Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

zimmer in the north

August 21, 2010

it’s summer. hot. boy it’s hot.

time to be together. ‘vacances’;  not high-end.

mid-end, mid-east, mid-life,  vacances . the whole family bar one. and friends. 6 adults and 10 kids. a few quiet days. and cool if possible.

air condition and shade.

together. north. zimmer.

___________________

its morning. i wake up last.

breakfast is wonderful. omelet. salad. fresh bread and jam.

the pressure is building up; make sure the salad juices do not touch the omelet.

am i still not grown-up? by now i better realize there are some things i got to have a certain way:

coffee. fresh coffee.  my day has not started with out a cup of good coffee.

___________________

most of the kids are ready for the pool. in  swimsuits.

mothers are starting the ritual of sun tan lotion. sentences are shorter. patience is smaller. a kid is crying.

the pressure is building up;  ‘נו כבר’  to the pool

___________________

we made it to the pool

noise. i do not like israeli public spaces full of noise. but the noise here is good noise.

everyone stuffed together. trying to draw imaginary territories. where to lay down the towels?

is there room for the ‘מחצלת’ ? (what is the word for them in english? much more than ‘mat’.  i think there is a reason why they are so popular here these days. they grab a lot of land.  real quickly and clearly, and the family and all strangers know that the territory is marked. even if the kids in the mat-next-grass  will step over the edge of our own mat. they are educated and know not to step on their own mat.  they are considerate and step on our own mat in a de-militarized zone; the ceremonial 20 cm close to the edge)

we israelis are good at it. making rooms for mats.

a country with no borders. a country with no limits. looking for markers, looking for territory to call our own. with no challenges.

the lady who took my chair is claiming i did not use it. ‘שלך מהבית?’,

i give up. unhappy about the lost chair, but happy she is not able to piss me off

___________________

it is time for fun.

and we are having fun

water. jumping. no-jumping. megaphone.

the lifeguard proves his authority; important in a country with no limits

sun. sun. sun. water.

in the water. out of water.

the pressure is building up; i need to urinate.

in the pool? no-way. i would rather do it מהמקפצה . and even i try to be more proper than that.

it it time to march to the public toilet. we have come a long way in the last few decades with public toilets. you would not consider using them in the past. but today, i am not afraid.  about 10m away from the toilets it is noticeable. not the smell, that comes later, but the mud on the tiles. i am barefoot. damn. should have brought the flippers. what’s next? how to proceed? a real dilemma. i am able to make it within 2 meters from the toilet on my toes. but i give up.

i find a tree and water it. saving our dry country some water. hey, and making it more green.

still our ‘public space’ is not social. not minded to ‘together’. not enough respect for the other. not enough respect for the ‘next’. i am afraid that includes me.

sun-tan lotion.boy it’s hot.

some water polo with the kids.

total pleasure.

kids climbing all over me.

laughter, fighting for the ball.

even the little ones get to score goals.

and more laughter.

people giggle and smile like they have not for a long time.

priceless

___________________

its night time.

little kids are a sleep. the teenagers are out at night. it is time to teach them poker

it is fun to teach and see how quickly they learn. smart

a few turns to try it out and then its time for the chips, the bluffs, the strategy

each kids displays in a different way a side of their personality that was not evident previously

their eyes move in different directions. a hidden smile. a stern attempt at poker face.

in a few years they will all be soldiers.

serving with others for others.

On my way

August 6, 2010

i think friendship is important. it is a big part of my life. and i am very proud of my friends. and my good friends also know my top problem. i am not good at keeping in touch with them, though i try to make it up in intensity, intimacy and quality. so yes, that is my excuse, quality of quantity

perhaps more than family. perhaps (mom says blood is thinker than water). to my friends, and you know who you are, thank you.

i moved to israel from the USA at a young age. Left my parents, two brothers and two sisters behind. i think of myself as a Zionist. friends are a crucial part of my life.

there is nothing like Israeli friends. it is one of the things we should be proud of. but i am lucky enough to have an “Israeli friend” who is American. Kevin. you have probably heard me talk about him countless times. 2 years of life together in college and three months on trains in europe bonded us. love of sports. political discussions. life in startups. computers and design. kevin is a walking TED. every time i pick up a camera, and i love photography, i think of him. he tought me about quality. about the importance of good equipment. about light; and how to capture it. about composition. about typography and beauty.

so when i got an email from him that he is getting married. i was happy. very happy.

