Friday, June 13, 2008

Read Any Good Travel Books Lately??

Just a short post to share three of my favorite "travel books" that I believe you fellow travelers out there in the blogosphere will also appreciate:

(1) First choice: Around the World in 80 Days by Michale Palin (also in VHS tape);
(2) Second: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle;
(3) Third: War Journal: My Five Years in Iraq by Richard Engel - this is a new book that I am still reading (I'm up to Chapter Eighteen). Even though I have not yet finished reading this book, it is Excellent. I suspect part of the reason I like it has to do with the fact that I frequently travel to Kuwait and work in a location which is a mere 100 miles from the Kuwait-Iraq border! It also presents an accurate, unbiased account of what the Iraq (aka this generation's Vietnam) mess is really like. I strongly recommned this book.

If anyone has some favorites they wish to share, feel free to post a note.

PS: I forgot to mention one other "book"; my diary!! Everyone who travels a lot or goes a long way from home should try to maintain a personal diary. It will make for some very interesting reading when you are retired, no longer travel and want to refresh your memory about the "good 'ol days" when you were visiting all those far flung places around the globe. Just a suggestion!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Scotland (Edinburgh and Aberdeen) - May 2008

Scottish countryside as seen from the Edinburgh to Aberdeen train.
Yellow flowers - Gorse - seen everywhere in Scotland.

Excellent views abound at Edinburgh Castle

Memorial in the City Center of Edinburgh, Scotland

Arthur's Seat - overlooking Edinburgh, Scotland

Oh what a great joy it is to finally have a NICE company trip to a place other than to some old, dirty, stinky, hot oilfield!! I had the pleasure of attending two company-approved business meetings in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Scotland in late May. The weather was excellent (50's - 60's) with mostly sunny skies prevailing. The only problem were the two flight delays (I blame Continental Airlines for the poor maintenance of their aircraft which contributed to both delays): the first delay was on the flight out of Houston and that in turn caused me to miss my flight connection to Edinburgh from Newark, NJ and then there was the two-hour delay from Newark. Other than arriving into Scotland four hours late, the rest of my trip was splendid!! The work was fine, I met many colleagues, had some excellent meals (fresh salmon), stocked up on Scottish shortbread and tea, took many pictures, learned about new technology, had a paper of mine presented by a co-worker at the SPE Scale Symposium (Aberdeen) and had an overall enjoyable experience (despite the usual debilitating effects of jet lag). And the 2.5 hour train ride from Edinburgh's Waverly train station to Aberdeen went off smoothly (Monday, May 26) and allowed me some excellent views of the Scottish countryside.
On the return trip, I had the pleasure of going through Heathrow's new Terminal 5. One bad note: the security folks in Terminal 4 fussed at my carry-on bag (they said it was too wide!) and they made me check my carry-on instead of, well, carrying it onto the plane. Boo, hiss!! At least the return Continental flight (CON 33) was on time!!
Hotel reviews: Peebles Hydro Hotel (south of Edinburgh) and the Edinburgh Thistle Hotel (Leith St.) were both fine to above average. The Holiday Inn at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Center was basically a "box": OK overall .... but nothing to write home about.