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Back.. Nov. 24th, 2005 @ 06:32 am
Hey folks,

Sorry for the absence. It's been a while, but just wanted to post a quick message to let friends like Satori know that things are still ticking along here in Waterloo. Thanks for the concern! I suppose I haven't broken the news to most of you, but PK and I are having a baby! Actually, it's in a matter of days (maybe weeks). Our due date is Dec. 16th, so we're now pretty much around that time when it could happen any day. So yeah, pretty big news. We're pretty much prepared and excited.. :)

Also, as someone wrote in the comments section of my last post a new blog has been keeping me pretty busy - Google Maps Mania is a blog I set up back in April to just post links to neat new maps people were creating with Google Maps. The blog has seemed to attract international media attention and it's occupied a lot of my spare time online.. It's been pretty surreal actually - The New York Times, Canadian Press, USAToday have called.. I've even done a taping for the TechTV show 'Call for Help' where I show the blog and some of the maps I've found. Here is a list of all the places where it's been picked up or I've done an interview for lately.. This will help explain what the hell I've been doing! I think it's all pretty weird how much attention it's received

Swing by sometime and check out the new blog.. I'll try to keep this one more updated, and I'll for sure keep you posted in the days ahead.. :)

And now the weekend forecast... flash floods. Aug. 26th, 2005 @ 10:55 am
Something you don't normally see in the weekend forecast:



Hmmm...

Heading out from Hanoi.. Aug. 10th, 2005 @ 08:12 pm
It's funny to be oddly familiar with such a foreign place. Upon arrival to Hanoi airport the details of my last trip came brimming to the top of my mind. I could place the exact immigration wicket PK and I checked in through, the drive from the airport was familiar and I instantly recognized a corner shoe shop near the place we stayed where I bought a pair of flip flops in '02. I love Hanoi. I loved it then, and I love it now. There is just so much happening on the streets of this city. There is an energy, and activity about the place that is just interesting and uplifting to be a part of when you're here. I had the opportunity, while here on this trip to be here in a differnet light - business. That was very interesting. You see business people while backpacking on a holiday, but to get the chance to be invited into offices in a country like Vietnam and discuss your company and your product with them and learn how it could be applicable to them is very interesting. We finished our last of our sales calls in the late morning hours earlier today and have had some time to kill before our late night flight from here to Seoul tonight. I took my work mate around to see some of the things that I had remembered being interesting (pictures via the link below). We're expected to have an 8 hr layover in Seoul so I'm going to try to zip into downtown Seoul to eat some kimchi and *quickly* take in the vibe of Korea... Perhaps I can find a broadband connection and computer in the airport to make a post-in-transit. :)

Here are the pictures from the entire trip - you'll notice Vietnam starts after the in-flight world map..

Sunday morning in Bangkok... Aug. 7th, 2005 @ 08:13 am
..Here is my evolving slideshow of pictures of the trip. If you want to get big zoom-ins of any of them, explore them a bit
further here..

I'm just getting ready to head out to our final day at the technology show we're exhibiting here in Bangkok. Things have gone well and we have a full day of meetings booked up for our final day in Bangkok tomorrow. We managed a few hours yesterday afternoon to do a bit of sightseeing. Departing from our hotel we caught a public boat right here on the Chao Phraya River (see my previous picture I posted). We took in the sights and sounds of whizzing longtail boats, convoys of barges and locals scurrying on and off the boat each numbered boat pier. We were focused on heading to the Khao San road area - a world famous hangout for Thai backpackers (remember the movie - The Beach) but instead got off at the Tha Chang pier to walk by the Grand Palace. It happened to be opened so we wandered through the grounds. The reclining emerald buddah is sprawled out in a massive building and the sight is amazing. Take a look at this picture I tried to stitch together:







We then ended up over in the Khao San road area. Here, a small strip of of backpacker cafes, hostels, tattoo parlours and souvenir shops are enveloped by hundreds of shop-signs that hang out in the middle of the street while sidewalk vendors completely conceal any signs of a sidewalk. We got a small snack in a small cafe in the front lobby area of a hotel that PK and I spent 6 hours in one early, early morning after arriving in from the south of Thailand too early to make booking a room worthwhile. We hung out here sipping Coke and checking email and web stuff while waiting for the early check-in. It was in this location where we discovered the Mombasa, Kenya bombings on CNN.com before leaving Bangkok for that location the next day... Ah Memories. :) The shopping on this street is great. Pirated cds, shirts, Thai gift items.. all on sale here, and you can spend hours. I left my work mate who is with me here as he tried to re-compile a collection of old Pink Floyd cds he had lost.

I hopped on a tuk-tuk, a small three wheel motor-bike taxi to get to the nearest subway station to get across town to meet my brother and his fiancee for dinner. The tuk-tuk driver gave me the usual run-around - "I take you for free.. no charge.. if you go to tourist office, say first time visitor.. spend 20 mins.. buy nothing, then get back on". He claimed to get 300 bhat commission for the act, and I would get a free ride. Since I was paying him 75 bhat to get where I was going (well negotiated I might add), and I was in a hurry, I told him.. maybe next time. The transit system (BTS) here in Bangkok is so well marked and guided that I had no problem finding my way. Dinner - Pad Thai. AWESOME. Pictures of most everything above are located in the slideshow I linked to above..

