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since 29/12/2004


Days Inn - Seattle Downtown, Seattle 26/03/2006

NOT Sleepless in Seattle

Days Inn - Seattle Downtown, Seattle If you are visiting Seattle, Washington and looking for a cheap stay, give a thought to the Days Inn on Seventh and Blanchard. It could just be a good option. The downtown Days Inn is located just about one mile from the King Dome and the AMTRAK station and just one block off the "free ride zone" of the Seattle MTA. Checking In … with some "reservations" The ground floor of the hotel is primarily taken up with parking, and the small Green House café just past the reception area. Reception is a small area on the ground floor just off the covered drive through entrance. The desk is populated by helpful and friendly employees 24 hours a day. Our 2 AM check in experience was accompanied by a very obvious "working girl" wringing an elevator key out of the desk attendant. Not a good sign! Nor is the elevator to the room which has the ambiance of a village pit latrine. The hotel has rooms on three floors above the ground floor area which is primarily parking. The Rooms Our checking in experience left us a bit shaky…to say the least! I was pretty suspicious of how the rooms would appear. I should have never worried. The rooms are actually quite nice. Our room was on a non-smoking floor (more about that later) and was very nicely decorated. We had two queen sized beds-both quite comfortable with very nice dark red and tan striped comforter/bedspreads that complimented the beige room décor. The room was equipped with a combination TV cabinent and dresser, a 17 inch ...

General: Ethiopia 27/10/2005

13 Months of Sunshine

General: Ethiopia Ethiopia is one of Africa's most fascinating countries to visit. The tourist posters for Ethiopia often use the slogan, "Ethiopia: Thirteen Months of Sunshine". How does Ethiopia get that extra month of sunshine each year? It's easy! They still use an ancient calendar in Ethiopia which requires an extra "short month" each year to synchronize with the actual solar cycle. So, the western (foreigner's) calendar is ahead of the Ethiopian calendar by 8 years. (If you want to avoid any residual Y2K problems go to Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopian calendar we are just beginning the year 1997). Ethiopia has more than just an interesting calendar; in the north of Ethiopia-between the towns of Axum and Mekele are 20 very ancient Christian churches (about 120 in the entire region) carved out of solid mountains of granite. Axum is said to the be the actual resting place of the ancient Ark of the Covenant of Old Testament fame. Not only does Ethiopia have an unusual calendar with 13 months instead of the usual 12, rock hewn churches, the Blue Nile, the Ark of the Covenant, and wonderful local food, they also are home to Africa's oldest airline: Ethiopian Airlines. Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines serves 43 destinations, mainly in Africa, but as diverse off the continent as Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and New York. Many other destinations are served by code-share agreements with other airlines. The Hub: Addis Ababa: The hub for Ethiopian Airlines is the Bole airport at Addis ...

Los Angeles (California) 27/10/2005

Los Angeles: Bigger Than Life

Los Angeles (California) Los Angeles: Bigger Than Life Let me state it right off at the start: I love Los Angeles. It is a great city to visit or to live in … IF you know how to get around, and how to put up with the eccentricities of the place. Getting Around L.A. Originally, Los Angeles was a much smaller city. Long Beach, Santa Monica, Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Fe Springs….those were all separate towns a long way from L.A. You reached those towns by riding the old red trolley cars. Sometime in the late 1940's the urban planners who are responsible for this awful sprawling mess made a conscious decision: Los Angeles would be a megalopolis connected by a system of freeways…people living in the megalopolis would, of course, be wealthy and every person would own a car. So, during much of the 1950's the streetcar lines were ripped up and freeways laid down. All those small, independent, villages and towns became virtual vassals of Los Angeles. The towns and cities grew together until now, the entire Los Angeles basin is one huge sprawling city made up of smaller communities with interesting names like: Artesia … Bellflower….and, my favorite: Azusa. Visitors depending on public transportation to get around in L.A. are in for a difficult time. The city is simply TOO BIG, and the bus and rail system too inadequate to be of much use. You'll need to rent a car. Most of the car rental agencies will avail you a map of the freeway system and some minimal directions for ...

