Friday, May 19, 2006

Buenos Aires - photos

You know, getting older is kind of a funny thing. I still get thrilled about opening a luxury hotel - all the activity, seeing the finishing touches, the buzz of excitement in the community. But it is tempered with so much more now - I miss home, Andy, my friends, my parents. My mom is in Ireland - how was her trip? Dad mentioned how well the lawn looks; what did he do to get it that way? Andy's been dealing with the rain in Chicago - has it been that dreary? Are the dogs restless? How is Kim's new job? Funny how I'm more rooted than I ever dreamed I would be. Yet I am happy about it, it keeps things in perspective.

The hotel here is really amazing, and I can't wait to come back and see it in operation. The people are just so wonderful, really warm and truly excited about working at such a spectacular place. Room 208 is just AMAZING, I can't even believe what it will be like with all the activity, guests rushing past the Piano Nobile forgetting they had reserved a Spa suite or a table in the dining room near the cheese room. Just a wonderful place. I can close my eyes and see it happen, but for now, it is just construction and dust dust dust everywhere! The staff gave me a wonderful, personal sendoff... I was very touched...

I haven't worked out for two weeks, I've been sick, working on emails from 7am-8am and 10pm-12am every night, plus dinners and drinks... what a trip! All I want to do is sleep... sleep... sleep... but until then, how about a 12 hour trip from B.A. to Chicago?!?!!!

Look forward to my next trip here when I can actually visit the city! What a concept!

And on a final note... yes, I have now heard of Diego Maradona!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Buenos Aires

Raining today after 4 beautiful days of sun and near-70 degrees. We've been working nonstop downstairs in the basement of our beautiful hotel that is about to open. It is exciting! I look forward to my next visit... after many delays, it appears relatively ontime.

A lot of fun on this visit but a lot of work, too. I have never laughed so much and worked so late. Every night lasts until around 11pm because everyone in S America dines late. So strange to go to dinner at 10pm with almost noone in a restaurant and leave at 11 or 11.30 and see the place full!

The Recoleta district is full of trees and nice buildings....

Leave for home tomorrow!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sao Paulo - photos

I love this hotel! Truly amazing.... not only is the food incredible and the decor nothing short of perfect, the hotel unpacked all my clothes while I was in meetings and the rest is being sent down to the laundry. I didn't even ask to do this, and I can't wait to get the clothes back because they will look GREAT as if I just bought them from the store! Best hotel in the company!

Literally worked all day and exhausted but looking forward to sleeping in late and then going on a city tour, then come back and change for a fun night of dinner...

But now, off to a massage at Anakena Spa at the Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Santiago de Chile

Another long day yesterday... very hot here, unusual for this time of year; I am certain it must have been 80 degrees F. Pollution was real bad, you could barely see the Andes. The new freeway is finished, it now only takes about 25 minutes from the airport to the hotel - it goes for 6km directly under the river in a tunnel.

Will be working most of the time, I am hoping to have some free time later today to at least go to Pura - a great local art store in Las Condes - as well as maybe the nearby mall for a walk; but I am here for work and honestly don't have much free time due to meetings and training...

This morning the Andes look so beautiful as the sun rises over them. Such a spectacular setting for a city!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Earthquake in Mendoza!
(earthquake map to the left, this quake in red)

In a deep sleep, I was awakened at just a few minutes past 6am by a quite strong quake. It lasted I would guess 15 seconds and was in a rolling motion - I was sufficiently certain that the quake had awoken my colleague Maria, so I called her in her room.... and yes, Maria was wide awake!

I tried to look on-line to find a registry but so far haven't found it listed.... will keep looking, but if it was centered here, my guess it was between a 5.0 and a 6.0. Definitely strong enough but no damage, I'm sure....

Lest anyone forget, Mendoza was famously destroyed by an earthquake in 1861; its wide boulevards and strategically placed plazas were created to allow buildings to crash into the street yet provide space for people and emergency equipment to move around them to the official congregation points - the plazas. The ruins of the cathedral remain to remind the residents of just how dangerous the area is...

The USGS posted this on their website... a 5.1, but at 129.5 miles, very deep in the earth... a good guess by me!

MAG UTC DATE-TIMEy/m/d h:m:s LATdeg LONdeg DEPTHkm Region
5.1 2006/05/09 09:02:27 -32.374 -69.266 129.5 MENDOZA, ARGENTINA


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mendoza, Argentina - photos

Cloudy skies this mid-Autumn day in Mendoza. The wide boulevards appear as tree-tunnels with ceilings of orange and gold. The plazas are quiet as any typical Sunday afternoon, the occasional family or couple walking by.

Such a pretty little city. The hotel welcomed us in open arms as always; after settling in, I called Dave who runs He has a tasting room on the edge of the plaza and he knows my friends Aimee, Kim and Cheryl. We had a nice glass of Cabernet and talked about our mutual friends and what we are doing in life. It was a fun, relaxing conversation in a comfortable slick tasting room just steps off the Plaza Independencia. He invited us to an asado, which is an Argentine barbeque, tonight at 9pm.

After our talk, Maria and I walked around the streets and up through the park to the lake. A long walk, but very nice on a Sunday afternoon. Very peaceful, but it was funny to see some Americans (obviously) walk by in their t-shirts and shorts (too cold for that) and dogs. Now it is a rest with a glass of Malbec by Trapiche (just had this in Chicago last Thursday!) in my room before a walk through the art fair and then the asado!
Aeropuerto - Santiago de Chile

It amazes me how great it is to fly down to South America... because there is relatively no time change to North America, there is no jet lag, only what I call travel lag.... that is, just feeling tired from being in a seat for 12 hours. Since I had dinner on the flight to Miami, I literally skipped it on the flight down and slept 20 minutes into take off, waking up only 45 minutes before landing. That's 7 hours of sleep on a flight! I feel a bit groggy but good!

Flying down here is so cool, along the Andes mountain range. The sun was just starting to rise - that deep blue/red colour on the horizon - and you could see the outline of the mountains, still snow capped of course. Incredibly gorgeous. Nearing landing, as is usual this time of year, you can see the low fog hugging the valleys, nooks and crannies of the low mountains. Pretty. At least not enough to delay my arrival!

I am waiting in the Admirals Club (strangely like its namesake - an old ship Admiral's office, wood and plaid seats - yuck) drinking my powdered orange juice waiting for Maria. She is getting in any minute from México D.F. and then we fly together to Mendoza. Today, we will meet Marlenne at the airport, then after getting settled to do some wine tasting and join an asado - a traditional barbeque of Argentine beef. Yummy! Oddly, Aimee's friend Dave moved to Mendoza so there will be an MSU contact there... we're everywhere!

Ok, off to finish my Tang...