Category Archives: Peregrinations

Flying High

Up at 4:45 for the limo at 5:15 to take me to San Diego Airport for the 7 am nonstop to Boston on Alaska Air.

I notice there is no pre-chek on my boarding pass, but the TSA agents wave me into the pre-chek line so I must have missed something. However, I’m chosen at random for a gunpowder test on my hands. This takes about 30 seconds. I go through  the machine, but then I’m randomly chosen for a shoe test! (Apparently, I have dangerous looking extremities.)  This takes about 30 seconds. I’m laughing at the irony of being an exception to an exception, but I still cleared security in 90 seconds and the TSA people were really professional and cordial.

At the top of the escalator I notice a VERY long line, but then realize it’s for Starbuck’s, people voluntarily waiting ten minutes to procure what I consider very average coffee. The barrista, or whatever the overblown title is, is screaming at the crowd, “We’re out of soy mild!! We’re out of mocha!!” as if to undermine a potential revolt.

I’ve never flown Alaska Airlines, though I had heard good things. The flight was filled to the gills, and the service was outstanding.

When I was flying coast to coast in late 70s, the new 747 was put on the route, piano bar and all. This week, I flew from Miami to San Diego and San Diego to Boston on 737s. You could fit a couple of these inside of A380s. I always wonder whether the 737s will have enough fuel if the wind is against us.

The guy across the aisle from me has a three-ring binder open, two pages showing at a time of about a hundred in there. Each page is stamped in two-inch, red letters “CONFIDENTIAL,” and anyone can see it and read what’s in there. I guess on public conveyances it’s not confidential.

The US Grant Hotel sent my bill electronically, and I opened it on the plane to find to my pleasant shock that the Presidential Suite had cost me $480 a night, and the final night was free. And people ask why I pay for Black Card membership.

I worked with two of my mastermind (Growth Cycle) groups in Miami, and facilitated the Elite Retreat in San Diego with very smart, fun-loving people. My new Corvette Stingray convertible is being shipped in tomorrow for pickup on Tuesday. The way the weather is, I’m hoping to drive it by May!

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Christmas Stroll in Nanutcket

We took the girls to the ferry in Hyannis in just 75 minutes, the crossing was a fast two hours, and we’re at the White Elephant Village for the Christmas Stroll. Maria has planned a visit to Santa, a talking Christmas Tree, and other goodies.

Getting comfortable on the ferry.

Heavy fog on the crossing.

No one riding outside, though the temperature is 56°!

© Alan Weiss 2013

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China Journal

We used Global Entry at JFK, the bags came quickly, and we were through immigration and customs in ten minutes. I’m writing this from the stretch taking us home from Kennedy. We flew 9 hours from Hong Kong to Dubai, and 13 hours from Dubai to New York. The first class service on Emirates is simply stunning. Showered and changed clothes on the plane before landing, feel like a million bucks.

The Temple Market in Kowloon

There are hundred of these stalls

The view from the terrace of our restaurant on Friday

I believe these are grouper

This is a ray or a skate, both in the same family

Waiting to close the doors to my suite on Emirates

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China Journal

We’re in Dubai with a two-hour layover from Hong Kong to New York. I mentioned earlier that the first class lounge on Emirates is an entire floor, and the plane comes to you. I slept for six hours coming over here, unplanned, but quite nice.

The expenditures here are breathtaking. The airport is immense, spotless, and extraordinary. Signage is wonderful. The shops are of the highest caliber. As we sit in a lounge area, employees approach us to see if we need food or drink. Or we could walk a few yards to a fine dining restaurant, order absolutely ANYTHING and it’s free.

When you enter a restroom, an attendant enters after a respectful few seconds and stays there, at a distance, in case anything is required, confusing, or missing. EVERY employee in the lounge—and there are a scores of them even at midnight—look you in the eye and greet you. The lounge operates 24 hours  a day. “We never sleep at Emirates,” the purser told me.

The airport trains, which are high speed and travel a considerable distance, are more like subways and have clever entering and exiting lanes so that there is never a crush at the doors. Vast escalator systems take you up the heights, as do massive elevator cars which are larger than an average hotel bedroom.

