Good Things in Hong Kong (+ one travel tip)

Dim Sum

Want great Dim Sum in Hong Kong off the beaten path, outside of the three or four places recommended on all the Web sites? Try Chung’s Cuisine, One Kowloon, 1 Wang Yuen Street, Kowloon Bay. It’s in a huge office building, so mid-week lunches are busy. I’ve heard it’s crowded even on the weekends. Best with a big group so you can try lots of dishes!

Massage while you wait for your flight

Second massage this year at the Traveler’s Lounge, Hong Kong Airport and it was even better than the first. This place is the best deal going. I got in free this time with my frequent flier membership. Arrive on an empty stomach – there’s a great noodle soup station with fish balls, fish cakes, and all the fixings you need. Internet access (kind-of spotty) is included in the entrance price, too. I go early to the airport just to go to this lounge. Can get overcrowded, unfortunately.

Bad Hotel

This trip the company booked me at the Harbour Plaza Metropolis. Yuck! Creepy dirty (hair in shower & bed), tiny room, far from everything. Last trip I was at the Sheraton and will go back there again next time. The club floor included some laundry service, good food and a great view from the lounge of the nightly light show in the harbour. It was worth the upgrade fee.

I’d like to go back and explore the area around Hong Kong more – I bet there’s great hiking & good beaches not too far away. It’s a fascinating place.

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Fall in CPH

I booked myself two extra days in Copenhagen this trip. Two whole days  – with friends and solo – in sunny, crisp, cool air… wandering streets, shopping, eating good food. It was a rare treat in one of my favorite cities.

There’s a misconception in the U.S. that because the Danish government levies taxes and administers public services it is socialist. That is not what socialist means, and if it were I’d be asking to sign right up.

Working in a multimillion dollar corporate headquarters then shopping on Strøget, I can tell you capitalism is alive & well in Copenhagen. Yes, it’s true that accumulating tremendous capital is challenging with Danish tax rates, but the quality of life is fantastic & if you have 3 or 4 kids the benefits outweigh the costs.

One thing I loved was all the gluten-free options, as tons of Scandinavians are celiacs & I’ve discovered I have a nasty reaction to wheat (not convenient but I feel so much better). I actually bought a big box of cereal & brought it back in my suitcase. I tried 3 groceries before I found these. They’re in the basement of Magasin du Nord.

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Summer scenes…

Copenhagen evening...
Copenhagen evening...
Dinner on the Bosphorous...
Dinner on the Bosphorous...
Sprungli banana split @ Paradeplatz on a sunny day
Sprungli banana split on a sunny day
From the rooftop terrace, Eden au Lac, Zurich
From the rooftop terrace, Eden au Lac, Zurich

“Since life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring it the better. Soon enough the time will come when you are too tired to move farther than the terrace of the best hotel. Go now.” – Simon Raven

DISPATCH: Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base

little stinkers

These are three of the 2-year-olds at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. They made me look like a bad panda keeper. Forget panda keeper; they made me look like an idiot.

That stick they have there? The one they’re devouring? It was the only tool I had to feed them very precisely weighed and measured apple slices. They ganged up on me, took it, and as you can see, ate it, which of course had to be logged by the real panda keepers.

Everything is logged. How much they eat, drink, poop, the whole nine yards. Maybe in Mandarin there’s a footnote on June 18th saying, “Idiot stand-in panda keeper lost our last stick to the 2-year-olds today.”

In a throwback to my Professor days I wanted to say to the little buggers about the time this photo was snapped, “Sit up straight and call me Doctor.”

I never said that as a Professor.

Don’t think I wasn’t thinking it.

5 pandas
Do you see that the happy one has an apple slice? And the naughty one (who later steals the other's apple & my stick) is thinking about it here too? The other 3 are simply waiting their turns.

I am loathe to show you the following video because I look so bad as to be unrecognizable. So bad, in fact, that about 4 days after it was shot my grandmother, sitting next to me watching it, said, “Is that you?” It is. Camouflaged in a bad cold, rolled out of bed late, and threw on shorts and sleeveless shirt for shoveling panda poop in humid Chinese summer heat. I’d already shoveled poop by the time we did this & had my then long hair tied up.

