Tomorrow morning (early) I fly over to Brussels for the Alliance On Safe Online Pharmacy meeting. I fly back to Dublin in the evening .. and then the following morning I'm off to London for a meeting of the Expert Working Group on gTLD Directory Services (EWG)
The following week is Brussels again for the EURid Registrar Advisory Board meeting...
I get a few days in Ireland before heading to Beijing for the ICANN meeting..
In April I'll also be speaking at Domaining Spain in Valencia
It's a busy few weeks, but I enjoy it. If I didn't enjoy it I can't imagine doing it!
I'll be 40 this weekend. I probably should take some time to reflect on that, but instead I'm grabbing a quick coffee in Dublin Airport before getting on a plane.
So I'm off to Los Angeles today for a couple of days prior to heading to Las Vegas for the Parallels Summit.
I haven't been to LA for a couple of years, so I'm really looking forward to spending a couple of days amidst the madness. Assuming everything goes according to plan I'll be doing the Warner Brothers studio tour and maybe another one of those wonderfully cheesy "star tours". The Warner Brothers studio tour is always great fun and no matter how many times you do it you always see new things. I've no idea what they'll have this time round, so that's part of the fun.
So far 2013 has been very busy and my calendar is filling up quickly.. which is part of the reason why I haven't posted much here of late. Of course it could simply be that I don't have that much to say ....
So 40% of a century.. I still remember parts of my 21st birthday in Paris.. though only parts, the rest was a bit of a haze. My 30th was a bit clearer, but only just! I suspect my 40th will be quite a bit calmer, but who knows?
(PS: If you want to get me something nice here's my wishlist on Amazon )
I checked my bag in on Tuesday morning in Dublin and expected to pick it up later that day when I arrived in JFK.
Of course there was no sign of it .. and to make matters worse Air France didn't know where it was either.
I was in NYC for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then I headed off to DC.
Still no bag.
The Air France online baggage tracking system didn't have any trace of my bag either ..
In the end they managed to locate my bag on Saturday and got it to me on Sunday morning.. I was leaving DC on Monday afternoon..
So of course I had to buy clothes, toiletries etc., while I was in New York and DC.. there's only so long you can wear one set of clothes .. and being able to shave, brush your teeth etc., is kind of key to maintaining a basic level of personal hygiene.
So now that I'm back in Ireland I'll have to followup with Air France to see about getting reimbursed for my out of pocket expenses. I've no idea how much hassle is going to be involved with this .. but judging by my dealings with them over the last week or so it's going to be quite messy.
- Day Two In New York Without My Bag (michele.me)
When I started my degree at the University of Limerick my Spanish wasn't that great. I'd studied it in secondary school, but I'd never made any real effort and I wouldn't have been able to do a whole lot.
So I had the option in second year to go to Spain for the full academic year. For me that was a wonderful opportunity to improve my command of the Spanish language dramatically. So instead of choosing a "popular" destination I opted for Cáceres.
Cáceres is a bit of the beaten track, so I found myself as the only English speaker on campus - apart from the English department staff.
For some stupid reason I don't have that many photos of Cáceres, but I came across this one earlier this evening
Jesús ran Mesón Extremeño, which became my "local"during my time in Cáceres. Unfortunately the bar is now gone - it closed its doors for the last time in 2007. I've got quite a few fond memories of hanging out there and chatting to Jesús and the rest of his family.
In a couple of weeks time I'll be heading to Belgrade (Serbia) for the Webfest closing ceremony. I'm also scheduled to chair the Eurid Registrar Advisory Board meeting in Brussels a few days later..
Originally I had planned to go to Belgrade, come back to Ireland for a day or so then head back out.
That was rather silly, as I'd end up either spending 24 hours in Ireland and racking up both petrol and hotel expenses etc., or just hotel expenses.
The solution is a bit convoluted, but hopefully will work.
Dublin - Paris - Belgrade (Air France)
Belgrade - Brussels (JAT)
Train from Brussels to Paris CDG airport. (TGV)
Paris CDG to Dublin (Air France Cityjet)
The only ticket I need to book is the one for the TGV from Brussels.. I also need to sort out the hotel in Belgrade, but I'm not overly worried about either.
This should be fun!
- Yet Another Trip To Montenegro (michele.me)
I hate booking flights and hotels at the last minute so this year I've been trying to be a bit better organised.
The downside, however, is that if your plans change you can end up getting caught out.
It's happened to me a couple of times over the last few months
If you book well in advance of a trip you can get cheaper flights, but if you're getting a cheap ticket you're also going to end up unable to make any changes to it.
I'm not really sure how far in advance of a trip you should book, but booking months in advance as I've been doing seems to be backfiring on me more and more!
Hotels, however, are a quite different beast.
If you're planning to attend a busy tech conference then booking well in advance is the only way to guarantee that you'll get a room within striking distance of the venue..
Moral of the story?
No idea really, but I guess "you live and learn" might work!
Before I go any further let me make it very clear. I love Montenegro. I love the people. The weather's fantastic (most of the time). The food is great. Go there - you won't regret it ..
Unfortunately not everything in Montenegro is wonderful .. some things are just plain terrible.
