Saturday, June 5, 2010
It's taken a while since we took our trip to Prague before I got around to posting an update to my Blog. It was wonderful going back to such a beautiful city and sharing it with Lynn again. We haven't been back sine 1994 and were delighted to see so many changes.
The city still has all of the old world charm that we affectionally remembered but it now has all of the new world shopping, airport and conveniences of a modern city. The subways and buses are still some of the best transportation of any city. It is so easy to get around. Everything was in bloom and we especially enjoyed walking through the parks and exploring places where we never had time when we were there on business.
For a taste of home, we even made our daily stop into Starbucks on Wencelas Square (Vaclavske Namesti).
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
We had been hearing that our close friend Dave Story had a conference in London. His wife had never traveled to Europe before so we begged him to bring her with him. Once he finally convinced her (or was it she convinced him?) to bring her along, we decided to meet them for a long weekend. I think it was 1994 the last time that Lynn and I spent time in London but that time she was shepherding three kids around and I was tied up in meetings most of the time. It was good to be going back, meeting up with great friends and doing the tourist thing.
We all stayed at the Holiday Inn about a half block from "The Ritz" Hotel; not to be confused with the wannabe Ritz Carlton. Dave and I went in to check it out but were informed by the cordial concierge that we could look around the lobby but that we weren't properly attired to visit the dining room (at breakfast hour). I wonder if you have to bring along your pedigree and sleep in bow-tie and tails. Needless to say, we thanked them kindly for their hospitality and headed off for friendlier venues.
I'm trying to think of all the stuff we did, like the Albert and Victoria (can I call her Vicki?) Museum, Buckingham Palace, the Orangeree for tea. My most memorable experiences were Saint Martain-in-the-Field for lunch in the basement. We stopped before going down and listened the choir practicing for Evensong. It was a real tossup as to whether to return for the Evensong service or to go to the Evensong service at Westminster. It turned out that Westminster won. It was a wonderful service with beautiful voices soaring up to the rafters. They can play around
with all the electronics and balancing they want to but there is nothing quite like the sound of young male voices echoing through a cathedral. Dave and Maribeth stayed in London for another week but Lynn returned home to The Woodlands and I am back in Tripoli.
Were looking forward to our next trip in late April. Meet in London, then shoot off to beautiful Prague for a week. Back in 1994, we actually looked at apartments there thinking about living abroad.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
After arriving back from our unexpected trip to NYC we had already planned on a few days off in Malta during the Prophet's birthday celebration. The island isn't quite the hopping place that it becomes with warm weather and tourists but it was a nice respite from the desert.
We had no set agenda other than to relax and enjoy the time together. We decided to explore a bit more than previous trips and took the bus out to Mdina, a fortified town away from St. Juliens where we were staying. It was a lovely afternoon where we had a nice lunch along the ancient walls overlooking the beautiful countryside.
This was my 4th trip to the island and Lynn's second. It was a great way to spend a relaxing weekend. The next week we had a holiday (I can't remember for what) on Tuesday. A lot of our people took a long weekend but we decided to just take the day and go with friends back out to the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna. Joyce and Kurt have only been here for about 6 weeks so we John and Gloria joined us to give them the tour.
I'll let your imaginations create the cations for this but the Romans had better facilities than some of our contractors have on site today. We had a lot of fun making new friends and getting out of the city for a day.
(to be continued)
Monday, March 22, 2010
It's been a while since I published a post, so here goes.
Trip #1 - I arrived at the office and started reviewing my e-mails from the night before as usual. As I opened one after another, I came across one which merely said, "Rick can go to New York and BIll can go to LA". That peeked my interest and I replied, "Will someone tell me when I am going to New York and why?". After an opps, we haven't gotten around to telling you yet, I found out that due to several people either being on holiday or just returning from holiday, I had been "nominated" to escort a group of our client's employees on the first half of a training trip to the US. The next Friday, saw us boarding a plane for London, an over night experience there and then on to NYC. The prior group that had gone in January sent the clients guys back with a layover in London but forgot to tell them how to get an overnight visa and hotel vouchers. As the good tour guide that I am, I got them through passport control with their 1 day visa and upstairs to get their vouchers for the airport hotel. The only hitch was that someone forgot to ticket me for an overnight hotel voucher. Luckily, there was a room available at the same hotel (there goes the expense account).
The next day, we made it to NYC between cold fronts. That's not to say that it wasn't cold but there was a snow storm the week before and week after we were there that was crippling the east coast. The first order of business was purchasing required articles of clothing (hats, gloves, scarfs, etc.) to stay warm.
The week as spent in presentations, site visits and emersion in American culture; everything from valentine's day to Times Square to Wall Street, we explored it all. My guests have traveled and even lived outside of Libya but had never had the opportunity to visit the US. I think we all had a great time experiencing one of the world's greatest cities.
Apologies to all you Astros, Mets, Red Sox and various other team fans.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Sorry that it has been some time without a blog. Dad passed away and I made a trip home. After returning, getting a new visa and cleaning up from being gone, it was away again for Christmas. Anyway, I'm now back in Libya working. This last couple of days, we decided to visit a site on the western border where Libya, Tunisia and Algeria meet. It is a wonderful old town with much history named Ghadames. Toward the end of the day, we drove out to the dunes to watch the sun set. I am told that these are not as spectacular as the Sahara in the south, but it took my breath away.
This morning, we got up early as we had 5 different construction sites to visit as we drove back to Tripoli. One of our guys had been to an oasis near Ghadamas and on the way to our first site so we decided to take a quick side trip to explore. It was lovely being out in the middle of nowhere and seeing this beautiful pond bubbling up from the desert floor.
From the top of the oasis, we could see what appeared to be another oasis near by without any vegetation. We decided to explore it and as we drove along we thought that it had snowed. It was chilly out but not near freezing so we got out to investigate and found the desert floor covered with salt. In some places it looked just as if a dusting of snow had covered the area, in others the salt was in these polyps bursting up from the ground. We did find the other oasis but the amount of salt present explains why there was no vegetation.
I never cease to be amazed at what nature can show you.