Now I know I'm in Japan

...found this wee gem on the room table:



Somewhere above the skies

...the sunset is fantastic!



(and, btw, the view is from the business class loo onboard SK983 CPH-NRT :)

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Hopefully not an exercise in futility

Mail posted to Flying Blue Customer Services 2009.06.12 10:15:

I have never yet been able to purchase an upgrade to business using miles.

Reasons given has been various -

- your class of ticket does not allow an upgrade

- being referred by phone to request at the desk in the airport

- being told at the airport that I should have made the request by phone

- being told "on international flights they generally do not do mileage upgrades to business class"

On NW36, DTW-AMS June 10, I was told that no more seats were available for mileage upgrades. On the flight, 6A seemed only occupied by a bunch of pillows and newspapers. If the seat was available, why do Flying Blue policies keep me from buying an upgrade?

I believed that frequent flyer programmes should increase frequent flyers' loyalty to the airline(s) in the programme. Shouldn't benefits promised in the programme actually be available?

When flying SAS, regardless of ticket class, generally I get one of two answers: "Sorry, business class is full" (fair answer) or the seat is mine and miles are taken from my account.

With this difference in customer service, I kindly ask why you believe that a frequent flyer with more than 100,000 miles in his account should continue feel loyal to Flying Blue?

I will post the text of this Email on my weblog as well as on the FlyerTalk website. I will of course also post any replies I receive from you.

Yours sincerely,

Ole Madsen; 2021 xxx xxx

Note: I originally had a more eloquent text containing more detailed examples but the Flying Blue Email form (which seems to be the only way of writing to Flying Blue) only allows 1,500 characters.

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Less than useful Public Address messages

The Stansted Express train that I am sitting in while writing this has a wee problem with its PA system. The message to the passengers at all stations was:

"Now approaching..."

Well, at least we know we were getting somewhere :)

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Feeling at home

Today, I went two hundred kilometers and back.
To and from a place which is 10.365 kilometers or 6441 miles away from home.

This evening, I realised what it was I felt.
I felt at home.

At home?


I've always thought of home as a place. Somewhere you can mark with an 'X' on the map. Somewhere special. Real. With a dimension of geographical presence.

I've also heard the version that 'Home is where I lay my head'. Or my hat, for that matter.

Home is both more and less than those things. Less than a specific place in space. More than a feeling.

Home is a state of mind.
And that particular state of mind can be reached in probably a handful of ways.

My very near ones, my loved ones, can induce it in a wink of an eye. Yes, here I belong, with you, us. That is home.

Books can do it. I'm so much always home in a book that it is such a disappointment when I dive into one and find out that, no, in this one, I'm not. But generally, I enter the book's universe and I'm at home. Magic of books, that is.

Nature does it to me. A steep slope of a mountain, the lush greenness of a spring forest, the moon or a clear star shining to me from a dark night's sky, a sudden buffeting of strong winds on a steep sidewalk in Brazil. I'm at home in nature.

Friends, friends really can do it, too. And music can do it. Like both did today. On a long road where I had no business feeling at home.

Yet I did. Very much so.

And oh, how I feel lucky for it.

- - - - - - - - -

Here is the start of this - rapidly jotted down at the corner terrace table at the Catedral do Chopp in Campinas, Brazil:


...at some point, the waiter's pen stopped working. And given that he didn't speak English and I surely don't speak Portuguese and that I had literally stolen it out of his breast pocket, I chose not to try to get another pen...

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Borrowed lyrics for "Waiting for Dawn"

Sinne Eeg, Danish jazz singer (and a wonderful one, too) has this song on her album of the same name:

Waiting for dawn

You must be asleep by now
Must be asleep by now
I wonder how long
I've played this song

The candle burned out long ago
You must be asleep by now
I wonder what you're dreaming now
I'm picturing you
beyond the blue

Just a while before I'll let you go
There's a long long way
From this dark lonely evening
To the morning light in China
gently kissing your eye
There's a long long way
There's a long long way
I'm wondering how far a
morning kiss can fly

I should be asleep by now
I should be asleep by now
I'm drinking this wine
- both yours and mine
while searching for you in the sky

There should be a moon by now
should have lit up the sky by now
I wonder if you
will think of me too
when the night returns will you cry?

