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Archive for April, 2011

I said in a previous post that I’ve spent a lot of time travelling recently.  As a lover of travel, and carry-on luggage and free airport WiFi, I’m always happy to travel for work, but even my enthusiasm dwindles after three solid weeks of it. 

It’s easy during a work trip to basically stay put at the hotel or the client’s office and shuttle between the two without really exploring the city you’re visiting.  You’re working after all, so you’re on someone else’s schedule and dime.  In order to make the best of my precious free time in a new place, here’s what I do.

1. Go running.  I like running in a new city to orient myself, and it’s also a much faster way to take in the sights than a walk.  In San Francisco a few weeks back, my colleague and I took an early morning run to see the sea lions on Fisherman’s Wharf before catching our flight home.  An early morning run in Palm Beach last week was also a great way to check out the amazing houses off the main boulevards, where I had to spend the workdays.

2. Do some restaurant research.  It is way too easy to eat at the hotel restaurant during a business trip.  It’s just so close and convenient, and adding the expense to your hotel bill does make those expense reports a little less complicated.  But I love food and I love restaurants it’s sacrilegious in my book not to make the most of a new city to try a new fun restaurant.  A cab ride to a different neighborhood away from your hotel home base never hurt anyone.  I particularly enjoyed Café Gratitude in San Francisco, and a cute Thai place in Boston last week. 

3. Talk to people.  I visited Palm Beach last week, and it was my first visit to the area.  I chatted with a woman at a café about the cities surrounding the area (we were only an hour or two from Miami!), and how we were in the slow tourist season (since it gets so hot during the summer).  She also gave me a good tip about where to run.  Locals know what to do and where to go – go figure.  Use them.  The woman I met was thrilled to give me some pointers.

4. Don’t drink too much.  I know how tempting it can be to party it up when you’re away from home without the normal responsibilities of life.  Sometimes colleagues or clients make it extra tempting to make bad decisions late into the night.  But wow.  Flying home after one of these little escapades is never fun.  On my 5 hour flight cross-country two weeks ago, I was sandwiched between two other business travelers who had both had way too much fun the night before.  They were hurting, and it wasn’t pretty.  I got to spend the flight watching reruns on Bravo while they popped lots of medicine and moaned and groaned about work the next day. 

This weekend I’m taking a short-ish road trip to visit my old roommate in Connecticut – we used to spend our Easters together so it should be like old times.   I expect my next post will be about the woes of high gas prices.   

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Wow, I’m way behind on my writing here.  I have little Post-Its to myself for some things I’ve been meaning to translate to paper (or screen) but I literally haven’t had a moment to spare.  A few weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t left the state in a couple weeks (I find it necessary to my sanity to leave the state as frequently as possible).  Fortunately, up here in the Northeast, leaving the state is easy, a 40 minute drive at the most. 

Then I had a slew of business trips and in the past 9 days I’ve spent a total of 20 hours on planes and spent about 15 hours milling around various airports.  I’ve been to the Pacific Ocean and to the heat of Southern Florida.  It’s been nice to leave the state, but as I rolled into the house last night after another long day, my own bed never felt so great. 

Ok, moving on. 

In my ongoing quest to watch some of the best movies ever made, I have a short term goal to watch 15 this year.  Thanks to Netflix, getting my hands on old movies that the library doesn’t readily carry is as easy as adding it to the queue.  For I must admit that while I’m always glad I’ve watched a critically acclaimed film after the credits roll, it is really difficult for me to open that little red envelope and spend two hours in the throes of old cinema.  And, multi-tasker that I am, reading the subtitles of some famous foreign film makes it nearly impossible to do anything else…no cooking, no browsing the Net, no letting the dog in and out every five minutes.

I decided that to make my film-watching less grueling, I would start watch a few of the newer films on the list, and this month I’ve watched two: Taxi Driver and Kandahar

I think I’ve seen parts of Taxi Driver before, but sitting down and watching it start to finish was definitely new for me, and I particularly liked all the Special Features on the disc that had new interviews with the cast about the making of the movie.  It’s clearly a classic and one that most people have heard of or seen, so I won’t prolong my drivel.

Kandahar, on the other hand, is a newer movie (2001) based on a true story of an Afghani woman (living in Canada) who travels back to Afghanistan to find her sister.  Part of the film was secretly filmed in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime.  Cutting to the chase, here’s my beef with this movie: while it is certainly interesting to get an up close and personal view of Afghani culture (particularly a lot of focus on the burqa, the full coverage that many Muslim women in the region wear), the movie gained most/all of its popularity after 9/11, though it was filmed and released earlier in the year.  So, in my opinion, the story and movie were fine, but my guess is that it ended up on TIME’s list merely because of its significance of both time and place. 

Ok, so I was just reviewing TIME’s List and what I’ve seen…and I’ve barely made a dent!  I’m adding more to my queue today and promise to move closer to my goal of 15 films ASAP!

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