The real panda keeper freaking out is just too funny to keep to myself, though, so I will forego vanity and all that just for your enjoyment. I love how I laugh at the end then that one very naughty panda does, too. Enjoy!

++ Don’t know why the quality of the video is so poor… will check into it tomorrow.

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Out of Africa

En route yesterday and today from Livingstone, Zambia to Chengdu, China. Stories to share… let’s start here: a XpatAdventures Bushcamping Safari iMovie… BEWARE: music starts when you click play.

Where I am…

Hello the House! May saw me in London, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Lugano (twice), Zurich, Bellagio, and Johannesburg. I am exhausted and on safari in Botswana. Fortunately I am traveling with 2 docs from Boulder Community Hospital. Great place. Good people. Feeling better already.

Yesterday a group of us flew in a six-seater plane over the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I was moved to tears by the sight of giraffe running free. Our pilot was a young local woman! Yay for young women being educated and in professional positions here!

Today I have a post up at Gypsy Girls Guide — do go check it out, won’t you?

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Angkor Wat

Quest Physics, Eat, Pray, Love (the film):

“In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call ‘The Physics of the Quest,’ a force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this:

If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting – which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments – and set out on a truth-seeking journey – either externally or internally – and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

The soundtrack for this post makes me supremely happy: Spandau Ballet’s True is just perfect…

Dispatch: Houston

On all my biz trips lately, I’ve made sure I:
1. Did good work.
2. Saw old friends.
3. Got a taste of the local culture.

The local culture part can get especially colorful. In China and the Philippines, course participants shuttled me around to various markets; we haggled with sellers of knock-off bags and wallets. In Manila we sang karaoke and danced our fool heads off.

This week I was just outside Houston, at La Torretta Lake Resort on Lake Conroe, working with oil execs.  What does one do in Texas?

SHOOT THINGS, of course! Saturday afternoon a bunch of us headed on down the road to Creekwood Shooting Sports

Not quite sure why they haul the guns around in strollers, but they do.

guns in strollers

Shooting Skeet2

Snakes hibernate, right?

Shooting Skeet3

Skeet Shoot

Skeet shooting was surprisingly fun (especially when I finally HIT one!). Still, I’d take dancing any day!

Soundtrack: “Texas,” Jackopierce

ADDENDUM: Seems like somewhere in Texas, George W. ought to have something like this set up…

Up in the Air

I’ve been on the road 41 of 2011’s 55 days so far. This by far surpasses my normal travel schedule. I’m starting to feel like George Clooney in Up in The Air. Fortunately I travel the world to inspire, not fire, people!

A few things make this work for me (as much as it can), though:

– I LOVE hotels!
Love the crisp white sheets, housekeeping service, the big bathtub in the hotel I’m in now.

– Room service is one of the great treats in life.
‘Nuff said. I can act all business-traveler-like… but every time it’s delivered I’m delighted & could jump up and down clapping  like a little girl. I love the cart, or when they carry the tray up over their shoulders, love the cute little jars of mustard and jam. The whole bit. Love, love, love room service!

– I love the work I do. Love, Love, LOVE it!
I’m so grateful to get to meet executives all over the world and support them with their challenges and biggest opportunities. My only wish is that I’d get to reconnect more frequently with the good people I meet & get to continue our work further.

– The last couple trips I’ve been able to see many, many people I know… from 2 acquaintances who happened to be in town working too (Manila + Houston) to lifelong, close, dear friends whose children I’ve been able to meet and play with in between days working.

Pleasure + Connection + Rewarding Work = 1 Happy Adventurer!
(Also not having any dishes to do really helps!)

Today I was served up a new travel dilemma: how to get from a June safari with friends (winding up in Zambia) to work in Chengdu, China (where the giant pandas are!). Never in a million years did I imagine this would be the kind of problem I’d need to solve… I call this a Problem Worth Having. Do you have Problems Worth Having?

Soundtrack: “There’s a Rugged Road.” Shawn Colvin covering

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