last year kevin had a heart attack. since then he has lost half of his body weight. he is healthier and happier. some, if not much of it, is due to Juliet. they met while kevin was on a mileage run to Hong Kong about 6 months ago.

at first i was not sure if i wanted to travel to the philippines during this summer. i already had a personal trip planned to South Africa with my son, Gil. Summer is time to spend with the family, and it would mean that 5 out of 7 weeks i would be away from home when you count in two business trips. and as you may know, i do not travel well.

but my heart stopped my head from thinking too much. the only issue was if Limor will join me or not.

oh, and i am the Best-Man of the wedding. what an honor.

getting to St Bernard on southern Leyte island, Philippines where Juliet was born is not simple. it took me 4 flights, 5 taxi rides, 2 train rides and a long bus ride to get there. 10.275 degrees north of the equator 125.275 west of Greenwich.

2 of my flights were on Cathay Pacific. first time on that airline. all my life i have been told it is the tops. well, it is not. it is yet another airline.

was it worth it to make the trip? should Limor have joined me? will it be a happy wedding? how will the two families, one rural american and one rural Phillipinnes, bond? will i get sick on the way as i often do after many flights? are there more surprises ahead?

so, how is the Philippines?

August 5, 2010

it is far away. perhaps too far. but it is beautiful. and simple. and simple is not so simple anymore.

a bit like Thiland – it is tropical with the best Mangos and Cocunuts. and beautiful beaches, yet undeveloped.

a bit like Cuba – poor, but with many more smiles. people take life in the easy way. no sense of time. and as you have heard me say before, losing your sense of time (and digital connectivity) are highly correlated with happiness.

a bit like Cambodia. dirty, with motorcycles harnessed to a carriage serving as a Taxi. in genral, transportation is dirt cheap. pun intended. the roads are excellent, but quite busy. the streets and “main” roads are the public space where life takes place. there are few sidewalks and many pedestrians (many of which seem unemployed, or living on $2 per day or less) . so some sort of orderly chaos takes care of matters. quite scary for a westerner.

in general, people are nice and the food is disappointing.

more about the phillipines later. first, about how, and why, i got here.

SFO airtrain

April 2, 2010

The SFO airtrain is a big savior

What a change from their previous dumb buses

Connectivity to terminals is, well, not european: you need to go up, then down, then an elevator, then you can feel as if you are in a civilized, mass transit aware urban center. while you are going to the 5th floor of the parking lot  thru the basement the signage system is also, well, american. not consistent, not fun to look at, not obvious.

i still love the airtrain.  I love the vocals and sounds
‘Please hold on. Please set luggage carts brake to ‘on”
For me, its a lullaby

airlines, indications of the future

March 25, 2010

want to see the future?

airlines are not just an indication of the past, but also of the future

On the way back from the USA had  a short connect in CDG. suitcase did not make it with me. but across the gate from my flight to TLV, there stood in its majesty, a dream. the A380. next to it were a boeing 747 and a 777.

WOW

the size of the thing. its tail is almost twice as high as the Jambo 747, a dream of the past.

every time i see a plane take off i think: what a marvel of engineering. 200 tonnes up in the air. and a victory of the human spirit. to think that we could build machines that would fly. man, i do not see me having had that vision 200 years ago.

Now, planes, flights and service are a thing of the past. a routine we do not think about. in the past 10 years i hae used an airplane much, much more than a bus

speaking of service, on which airlines do you get the best service?
American ones, not so much
European ones? Better
Asian ones? Great

Shows you in which direction the world is going

One bag and the biggest travel mistakes

March 23, 2010

this is a cool site recommended by Max.

as many of us will travel this holiday, i thought it was appropriate.

even though this site is more oriented to continuous travel to many sites and not a travel to one resort.

Max (and Roni, my sister) are all about quality over quantity; and routines that make your life more manageable.

Less is more. Simple.

i am of the travel heavy school. perhaps an indication of my soul.

i did travel light in the past: 2 months in europe with

  • 4 pair of socks,
  • 4 pair of underwear,
  • 1 pants,
  • 1 shorts,
  • swimsuit,
  • camera,
  • bag with shower needs and laundry soap

and the entire cost for the 2 month including airfare was less than $2000. let’s call it $3000 in today’s terms

these days i travel heavy because:

  • i work (and play) in several different climates
  • i attend different different functions
  • i usually have to bring back an additional suitcase for all the things friends mail order – that’s a topic for a separate post

if you believe over-packing is the biggest travel mistake, check it out:

The biggest travel mistakes … ?

