Monday, November 22, 2010

"Take This Longing"

Grey. Blue. White. The sky.
Green. Yellow. Orange. Red. The leaves.
The Sun. The Rain. The Fog. The hills.
The still chirping birds. The trees.
The smell of wet dirt. The earth.

I love San Francisco Bay Area in November. And this year, there is nowhere else I wish to be at the beginning of Azar, the month of fire, the month I was born in.

Listening to the music, driving home towards the southern hills in the middle of the day, I was thinking I would go to Santa Cruz if I were crazy enough. And I am sure, I will be crazy enough one day and I will do exactly so.

"Oh take this longing from my tongue,
whatever useless things these hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one you love."

Happy to go to the concert in a couple weeks!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Europe Biz Trip - 4

Finally on Heathrow Express toward London Heathrow. Alone.

I am excited that I have free WiFi in the train. So convenient!

I made it to London Euston Station alright and my yet another very polite and attentive colleague collected me from the station. I met another colleague and the three of us attended a kind of Neurovascular meeting that started at 6:30PM and last at 11PM.

It is cloudy in London today. Yesterday though, as soon as I opened the curtains around 7:20 AM there was the beautiful sun just in the horizon of my hotel room window view above the London Eye. My colleague was very kind to suggest to take me to our appointments on the ground by riding his car rather than taking the Underground. It was quite an experience to see London by car. Last time I was there with family we just took the underground. I dread the feeling of being jammed in a contained space layers and layers under the ground. So couldn't be more thrilled to travelin on the ground.

Meetings all went fine and informative. And in the evening, when finally all the work related meetings were over, M.A. kindly stopped by my hotel. We walked the Edgeware road for some time, chat nicely, and had a quick starter together. It was awesome to meet her, relaxing, refreshing, loving. I walked to the M&S store in front of the hotel after saying goodbyes to here and found many pretty stuff there. Earlier also when I stopped really quickly to buy A a Trunkie I found John Lewis store full of very stylish attires. I like European shopping.


I got to Heathrow and found the Star Alliance lounge. Ah almost home :) And again the convenience of a free WiFi so I can finish this post.

Oh people are very proper and polite in UK. I like it actually but now, sitting in the lounge and aching for a comfortable positioning for my tired body, I hope they don't mind if I stretch my legs on the bench.

All my colleagues have been fabulous everywhere I went. I cannot wait to meet them all again in San Francisco in January in our global meeting.

Last night, sitting or laying down felt as if I was still moving. I have been moving hundreds to thousands of miles every day in the past week. I cannot be more grateful for such an uneventful and fruitful trip! I can claim that UK has been very kind to my travels this time. All my hotel rooms were nice with better amnesties. Also my jet lag was fading so I slept much better in the past three nights albeit short still. Happy that I am ending on a high note.

Thanks Europe! :)

Europe Biz Trip - 3

In the train, going from Liverpool to London, Alone.

It is half past noon and the sun is dimly penetrating through the clouds. It is grey.

I made it alright to France. Got to Charles de Gaulle. Flew to Bordeaux where I had a couple good and quick appointments. Had a good French food with colleagues and tried the yummy foie gras for the first time. Made it to the airport just to run to the gate and fly back to Charles de Gaulle. The wait was supposed to be short but there was delay which made it possible for me to call home. Boarded eventually and sat in plane, on the ground, for another two hours until they decided the fog in Dusseldorf wont interfere with landing.

I was listening to “The New Earth” audio book in the plane. Got me intrigued by talking about the depth of the reality in human, and how I am not the feeling, but I feel the feeling. And how Krishna Murthy said once that “I don’t mind what happens”. I felt like smiling at this :)

So. I got to Dusseldorf after two hours delay. So I contemplated staying in Dusseldorf rather than traveling to Essen by taxi in such a fog that prevented the plane from taking off at Paris. But decided I would think about it later. At Dusseldorf, my bag did not arrive. It was still in Paris. And I thought “I don’t mind what happens” :) Filled in the paper work, decided to take the chance and go to Essen, got to my hotel safely. And on such a nice that I had no bag with me, no toiletries or nothing, the hotel was not a nice one. It had a single bed, tiny. There was hardly any thing in the bathroom and I had no new cloth. Washed every thing I could to reuse tomorrow. And finally got to bed. After 4 hours I opened my eyes to find myself unmoved. Checked on the wet cloths and got back to bed, thinking “I don’t mind what happens” :)

Met my dear colleague in the morning who had brought me some cosmetics kindly. I decided I could survive without. Made it through the day with a very interesting and strong minded customer. But a fruitful meeting still. He offered me and my colleague a very yummy cake one of his patients had brought him. My colleague was very attentive and smart and I enjoyed spending the day with her.