Los Angeles Int. Airport, USA (LAX) 27/10/2005

LAX -- Airport For The World

Los Angeles Int. Airport, USA (LAX) Every time I land at LAX there is something of nostalgia that comes over me. I love looking out the window of the airplane tracing the approach to LAX because there is so much of my personal history on the ground: San Dimas, where I once taught English to college freshmen; Paramount, CA; the "L.A. River" (now just a storm drainage) the Harbor Freeway (they built that when I was a just a kid); the L.A. Harbor (where I grew up); Hermosa Beach (where I had my first car accident as a 16 year old brand new driver); and, finally crossing over Sepulveda Boulevard and touchdown at LAX. On The Ground The LAX passenger terminal area is arranged in a kind of "U" shape with terminal buildings forming the outline of the "U" and short-term parking structures for each terminal in the middle. There are nine terminal buildings, including the Tom Bradley International Terminal located in the very bottom of the "U". I am most familiar with terminal 2 (KLM/Northwest), terminal 1 (Southwest Airlines), the Bradley terminal, and terminal 5 (Delta and Air France). If you are departing from LAX be sure to allow plenty of time to find your terminal, and clear security. LAX on the outside is like life in the fast lane of the freeway: Don't hesitate or make a mistake, there'll be police everywhere to hurry you along. Once inside the terminal building things can slow up considerably. This is especially true of clearing security at LAX. If you are returning a rental car be very certain you know ...

The 48 Laws of Power - Robert Greens, Joost Elffers 23/10/2005

Attention Grabing Title

The 48 Laws of Power - Robert Greens, Joost Elffers Yeah…so, you're a hard worker…go the extra mile…do it right the first time…and, someone else gets the promotion. You don't want to "play the games" of office politics. But, face it: You're going nowhere fast. Why? Because the strategies of power are going to be played out, regardless of how you feel about them. And, you can either learn to work the strategies of power-or, continue to be by-passed by opportunity. You need the 48 Laws of Power on your side. The book is laid out in a preface and forty-eight chapters. Each chapter of the book is dedicated to one law. In, and around, the main text are fascinating stories, fables, historical facts, etc printed in red type. I found these illustrations to be almost as compelling as the actual explanation of the law. Each chapter is laid out in almost exactly the same format: A definition of the law; a case study where the law is observed (or, in some cases, not observed); an interpretation of the case study; keys to power; and, finally, a look at how the reverse side of the law could be used. When you see some of the observations that Greene and Elffers make in The 48 Laws you start out thinking, "I already know this. I already do this." It almost seems the writers are simply making very mundane observations. But, I found the case studies and illustrations stimulated me to think through some additional ways to implement the law. At other times the laws seem to be a contradictory. Like Law Number 48: Assume Formlessness and ...

Merica Hotel, Nakuru 23/10/2005

A Good Stay In Nakuru

Merica Hotel, Nakuru I travel often by road from Kampala to Nairobi, and on occasion I stay in Nakuru. The road from Nakuru to Nairobi can be a bit treacherous in the dark, and Nakuru is a good place to stay. Location The Merica hotel is new withing the past two years. It is located on the main business street of Nakuru next to the central post office and directly opposite of the Standard/Chartered Bank. From this location it is easy to arrange taxi services around Nakuru. There is also a SafariCom cellphone shop on the ground floor facing the street next to the entrace to the Merica. Inside The hotel has ten floors of rooms arranged around an open atrium inside. There are two lifts which service the floors. The lifts have a glass wall on the rear, so you can enjoy the view of the atrium and lobby as you ascend to your floor. The hotel provides very helpful doormen who will handle your luggage and direct you to the well lighted and well staffed reception desk. Be aware that there are two price-lists for rooms: One for tourists and one for residents. The tourist price list is about double in price and denominated in dollars. The resident price list is quoted in Kenya shillings. Rooms The rooms are quite large by any standard. Each room has a very nice desk and chair near a window. The rooms are airconditioned, and most have a queen size bed. Each bed is covered with deluxe sheets, a wool blanket (very necessary in Nakuru) and a colorful duvet that compliments the room decor. ...

