Putanga – Life on the Road

Stories from my journeys around the world…

Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

So Far So Good

Posted by Monica Johansen on February 3, 2011

It is February already, and I have been on the road quite a bit so far this year. I spent the first couple of weeks of 2011 in Singapore, before I headed to San Francisco and Portland for a week of company conference and APAC team meetings. I had an absolute awesome time in the US, and I finally met my American colleagues that I have talked to on the phone and email several times, and now I can finally put faces to the names.

Albert Park Lake at sunset

The global consulting team is an awesome bunch of people, and I actually feel very lucky to be part of the group, although I am still the only consultant in APAC. I tried to spend as much time as possible with the guys while I was in Portland, but as usual I was struggling with the time difference, and I just wasn’t able to stay up late and hang out with everyone. I was a bit sad when it was time to leave in the end of the week, but all good things must eventually come to an end, and hopefully I will see everyone again next year.

This week I am working in Melbourne, and I am staying here until Wednesday night when I fly to Sydney for a few days. The area I am staying in is called St. Kilda, and it is a very nice suburb just outside of Melbourne city center. From the customer office I can see Albert Park Lake and all the way out to the ocean. My hotel is located just across the street from the lake, and I had a walk around the lake when I arrive on Sunday. The weather has been really nice here, with sunshine most of the time, and on Tuesday the temperatures reached 39 degrees. Now it has dropped a bit, but the sun is still shining and the wind is mild, so I am loving it.

This weekend a friend of mine is picking me up on Saturday morning, and we are driving down to the Great Ocean Road. I have never been there before, but it is one of the main tourist attractions in the state of Victoria, and I am excited to finally see it. I just hope the weather doesn’t change too much. The cyclone Yasi hit Queensland last night and caused some serious damage, and it is heading southwest so we might see some rain and stormy weather down here, unfortunately.

Well, you can’t do much about the weather, so I am hoping for the best and packing a sweater and – the most important thing – my digital SLR camera for the weekend. 🙂


Posted in America, Australia, Oceania, Travel, USA | Leave a Comment »

A Day in San Francisco

Posted by Monica Johansen on August 7, 2010

I was planning to write this a little earlier this week, but the last few days have been so hectic that I had no time. Seriously…

Union Square

My manager asked me to travel to the US for two weeks to visit the head office of my new employer and participate in training and meetings. The head office is located in Portland, Oregon, and since there are no direct flights from Asia to Portland I ended up flying from Singapore to San Francisco via Tokyo on Sunday, and the plan was to fly from San Francisco to Portland the same day as I arrived in the US. I arrived in San Francisco on Sunday morning local time, but my flight to Portland was first delayed several times and in the end they cancelled it completely.

Since all other flight to Portland that night were fully booked , the airline had to put some of us in a hotel for the night, and the first available flight to Portland wasn’t until 8 PM the next day. Usually, I would have been rather annoyed by the delay, but this time I was more than happy to stay an extra day since I had never been in San Francisco before, at least not outside the airport. Finally, I had a chance to visit the city and do some sightseeing.

Sunday evening I was too tired to even think about sightseeing, but Monday morning I took the shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport and at the airport I jumped on the BART train that stops a couple of places in the city center. I got off at Powell Street Station, and went for a walk up the hills of Powell Street and into Chinatown. I continued towards Fisherman’s Warf, but while I was standing on a corner and looking at the map, a nice older gentleman stopped and asked me if I needed any help. I told him that I was just visiting for a day and trying to figure out what was worth seeing in the city, and he told me that I should have a look in Union Street where there is an area with cozy little local shops and restaurants that most tourists were missing. He said I could jump on the bus with him since he was going in the same direction, and when I realized that I didn’t have enough change (I only had larger bills) he even paid for my ticket. I got off at the same station as he did, and we had a little chat before he walked home. He lived just around the corner in Union Street, and he pointed out to me where I should go from there. He was such a lovely person, and it was a very pleasant first meeting with locals in San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge

I walked down Union Street to the shopping area, and after visiting a few of the local shops where they sell all kinds of arts and artifacts I decided to walk all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge. I walked along the beach all the way to the bridge, but it was a little further than I thought it would be, so when I finally got there I was too tired to walk all the way back. Hence, I jumped in a taxi and headed back to Union Square in the city. However, I still had a couple of hours to kill, so I decided to jump on one of the tourist buses to see more of the city without walking, and I jumped on a city tour bus for a two hour sightseeing trip since they all stop at Union Square. It turned out to be a good idea. We covered sights such as the Fisherman’s Warf, the Walt Disney Family Museum, recreation parks, and much more. We also went back to the Golden Gate Bridge and crossed the bridge to see the city view from the other side.

When I got back to Union Square it was time to head back to the airport to catch my plane to Portland. It was a very short visit to San Francisco, but a most pleasant experience and something I would love to do again. Next week I am going to Seattle for a couple of days, and since I have never been there before either I am looking very much forward to it.

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