Tuesday, January 30, 2007

one thing lead to another to a third

About 10 years I was assigned to go on my first business trip in Canada. It was to install, customize and train our new client in Aurora Ontario (yes - the what's-her-name MP was the CEO then).

So the first morning me and my partner were having breakfast and we were reading the paper. This was the first time I read the Globe and Mail and I spent the most time on the obituaries section. I never read these columns but somehow the Globe got my attention. From then on whenever I get to flip open the Globe I read that section first.

With all the talks about making JP2 a saint here is a guy that is probably more deserved to be one. Not only is he action oriented, talks against injustice, he is also very honest about himself and his mistakes - something not even the beloved JP2 was able to do...

Too bad the article is pay only - here is another one about this priest that is free.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hong Kong - part 5.1 - Macau part 1

I have visited Macau a number of times when I was younger and have not visited that place for a while. So when we got there last December I was stunned when the immigration officer asked me whether I have been to Macau. I would guess their immigration system was implemented after my last visit and therefore have no record of me. Two interesting thoughts come to mind:

1. I must be a loser since Macau is such a bustling place right now there is no other reason for me not to visit.
2. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. Macau is also a Special Administrative Region of China. Why do we still have "border" controls? The same is for ShenZheng. I don't get it...

Hong Kong - part 4 - cycling

One of the fun things I have done this trip is cycling with a few friends from school. These guys started out swimming competitively in school days and picked up triathlon as a sport a few years back. I was never good at swimming so triathlon was not my thing.

Here is a picture we took on a ride near the border of Hong Kong.

My friends' bikes are all very high quality. I didn't bring a bike and borrowed my friend's nice spare Bianchi with Ultegra components. (My "good" bike is 105) The other guy's pair of wheels are more expensive than my 2 bikes added together.

The routes in Hong Kong are a bit limited in choices and we have to start early. I have to wake up before 5am, hop on my friend's car at 5;15am to arrive at the starting location by 6am. The routes are a few laps of 10-20km so you have to do a few rounds to have a 2 hour ride.

One thing I learned from my friends is their dedication and the possibility of riding in the early morning. It is challenging for me to wake up but once you do the ride is very enjoyable. This is especially true during the Vancouver Winter when sunset is before I leave the office.

Hong Kong - part 3

Here is a small snippet of sights and sounds during the few days when the internet come to a halt due to the earthquake in Taiwan:

My family were having a bite at a small eatery and I overheard a conversation about the outage and ways to get around it like: oh I can go to yahoo.com.hk but can't do a search so I use this website and they were able to get me some results...

On the TV and in the paper people are talking about using proxy servers to route out of Asia. Of course the proxy servers pretty much shut down because this increased traffic.

My cousin was visiting Hong Kong from Japan and we were supposed to hook up to go to Ocean Park together. I was suppose to send him a email to confirm date and time. He was supposed to read his email from his blackberry and give me a confirmation. Well the email was sent out (thanks to the basic version of gmail) but he never got notified because of the routing problems.

During those few days I have to constantly no think internet, no google, limited email capability and survive without these tools. Kind of like brushing your teeth with your other hand.

Hong Kong part 2 - conveyor belts

I was standing and the luggage claim area in the Hong Kong International Airport, and being the optimized person that I am, I want to grab my bags as soon as they show up. So I was standing right where the bags are being dropped into the circular conveyor belt area.

After staring at the mechanism for a few minutes I noticed one thing, that the linear conveyor belt that drops the bags into the circular belt sometimes stops. There seems to be some sort of traffic monitoring going on. It seems to be looking for existence of baggage in the main belt and waits for a slot to drop it in if there are bags in the vicinity.

When I arrive in Vancouver, I noticed there is a similar system. Unfortunately there is also a guy working on the belt to smooth out the luggages. So obviously the system does not work as well.
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