  • Packing too heavily,
  • relying on outdated guidebooks,
  • not wearing a money belt,
  • leaving home with too many hotel reservations,
  • and taking other people’s opinions too seriously.

Rick Steves

Throw in the towel

March 23, 2010

You know that little towel they give you when you fly business?
Usually after takeoff and sometimes before landing (on long flights)


How difficult is it for them to serve it hot, steamy hot?
So often I get it half wet, half dry
Half cold, half not warm

What is the point?
What are they trying to make me feel?
Does it build brand equity?
How hard is it to do it right? An extra 10 seconds and some caring?

I pity people who do not like their jobs, do not try to act professionally, do not respect their customers

look around and you will see them.

Oops.

rosewood – luxury hotels

March 18, 2010

had the priveldge to stay at rosewood sand-hill road

luxurious hotel. we got special rates

still, it is too much

over-service and under-value for the customer. i guess i am not their target customer:

  • you can not open a door yourself. they walk you to your room. the extra service means they try to park for you, they open and close the curtains in your room for you. too much
  • decor is fancy but does not have harmony. fake
  • a phone in the toilet. again, too much. at certain times i want to be with myself
  • another annoying service. every evening the come in. put on the radio, put on your bed a laundry bag and a request for you to comply with no change of sheets. i am ok with no change of sheets. i do not change them daily at home.  i would have preferred a chocolate bar on my bed instead.
  • another service that diminshes value. in the shower, i leave the temperature knob at a certain position, in this case around 9 o’clock, or 42 degrees celcius. as a service to me, the change the position to 12 o’clock. thanks. it who did that actually help?

some nice stuff however:

  • walk in closet
  • shampoo and soap are out of a nice dispenser. seems cleaner, feels more like home, and costs less. smart
  • location is fantastic
  • great restaurant
  • and great atmosphere with people laughing and interacting in public spaces till late at night. very unusual for california hotel. definitely not the sleeping warehouses i usually stay at.

under value:

  • parking, i do not do valet – just the wrong upbringing i guess cost $20 per night.
  • wifi? free? nop. how about $12.99 per day?
  • bowl of fruit for $5? $6.99? why not $15? all before tax

i really believe in buying in supermarkets. try it every trip. it is local, fun, and inexpensive

fancy restaurants once in a while to average the costs

no soup for you

March 17, 2010

Continental has just announced that on coach, it will stop offering free meals for flights inside the USA

i do not suppose that it will lower prices.

it is the last major US airline to move towords this policy. the end of an era

a few observations:

  • Business travellers are the key to success for US airlines
  • they account for 10% of travelers and 30% of revenues. or 5x revenues per traveler
  • expect business section in airplanes to improve. this is needed. for several years BusinessFirst on Continental and other major carriers, especially inside continents (europe, US) are pathetic. chairs that are wider and recline, but do not really offer a 5x better experience. from israel to europe, it is the same seats, and the curtain just moves forwards and backwards. the service and menu is the same is the same as it was many years ago, uninteresting and overall expereince is way below what it was a decade ago
  • i feel priveledged to have the opportunity to travel on business. althought inside continents i try to fly coach. hate middle seats. especially on red eyes
  • VC entrepreneur relationship will continue to involve busines vs coach travel policy
  • VCs fly business, entrepreneurs who do the real work, coach. why?
  • when i was CEO of sphera, and traveled to boards i flew coach. as a VC, i had the right to fly business, but thought that was inappropriate
  • had the occassion to do triple red eyes in a row several times. usually SF to boston, boston to london, london to israel. so VC travel is not that beautiful. not familiar with many people, entrepreneurs included, who go for that. think of the short nights, where do you shower, where do you use bathrooms

of great interest to me:

  • what will be the upgrade policy from more expensive coach tickets to business?  i think this is a nice way for entrepreneurs to keep fresh and effective and not be second class citizens compared to VCs
  • will the airlines start charging for use of bathrooms in coach?

atame – bind me

March 14, 2010

saw this beautiful collection of jewelry by barbara bui in a magazine advertisement on a plane from paris to detroit. the name atame, bind me , is the name of the new jewelry line

the snake here represents, i am told, rebirth, reproduction and wisedom.

i would add passion, bold, beauty, fear?

interesting jewlery collection. not sure too many girls i know would where it

anyhow, would love to know who is the photographer.

reminds me of richard avedon’s photograph of  natasia kinski and the snake for a 1981 vogue magazine shoot

and also

rachel weisz for esquire 2004