There's a long long way
From this dark lonely evening
To the morning light in China
gently kissing your eye
There's a long long way
There's a long long way

I hope Sinne Eeg will forgive me for posting it here - otherwise I'll drop it, surely. But I wanted to post it for Teuchter to read and maybe share with her husband who is indeed in China.

(see Sinne Eeg's website for samples of her lovely music)

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Travel-ling pictures

That is, pictures while travelling - a couple of out-of-airplane-window ones and a rather surrealistic one from the Copenhagen Metro...

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Windmill farm outside Copenhagen

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The bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö. Yes, it is finished - but the last bit's a tunnel...

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Hurling into the tunnel. Magrathea anyone? ;)

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Moon over Mexico

“ A vast radiant beach / and a cool jewelled moon”

Not quite – but a rather reddish one it was.




Pictures were a little hard to take – long exposures and the window in front of the camera made it tricky. So Picasa has helped a little bit on them.

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Unexpected horse racing

At the back of the Centro Banamex in Mexico City there’s a horse racing – what’s it called… arena?

When checking if the conference buses were around, they had the horses out – with numbers and jockeys on them So I got a few pictures – even if my camera acted up and didn’t want to properly burst a series off the starting gates:

On the way to the starting gates
On the way down to the starting gates in some sort of order

First race thundering by
First race thundering by

Pre-race exercise
Pre-race exercise

Getting into the gates
Getting into the gates

And off they go...!
And off they go...!

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Let's hear it for CDG, terminal 2E

Normally, it is next to impossible to find a power outlet for charging your laptop in an airport. Irritating when you're on the move!

But here it is different!

These small stations are placed at both ends of every other chair row or so. Fab!

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Pilanesberg National Park - a wonderful trip

Some very kind colleagues from our South African distributor spent a day taking us to Pilanesberg. In order to get the most out of the day before the heat became oppressive, these two guys got up at sh*t o’clock in order to pick us up just a little bit later (at 4:30 am!)…

The idea was absolutely right, though – we got there shortly after 6 and had only driven a few hundred meters in the park before we saw brown hyena and baboons. And as the day went by, lots and lots of animals. Only thing we did not see were the big cats – but the elephant family bathing and playing in the water made up for that.










What a lovely day! Thanks and thanks again to Peet & Riaan (hope I have got that spelling right)!

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Travel logistics going wrong

In a pictorial from a visit to Kuala Lumpur (some of the pics are quite nice - makes me wish I'd seen the city and surroundings insteda of dashing in to do meetings in Selangor and then back out), Guy Kawasaki notes -

Total time in KL: forty-five hours. Total time in transit: forty-five hours.
Something is wrong with this logic.

Oh yeah. Known feeling. *sigh*

Pictures and story are here: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2008/05/forty-five-hour.html




Played rapid-tourist in Amsterdam yesterday - found myself with some time to spare on a late afternoon out by Schiphol and quite easily made my way into town on a combination of hotel shuttle and Dutch trains.

As usual, the good camera resides at home (*sigh*) and the phone camera does not do Amsterdam the justice it ought to do - but here are a few glimpses anyway:

Bicycle parking
All those small critters on those ramps are bicycles. I'd be hard pushed to find equally massive bicycle parking in Copenhagen - which also is a bicycle-heavy city.

Canals and the houses along them
Quintessentially Amsterdam-ish. I probably could say Dutch -but then, this was the first wee attempt ever I've had on playing tourist in the Netherlands.

Not-coffee shops

With my USAian amd UKian friends, discussions has sometimes touched on the topic of not-oregano. Amsterdam is rather full of coffee shops, proudly marketing not-exactly-coffee. For all I know, they do serve coffee - although a colleague also has recounted his experiences of having a cookie in such a shop and "feeling funny" afterwards :)

OK, this one doesn't actually say 'coffee' on the facade... Many others did.

Red lights
Then, by random wandering, I ended up in the red light area. (It's already been pointed out to me that the number of men who don't know where they're going, yet ends up there, is staggering beyond statistical credibility - but on scouts' honour, it was random...)

