Saturday, February 26, 2011

A random indulgence

I don't eat fried chicken.

I really like it as well.... but quite a few years ago, I made a decision that for the sake of my health and fitness, I would give up eating and drinking a substantial number of things. One of these things was fried chicken.

However, there are rare occasions when I allow myself to cheat.

For instance, when I was in Belgium, I allowed myself to eat chocolate (I mean how could I not???)

When I was in the Middle East, I allowed myself to drink coffee (though to be honest, I only really drank tea during my time there).

For fried chicken, I allow myself to partake when I find myself in the vicinity of a "Popeyes". Hong Kong is one of the few places in the Asia Pacific region that actually has a Popeyes and I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity.
Ahhhh, Popeyes!!!

It may sound silly, but I just find that they make the best fried chicken. The Colonel may have his secret herbs and spices, but he just can't get that amazing crispiness that Popeyes has.
Not only that, but Popeyes serves its chicken with biscuits and cajun spiced fries. How can I resist that???
It didn't take me long to demolish the Popeyes in front of me.... I feel so full....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nathan Road

There's nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.

Even the CBD of Sydney feels almost empty compared the packed streets in the middle of Kowloon.
It's intense, it's busy and there is a hurried feeling wherever you go. The place definitely feels busier than the last time I was here as well. The influx of tourists from mainland China is clear and the sound of Mandarin now seems to fill the air as much as Cantonese.
Being in the middle of Kowloon also means that I'm nice and close to many of the famous street markets.
This claustrophobic atmosphere always gives me a bit of a rush!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost bags

It feels good to be travelling again.

It feels so liberating. As soon as I stepped into Sydney airport, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders knowing that for the duration of this trip (as short as it was), I would be without obligations.

I was heading off to Hong Kong for some family events!!!

It had been over two years since I had been overseas (far too long) and over three years since I had been to Hong Kong. I generally don't like going to places I have been to before, but as far as I'm now concerned, a trip is a trip.

Cheap tickets had been sourced, but unfortunately this meant I was actually flying to Taiwan first...

I found myself running through the airport in Taiwan at around 4am in the morning searching for someone to print out a boarding pass for me, but thankfully someone appeared and I was able to run (as well as my reconstructed knee will allow me) to the gate and my connecting flight to Hong Kong.

Not that it really mattered anyway.

It turns out my bags weren't able to run as fast as I was and they were bumped onto the subsequent flight.

So instead, I found myself sitting at Chek Lap Kok airport, waiting for my bags to arrive.

It's a nice looking airport.
The huge ceilings seem to glow, no matter the time of day and the white has an eerie calming feeling.
It was annoying having to wait the extra hour (which was still better than waiting the 6+ hours for them to deliver it to my hotel), but I was on holiday. So who cares if I have to sit around?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Dinner at Google!!!

Most of the time, I accept that I have a pretty good job. It pays the bills and the work is interesting.

I really can't complain considering many people struggle to find a job these days and even more people find themselves in jobs that they hate.

However, there are a few times when it is difficult to hide the jealousy I have for other peoples' jobs.

My trip to visit my friends working at Google was one of these times.

The invitation had been simple enough: "Hey, you guys should totally come and have dinner with us at our work!" said Andy in his casual American accent.

Dinner at work??? How odd! Why not I thought.

Something was clearly amiss when Nick and I arrived at the Google offices to find Andy playing on the tyre swing in the reception. The girls laughed at our surprise.

.... this was clearly going to be an upsetting tour.
Nick and I also felt strangely out of place walking through this office in our suits and ties. This was a laid back office of t-shirt and jeans and we were clearly squaring up the joint with our lameness.

There's a reason Google is consistently voted as one of the best employers in the world. It's because they treat their staff VERY well.

Unfortunately I couldn't take any photos inside (fair enough), but what my eyes beheld was astounding.

The first thing we saw was the kitchenettes that were peppered everywhere in the building. Full of food and drink, there was no expense spared. Even the coffee machines provided were no run of the mill mass coffee dispenser, but the quality espresso machines that have the large handles to allow the control of water pressure.

Next, we were shown into the games room were a Googler was entranced in his game of Guitar Hero. A pool table, foosball table and a tennis table lay un-used, surrounded by musical instruments for anyone who felt like unwinding in a more cultured manner.

We then wandered upstairs and were shown the library. I had to be careful where I stepped as to not upset the model trains on the ground that someone was working on.

The presence in the office of hammocks and sleeping pods made me particularly upset.

"Yeah, naps are acceptable. There's an attitude of do whatever you want, so long as you get the work done well."

This seemed to be a great attitude! It was definitely an attitude that fit in with the creative approach being sought be this fine organisation. Somehow I'm not so sure it would work as well in the world of law and finance that I find myself in. Still, the ability to power nap after lunch for even half an hour would improve my productivity.... if only it were to be so!

Andy and the girls then took us to look at the myriad of themed meeting rooms. Yes, that's correct, all of the meeting rooms are themed. The most eye catching one was easily the room that used the theme of bath time and rubber duckies.

With the main tour essentially complete, it was time for dinner.

We were escorted into the cafeteria, where the Googlers are provided with buffet breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Each day had a different theme, and we had been fortunate enough to arrive for Indian food. Again, there were no short cuts taken with the food provided. It was good quality food and, even though mass produced cafeteria style fare, it was still better than what I had been used to in my boarding school days. What's more, the free flow of drinks, desserts and ice creams showed that cost cutting wasn't going to be sought in this benefit.

Talking to the Googlers, their admiration and love of the company was evident. And why shouldn't it be? This company cared for them and went out of their way to ensure that they were comfortable in both work and life. These employees genuinely believed in the vision that their company was trying to establish.

As I sat listening to them, slowly eating the paddle pop ice cream that I had taken out of the fridge, my hatred for this company began to grow. It wasn't a hatred because of a dislike. No, this was very much the type of hatred that stems from being an outsider wanting to get in!

We all finished up dinner and began to head off.

Before I left though, there was some unfinished business.

I needed to jump on the tyre swing at least ONCE before I left the premises!!!!

So now I'm left with the question of how I can find a way to sneak my way back into this company???