Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sao Paulo

Hot, 90 degrees today. Check out the view from my room at the Grand Hyatt in Morumbi... just an immense skyline!

Amazing how the decline in the dollar has an impact. It is now around 2=1 here in Brazil, so t-shirts that go for R$40 used to be cheap but are now US$20 each! The other thing is the payment system... I had to ask someone in a shop (who spoke almost NO English) why they were charging everything like "R$79.90, 3x$24.90"... I finally remembered that in Brazil, they offer payment plans for everything... very easy to be misled and think it is 3 for that price.

Today was relaxing... massage, lunch with a friend, now a glass of wine and... work. Oh well, it had to happen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mendoza, Argentina

Working on the front patio of the Park Hyatt Mendoza, overlooking the plaza

So last night I was in my hotel in Santiago and flipping channels on the TV trying to wind down from shopping hell at the mall. I turned to a movie that appeared to have the Golden Gate Bridge on, but then it panned out and they were obviously not in SF. I continued watching and got wrapped up in the *sense* of time and place - it was very mid-60's with girls in mini skirts and go go boots, men in shorter than short shorts, Cadillac convertibles, modern furniture and great mod music. The plot was not important - obviously a couple on their honeymoon taking the brides father with, and he is a dirty old man who goes after the hot blondes. A comedy.

I finally figured out by looking at a doorknob sign in a hotel room that was in portugese that the movie took place in Portugal or Brazil.

It wa dubbed from Portuguese into Spanish. So I didn't understand a word of it!

Sitting at El Patio at the Park Hyatt Mendoza now having lunch after a swim. Nice, partly cloudy and 82 today. Too bad it's all work from here on...

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Why I like Santiago:

1. Mountains, Mountains, Mountains all around! Even in the height of summer they are snow capped.
2. Climate. Sunny and dry, like central California.
3. Green and Clean. The streets are clean, that is; not the air.
4. Modern infrastructure. Great highways, clean subway, nice shops and lots of modern skyscrapers. Reminds me of Vancouver in some ways.
5. Grand Hyatt. The hotel is chic and the grounds make it feel like a resort. And the restaurants.... oh my, are they good!

Shopping today at the mall, it was a strange experience to hear "White Christmas" when it is 82 and sunny out. The mall itself is as good as any one in the USA. In fact, it feels like the USA when you walk by Ruby Tuesday next to Ralph Lauren next to Wrangler next to Timberland. But I had last minute Christmas shopping to do, so it worked.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Santiago de Chile

Christmas tree in the atrium of the Grand Hyatt Santiago

Happy Christmas from Santiago, Chile! In the Grand Hyatt is the tallest indoor Christmas tree in Chile... 16 meters tall (that's 4 stories tall)... 2,400 lights... 1,400 balls and bows... Weather here is truly spectacular - as are the sunsets. Pollution always makes beautiful sunsets, and tonight was a bright orange/red velvet combination. Gorgeous!

Spanish is a funny language; it is easy to pick up and understand, but I need to practice more. I would really love to go back to studying it, but this takes time and tenacity. I need to not put it off and schedule classes for the Spring.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Acapulco (view from my window this morning)

Snow and Sun, with a little Soccer thrown in.

Yesterday after a long day of work, I checked the weather and discovered that the biggest snow storm to hit Chicago was to be right now; so I changed my flight to leave later and enjoy a bit of sun in Acapulco and miss the storm. Good choice - the top news story on CNN International is the massive storm dropping snow from Texas to Michigan. Apparently nearly a foot of snow! And here in Acapulco, a gorgeous day of sun and sky, maybe 80 Fahrenheit today.

Last night, Daniel the GM took me to a fun bar called "Mango's" where we watched Guadalajara vs. América in a Soccer game. It was fun, with loud fans and music, but my table was pro-América which proceeded to play a shitty game and lose 0-2. Outside, all the less fortunate locals were watching the game - and our partying - through the windows of the shop. 4 Pacifco's later, the game ends and we got home by 11.30pm...

Off to the airport this afternoon, home - to snow - by 10pm! Perhaps I need an hour in the sun before I leave...