To Dusseldorf again, collected my bag, and rode the plane to Manchester. In all Italy, France, and Germany I found it not difficult at all for people to think I was from North America. I felt my accent was perfect. ;) Unlike in US where occasionally I would be asked “where are you from originally” implying they could detect my non-American English accent. A chatty and polite British business man was sitting by me in the plane to Manchester. We talked about work and MBA and traveling by different airlines. He saw my passport when I was filling in the custom checking card. He thought I was Canadian. Later, he asked what kind of accent I had. Well yes, back to an English speaking country and I was caught ;) He claimed he could be George Clooney in the Up in the Air because he had already travelled more than 1.5 million miles. He had interesting wisdom to share for an occasion when your bag does not arrive at 9:30 PM local time and you have a meeting right the next day.

Made it to Liverpool from Manchester AND, my room got upgraded to Executive! I though there was justice in the world! :) Later, with the room service I ordered came the desert with a note “compliment from Nemo” and I thought that should have been my project manager whom I wrote to about my not so smoothly taken trip last night. It was a charming surprise. I had a very unusually nice falling to sleep experience. Slept very well, albeit short, thanks to the nicer room and fresh clothing and nice shower and sweet dessert and nice chats I had with my dear Sh. K. and my M. I was collected again by another kind and charming colleague and she took me to my next meeting. I had a nice appointment with more confirming points for my project. I am in train to London. Excited to be in one room for two nights in a row. And so very sleepy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Europe Biz Trip - 2

In the air. Flying over Italy into France. Alone.

I was supposed to be in Bordeaux this morning but a chain of events last night caused me to miss my flight and not get into any other flight for the night. So I came back to the same hotel I had checked out of that morning. I was told there was no regular room available and they gave me the deluxe room. I preferred the regular room of the night before as the so called deluxe room was full of insects. I believe that was the gift from the beautiful Swan Lake behind the hotel and the rain. The only problem was that I prefer not to have insects as my roommates and I couldn’t sleep a bit last night. Just waited till 4:30AM and got up and left. The hotel reception advised I should have changed my room but I thought there were no other available. They were very kind and I wouldn't mind to go back there again, hopefully in a more sunny weather so I can explore the lake may be.

In the two days I was in Milan it was foggy and rainy, cloudy in its best. Italians seemed to me as really warm as you would find in movies. They do talk passionately about any thing and take food seriously. It seemed not odd or uncommon that in a restaurant the tables were just side by side each other and if there was a forth sit available a total stranger would come and sit there. I thought what an admirably closely knit nation! And Linate airport, well, a bit of a memorable experience I should say.

I am going to Bordeaux, will be there only for about 3 hours. And will go back to Dusseldorf via Paris again.

Happy Eid by the way to my readers who celebrate it! Best of the best prayers to you all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Europe Biz Trip 1

In the air. Flying over Atlantic toward Europe. Alone.

Deactivated my facebook account a few days ago and since then I am yearning for my blog. I have inspiration to publish my thoughts again.

M.R. once encouraged me to really publish myself. He said he had notices that my writings were vague, as if the meanings wanted to be hidden beneath the words. That I buried the meanings I was trying to say under layers and layers of sentences. I smiled at his observation. He was correct I thought and I liked it. I thought I was too revealed already and being tagged as reserved in writing was somewhat an achievement even.

Tonight though, I better not type. I am too ready to reveal myself.

It is tomorrow, which is today.
I am in a hotel in Milan. Past 2PM here and it is dark and raining. The hotel looks fine but in a rather residential place. I think I will stay inside, no dining out.

In the transit security line in Frankfurt there was an old doctor in front of me who decided to swap his turn with me and hence, started talking. He was funny actually. In the short conversation time on the line I found out that he disliked United Airlines, he had been to Milan a few times and thought it was a large industrial city with very good food, and that I was crazy to think that after travelling all the way from San Francisco I was going to be functional and working tomorrow. He was German, a kind chatty sort.

My flight attendant from Frankfurt to Milan seemed curious about my origin as he asked me where I was from and when I asked why he said he thought I was from Eastern Europe but then when he checked my last name (!!! really curious!!) he couldn’t figure things out any more. His forst guess was Eastern Europe (!!) and he thought I was there for vacation. Why should I come to Milan on vacation in November? Hmm, may be for a nice walk in the Italian rain! And then a cup of tea yummy!

Need to get to work, have stuff to take care of before the big day tomorrow. I am meeting with a few customers and I am not sure if they speak English. I wish I knew Italian! I remember I started studying Italian when I was in middle school. My dad had two self instructed Italian learning books and I had started memorizing phrases. Wish I had gone further than the first few pages! Gosh I could memorize things much more efficiently back then and I thought I didn’t have the sharpest memory! How stupid! And I know 30 years from now I will say the same thing about today ;)