January 11, 2007

thursday thirteen (#1)

Thirteen Places I've Been
  1. Finland (Helsinki and Tampere)
  2. Japan (Tokyo)
  3. Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, and Hannover)
  4. England (London, York, Stratford-Upon-Avon, etc.)
  5. Scotland (Dumbarton and Edinburgh)
  6. Portugal (Lisbon and Evora)
  7. Mexico (Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas)
  8. Canada (Nova Scotia)
  9. France (Paris)
  10. Austria (Salzburg and Vienna)
  11. Continental USA (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OR, PA, RI, SC, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI)
  12. Hawaii, USA (Kauai)
  13. ... and I flew over the North Pole when I went to Finland. I guess that counts.
Most of those trips were paid for by one of the companies I worked for. I no longer travel overseas for work, though I've been all over the country for conferences recently. Every trip was fun. Some brief memories from some of them:
  • Evora, Portugal: On the "outing" day arranged by our host, we toured this historic town and rode in hot-air balloons over the farmland and countryside. We huddled in a little farm shack when the rain hit, waiting for our chase car.
  • Hannover, Germany: My first overseas trip for work, and although I made it all the way to Hannover, my luggage enjoyed an overnight in London. It was snowing when we arrived, and I had no coat, no shaving kit... basically nothing. Great parties at CeBIT, though... Annika, Heidi, and the other girl whose name I don't remember. Plus the beer hall at the CeBIT center. Enormous. Thousands of people singing some song about Alice ("Alice! Who the f*** is Alice?") along with an oompa band. Priceless.
  • Tokyo, Japan: Our corporate liaison grew up in Japan. He went to college in North Carolina. We went to a restaurant with him that had no pictures on the menu. His translations went something like this: "I think that says 'chicken.' And that one definitely has an egg in it. This one... I don't know." Tokyo is the most foreign place I've ever been. In other countries at least I could attempt to sound out the words.
  • Tampere, Finland: A seasoned world traveler by this time, I arrived in Tampere with no Finnish money. Silly me: I had assumed that the Tampere airport would have an exchange booth. It did, but the booth was closed that day. The girl in the coffee shop could not help me, but the taxi driver was happy to take US dollars. Everyone I met spoke English. Finland and Wisconsin look a lot alike to me, when you get outside the city. In Tampere, I enjoyed a true Finnish sauna with a coworker, taking breaks to jump in the lake. In Finland, a true Finnish sauna entails no clothing. Unfortunately, the coworker was male. (Side note: When I was there, the rage was TexMex. Finnish TexMex is not a cuisine experience to be sought out on purpose.)
  • York, England: I love this city. I'm not entirely sure why, but I do. One thing I don't love about it is the Jorvic (pronounced "yor'-vik") Viking Museum. Oh, it had some neat things about it, but it really was incredibly cheesy.

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