Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Around the world in 13 days

I have just got back from a business trip which took me first back to Europe in North Germany then to Los Angeles and then (thanks to my travel agent) to Hawaii! The work itself was certainly hard but it was nice to see Europe in spring as the weather was fantastic, also as the World Cup is about to start there seems to be a growing festival atmosphere in Germany. Talking to some locals there is a real fear that the infamous English fans amongst others will spoil the party with bad behaviour, it remains to be seen if this occurs but if it does it will further cement the reputation that always travels with the English Football Fan. Speaking of football I caught the first half of the Arsenal-Barcelona Champions League final whilst waiting for my flight to Honolulu, i had planned on waking up early to watch it but my jetlagged brain had miscalculated the time difference by a good 5 hours! and so i was resigned to watching the highlights the next night.

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, unfortunately i was only on a one night stop over in Honolulu but i saw enough to confirm what i knew already; the scenery is really quite stunning, the first view I had of the islands was Mauni Kei's 4200m summit poking through the clouds from the plane window and the glimpses of Big Island I saw from 30,000ft really wet my appetite to return and explore. As for Honolulu itself I thought it was very dull, granted i was there on a weekday amid the throngs of Japanese tourists but i had heard that Honolulu was an entertaining place- perhaps i went to all the wrong places?!
The walk along the waterfront down into Waikiki is one long stretch of restaurants and hotel bars running alongside the beach. It would be a nice place to stop and eat and take in the ambience from the Hawaiian dancers and music that every hotel seems to have but there alone looking to watch the Arsenal game I felt in no mood for it. Eventually i found a half decent sports bar showing the replay and spent the night seeing Arsenal unluckily lose out in a final that no-one ever thought they would have got to.

Now back here in Bangkok and in the start of the rainy season the breezy spring weather of Europe seems a long way away but to no surprise I have another trip starting next week back there and this time I will make the short hop over to the UK. It will be interesting to see if anything has really changed since I have been away and I can’t wait to see my family and some of my friends. Also I will be watching the first England game of the World Cup in the traditional environment of a pub surrounded by old pals so win or lose it will be a great time.


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