The, errrrmmmm, lighter brigade markets its offerings more visibly in Amsterdam than in most other places - behind windows, scantily clad ladies try to attract punters' attention. Old enough not to blush terribly, I nevertheless did not go as far as photographing the phenomenon.

But this shop I had to take a picture of - even in liberal, pragmatic Denmark, I have not yet seen a sex shop combining that offering, no doubt tourist oriented, with that of bicycle rentals...

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Domino dancing

(All day, all day) Watch them all fall down
(All day, all day) Domino dancing

I didn’t quite see anyone dance – but I sure did feel like being stuck in the middle of a game of dominoes this morning.

The objective: Getting from home to the airport. By train.

First domino falling: A train door being cranky and not closing timely at stations. Finally it forced the train driver to come down, force it closed and lock it off. She did well, quick action and both smiles and information for anyone.

Still, 15 minutes delay – setting the carefully lined up stacks tumbling…

At Østerport, still in the train, we were standing quite some time

A train sleeps in a siding…

Turned out there was somebody falling ill – they actually called for doctors onboard the train.

I chose to get out and transfer to a regional train there insted of at the next station… Next domino didn’t quite fall but was swaying for a bit…

Train delayed for first 3 then 6 minutes. Finally got there, I got in, so far so good.

Past the next station, just before Copenhagen Main: “This train will terminate at the main station. There are currently no trains from the main station to the airport.”

Domino toppled. Swell.

Decision time: The announced bus (morning traffic), a taxi (8 people in line, not a taxi in sight) – or back two stations and the Metro? Yes…

The next domino stands there, uncertain of its near future…

Got in the Metro – had to change to the other line at Christianshavn. Except there we got the news – no Metro trains to the airport for quite some time…

Bang! The pile of dominoes makes dust fly in the air. And curses, too!

Up on the street, by some magic the next domino is kept standing by the rather swift appearance of a friendly taxi driver. Three completely otherwise unconnected people jump in.

Its getting late, for scribbling and scratching on the paper
Somethings gonna give under this pressure, and the cracks are already beginning to show
Its too late
The weekend career girl never boarded the plane

I won the bill – but no matter. We got there. And on time.

They said this could never happen again
Oh, so wrong, so wrong

I guess it won’t happen again next time. But I may opt for returning to taxis



Culzean Castle

A very special place to go for dinner!

I can't even begin to think how much of an experience it would be to be staying there for a night. The rooms were very, very nice and the ambience is just fantastic.

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Picture cleanout: Sunset 1

Snapped out of a car window in Istanbul.

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Taxiing in Schiphol in March

Taxiing in a silver tube
moving over wet concrete
between red, blue and green lights
of which I understand nothing

Once more on the move
from where I am
to somewhere I am supposed to be

For a while

But here and now I'm suddenly thinking
like a ray of sun appearing through clouds
or a temple bell turning over silence
what for?

It's not that I don't know
or even doubt that I should
but more a -
- loss of certainty

Which makes me momentarily feel lost
out here between red, blue and green lights
of which I understand nothing
but that I am going there

As I always do.


Crossposted from H2G2

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St Kilda at night

Was out enjoying some Aussie evening temperatures in the mid-20s (Celsius) and stumbled over this small fair/amusement park thingy...

I like merry-go-rounds, especially classis ones like this. There was a rollercoaster, too -but the pics didn't come out very nice.

At the entrance there were these old turnstyles (odd fact: no Danish word exists for them). From a time where you took your time to produce things and let the world know who you were:

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Working on creating a new look...

I checked into this hotel in the Netherlands this morning - actually, they scored a big plus by having a room available for me at 9am so I didn't have to put my luggage in some hold and get a room by 3pm :)

In the room there's this wee flyer describing their current renovation efforts:
"Try to imagine a hotel.. with beautiful restaurants (...) Warm colours, natural materials, modern facilities. All with an "eye for details"

I wonder if they had the idea by looking out of the windows on the way to the 1400s-wing:

Not the very most inspiring view - or anywhere near beautiful, is it? ;)

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