Friday, November 19, 2010

and then it was mid/late-November

Yeah, I'm going to cheat in the next couple days and put up at least a couple back-dated posts so maybe look out for those if you're interested. Or not since my increasingly infrequent (if that makes sense) posting has probably caused the six readers I had to wither away to more interesting venues.

back in POG

And now I'm back in Port Gentil. That was a good little trip in one sense, but with the extra day added on, I'm further behind the plan for what needs to get done at work before I return to the States next month. Oh well, time to straighten up and fly right.

One amusing travel note. I didn't look at the boarding pass when I first received it in Libreville for my return to Port Gentil because I was in a hurry. The flight from Paris left late and cut my layover from 75 minutes to about 40 minutes which needed to include clearing customs, medical card check, checking in (different airline), and security. However, when I was finally in the waiting area, I glanced at my boarding pass and apparently, my name is now William Lopez. Hmmmm, someone probably had some trouble getting their ticket after me. The problem seems to have stemmed from our secretary booking my own ticket with a name that isn't quite right. She evidently used my middle name as my last name and then my first and last name (with no space between them) became my first name. I had the same problem in Paris while checking in with Air France and unsuccessfully tried to get them to fix it. No one cared that my ticket and passport did not properly match in CDG and no one even looked in Libreville. So much for security.

Names get messed up a lot here because what is considered to be a pretty basic first name (given name) and last name (family name) convention in the States does not exist here. Children from the same parents can have different "last" names and the first name/last name concept is also somewhat malleable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ATR 42 and the Metro

Well, that was a fun-filled day-and-a-half. I'm now sitting in a hotel which was not the planned hotel and my feet are very tired.

Let's go back to the beginning. Yesterday's flight from Port Gentil to Libreville was a 30-minute puddle jump on a less than half-full ATR 42. We boarded from the rear which I thought was odd, but once I was inside it was clear. The cargo area is in between the passenger cabin and the cockpit so the only door to that area from the outside is a cargo door. I've always been slightly amused by the Port Gentil airport. From the parking lot, with the right angle, you can see through usually open doors past the ticketing area, waiting area and outside to the tarmac. A straight line of sight from my car to the plane in this ultra-secure facility. Janet Napolitano must be having a fit that children can board a plane without being forced to undress.

Libreville to Paris (CDG) was on a standard 777-300ER. Nothing special, but at least I finally saw Inception. Solid film, probably would have been better on a big screen, or simply a bigger screen. And of course I slept because I needed to "wear a smart-looking suit and ace them (the client)". (Can you name the film that quote is from? It's one of my favorites).

The meeting itself went as expected. Some good news in terms of time available, but nothing too surprising was said. We have changed plans to finish tomorrow due to a non-attendee today. Thus, my flight back to Port Gentil is getting pushed to Friday.

It has been after the meeting that was so entertaining. My hotel reservation was not done properly. And my hotel is full. Well, they offered me a room for 380 Euros a night. I passed and made some phone calls to get our Travel Department to make a booking somewhere else. Well, they thought it was good to get a booking in Clamart. For reference, I was nowhere near Clamart at the time. I was supposed to be staying at a hotel about halfway between La Defense and the city center. Onto the Metro I go! Back towards the city center, then a transfer to the southbound 13 line to the very end. And then, this is where my classic stubbornness kicked in. I could have taken a cab or even a bus. But hey, it can't be that far away so I'll walk! Sigh. I think I just walked about 4 miles carrying my backpack and wearing my suit. Yeah, never quit, never surrender indeed. It'll make for a good story once my feet feel better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

going to paris

Tomorrow, I leave for Paris. If the schedule holds together, I will be back in Port Gentil by Thursday night. Total time on the ground in Paris to be just under 30 hours. This reminds me of my ultra-fast trip through Germany when I first started working in Hungary. I jumped through five different airports in three days and did it all out of my backpack. I have a similar backpack-only plan in store for this trip.

I will be leaving tomorrow afternoon from Port Gentil for a 30-minute jump to Libreville. From there, a charming overnight flight to CDG that lands at 0600 the next day and then a cab ride into the heart of Paris to the client office (which is near the opera house). All-day meeting, one night in Paris, then an early departure back to CDG the next day to catch a 1045 flight back to sunny Gabon. Sadly Jack, no Marrakesh for me. The party here never stops.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


I sent 61 e-mails for work yesterday. That's terrible. I do not sit at my desk all day. There are large stretches of most days where I am in client meetings, working face-to-face with employees, and generally should not be such a person who needs to send 61 e-mails in a day. By any reasonable concept of what my day should consist of, sending 61 e-mails is not part of that concept. By an unreasonable reality of what some days are like, this happens. And it makes me sad.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

world series election

I continue to marvel how little I seem to care about many current events in the US. Hey, the Giants won the World Series. That's fantastic. My life is somehow not deeply impacted. Today is election day. While there are many compelling ballot measures in California and it seems we are headed for a serious political reversal which, given the current state of rhetoric, is likely going to be deeply sucky for America, I really cannot be bothered to care all that much. I think a lot of that apathy is the insulation I have from the challenges and problems that most people have, especially in the rather middling economic climate that the US (and much of the world) is in.

I am insulated because:
1) I do not live in the States at the moment.
2) I have a job which keeps me very busy.
These factors in combination with not watching American news and instead only getting it from the internet keeps me away from the endless political ads, talk show yammering, and the Ford Truck Month commercials.