Prime example of this is Vila Grand in Budva.
I had the misfortune to stay there for 5 nights.
According to booking.com's description of it:
With a spacious vine-covered terrace and air-conditioned rooms, Vila Grand is situated in the city centre, less than 50 metres from the beaches of Mogren, Pizana and Ricardova Glava. The villa has a swimming pool.
Equipped with high-quality furniture made of wood, all rooms at Vila Grand have a satellite LCD TV, refrigerator and compact bathroom. Most rooms have a balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Regional meals are served in Vila Grand’s restaurant. The terrace offers a romantic setting for a glass of wine.
Budva’s city centre is known for its Meditteranean-style architecture. The 24-hour reception staff can recommend numerous trips to explore the Budvanska Riviera.
Wow! Doesn't that sound lovely?
Unfortunately the reality is anything but pleasant ..
I booked online with my credit card and had to make a deposit of 20%. I don't really like having to do that, but once I'd made the booking I was then committed to the location, as I'd already made a payment.
Getting to Vila Grand wasn't easy. Yes, it is very close to the centre of the town, but the map on booking.com positioned it somewhere else, while the street address was somewhere else entirely.
When I finally arrived I should have smelt a rat..
To start with the guy at "reception" who was apparently the owner did not speak a single word of English. I don't speak Serbian. Usually, however, I can communicate using hand gestures etc., this time that was pretty much impossible.
The room turned out to be quite small and very basic. I could live with that..
The bathroom, however, turned out to not really be a proper bathroom. The "shower" was basically a hole in the middle of the floor beside the toilet in front of the sink ie. you were meant to just stand there and somehow hose yourself down. And of course the water wasn't hot. I'd hate to have been there in the colder winter months!
Of course there wasn't any soap, though the entire "hosing" process itself was pretty awful, as the plumbing seemed to be quite dodgy and the floor never actually drained properly.
As for towels etc., they were never changed. Not once.
The room wasn't cleaned once the entire time I was there.
And the keys to the room and front door of the building had to be carried at all times. Why? Because the 24 hour reception did not exist.
When I wanted to check out I had to hang around for nearly half an hour and ended up ringing the owner on his mobile, which I'd got accidentally.
They only took cash and of course did not give me a receipt!
And as for the meals and the terrace .. they're pure works of fiction. The only facilities the place had was a small coffee machine, which probably didn't even work..
As for the wifi .. I didn't know you could get 1 meg down .. well I have vague recollections of it . ..
- Webfest Returns To Budva (internetnews.me)
- Cctld Conference In Budva (internetnews.me)
- Breakfast in Budva (michele.me)
- Freshly Squeezed Juice Overload (fat.ie)
- Yet Another Trip To Montenegro (michele.me)
In Montenegro's airports (Tivat and Podgorica) , however, they go that little bit further and offer a comprehensive list of banned items and even show you nice images of them, in case you don't read Serbian or English.
I thought the list was quite bizarre..
Why on earth would anyone in their right mind even consider bringing a machete onto a plane in their carry on?
Unless you want a starring role in the Hunger Games sequel why would you have a crossbow with you?
Obviously some people can't travel without their crossbows .. or maybe Montenegrins are more violent than other nationalities? Was the list a reflection of a national propensity to violence? (Having been there several times over the last couple of years I'm pretty sure it isn't!)
So what on earth was this list? Where on earth did it come from?
The answer is Regulation (EC) 68/2004.
While most airports have taken the regulation and simplified it, the Montenegrin airports obviously thought it prudent to simply provide the full list of banned items.
Here's the list:
- all firearms (pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns etc.)
- replica and imitation firearms
- component parts of firearms (excluding telescopic sighting devices / sights)
- air pistols, rifles and pellet guns
- signal flare pistols
- starter pistols
- toy guns of all types
- ball bearing guns
- industrial bolt and nail guns
- cross bows
- harpoon and spear guns
- animal humane killers
- stun or shocking devices e.g. cattle prods, ballistic conducted energy weapons (taser)
- lighters shaped like a firearm
- blasting caps
- detonators and fuses
- explosives and explosive devices
- replica or imitation explosive material or devices
- mines and other explosive military stores
- grenades of all types
- gas and gas containers, e.g. butane, propane, acetylene, oxygen - in large volume
- fireworks, flares in any form and other pyrotechnics (including party poppers and toy caps)
- non safety matches
- smoke generating canisters or cartridges
- flammable liquid fuel, e.g. petrol/gasoline, diesel, lighter fluid, alcohol, ethanol
- aerosol spray paint
- turpentine and paint thinner
- alcoholic beverages exceeding 70 percent by volume (140 percent proof)
- baseball and softball bats
- clubs or batons, rigid or flexible, e.g. billy clubs, blackjacks, night sticks and batons
- cricket bats
- golf clubs
- hockey sticks
- lacrosse sticks
- kayak and canoe paddles
- billiard, snooker and pool cues
- fishing rods
- martial arts equipment, e.g. knuckle dusters, clubs, coshes, rice flails, num chucks, kubatons, kubasaunts
So you can't carry grenades on a plane .. who'd have thought?