Friday, May 9, 2008

Jet setting

Sorry again for the delays, Nadia and I both have been travelling. I spent 2.5 weeks on business trips in S.Korea & Hong Kong, and Nadia made a trip back to the States to hire teachers for the fall semester.
I flew into of Pusan, South Korea, for a brief supplier visit then received a ride to Changwon, South Korea. There we had a chance to walk around downtown a little after dinner. Snapped a few photos...
Cherry blossoms in full bloom

Typical city corner in Changwon, stacked upA sign without explanation

Next was the city of Jinju for another supplier visit.
Korean Steakhouses are a common, frequented for business dinners. I ate at one almost every night in each different city with each different supplier. Traditional Korean fare is primarily seafood, vegetables, and of course Kimch'i. The process: you take a lettuce leaf, put a piece of grilled steak from the hibachi along with a grilled garlic clove, some spicy bean and peanut paste, a few marinated onions, and any of the various toppings on the table. Fold & eat in one bite. Chase with a sip of Hite beer, & a shot of Soju (Jinro), the "world's best selling spirit." Primarily because a 375ml bottle sells for 5,000 Won, or $5. Jinro is the small green bottle in the photo.

We had a weekend in between our next stop, so we stayed in downtown Seoul. We met up with the daughter of one of our engineers who is stationed at the US Army base located in downtown area. She served as our tour guide around Itaewon, a street in Seoul littered with shops, restaurants and bars. It is a popular destination for tourists and soldiers on R&R. Another crazy destination in Seoul was the COEX Mall. This mall comprises the "basement" of several city blocks in downtown Seoul. It is 58,000 sq. meters. It includes an aquarium & megaplex cinema.

Our last stop in Korea was Pyongtaek, where our Eaton facility is located.

Next flight was to Hong Kong. I needed to stop en route to Beijing in order to secure a visa that would allow me to gain permanent residency in China. So I had a couple evenings to see the sites (sights?). I took the Sky Tram up to Victoria Peak to get a good look at the skyline.I walked or took the subway everywhere. You don't have to be in Supply Chain Management to appreciate this logistic marvel. Each subway station has several exits at various points on a city block. All entrances feed one stop on the route. Also, there are elevated walkways everywhere connecting all the hotels, office buildings, restaurants, bus stations, ferries, and subways. It is so easy and logical, I had no problem getting around. The cost of real estate dictates this. Real estate in Hong Kong is some of the most expensive in the world. Average cost of a condo is $10,490-$ 14,780/sq.meter.
Next I took the Star Ferry (Hong Kong icon) to the Kowloon (north) side of the bay. There I got to watch the buildings light up to a choreographed laser/light show.
Finally, I was going home. However, Cyclone Nargis tried to stop me. I escaped before Nargis made land fall in Hainan, and eventually made it's way up the cost to Hong Kong.
I arrived in Beijing at the new terminal. Another show piece for the Olympics. It was only open a month before I arrived. Pretty amazing, like all the other new iconic structues, the terminal is enormous and spectacular. Everything is glass, all the walls the ceiling, even the elevator shafts, showing the inner workings of the lift.


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