In Dubai you can snow ski, visit water parks, engage in polo, bet at racetracks, watch auto races, and so on. There is nothing missing here. It’s all a tad artificial and hard to believe, but the investment is staggering. Emirates planes are absolutely state-of-the-art.

As the song goes, “It’s always nice to go traveling, but it’s oh, so nice to come home….”

© Alan Weiss 2013

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China Journal

A complimentary limo picked us up at the Four Seasons and deposited us at Hong Kong Airport, where we were met by a hotel representative who took our bags and escorted us through first class processing at Emirates and then to security. Security and immigration took five minutes (why do we remove our shoes in the US but not in some other places?) and we’re in still another glorious Emirates lounge. (Maria is out somewhere doing duty free.)

The flight to Dubai leaves in two hours, with the same private cabins, and the connection to New York will have showers on it once again. We’ve had a wonderful adventure. Just last night, I hosted the Million Dollar Club at the top floor restaurant of a building in Kowloon where we shared crab, beef, suckling pig, and fish. We took in the Hong Kong skyline on the outside terrace, and then managed to make the walk to the dock to catch the last Star Ferry out of Kowloon for the night.

I already have my meeting planner looking into Marrakesh or Buenos Aires for next year, with the dates locked in with the group.

© Alan Weiss 2013.

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China Journal

Yesterday (Thursday) was the second of our three-day Million Dollar Club meeting. The afternoon included a guided tour of Victoria Peak, Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, and the Stanley Market. We dined in the evening at Aqua, probably Hong Kong’s most incredible restaurant, all glass and 29 stories above the harbor, in a private room. It’s always rewarding when sophisticated, well-traveled people walk in and say, “Wow!!”

In the photos below you’ll see a man who carved my signature in English and Chinese on a stamp. He’s been doing it for 30 years and is missing three fingers on one hand. It was a fantastic process to watch and when he was done the shop owner handed me a card and said, “If you ever need more, here’s out web site”!

Victoria Peak

Our sampan captain

The famous floating restaurant, Jumbo

A fisherman cleaning his catch

I don't know if it was his boat or a loaner

The beach at Repulse Bay

Carving my signature stamp

© Alan Weiss 2013

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China Journal

After the grey, grimness of Beijing, Hong Kong is fresh air (literally and figuratively). The city is vibrant, exciting, and full of options. The difference between today and my last visit is the nonstop building into every available space.

After our meeting, my wife and I had lunch at the top of the Mandarin Oriental, then I had a cigar in the tiny cigar bar in the lobby. We took the group to the China Club last night, where the noodle chef does his thing in front of diners (see my Facebook page for the video). Today we’ll tour Victoria Peak, Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, and the Stanley Market. Dinner at Aqua.

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China Journal

They take very good care of us at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, and every desire is attended to. The place is very upscale, and it’s interesting how that influences perspective.

When we visited the Great Wall outside of Beijing, the guide took us to a typical restaurant in a small city where we sampled fabulous dishes at lunch. So I asked the concierge here to find us a typical Chinese restaurant for dinner after church on Sunday. She sent us to Fook Lam Moon.

The cab let us off in front of densely packed buildings and the restaurant was on the second floor, a good sign. However, once inside the street level door, we were greeted by a hostess and two seaters, all with earpieces, who had our reservation and greeted us by name. One of the seaters escorted us on to the elevator.

“We’re here,” I said, “because the hotel concierge told us you were the perfect restaurant for good food and typical atmosphere.”

She turned on me in almost outrage and said, “Sir, we are a one-star Michelin establishment!” and, with that, the doors opened on a lovely room full of very upscale local people.

Apparently, the concierge’s view of us is that “typical” is just a single Michelin star!

(The food was great, and the wine list staggering, some bottles going for several thousand dollar US!)

© Alan Weiss 2013

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China Journal

From Sevva, on top of the Prince Building

Early Christmas in Kowloon

The singer at Gaddis in the Peninsula, a trip back to dining in the 1950s

Boarding the Star Ferry

The Star Ferry

Returning to Hong Kong side


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China Journal

I've never understood why the double decker trollies don't fall over.

The longest, covered, outdoor escalator system in the world

Every scrap of space is used

The CEO and The Chairman

© Alan Weiss 2013

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