Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Around The World In How Many Days?

Handsome Hubby is our guest blogger this evening, chronicling his latest business adventure - here's what the cat does while he's away, while at home the mice play:

Jules Verne figured you could have an adventure and travel around the world in 80 days; I did it in 8 days.

While concerned about what could happen, I nevertheless set out for a business trip that would take me around the world. Along the way, I would nearly lose my sanity in 3 separate customs lines, participate in a memorial service for Japanese Earthquake victims, fly on my own "private" plane, shop for jewelry in the mean Mumbai streets, take a "buggy" flight and still get all my work done a day earlier than planned.

My own private Boeing 737. Which seat to choose?
Tumon Bay, Guam. Last time, I had my best friend with me. It wasn't the same without my wife.
With a stop in Guam for 3 nights, I was fortunate to get the chance to have some nice weather and assist with a candlelight memorial service that our company put on with other chamber of commerce organizations on the island. We had a very nice showing, with a perfect sunset dropping behind the cliffs that anchor Tumon Bay. To get to my next business destination, I traveled on a brand new airline based in Guam called Fly Guam. When boarding, to my surprise, I learned that there would only be one passenger on the aircraft. I couldn't help but smile, my own private airplane with four flight attendants? With service like this, the airline is clearly going places! It only lasted for a short hop up to Saipan and I was joined by 9 other passengers for a trip over to Hong Kong. Thinking I had plenty of time, I learned to my horror that I would have to clear customs into HK to get my next ticket on Cathay Pacific. Nearly losing my sanity waiting for nearly an hour, my 2 hour connection was whittled down to 50 minutes. Setting a record for shortest time between two passport stamps - 10 minutes - I rushed across one of the largest airports in Asia to the ticket desk and then sprinted to the clear customs again and on to the flight.

Arriving into Mumbai, India at 2AM is descending into a labyrinth of dusty, dirty, busy humanity. It is amazing how much life occurs in India at night. I took a tour of Mumbai and got to see some of the popular sights and also do some shopping with the renowned Mumbai jewelery merchants. Work occurred in the late evening, early morning, so I got to work some unusual hours. At least it was "only" 85F at night. I also got to eat as much Indian food as I wanted, which is always good to me. The flight home began on Air France which, since they left the doors open during servicing, was swarming with mosquitoes. Every 5 seconds, smack some around you (or you) killed another bug. Landing in Paris, I nearly lost it again waiting in Customs; this time there was literally no government agents to process passengers and we were left standing around wondering why. Filtering through the throng was a rumor that a bag had been left behind and so they had cleared the area. BOOM! The walls rattle, the floors shake and an echoing explosion rings through the area. Apparently, taking no chances, the French police just blew up the unattended bag. It wasn't all bad, as I got to stop at Laduree for some divine macaroons.

The Gateway of India

I love Indian Food

Open green space in Mumbai, a rarity

Off for home and getting frustrated one last time in Customs, this time simply because I chose the wrong agent.

So, in 8 days, 6 different airplanes, 4 different airlines and 48 hours in the air, I went around the world. The best part, as always was seeing my best boys and beautiful wife.


Pam Kelsey said...

Love the recap! There is nothing like being at home:) Thank you for allowing me to come and have some time with Kim and the boys - I appreciate you! Glad you are back safe. By the the new house!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the story! I loved hearing about your adventure. I would have loved to accompany you on the Guam flight, but not the mosquito flight. Amazing the book you could write about all the encounters you experience while traveling! Welcome home and you'd better get-a-packin. :) PT

Dad said...

Sounds like so much fun but I don't think I would have braved the Mumbai merchants-Geeze the Freeland merchants are bad enough!


Glad you're home safe!

Love you Son!

Lindsey Kay said...

Amazing! I can't believe they just blew it up! Very interesting though!