honeymoon resort and spa 1.5hr out of the city relaxing and feeling way out of the place.

Bangalore, India - renting a car every place I go is one thing, but having a chauffeur driving me around all week was awkward. Especially since most of the day all I did was drive 5 min back and forth from the hotel to work and back in the eve. Most discomforting was the driver’s stubbornness to keep running to the door after arrival and opening the door for me - neglecting the handbrake in order to make it to the door quickly.

Fort-Worth, TX - on one of my weekends in Dallas with 4 other colleges we drove to the tourist-center of Fort-Worth. Great American West tourist trap if you ask me.

Dallas, Tx - being alone for ½ a free
Kobe, JapanKobe, JapanKobe, Japan

from Venus bridge
day in Dallas allowed me to see the outstanding modern art museum, buy the nice mobile in Liya’s room, see the JFK assignation museum and return to the hotel gym. Fun afternoon.

London, England - instead of spending 5 hrs at a layover in Heathrow I opted to take the Tube to town, walk for 2 hrs from Green Park to Piccadilly in the most crooked way and return back in time for the flight . Such a walk can sometimes offset a full week of work and make the whole trip memorable.

3 days and 2 nights blur in Europe -flight to Zurich, fly to Geneva, taxi, 1 meeting in Geneva, taxi, fly to Paris, sleep, 3 meetings in and around Pairs, fly to Nuremberg, sleep, meeting in Munchberg, 2 meeting in Leipzig, meeting in Berlin. Fly home

Airborne -from takeoff to landing I listen to my IPod. Especially popular in flight has been listening to the weeks Economist magazine (audio edition)

Osaka, Japan - first time in Japan the plane had a camera showing the pilot-front-view on the personal screen. I saw the person guiding the plan to the
Anaheim, CAAnaheim, CAAnaheim, CA

me at the U2-360 show at the Rose-Bowl. the show happened to be 1 day before an exhibition i was attending
gate bowing to the plane upon stopping at the gate and knew I was someplace different.

Bangalore, India - eating alone in an authentic Iranian restaurant run by Iranians, I prepared a replay to the question “where are you from” that did not include the word Israel (or America) but had no use for it because to my genuine surprise no-one cared where I was from.

Bayreuth Festival , Germany - On a long night drive through Germany I stopped with a colleague in a town for a bite to eat. We noticed the entire town was much more lively than usual for a German town at evening and that the other patrons of the restaurant were dress very fancy. The hostess, seeing that there is no table free, sited us at a table of 4 already occupied by a couple of locals. We introduced ourselves as Israelis and were slightly uneasy not being talked with for the rest of the dinner. Only the day after we understood we participated at a dinner which was part of the Bayreuth festival. I knew about the yearly festival dedicated to Richard Wagner but had never intended of
Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany

The East Side Gallery - This mile-long stretch of the Berlin Wall is one of the largest remaining portions of the former divide between East and West Germany. I just happend to park near it on a way to a meeting nearby
participating in it on account of Wagner’s association with Nazi Germany. Apparently the irony was not missed by our 2 buddies at the table as well…

Hong Kong airport - between connections on the way back from South-Korea my boss call me on the phone and offered me a promotion and would not take NO of an answer so I said YES. The week after, I went back on my acceptance after deciding to leave the company altogether for my current one

Gumi, South Korea - I lost my passport. Not a fun thing to happen to you especially on a tight travel schedule. Luckily I knew someone, who knew someone, who’s wife worked at the Israeli embassy in Seoul and I was issues a travel permit without actually needing to spend time at the embassy.

Seoul, South Korea - a local took me to “the best place” in the city to eat… a small roast chickens stall 20 min from downtown. What can I say? Best roast chicken I ever had. I also drank my first Soju drink there. First of hopefully many more ..

Oklahoma, USA - arriving
Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany

haveing a few hours after the meeting, i parked near the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)
to Dallas, Texas early on a Sunday I looked for something to do that does not involve shopping. Without having a map, I decided to drive up Coit Rd near my hotel and drive north until the endless line of block-stores end. My only porpoise was too see what was there “at the end”. After 30 min, with no end at sight. I decided to go up on US-75 and continue north until the malls and outlets finish. When finally I could see no more stores, 1hr later on, I arrived at a tourist information center welcoming me to….Oklahoma over 120km away from my hotel! I drove around rural scenery, saw Lake Texoma and returned to the hotel to shake off the jet-lag .

