Archive for August, 2010


Yep.  Pretty much sums up my experiences with Jager…

Beijing - TV Blackout for day of mourning

I seem to bring bad luck to China every time I visit.  Last time I was there, newspapers were printed in black & white and all entertainment was suspended as a mark of respect to those killed in the earthquakes.  This time, it was the mudslides that meant all entertainment was suspended again.  Not exactly what you want to see when you’re trapped in a hotel room with nothing else to do!

Beijing Skyline

Beijing skyline in the summer sunshine


Back in Beijing for three days of meetings, and greeted for the first time by warm, sunny weather.  Every other trip I’ve made to Beijing has either been clear but freezing or warm and hazy.  Definitely worth going out to do some sightseeing!

View from the Four Seasons hotel over the Worli skyline in Mumbai. Our offices are beside the circular building on the left-hand side of the photo.


Back in Mumbai for a three days of meetings.  Managed to avoid the worst of the monsoon rains, and even managed to get a room with a view of the water this time instead of the slums.

My trip nicely summed up a lot of Indian culture.  Coming out of the airport, I was greeted by a cacophony of horns and the ubiquitous trucks and rickshaws with ‘Horn OK Please’ painted in bright colours across the back. 

I ate dinner at the hotel restaurant the first night, a hugely-expensive Asian-fusion place.  It wouldn’t be my first choice of restaurant, but it’s convenient when you’re jetlagged and don’t want to venture out.  I figured I’d order something straight-forward and quick – two orders of sushi rolls.

I counted 14 chefs and at least a dozen waiters for the ten customers in the restaurant. Yet still it takes more than 30 minutes for an order of tuna rolls and an order of salmon rolls. India at its chaotic finest!

The next day I caught an early flight to Hyderabad for the day.  Having flown a number of domestic Indian sectors, I think I’ve seen it all. Seatbelt signs routinely ignored, people standing up while the plane is still taxiing, seat swapping, the lot. And a very different sense of ‘personal space’ that we’re used to in Europe. No one bothers to get out of their seat to allow you access (eg, someone in the aisle seat getting up to let someone reach the window seat). They prefer you to crawl over them, no matter how limited the space.

The thing that always gets me, though, is deplaning in India. Rather than deplaning by row, there’s always a mad rush for the door with people climbing over one another to get out. On my flight from Hyderabad, I was in the (ugh) middle seat, and immediately upon reaching the gate the guy at the window was trying to crawl over me into the jam-packed aisle. I don’t know what he thought he was trying to do, or if he figured that I preferred to stay on the plane, or where he thought he was going to go once he’d passed me? Presumably onto the lap of the chap sitting in the aisle seat?

Still, we had a good series of meetings in India and it was a good investment of a three days.  Off to Beijing next for another three days of meetings.

Not many updates on here recently, but then again, I’ve had an unprecedented six weeks at home.  I’ve just about gotten into the swing of things in Basel.  I’ve stopped asking Aude to arrange a ‘wake-up call’ each morning.  I don’t look for my newspaper outside the bedroom door anymore.  And I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that, no matter how hard I try, the cats simply will not give the same respect to the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the doorknob that housekeeping does.

Back on the road again for a very quick trip to Bangkok to host a two-day workshop, then onto London for a day of meetings.  It was my first trip to Bangkok since the riots, and it was reassuring to see that everything was getting back to normal.  Same friendly faces in the hotel (many of whom now recognise me) and same smiling faces in the streets.  It’s always a pleasure to return to Thailand.

Since I was stopping over in London, I decided to throw some business BA’s direction.  It was the weekend after the Basel Tattoo, and it turns out the entire Royal Air Force Fife & Drum Brigade was on my flight.  That excitement aside, arrived in London and briefly got my first taste of LHR T5 – but, disappointingly, it was only an amuse bouche as my flight was leaving from T3.  Headed to the lounge for a quick massage and a light dinner, then boarded the flight.  Managed to snag my favourite seat, 63K, on the upper deck and settled in for a great flight – it reminded me again of how much I like BA’s product and service, and I still think that their seat is wonderful for its privacy and their bed is the most comfortable in the sky.

I arrived in Bangkok mid-afternoon.  I had a great seafood dinner, and treated myself to a two-hour massage – the perfect antidote to a thirteen-hour flight.

My workshops went well, although my head nearly exploded after a four-hour discussion of the finer points of Thai Withholding tax.

Another great BA flight, this time shared with the Australian Men’s Volleyball Team, and a short-sleep later I was back in London. Aude took the opportunity to join me in London for the weekend.  We hit the sales hard and came back loaded with full suitcases, and we also had a chance to visit with old friends and Aude’s brother and sister-in-law. 

A full English breakfast

Back to London to enjoy a healthy full-English breakfast


I’d forgotten how grubby London is.  Maybe I’m spoiled because I live in Switzerland, where everything is clinically clean, but London really is gross.  Streets covered in rubbish, dust, newspapers and vomit.  Is this really the cultural capital of Europe?

We arrived back in Switzerland on Sunday evening, just in time to be treated to a wonderful fireworks display for Swiss National Day, also marking our first year in Switzerland.  It was quite a week.