Saturday, 19 April 2008

She flies like a bird, oh me oh my!

The journey was going just fine until we pulled up to Terminal 5 - "welcome to our new home!" purred the BA hostess as we parked up at the gate. Tired and crumpled as I was after the long flight I didn't readily pick up the hint of menace in her tone.

The new building is in truth quite beautiful, and compared to the instant heart sink that was arriving at Terminal 4, a huge improvement. It's light, airy, I've even read reviews describing it as "cathedral like", which I guess is fanciful but is an adjective on nodding terms with the reality.

Aside from the soaring roof, imposing structure and other architectural features used to emphasise the smallness of man and his part in the greater scheme of life, the other way in which T5 could be liken to a cathedral struck me as the manner in which the services conducted within it are serving the needs of higher "powers that be" rather than the punters at ground floor level.

I was left to develop this somewhat complex metaphor whilst waiting for my bag. The arrival of all the luggage was slow, compared to any other modern airline terminal, but mine had the distinction of being the very last out. As I watched the rest circle gracefully, nay almost meditatively around the carousel, I pondered whether this was BA's way of commenting on the absurd pace of modern life, and encouraging us to slow down and enjoy our brief, fleeting sojurn by taking time out to enjoy the mundane and the everyday?

It was only when caught in second queue, this time for one of two lifts that take people to the car park (some bright spark had decided to dispense with stairs or escalators) that I realised I might be being too generous to the "planning" arm of BA...........and applauded my decision not to share my half baked theories with my fellow passengers on the BA28 this cold, drizzly and windy am. Welcome, indeed.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Fly me to the moon, and let me play amongst the stars

It's official - I must be the least credible environmentalist going.

After the past couple of week's jaunt around SE Asia (including an interesting interlude in GP's personal life that deserves its own blog once I've decided just how to describe it so I appear in some kind of favourable light) I am now jetting off to London. For my sins I will be landing in Terminal 5. I do hope my luggage does too.

This trip will be my first back to Blighty for a while, something I always look forward to enormously and then end up itching to come back to HK. Normally it's just the overwhelming sense that the UK is in some sort of unstoppable decline, as evidenced by the overwhelmingly negative media, crassness of much of public life, crap weather, general pessimism........

This trip is all timed around my company's strategy day, which will hopefully reignite my enthusiasm for working life, or at least give me a change of scenery and the chance to recharge my batteries somewhat.

Hope springs eternal, life is a journey and all travel is a metaphor (or something).

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

it's I'm after baby

Writing this now from the Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok, recommended by Luxe Guides (the more than slightly snooty guide book series that markets itself as being unashamedly elistist - "the best of the best") as "The Temple of Suave for the stylish bodkin". I do hope I measure up.

This will be the 4th different bed I've stayed in in less than a week since leaving HK and it's not much fun. It's also got me thinking about just how much my job is, in many ways, like being a high class hooker, only valued and paid for for my intellectual skills rather than anything else I might have to bring to the party.

I see clients. I have an hourly rate. I spend a lot of time in hotels. I have many fleeting relationships which, whilst superficially might be quite pleasant, have at their base money. Ho hum.

Maybe it's time to brush down the CV and get myself a proper job?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

It's like thunder! lightening!

No - it's not just like thunder and lightening, it is thunder and lightening.

Typing this from a deck in Phuket, where I've set up my laptop to do the couple of things that need to happen before I can put the damn thing away and spend a couple of days doing sweet FA. In a glamorous (I'd like to think) way, I realise that for the past couple of years I have ended up in Phuket for a mini spa break after 7s weekend. I shall turn this into an annual ritual. Anyway, I was entertaining fantasies of sunning myself and catching a few rays before coming back to HK - until that is the plane landed and the heavens opened.

Fortunately I like watching storms, and I don't tan so well anyway, so maybe it's all good if the sun's not shining this weekend...

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

sweet caroline....wah wah woah!

This blog is turning into a gallop through the key events in the expatriate social calender. This weekend, I give you, the beer fest that is the Hong Kong 7s.

Ostensibly, this is a leg of the International Rugby Board's 7s Rugby Tournament - there are also rounds of this in Dubai and, er, other places too, and it's all good fun and teams from around the world get together and play in a 3 day tournament in HK.

It's also, in a town that likes to party, one of the biggest piss up weekends that people travel from miles around to come to. Four of my friends came out from the UK, 2 for the weekend only, one from KL and one from Melbourne. This is in no way unusual. The epitome of the spirit of the weekend is the South Stand, where the hard core 7s fans , often in costume and always lagered up to the eyeballs mass and party hard for the full 3 days. Photos available on facebook.

I am now too old and crumbly for this, so do the slightly more gentile version which is ligging shamelessly into the corporate boxes. Last year I inexplicably ended up grappling Ieuan Evans and then being taken out to dinner by a CEO and his visiting Chairman. Half cut, I ended up giving my views on what he should be presenting to the global HR conference in the next month. They are still a client. It couldn't have been all bad.

This year was slightly more restrained, but it's all relative. Saturday and Sunday saw me enjoying the hospitality of various companies, running into ex players (David Campese is both shorter than he looks on the telly and seems to have no mates) and eying up the new batch (like policemen, rugby players do look awfully young these days....)

And then Monday rolled round, HK woke up to one mutha of a hangover and the city ticked back into its more usual routine (much, one would have to think, to the relief of the locals).