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MSN Security Line Observations

January 10th, 2009 No comments
  • A man was “going to risk carrying on some liquids this time.”  He’d never tried it before and was nervous. “Seems like women need liquids more than men.  My wife’s a pro at this.”
  • Same man, listing his only liquid: hand sanitizer.  “I love this stuff.  I’m addicted to it.  Seems like ever since I’ve started using it, I’ve never gotten sick.”
  • Same man, talking about why he uses hand sanitizer: “As soon as I shake hands with someone I whip this stuff out and clean up.”
  • Same man, re: other hand shakers: “You know, somepeople will even go as far as not shaking hands with someone if they’re sick.  Can you believe that?”
  • An older (60+?) lady in front of me in the security line handed the TSA her Visa card as ID.  I had to turn away to laugh.
Categories: Travel, Work Tags:

Hong Kong Taxis (suck)

May 4th, 2008 No comments

We got up crazy early (ok, 5:15AM) to head to the airport in Hong Kong.  Opting against waiting for a bellman to get our bags, we hopped into the elevator and headed to the lobby.  A bellman, seeing we carried our luggage on our own, ran over to us (yes, ran) to grab our bags and get us a taxi.  We needed one to get to Hong Kong station, where we could hop on the Airport Express train (to use the final ride on our “Traveler’s Octopus Card”).

The bellman loaded up the trunk and I told the driver we needed HK station.  As we started to drive away, the cabbie decided to argue with us in broken English.  He said something about not taking us to the station and instead taking us right to the airport and we began to get nervous.  It was something about it was cheaper to just drive to the airport and not take the train.  Well, no, that wasn’t the case as we had free rides on our Octopus cards.  We told him that but he continued to argue for at least a couple minutes.  Thinking we might be driven right to the airport (30 minutes away even by train), we agreed to not pay him a dime (or a Hong Kong dollar) if that was the case.

I think the cabbie realized this too, so he took us to the station as we requested.  Upon arrival at the station, the cabbie unloaded our bags for us and sped away as fast as he could.  I think he was disappointed with the short distance he drove us.  Nonetheless, it was still a $40HK ride (about $5US).  After he sped away I turned around to find out that he had literally dropped our bags on the ground then drove off.  He didn’t move them to the curb or even make the effort to stand them up.  They were left in the street, on their sides, immediately behind where the cab had been.  Good thing I didn’t tip him.

Hong Kong taxis suck.

Categories: Asia 2008 Tags:

Coffee Jelly

May 1st, 2008 No comments

When I first got to Japan, signs inside each Starbucks advertised an upcoming new drink: coffee jelly.  It was first offered on 4/15.  We ordered one (~530Y for a grande) and it was decent.  It’s basically a frozen frappuciono style drink with jellied coffee at the bottom.  It’s similar to bubble tea, I guess.  I didn’t get a chance to see how they store/dispense the jelly, but I’m curious how that’s done.  Is it my new drink of choice (when in Japan, of course)? No.  But it was interesting.

I wouldn’t look forward to seeing it stateside.

Categories: Asia 2008, Food->Restaurant Tags:

Japanese Starbucks menu includes “short” size

May 1st, 2008 No comments

I thought it was interesting that Japanese Starbucks include the “short” size on their menu.  Americans can order a “short” drink, but they’re not going to see the size advertise on the menu.

Categories: Asia 2008, Food->Restaurant Tags:

Marriott Copley

April 4th, 2008 No comments

I stayed at the Marriott Copley last week in Boston.  It wasn’t anything amazing, in fact it was somewhat dreary and antiquated.  It felt like an old, fancy hotel where doorman and bellhops would be around every corner.  It wasn’t, it was just a Marriott.

I did have a room on the 27th floor, though.  It had a very decent view.  I grabbed a couple pics through the dirty windows so you can have an idea of what it was like as well.

One other thing to note is the valet parking charge was the most expensive I’ve ever seen.  $40 a night.  Whew.

Categories: Work Tags: , , ,

Overheard while boarding the plane

March 24th, 2008 No comments

“What’s the difference between an Airbus and an airplane?”

Categories: General, Work Tags:

Holiday Inn Mt Moriah (Memphis)

March 16th, 2008 No comments

My MEM -> MSN flight was canceled on Friday, so Northwest issued me a voucher to Holiday Inn Mt. Moriah.  It was pretty gross.

The halls reeked of cigarette smoke, and the hallway carpet was peeled up at spots.  In fact, it looked like it was in the midst of renovations, but it wasn’t.  The bathroom cabinet obviously hadn’t been cleaned in a while, the furniture was gouged, and the clock radio hadn’t been cleaned recently as well.  My room was non-smoking, but the room across from it wasn’t so smoke wafted into my room.

Would you stay here?