I'm going to get ready to head out - I'll post some pictures of the technology show we're in before I leave Thailand...

Posted in Thailand.. Aug. 2nd, 2005 @ 08:51 pm
I'll be in Bangkok until Monday so I thought this would be a good chance to post some updates for everyone that cares to check around here.. I'm here for a tradeshow that the company I work for is exhibiting in, as well as some sales and customer meetings.

I nearly fell off the treadmill this morning when I saw TORONTO PLANE CRASH come up on the screen in front of me. Fumbling for sound, I had to do with the captions below the images. All said, it was a good result, as far as plane accidents happen. It will still make me nervous to land there next week.

The flight here was good. I'm actually getting used to the long-haul flight. I stopped over in Narita (Tokyo) for a few hours. I'm just packing up now to head to the convention centre.

Here is a shot I just took from my hotel window:

Other entries
» Weekend Update
Air conditioning would be a good thing. I'm slowly learning the hot zones in our house. Our bedroom seems to contain the heat, as does the office I'm in now. We have a guy coming tomorrow to give us a quote on making the house cool. I will get around to posting some pictures of the property for you sometime soon. The grass is taking root and I'm not sure I posted any interior shots.

I'll be reporting to you again from 'out on the road' starting Monday if all goes well with an Internet connection on the other end. I'm going to Singapore for one week for work again. We're exhibiting in another tradeshow and I was asked to go along. I enjoy helping sell our company and the technology and product that we market. It gives me a chance to put some reality to the usual email and phone conversations I have with customers. I also find speaking with people in business in other countries fascinating. Especially when it all deals with a common industry.

Following the one week trip to Singapore I'll be taking a week off to spend with PK in Northern Canada - The Yukon Territory to be exact. We'll fly to Whitehorse and rent a car to drive north out of the province, dip into Alaska (if they'll let us) and then circle back to Whitehorse and return home. I'll fill you in more on that later..

This week consists of a convoluted packing job for a business trip to Singapore and outdoor camping in the Yukon. A fun dilemma.
» Last post..
Just sneaking in what will be my last post. VERY busy here with prospect calls today following the show. I'll unplug here in the next few minutes limiting my pic-posts for the trip over.

Here are some parting shots:

The famous Sydney Opera House lit by the moon:


..And of course the Harbour Bridge!


Caught this cool shot of a dj in a small nightspot right near where I took these above photos..


Catch the full photo gallery of the trip here.

See you back in Canada!
» Wednesday comes to a close
A really tiring but successful day for my workmate and I here. I'm a bit iffy about doing much blogging about work or our specific activities here for obvious reasons, so I'll stay slim on the details. Here is a shot of the show we're in. Cebit is the name of it, and it's basically a show that has consolidated many shows (Internet, hardware/software and wireless) together in recent years. Seems Australia is seeing the same decline of 4 big tech shows in one year, with just one big one happening now instead. Shows that the tech/Internet industry is maturing.



Much of the picture taking has been reduced to evening hours only - no time through the day since we're in the show hall all day. There should be some extra time on Friday afternoon to get down to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Here is a shot I got of a building downtown when I was walking tonight.



Also - a feature shot of my dinner last night!! Japanese! Yum! We have a truly Japanese restaurant opposite our hotel that we sampled last night for dinner.



Complete photo set is here..

..Off to bed. :)
-
» Coffee.
Coffee in Aussie (or NZ) isn't what you know it to be at home. You don't walk into a Timmy's-like establishment and order up the standard double double. In fact, the standard filtered coffee is pretty much unheard of as well. If you do want it, you'd need to find a large hotel and ask in the restaurant for a "drip coffee".. otherwise it's known as the fancy foofoo coffees you'd get at Starbucks (of which there are many in Sydney). A "flat white" is about as close as you'll come to just a regular "coffee" which my best guess has it being just a latte.

Heh, I just ran the search "flat white" through Google.com.au and here is the link I found. Here is what they have to say:

The flat white was created right here in Australia because many of us want the full rich flavour of the coffee without all the foam contained in a cappuccino
Cup size: 160 - 180 mls




1 shot of espresso and 1/2cm of textured (frothed) milk that forms a slight dome on the surface of the drink. <a href="http://www.dairyfarmers.com.au/internet/s14_crema/recipes/flat_white.jsp" target="_blank:>(Here is the link)</a></b> Regardless, the coffee's a must and this is what I'm drinking while I'm here. :)
» Tuesday Morning.
There. One full 8-hr sleep is under my belt and I'm officially
in this timezone in terms of my body clock.

The Sydney Morning Herald was tucked under the door of my hotel room this morning. A very wide format paper, but not a tabloid style I was surprised the paper only had three sections and a few flyers. It was light and easy to pick up, unlike the Record or Globe you get from home that feels like an encyclopedia. The back of the main section has a really good summary page that *does* read like a tabloid when you flip it around to read the text. Very cool format. Take a look at what the front page said down below, and
take a read of the paper..


(this image will change each day)

Weatherwise this week, things are looking good. Yesterday was awesome. It was clear and sunny with very whispy clouds (the clouds are very unique here) and really nice conditions.. even into the evening you were okay with short sleeves. We were told yesterday that it's autumn and the winter weather hasn't arrived yet. I'm certain that can't be too bad compared to Canada though.. The paper said this morning that this kind of weather can be expected all week. Good times!




Off to the show we're here exhibiting at..
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