Kinshasa, Zaire (FIH) 29/12/2004

At Least We Survived Alive

Kinshasa, Zaire (FIH) Legend has it that when an aircraft becomes too sick or too old to manage on it's own, the other aircraft in the herd sense its distress. At an appointed hour they accompany it on a very long journey to the hidden aircraft burial grounds somewhere deep in the jungle. That hidden aircraft burial ground is called: Kinshasa Airport. The Kinshasa airport sits on the outside of Kinshasa, about a 1/2 hour drive from the city center. It has been a very, very long time since I have seen an operational DC-8 aircraft. But, sitting on the tarmac surrounding the terminal I saw one...along with many other aging aging 727's, DC 9's, and lots of older Russian aircraft ... many of which are still flying in and out of the interior cities of the DRC. Some, however, seem to be loosing parts as they sit on the tarmac. Upon arrival at Kinshasa, you find your way into the large arrival area. There are four or five immigration booths where immigration officers stamp your passport. After working your way through the line you will pass through a large door into the customs/baggage claim area. There will be numerous apparent loafers around the door, and they may ask to see your passport. Some of these are, indeed, loafers and others are security agents. Ask to see identification before allowing anyone to gain possession of your passport. After baggage claim, you will present your baggage to the customs officer for inspection. Be very careful that your passport does not contain any visa or ...

Holiday Inn, Nairobi 29/12/2004

Later, I was really happy I stayed there ...

Holiday Inn, Nairobi My initial experience of staying at the Holiday Inn in Nairobi came on the wings of a panic. I was travelling with my boss, and I had made the BIG MISTAKE of booking us into a convenient, small, and very cheap mission guest house where I frequently stay. It didn't take me too long to figure out that the boss was tired--after two weeks of travel in Africa--and, something really nice better be at the end of this day. So, I quickly slipped out of the meeting and took up the less than helpful Nairobi phone book to look for something better. My eyes fell on "Holiday Inn" and I knew I had found the answer. Location: The Holiday Inn (known locally as The Mayfair) is conveniently located in the Westlands area of Nairobi. It is not very far from the Westlands Shopping Mall and the Sarit Center ... both of which are very nice shopping centers...even by western standards. The buildings are a bit older--but, immaculately maintained--and ramble over a beautiful garden area. Amenities: The Holiday Inn has TWO swimming pools. Each one is located in a very nice garden setting. One of the pools has a lovely eating area directly adjacent where the deluxe breakfast (included with your room) is served in the morning. There is also a spa and exercise facility as well. In the lobby is a well stocked magazine shop with all the latest news periodicals, maps, and travel books for Kenya ... along with an assortment of African curios. There are two other very nice clothing shops ...

Kenya Airways 29/12/2004

Kenya Airways ... The Best In Africa

Kenya Airways I have lived and worked in Africa for the past 15 years, so I can certainly contribute more than my share of airline horror stories. Having said that, let me hasten to add that for the past six years I have been working in East Africa and fly on Kenya Airways about twice a month. So, this review is based on that experience. Ground Agents/Reservations: I usually purchase my tickets using a travel agent in Kampala that has served my very well for a number of years. I try to avoid the Kenya Airways office in Kampala because the inefficiency and careless attitude of the staff spoil the overall picture of Kenya Airways. Kenya Airways has a very nice website where you can reserve flights and purchase tickets. I have never used the site, but I have navigated through--up to the point of purchase--and, it works in very straightforward manner. Flight and Cabin Crew: The Kenya Airways cabin crew are the HUGE reason for the success of Kenya Airways. They never fail to make me feel that they are genuinely happy I am flying with them. They serve efficiently and carefully. I have watched them politely and nicely serve some real expatriate bozos who seem to think they are still living in the colonial era. Most flights I take with Kenya Airways are 80-90% filled. In a one hour flight they efficiently serve a snack...drinks...pick up the trash...and, run the duty free cart up and down the aisle at least once. A good deal of work! Aircraft: Kenya Airways has pretty ...
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