31 July 2008

The view from Eurostar

Taken from the high speed train I rode from London to Paris. This is the French countryside, after coming out of the chunnel. The train is going around 300kph. Notice how the sign posts are just a blur going by.

24 July 2008

Whirlwind Paris visit

Here’s a whirlwind recap of the Paris visit, so far...

Day 1:
Ed surprised me by showing up at my hotel! Walked to Notre Dame, Sorbonne, Pantheon, Rue Mouffetard (lots of cafes and restaurants). Bought some scarves at a street market along Bd. St. Germain and rue Monge, ate a baguette crudites poulet for lunch at the park beside Notre Dame.

Day 2:
Checked out the open market at rue Mouffetard. Had cafe au lait. The shopkeeper scolded us for using her table to drink our coffe and eat the croissant we bought at the boulangerie a few doors down. Her table is just for drinking her coffee. Ahem. Took the train to Musee du Louvre! Got there just after 10am and we didn’t leave until 9:30pm. Magnificent collection! And the buildings themselves were spectacular. Went back to the Latin Quarter and had dinner at L’Ecurie. Very delicious. And the washroom was an experience in itself! (more on that in a later post)

Day 3:
Went back to the rue Monge market to buy more scarves and shawls. Then took the train to Ave des Champs Elysees. Bought a bottle of Hanae Mori Butterfly eau de toilette (made sure it was “made in France”) and walked to the Arc de Triomphe. Went into Cartier and Louis Vuitton but didn’t buy anything (as if I can afford anything in there!). Time for a break so we had pastries and tea at Laduree. Sooo good! Next up, Montmartre! Walked up the hill to the Sacre Coeur basilica then walked about the town. Had dinner at a place called Le Restaurant. Again, fantastic food. Last stop of the day, the Eiffel Tower. Got there just in time for the 11pm light show.

We’ve managed to pack in a lot of sites but also have time to sit and enjoy some tea or coffee or a good meal. It’s been a fabulous visit. Defintely have to come back for more.

More Paris stuff next time. Now, I have to pack and get ready to fly back to YVR tomorrow morning. Bon soir.

20 July 2008

Holed up

I spent Saturday and Sunday holed up in my hotel room, working. I finished a tremendous amount of work, more than I ever would in the office in the same amount of time. I’m actually surprised at how much I got done.

This was my office this weekend:

Notice the bag of chips, wasabi peas, granola bars, and bottle of water. Brain food, definitely!

ps. If you think business travel is glamorous, it's not. At least I get to fly business class for this trip. That makes it somewhat glamorous.

19 July 2008

Some London pics uploaded

Check it out...

Busy week

I haven’t been posting on my blog not because I don’t want to but because I’ve been too damn busy. Long days with BP and then out to dinner with Randy and Roy. I have never consumed so much alcohol during a business trip before! It’s not that they forced me to drink but when you’re with people who drink, you end up drinking too. Anyway, it’s all good fun.

BP took us out after work on Thursday. We took the Thames Clipper boat from Canary Wharf to Tower of London and then we walked to a pub called Old Thameside Inn for pre-dinner drinks. Afterward, we headed to an Italian restaurant called Tentazioni and the food and wine were fantastic. (yes, more alcohol!) I had Dover sole for the first time ever and it was grilled to perfection. Yum. The folks from BP were very friendly and quite fun to hang out with. Gauging from the laughter and merriment around the table, everyone had a great time.

Since I am taking most of next off to go to Paris and we need to submit a proposal to BP by Friday, I have to work this weekend. I anticipated it would be this way. Before we left for London, Roy (my boss) said I have two weeks after our meeting with BP to finish the estimate we need to submit to BP. Well, last Wednesday, he informs me that BP needs it sooner and that I have a week, not two. I just stared at him. I’m in Paris next week and I’m not canceling! So I’ll finish what I can this weekend and Roy can take it from there. I’m going to Paris, dammit.

The really positive thing about this project is the BP team we’re working with has shown so much willingness and openness to work to us. We had three user representatives absolutely willing to spend the time with us showing us what they do and answering our questions. You’d think that is common but it’s not. It was really refreshing to work with a group who has bought into the idea of a system and are quite enthusiastic about it.

So it’ll be work, work, work for a couple more days then Paris. Can’t wait!

15 July 2008

London, visit #6

I’m staying at Canary Wharf, though, for the first time and it’s a very different experience than staying in central London. Canary Wharf is a business area and while there are shops around, they close by 7 or 8 pm. And once the office workers go home, the entire area is pretty quiet. But it is a short walk to BP’s office, so that’s nice. Otherwise, it is a 20 to 30-minute commute from central London by the Underground and that can be not very pleasant, especially in the summer when it gets warm in the trains. The weather has been good since our arrival but it’s suppsed to rain later this week. I’m hoping the forecast is wrong.

The meetings with the client have been very productive. Been quite hectic so far. But having the hectic days have helped me stave off the jetlag zombie feeling.

The highlights so far have been a black cardigan I bought because it’s colder than I anticipated and last night’s dinner with my colleagues where we had a wee bit too much wine. It’s going to be a fun week!

9 July 2008

Beyond excited

I haven’t been this excited about a business trip in a long time!

Because our major clients are headquartered in London, I’ve been able to go there a few times since 2002. I think this will be my sixth time going to London. The work days during these trips prove to be pretty long because as the London day is ending, Vancouver is starting up. I basically end up working double shifts. But I always make sure that I catch at least one show and go to at least one museum or attraction during my visits. However, I always have to rush back to Vancouver because our project timelines are always very aggressive. Gotta keep working!

This upcoming trip, though, it is possible for me to take a few days off after meeting with the customer. So, Paris - here I come!!! It will be my first time there. I am terribly excited.

The fabulous hotel where I will be staying - Acte V - in the Latin Quarter. And I'm taking the Eurostar train from London to Paris.

Did I say I am excited??? I am beyond excited. Excited is an understatement! :)

2 July 2008

Canada Day

Had a BBQ with the dine in/dine out group (sans Louanne and Patrick) at the park across from Mon’s and Josh’s place. Josh’s parents were there too. Louanne and Patrick couldn’t make it, unfortunately. The Second Narrows bridge was closed because of a jumper so there was no crossing to and from the North Shore on that day.

All in all, a good Canada Day. Great weather and good company.

Some pics here.