Paris, France - during a meeting the discussion was stopped by our host to eat lunch. Expecting to go out to eat fine French cuisine at a nearby restaurant I was surprised to get a box-lunch! My second surprise came when I started to eat this box-lunch which was as fine as I could have expected had we gone to a restaurant.

Kobe, Japan - my young colleague accompanying me
Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany

I usually don't look for the "Jewish angle" in any of my travel but for some reason i was drawn to the Holocaust Memorial in the center of Berlin on my short walk. arriving there. a rested, called home and walked back to the car headed for the airport adn the flight home
to this trip told our hosts he will eat only beef. Our hosts choose to take us to a “Yakiniku” - a Korean grill restaurant in which we got a plate of raw pieces of meat from every imaginable part of a cow making it one of the diverse and bizarre mix of foods I have ever eaten

Napa valley , CA - after my afternoon meeting in San-Francisco was canceled I choose to “hop” to Napa Valley. I stopped at a vineyard, eat some steak, drank some wine, and headed back.

San Francisco airport - I arrived to the airport very late at night after too many hrs on planes. It was Memorial Day in Israel and I felt far from home. I used my phone to call Israel’s Channel 2 news live feed to listen in. While taking the train between the terminals to the car-rental place I stood silent for 2 minutes while hearing live via phone the memorial siren sounding back home - joining in for 2 minutes the same activity as the rest of the people in Israel.

Sunday Market, Bangkok, Thailand - 1 week
Napa Vally , CANapa Vally , CANapa Vally , CA

view from the restaurant I had dinner at
after returning from our honeymoon I was sent to the Far-East. Having a layover in Bangkok on a Sunday, I took my laptop and carry-on and went to the Sunday market which I visited just 1 week before as a backpacker. I felt very out of-place. Some places are not meant to be visited as a business traveler.

Dallas, Texas - I eat the best stake ever.

Munich, Germany - Having a rest day I took a bus to the center of town where I saw the streets filled with people and stalls. The excuse for all this was the 500 year celebration for Munich. “Hop-hip-horary!” I thought of joining. But realizing that I felt very foreign amount the red-cheeked, leather pants, loud German celebrators I opted for a walk to the art museum.

Atlanta, GA - I was sent to a conference in Orlando but choose to arrive 2 days earlier to visit my friend Lior who was working in Atlanta at the time. While I waited for him to finish his work for the day I managed to have a very diverse day that included both a visit to the Coca-Cola museum AND a 1hr walk in the civil-war era Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park AND see a dear near Red Top Mt state park

Orlando , FL - following my fun day in Atlanta we drove to Florida where we spent a day in Universal Park. At the end of the week I also indulged myself to a visit to Cape Canaveral

Lost on Planet China by J Maarten Troost - book review

When I finished this book I wanted to rise from my airplane seat and shout “Bravo!”.
I didn’t of course.
Troost visited the exact same places we did in China. Following our footsteps exactly 1 year later.
If I had any writing skills I would have written the exact same book describing our experience, impressions and feelings. I fully recommend buying this book (if for no other reason than to offset the fact that I didn’t) and enjoying the read.

Additional photos below
Photos: 35, Displayed: 29


Munich, GermanyMunich, Germany
Munich, Germany

walk in the Englischer Garten and a piece of the Berlin wall
Washington DC, USAWashington DC, USA
Washington DC, USA

National Museum of the American Indian
San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA

The Peace Pagoda
San Francisco, CASan Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Bridge
Munich, GermanyMunich, Germany
Munich, Germany

Munich, GermanyMunich, Germany
Munich, Germany

walk in the Englischer Garten
Paris, France Paris, France
Paris, France

La Defance. the first time i ever visited this place i was amazed at all the people in the business suits. 10 years later on my 2nd visit i was in a business suit myself
Berlin, Germany Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate

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