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Showing posts from November, 2005

Random thoughts from Day 2...

I woke up this morning remembering that there were several other things I saw yesterday that I forgot to document.

1. It's not as hard to cross the street as I thought.
2. It rained like crazy for about an hour in the afternoon. I thought it was the air conditioner in the building blowing, but it was really the rain pounding on the building.
3. I saw a monkey in a cage at the corner down from the office on the way to lunch. It was in a tiny little corner shop. Note to self: Try to get a picture of this.
4. The girls that work the little shops are serious sales people. If you ask for one thing, they'll bring you 20 more just like it and pull up a little stool for you to sit on. They are way better sales people than we see in the US.
5. There is a statue of the Virgin Mary in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. There were probably 50 people praying and singing in front of the statue. I think this is the statue that people reportedly saw crying a few years ago (there was a story…

Meeting the team, Vietnamese food, and shopping

No pictures from today, but I had a really good day. Ate a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel restaurant, then got to the office around 9 AM via taxi. Today was extra special to me because I finally got to meet all of the team members that I only knew by name. I got to know them a bit better and they got to know me. I tried to give a welcome messege in Vietnamese in our team meeting and I think I did okay. They at least acted like they understood what I was trying to say. I've been studying Vietnamese for about 2 months now and it's fun to try it with my Vietnamese coworkers. I don't think I've ever been so nervous speaking in front of a group. Tu, our QA Manager, volunteered to help me learn more while I am here.

We had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant near the office and we split three dishes; fish soup, cubed beek, and beef kabobs, which was really slices of beef. It was all very good. You are served a little dish of a salt, pepper and lime mixture that is quite good…

Dinner & View @ Sheraton Saigon

We just got done with dinner at the Saigon Cafe inside the Sheraton and I just had to write about it. The food was international and asain buffet style cuisine. There was every kind of seafood and meat imaginable (other than chicken and duck). I had several fantastic dishes:

1. Seafood in cream sauce (eel, shrimp and oysters)
2. Filet mignon and swordfish cooked at an interactive cooking station
3. Some of the best desserts I've ever had: Chocolate Soufflé, crème brulee, vanilla ice cream with whipped cream and hot chocolate syrup, and some others I can't remember the name of.

As you can see, I was sure to save plenty of room for dessert. The price was pretty reasonable too ($32 USD). I was expecting it to be much more expensive since it was inside the restaurant.

After dinner we went up to the Level 23 Bar, which is a rooftop open bar. The city is really beautiful at night with all of its lights. I took this shot of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committe Building from the roof…

We made it to Vietnam

It has been another long day. The day started at 7 AM with breakfast in Tokyo. The buffet was really good and was complimentary thanks to Scott. We headed for the airport at 7:15 AM for a 10 AM flight. We tried to upgrade, but it seemed as if our tickets were not upgradable and we would have had to buy new tickets. So, we sat in coach and we were in the very last row, which wasn't too great. The seats barely reclined and we were right next to the bathroom.

We had one meal service on the 6 hr flight and I had a seafood entree which was quite good. I was able to sleep for about 1 1/2 hrs and I read my guidebook on Vietnam. I bought Fodor's Vietnam and it recommend a walking tour if you only have 1-2 days, so I think that's going to be our plan.

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City about 30 minutes early. They had us walk down stairs to a bus that took us to the terminal. It took about an hour to get through immigration and customs; no problems, just long lines. Dang, our PM in Vietn…

How to tour Tokyo in 1 day

There is way too much to tell and not enough time to tell it right now. The day started at 4 AM when I couldn't sleep any longer. I did get to talk to Beth and the kids this morning. If anyone is traveling abroad, I would highly recommend Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. We are making PC-to-PC calls for free and the sound quality is fantastic.

Sorry for that side note. Scott and I made a friend at the hotel bar last night and she went along with us on our full day tour of Tokyo. We left the hotel at 6:15 AM and got on a train headed for Tokyo at 7 AM. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Tokyo station, then another 15 minutes to find the hotel where we were supposed to meet the bus. Well, the concierge @ the Hilton forgot to call, but the tour company was nice enough to come get us at the hotel anyway. The people in Japan are so nice. There has not been a single person with the slightest hint of rudeness.

Here's the tour itinerary:
1. Tokyo Tower - A working radio tower tha…

Checking in from Tokyo

Wow! Now that was a long flight. Left Atlanta at 10 AM Friday and got to Tokyo 14 hrs later at 2 PM Saturday Tokyo time. The flight was extremely comfortable and the Delta flight attendents were all exceedingly friendly. Why can't all Delta flights be like that? When we go to St. Louis they basically tell us to get the hell of the plane. And they wonder why their business is going down the crapper...

The food on the plane was better than average. Here's what I had:

Appetizer: A few small slices of chicken breast and some garnishings
Starter: Mixed Garden Salad
Main Course: Beef fillet, new potatoes, and vegetable medley
Dessert: Ice cream sundae (I was too full by this point so I passed thinking I could ask for it later, but it all melted by then.)
Mid-Flight Snack: Japanese noodles and vegetables
Supper: Pork tenderloin, rice and vegetables (Beth's tenderloin is 10,000 times better.)

The movie selection on the plane was terrible. We could choose between Edward Scissorhands, Shark…

I've given in...

Ok, Beth finally talked me into starting my own blog. She's set quite the high standard with her blog and I'm not sure how well I'll keep up with this, but there are some things I know I want to post to share with my family and friends.

Friday I go out of the country for almost 2 weeks. I fly direct to Tokyo on Friday (14 hours, but First Class!!!), spend the weekend in Tokyo seeing the sites, then fly to Vietnam on Monday for 10 days.

Why Vietnam? Well, it's for work. I have a team of software developers at our facility in Vietnam and I haven't even met most of them yet. I'm going with Scott , the BA on my project, and two customers.

Keep an eye on this page...I'll try to post pictures from Tokyo and Vietnam every day or two so that I don't forget what I saw and where I was. I want to use this site to document the experience.

To help on the voyage, I bought a new digital camera. It's a Nikon Coolpix 4600. I was going to take Beth's camera, but it&…