Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sitting in GulfAir's BAH lounge...

...waiting for my flight to leave -- in about 6 hours. What?!??! You thought I was leaving yesterday? Well, a-hem, uh, hrmph, did I. Things get confusing very quickly at airports when you show up on the wrong day. Fortunately for me, it was a day early and not a day late!

OK, so what, right? Well, I had checked out of my hotel. A day early (It thought I made a mistake about its booking). The F1 Grand Prix is in town this weekend. I was panicked! I quickly called the hotel to see if my room was available (after all, I had only checked out 20 minutes earlier). It was not. They did find a room at a slightly higher price so I took it.

I got to the hotel, and fortunately a manager was at the desk. He suggested, "Just re-instate him". With that, and the release of my room by housekeeping, I was able to get my room back at the original rates! Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one!

Well, now I had a full 24 hours of nothing to do. Check e-mails. Done. Watch "Outlaw Josie Wales" (I brought it with me). Not Done. Too tired to finish. Actually got seven hours of sleep. Great. When for a morning interval run of 3 miles. Done. Great. Got in 14 miles of roadwork this week (roadwork is defined by me as being the sum total of running and walking for exercise). It may be an old fatboy definition, but I'll take it.

Meanwhile, I show up at the airport today. GulfAir has a beautiful check-in place for 1st class/ business travelers. You walk in and sit at a desk with the GulfAir person. Relax. One bag? Yes, all the way to IAH. "Yes sir". "Here is your pass to our lounge. Have a pleasant flight." Which brings us up to now...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

...and I am going home. I am glad.

It was a good stay and experience here on the island of Bahrain. People were friendly, the place was clean except for the dust caused by the sands surrounding everything. But it has a been a long time since home, and time to get back. I will be home for a couple of weeks, before hitting the road again. I am looking forward to those 2 weeks.

Now to finish packing, cab, airport, board -- the journey.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Persian Gulf

I woke to my first morning on the Persian Gulf. I am in Bahrain, a small island kingdom in the Persian Gulf connected to the mainland by a bridge to Saudi Arabia. It is my understanding that Bahrain is the Las Vegas of the Middle East -- alcohol is sold openly here, unlike most of the Arab world. Hence, this is where the Arabs go to party.

I am here for a geoscience conference concerning all aspects of energy development in the Middle East. In my new role, I need to expand my horizons of understanding so that I might be better informed of both challenges and opportunities for my domain.

Getting here, whew! Twenty-five hours elapsed from the time I left my house until I got into my hotel room. Fortunately, I did sleep on the plane; maybe "passed out" is a better way to describe it. I am trying to avoid taking all the "tricks" of travel: Tylenol PM, Benadryl, Dramamine, Melatonin, etc. I have used them all at one point or another with limited success. They all have their side effects, short term though they may be, so I will try to train my body to react to sunshine, basically.

Some people react to my travel with "Wow, you get to got to all these places". I am not a tourist. Most of my time is spent in a conference room or a meeting hall. I do not linger extra days on the company's dime to go sightseeing. My experiences are not shared (as in their physical presence) with the people I love, especially my wife. I also fight jet lag. My sleep was just recovering from my trip to Japan when I had to leave for this trip. In short, there is less romance and adventure in business travel than meets the eye.

Still, the brief brushes with culture and seeing other skylines has its moments, even in solitude.