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Friday, February 6, 2015

HOW TO PLAN A GLOBAL JOURNEY


I recently gave a talk at 15 Craigside on How to Plan a Global Journey.  A follow-up meeting will be held later this month for those individuals who wish to join me on the trip, or segments.  Here is the complete presentation. 


I mentioned that my late wife, Pearl--above with Pepper in our backyard, which was the setting for the movie South Pacific where Bloody Mary sang Happy Talk to France Nuyen (who looks like Pearl) and John Kerr--was a good part of the motivation for my recent travels.  Initially, when she passed away a little more than five years ago, I decided to both arrange to plant some Gold Trees for her and drop her ashes off at sites around the world she wished to visit, but didn't because I wasn't interested.  Click on those two links for details.
While the first ceremonial planting occurred in Hilo earlier last year, on 5January2015 a planting of the first official Honolulu tree occurred at the Ala Wai Golf course, here with family and friends participating:





I then went on to describe My Ultimate Global Adventure (Spring 2013), although a follow-up journey the following Spring, My Ultimate Fantasy Adventure, could also have been a worthy example.


One thing about "round the world" trips.  To maximize and optimize you need to be persistent.  These itineraries are such that you can't really backtrack much.  However, I thought it was curious that my first leg, Honolulu to Sydney, necessitated my flying back to San Francisco, then catching a second flight from SFO to Sydney.  I was to return in a little more than a month to SFO so that my group could pick me up for a week of golf to Napa.  Wouldn't it then be ideal if I could spend the night at some airport hotel to which I'd return, and leave my golf bag there?  United kept turning me down until about the fourth call I made around midnight my time and found a sympathetic ear who arranged for me do just that.  I then had a full day in Frisco, so had my lunch at Tadich Grill, a tradition going back to when I went to college in the region:

One huge mistake I made was to spend three days in Sydney during the Easter holidays.  Just about everything is closed during that period.


I should mention that international travel on Thai Air, Singapore Air and Lufthansa are extravagant in first class.

Everyone goes to the Grand Place in Bangkok, for it is grand.  This is one of the sites now hosting Pearl's ashes.

Most don't realize that Bangkok is a steeple of excellence in fine dining.  For example, the top Pellegrino restaurant in Asia is now Nahm.
Amazingly enough, the best Indian restaurant in the world, Gaggan, also is in Bangkok.
The first class lounges the world over are quite a bit more luxurious than the typical Red Carpet Club type lounge.  The Lufthansa versions in Munich and Frankfurt are at the top, while Singapore's back home is outstanding, as is Thai's in Bangkok.  United's First Class Lounge at Narita is excellent.
Two more bucket list items I had was to fly first class on the Airbus 380 and new Boeing 787, or 747-8.  Here is the Thai Airbus 380, and I also caught the Lufthansa 747-8.  Both, actually, were somewhat disappointing.  I expected something incredible and was met with nothing spectacular.
At the time of the trip in 2013 Narisawa in Tokyo was the best restaurant in Asis.
Of course, for me, every around the world journey must have a week or two on the Shinkansen to visit the blooming cherry blossoms or experience the fall colors.  I only circumnavigate the globe during these seasons.  You need to purchase your Japan Rail Pass in your home town.  Always get the Green Car pass.

On rides from Tokyo to Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe):
I almost always give a lecture at some university or conference on these trips, and this time it was at Hiroshima University.  The usual routine is that a fabulous dinner follows.  Many of them pictured here did some of their graduate training at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute:
This restaurant was extraordinary in that we each had twelve cups of different sakes to drink:
You can't visit Hiroshima without stopping by the Peace Park:
The trip included a night across the moat from Nagoya Castle, then a side trip to
This is where I dropped a gel cap of Pearl's ashes, and this gold koi ate it.  There are many hundreds of carp, mostly black, and only one colored gold.
Back in Tokyo, one of my must stops is Jindaiji Botanical Park.  There is a long story associated with this location, and one is that there is a statue sculptured by Bussi in 1962, the year I met Pearl.  Whoever was the model looked exactly like her.  Maybe it was.  The office there could not find the name of the model.
On this trip I dined at various Michelin 3 Star and Pellegrino Best 50 restaurants.
Shanghai has long been one of my favorite cities.
They hosted the most recent World Expo, with next one being later this year in Milan.
I've finally learned my lesson, as I began to cough while in Beijing, and did not shake it for a month.  DON'T GO TO CHINA!!!  The air pollution is horrendous.  This is a photo from my room at the St. Regis at midday.  I almost could not see that building.
The Forbidden City is an absolute must visit:

Back on first class to Germany, where, of course, the finest champagnes and caviar were served.
Funny, but I remember most having asparagus.
Then a Lufthansa 747-8 to Dulles, with caviar:
As everyone has been to DC, I only showed a view of the Washington Monument when it was being repaired:
Each MUGA day can be found in this blog site, and I had to select from hundreds of photos for this presentation.  I stayed with Connie and Harry Olson in Denver, where we debated the merits of corn vs grass fed beef, had a barbecue, and decided that the CHEAPER ($3/pound lower) corn fed version on the left was the better buy.
Now back to the Four Points Sheraton at the Sheraton Airport where I picked up my golf bag, and spent a day in Frisco with Sharon and David Block (former director of the Florida Solar Energy Centerwho joined Kenji's Golf Safari):
That's Kenji pondering which bottle of Corona to drink.
A week of golf, leading to nearly a week of wine tasting, staying with Kathy Ray in Napa, Nancy/David Kyle at Sea Ranch and Terry Surles in Mendocino.
I must have tasted nearly a hundred wines, and capped it off with some very special scotch, all more than 50% alcohol as special bottlings:
My final stop was at Stanford University because Terry's wife worked there.
Coming home healthy is always the best part of these round the world adventures.
For those wishing to plan for such trip start with the world wide web:





 Just yesterday, I actually paid for a Tauck European Cruise which begins on October 24 in Budapest, and ends two weeks later in Amsterdam.  I will meet with anyone interested on February 26  to finalize my itinerary for My Final Around the World Adventure (My FAWA:  got to work on this acronym).

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