Categories: Work Tags:

Reasons to dislike San Antonio’s airport (SAT)

January 25th, 2008 No comments
  1. The security line is two lines in one.  Where one row of people should be standing, SAT decided it was big enough for two rows.
  2. A group was handing out Watchtower from a kiosk.
  3. Wifi is nearly impossible to access (use wifi4public – it works after the 10th try, and it costs $6.95/day).
  4. Traffic is miserable all around it.
  5. NWA’s operations are entirely outsourced.
  6. There is no WorldClub, or President’s Club, or Crown Room Club.
  7. It takes forever to get from the gate to the runway.
  8. Avis’ lot is a shuttle ride away.
  9. The security line is two rows of people squished into one line (see #1 above).
Categories: Work Tags:

San Antonio River Walk

January 24th, 2008 No comments

I ate at Boudro’s on San Antonio’s River Walk tonight (the official site spells it River Walk, everyone else spells it Riverwalk), it was ehh.  I had stuffed quail, but it was overstuffed and overpoweringly flavorful.  The fresh limeade was very good, as was the tableside guacamole.  People were eating outside along the “river” (it’s man-made) with western-style ponchos on.

Afterwards, I took a few pics with my new camera.

Categories: Food->Restaurant, Photos, Work Tags:

MarriotTV

January 23rd, 2008 No comments

Dear Marriott,

I hate that changing channels on most of your televisions takes forever.

I also can’t stand the lady that hawks movies as soon as I turn on the tv in just about every hotel of your that I stay in.  I now immediately change the change or mute the sound whenever I turn on a tv in your establishments.

Love,
Ryan

P.S. I still like earning reward points from you.

Categories: Travel Tags:

Distortion

December 19th, 2007 No comments

This is an update to the Residence Inn post below.

 The TV has horrible distortion.  When I was watching it last night, a crawler was going across the bottom of the screen.  The letters were real tall and wide at the edges of the screen, and normal sized in the middle.  I actually thought it was an effect done on purpose.

Now, watching it tonight, I’ve noticed more than just an edge distortion, but an overall staring-through-a-warped-magnifying glass distortion.  It’s kind of annoying when you notice it.

Also, the bathroom door has to be closed for you to access the sink.  It actually looks like there is no sink in the bathroom when you first look at it, but once you get inside and close the door you realize where they hid the sink.

And the wireless Internet access was crawlingly slow last night.

I still can’t complain too much, this place puts the Courtyard to shame.

Categories: Work Tags:

Tabla Bread Bar

December 19th, 2007 No comments

I’m travelling alone this week, and that means I have to eat alone. At least it I’m in New York where it’s a bit easier to find a place to eat alone.  I did some searching and found a few recommended places for dining alone, and decided on Tabla’s Bread Bar.

 I’ve had Tabla, the main, upstairs, restaurant on my to-do list for a couple years now.  I figured now was as good a time as any to cross it off.  I hopped in a cab to 11 Madison Ave (near Madison Square Park, in the Credit Suisse building) in the rain and was there in 15 minutes.  The (three) hostesses offered me a table in the lounge area underneath the steps, and also mentioned a bar seat was available as well.  The main seating area seemed to be relatively full.  I took the lounge table, next to the bathrooms, underneath a large mirror.  It was really well lit, so I somewhat felt like I was on display as I ate.

 The incredibly nice server, Steve, came by and suggested a glass of sauv blanc, which turned out to be pretty good.  I started off with an amazing green apple salad, after being advised not to order the raita (apparently it’s more of a sauce than a salad).  The green apples were sweet, and mildly tart, and it was sauced with tamarind chutney and yogurty chaat masala.  Also accompanying it were radishes and potatoes, and it was topped with a crunchy topping of unknown ingredients resembling chopped chow mein noodles.

My entree was a stew of pork shank vindaloo, which my server warned me takes 30 minutes to prepare.  It was worth the wait, though (and the wait was only 20 minutes or so).  Falling-off-the-bone pork was stewed in a pot of intensely spiced, chili-laced curry sauce and served in a cast iron bowl.  I had rosemary naan to go with it.  It wasn’t overly spicy, but was a bit on the salty side.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was overseasoned, but I would say the cook had a heavy hand.

For dessert I ordered an $8 saffron-poached pear with homemade chai “sauce” and pear sorbet.  All was served atop a loose vanilla genoise.  While full from everything else I had eaten, the portion was small.  Three quarter-sized pears were all the poached pears turned out to be.  They were very good, but not enough there to consider the dessert to be poached pears and not vanilla cake with pears and sorbet.  The homemade chai “sauce” was served cold (which I question if that was correct), poured around the genoise.  There was definitely a hint of cayenne pepper on the sauce’s finish, which made for an interesting taste for a dessert.

The meal was enough to inspire me to return for their upstairs tasting menu at some point in the future.  It appeared to be very busy as suit-clad diners traversed the stairs all night to use the restroom just behind me.  If you’re a single diner in New York, I’d definitely recommend Tabla’s bread bar as a nice treat.

The pics below show two things: 1) I don’t feel comfortable sitting alone, taking pictures of my food 2) my cell phone doesn’t do well with macro pictures.

Categories: Food->Restaurant, Work Tags: