Friday, July 27, 2007

Return to Paradise

After 40 hours of flying, I finally made it back.

Outside the wall of UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services)

I was picked up from the airport and driven straight to the UNOPS office where I met the director. He chuckled a little as I walked into his office, I looked like crap after living on airplanes and airports without showering for the past two days. We talked briefly, he seemed like a nice and understanding guy. He insisted me to get something to eat at the WFP where appropriately has a restaurant within the compound. After retuning, he introduced me to the staff, where I met my team of 17 or so people, the Technical Support Unit (TSU).

Obvious that I was dead tired, the director had a driver take me to the Green Paradise. Where I instantly fell asleep after taking a badly needed shower. I oversleep, causing me to be late for dinner and beers with some friends.

The Green Paradise, a living compound for expats, is pretty posh: wifi internet, satellite TV, hot water and a pool. And costs more than what I was paying for my apartment back in San Francisco. I only stayed two days.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is the way to fly

Singapore Airlines is pretty sweet...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mary's getting old!

Tanglewood in San Jose's Santana Row. ...overpriced and food was good, but not great. that's all I have to say.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back to Indonesia?

I came home from Scotland two days ago and I had an email waiting for me. It was from the United Nations. They are interested in hiring me for a school reconstruction project back in Banda Aceh, Indonesia under UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services).

Later that night I had a phone interview and they offered me the job. But they want me to head back out there ASAP. I had my mind set on coming back to San Francisco and start working, living a normal life. But it's hard to turn down a high paid salary working for the UN rebuilding schools for five months.

what should I do????

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Welcome to Glenmore, this is how the Brits camp...

I've been meaning to write about this ever since I got back home from Scotland. Europeans seem to make fun of Americans for being all "posh" when it comes to "roughing it". So this came to a surprise at the end of our hiking trip in the Scottish Highlands when we decided to stay in luxury and car camp our last night before flying back out to California.

So here is a sample of how the Brits "rough it" at a Glenmore Camping Park (camping ground) on the shores of Loch Morlich (two hours outside of Inverness, Scotland)...

this annex area even has carpet, don't get your feet dirty! the queen would hate that!

What the hell is that??

Must be nice to be able to keep the midges out while watching satellite TV (see dish)!

oh no! some one's Hilton doesn't have heat!

This one has a whole dining table set in it

again, whole dining table set

You can stand upright in this barrow vault

And this is how us Americans were camping.

...and since the Americans didn't have a full kitchen with refrigerator and butler, we had to cook on the shores of the loch.

Well, we did see one other camp site that had a normal size tent, but they were Swiss, so it didn't count.

Oh yeah...

this is a beast of a dog.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Scottish Highlands

Some shots of the Highlands and the Isle of Skye

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Wrong Place at (almost) the Wrong Time

This photo of Piccadilly Circus was taken hours before the police found car bombs packed with propane tanks and nails. Of course, at the time, we didn't know the car bombs were ticking away within a block of us.

Unbelievable! We were hanging out in Piccadilly Circus (we took a day trip to London on Thursday), the 2nd link has a map. We were right there, in that same area, earlier that same day, little did we know! Guess it was due to the new PM in office.

getting too close!

Yahoo New

"Authorities said the bombs in both cars were similar and that each Mercedes had been abandoned in the same area near Piccadilly Circus. Had they exploded, at least hundreds of people would have been killed."


"Officers inspecting the car found 60 litres of petrol on the back seat, gas cylinders and containers holding nails inside, which could have caused significant injury or loss of life". The bomb was manually defused."

there's more...

Just after coming back from London with their unexploded bombs...

Today, as we were returning to Glasgow from a day trip to Stirling, I noticed as we were transferring trains in Glasgow Central Station, that it was crawling with armed police. our train is also delayed. Look up at the giant video screen and we see news images of Glasgow Airport on fire.

Glasgow Airport

Suicide bombers drove a flaming van packed with propane tanks and crashed into the airport terminal building. Luckily the propane tanks didn't explode, but it did set the building on fire. The bombers were wearing suicide belts and were running away in flames. (didn't quite get the suicide part right.) so weird, we were just at that airport so many times, trying to get my checked-in bags back from being lost in
the system when I arrived.

We've spend the rest of tonight trying to find a way for my buddy to get back home to california, since he's flying out of Glasgow Airport in less in a day and is in a wedding. The airport is closed until further notice.

Attacking Glasgow (and Scotland)? this is the most harmless city (and country) ever...


LA Times


Later, as I was driving two of the guys to Glasgow's smaller Prestwick Airport out in the boondocks, we past Glasgow Airport. From the motorway, you could see the burnt part of the terminal building -- the runway and streets quiet.