A medical emergency

On a recent flight from ATL to SNA there were several small delays in getting started.  First the incoming plane was late, then there was the “cleaning”, finally they started the boarding process wile announcing that the plane was going to be catered, but the catering would be loaded as we got on (“to save time”).  The first people on included three people in wheelchairs, two with oxygen, and several people with crutches and canes.  As this plane was headed to a Disney location there were many small children in the next phase of loading.  Those of us with many miles trooped on.  Trying to cooperate with the flight attendants,  this was a full bird that might – with a lot of good luck and cooperation – take off close to on time.

  And did we leave on time?

Social Media

So on a recent business trip to Brazil, where I was fortunate enough to be at the Hilton Morumbi where I do not have to shove furniture to hold back wandering shouting people in the halls.  What is of note is the use of social media, in particular facebook (or farcebook as Mark is fond of calling it).  While making it thru the maze of passport control at the Sao Paulo airport (GRU), the young lady checking my credentials was getting into facebook as I approached her desk.  Checking her posts and friends, before checking my passport and visa.  Counting the months left on the visa on her hand before allowing me to pass.

Social media, interfering with everyone’s life….


This post was last updated on November 18th, 2019 at 03:34 pm

In Brazil again

But this time I am at the Morumbi Hilton. A lovely hotel, with an outstanding staff.

So on the plane down here a lovely young woman sat in the center seat of the “economy comfort” row. We started talking, and she is part of a group coming to Brazil for an MBA project. She’d never been before, so I helped her fill in her immigration forms and answered some questions. 3-4 days in Sao Paulo, then 3-4 days in Rio for her group. The excitement just radiated from her.
Continue to read the warnings

Recognizing a fellow traveler

While on a plane, I suddenly noticed a very familiar scent. At first I could not quite place it, then I turned to the lady beside me and asked ‘Do you stay at a lot of Hilton hotels?’ She looked surprised and replied that she does. She had just applied some of the lotion we all liberate from the hotel as they are in TSA approved sizes (and it’s really nice lotion).

This post was last updated on November 18th, 2019 at 03:33 pm


Traveling, like all things disruptive, brings out the best and worst in people.  Today was an exercise in the worst.

I got on the flight, the typical flight where the last person on board has to be greased up to get in their seat.  No upgrade possible, not even ‘economy comfort’.  So I was sitting amongst what felt like several hundred strangers all in my personal space.

Then I heard the voice, close by and loud.  A woman’s voice that seems to carry throughout the plane, echoing  down the aisle, as she began on her story to her seat companions.  Her voice was in just that register that grated on my sensitive ears, and carried past the normal.

I assumed a few minutes and she would become silent, or at least become aware of the looks.  I was, as I so often am wrong.  When the 10,00 foot announcement came on, I grabbed the Bose headphones as quickly as I could.  The three men across the aisle, sitting in front of her, were looking at the ear coverings with longing.

I could STILL hear her, over ‘This American Life’, over the Doors, over DEF LEPPARD!  It was not as bad, but it was still there.

A two hour flight, and all I could figure was that she was practicing the art of circular breathing.  There was no let-up.

I had to relinquish the headphones as we descended, the soliloquy was still in full flight.  As we deplaned I did ask on of the men across the aisle if she had taken a breat, his response was a look of horror.

Some people are nervous about flying, and anxiety can take on many forms.  But if you are on a flight amongst strangers and find yourself explaining that your offspring’s middle name is from  the general who commanded your great-great-grandfathers regiment in a war (any war!), it is time to stop.  It is time to take a deep breath, and exhale slowly.  To be silent, to cultivate peace.  Close your eyes, and remember that the people around you might be visualizing stuffing one of those nasty polyester blankets down your throat.

January extended into February in 2013

The month of January comes as a surprise every year to the travel planners.  While it does seem to come with alarming regularity, it ambushes the unwary travel planners every year.

If a trip must be planned in the first 4-6 weeks of the year, then you had better hope that the trip is planned before December 5th. If not you run the risk of all the hotels disappearing from the ‘preferred list’.  I’m not talking about just the reasonably comfortable ones, but often well past those considered borderline are gone.  As if they have magically disappeared, sucked into a black hole along with those airline miles earned on a carrier you are forced to take once a year because they had a sale..

A hotel you stayed in just last week has been added to that horrifying list of ‘exceptions’, if it can be found at all.  If you have too many exceptions (ok if you have one),  you must be counseled by your management.  You can become a person of interest in the ever growing inquiry.  Your records may be subject to auditing.  All for staying in the same hotel you did last month.  A place where they have come to know your name.

And just as magically, sometime in January the universe starts to become more normal.  The hotels have been brought out of their stasis fields.  The list grows, morphs, and gradually resumes something like it’s previous form.  Usually sometime in late January, though it has been known to stretch into February.

Happy travels!

This post was last updated on November 18th, 2019 at 03:33 pm

Moving Hotels In Rio

For those of you in the Corporate world, using hotels from a predefined list is often a requirement.  Mostly the rooms are average, nothing to excite anyone from the most timid traveler to the most adventurous.  Bland and interchangeable, if IBM could figure out a way to house us in gray walled cubicles all the time they would.  There have been many times I have had problems after changing cities and hotels, going back to the room I was in the week before, because I cannot tell them apart.

So when I made my travel arrangements for Brazil, the JW Marriot in Rio was sold out for 2 days of my trip.  So I had to move. I had to pick from a very limited selection in Rio, in fact there was only one left on the IBM approved list at the IBM rate.  Another Mercure, but I figured it would be much like those in Brasilia.

I was wrong. 
Continue reading “Moving Hotels In Rio”

From the sublime to the not so much

A guest post from Lyn, who does even more MQ-related travel …

Traveling to exotic locations can be a rewarding experience.  It can also be quite painful.  In performing a WMQ for z/OS health checks (aka looking at SMF data until eyes are far too bloodshot) I have had the opportunity to go many lovely places.  I would never have gone to Brazil, Malaysia, or Arkansas if I’d not been doing this.
Trouble in Rio continues…