Um…

Am I alone in thinking that Michael Jackson’s death doesn’t merit all of the media attention it’s getting?

This morning all of the top-10 stories on CNN were about his death. This seems like overkill.

Why is our culture so obsessed with celebrities? Thousands of people die every day, yet somehow celebrity deaths are always big, front-page news.

Europe summary

Been back in SF for a couple days… today was my first day at work in a month. Spent most of the time going through my almost 1100 emails and getting my build working again.

The flights home were uneventful, although I didn’t get any sleep during the flight. I got to watch Bolt, which is actually a fairly well-done movie. Customs wasn’t nearly as annoying as I had been anticipating. It was my first time filling out the form and going through by myself and such, but they didn’t seem to really care and just waved me through after taking my form.

In any case, I wanted to post a summary of my Europe trip… mostly for my own reference later. The 10-day tour is really more like 7 days of actual sightseeing and such, but meh. I love how they count the “arrive at BKK” as a day, despite the fact that the company itself has absolutely nothing else to do at that point (at least Day 1 involves them getting tickets and sorting out baggage and such).

I still need to go through and post photos from the trip. I’ll do that once I’m feeling more normal.

Day 1 (June 6):
Meet at the Bangkok airport at 9:30 PM to board a flight for Italy. Take off at midnight.

Day 2:
Arrive in Italy, drive to Rome to see the famous fountain and the Spanish steps. After lunch, head to the Colosseum, then Saint Peter’s in Vatican City. Stay at the Admiral Palace hotel in Chianciano Terme. Special dinner of Italian food.

Day 3:
Travel to Florence to see Duomo/Santa Maria church and reproductions of various famous works in the area, then to Piza to see the leaning tower. Stay at the Novotel hotel in Florence. Special dinner of Italian steak.

Day 4:
Travel to and take a boat to Venice. Take a gondola ride around the city and see demonstrations of glassblowing. Explore the city. Lots of shopping. Take a boat back and stay at the Anthony Palace hotel in Marcon.

Day 5:
Travel to Milan and look at various statues in the area. Then drive to Switzerland through the longest tunnel in the world (17 kilometers), stopping at Lucerne to look at the famous bridge before heading to Interlaken. Stay at the Hotel Krebs (crab hotel) in Interlaken.

Day 6:
Take the cog-wheel train up to Jungfrau, the “Top of Europe”. Stay at Hotel Krebs again. Special dinner of fondue.

Day 7:
Take the bus to France, stopping in Strasbourg. Take the TGV into Paris. Visit the Triumph Arch. Take the Bateaux Mouche boat up and down the Seine, seeing different parts of the city. Stay at the Pullman Paris La Defense. Special lunch of Escargot.

Day 8:
Go up the Eiffel Tower. Walk by (but not into) the Louvre and the Joan of Arc statue in the area. Go to the Galleria Lafayette for shopping. Bus down to Versailles for a tour. Stay at the Pullman Paris again.

Day 9:
Head to the Charles de Gaulle airport for a 1:50 PM flight.

Day 10:
Arrive back in Bangkok at 6 AM.

Food and Star Trek and Food

Back in Thailand for a day of fun.

My uncle took us to an awesome buffet today for lunch. They had a ton of gourmet-looking food from all different parts of the world, people to pull your chair out and push it in when you sit down, people to fold your napkin and place it nicely on the chair when you get up for more food, and the most amazing gourmet dessert bar I’ve seen. I tried more types of cakes and parfaits and more traditional Thai desserts today than I’ve had in the entire trip thus far.

Afterward, we went to the mall movie theatre and discovered that they were still showing Star Trek. After watching it, I can understand what all the excitement and hype was about… I was very, very, very impressed. One of the best movie experiences I’ve had in recent memory… at least since Wall-E. Yay for CMU-grad Spock. Also, I missed Randy Pausch’s cameo… anyone know where it was?

Afterward my uncle introduced us to the tastiness that is Crepe Cake… basically a few dozen layers of crepe and whipped cream, topped with strawberry sauce. They also had thai tea cake, which is likewise amazingly tasty. Om nom nom nom.

Tomorrow will be a trip to my aunt’s orchid orchard followed by more buffet dinner (Japanese, this time). The day after will be food with my uncle… or whatever you call the son of your grandmother’s sister. The following day will be flying home to San Francisco. I get back Saturday afternoon (before I leave from Hong Kong, actually… yay timezones).

Greetings from France

So this is the dreqded azerty keyboqrd: Itùs pretty zeird; I ,ust sqy: The nu,bers reauire pushing shift::: the defqults qre qll punctuqtion: Hoz odd§ ?qybe§

Todqy zqs qn interesting trip: Ze got up rqther eqrly in Szitwerlqnd before hopping on the bus qnd bussing into Frqnce::: Strqsbourg; to be precise 9i zrote dozn the nq,es todqy1 Qnd ze hqve q booklet zith qll the locqtions qnyzqy thqt Iùll type out qfter the tour0: Qfter so,e sightseeing there; ze hopped onto the TGV qnd took it into Pqris itself: Ze got to sit first clqss; zhich is pretty nice::: the chqirs zere big qnd co;fy: The trqin is qlso reqlly fqst but reqlly auiet: Zhy cqnùt Cqltrqin do thqt§

In Pqris; ze zent to the big Gqte qrch thing thqt celebrqtes Nqpoleon: Qfter dinner; ze hopped on q boqt qnd took it dozn the Seine; photogrqphing the city qs the sun stqrted to set: Bequtiful:

To,orroz ze zill be exploring ,ore of Pqris 9qnd going up the Eiffel Tozer10: Zeùre qlso supposed to go South to Versqilles 9I believe0; but thqt ,qy or ,qy not hqppen depending on zhether the zorkers dozn there decide to strike to,orroz qfternoon qfter their negotiqtions in the ,orning:

Frqnce is ,ore of the sq,e expensive)zise: I donùt knoz hoz q,yone cqn qfford to live here: Q,ericqns hqve it so eqsy::: gqs here runs betzeen six qnd seven dollqrs q gqllon 9qbout one point tzenty euros per liter0 qnd food is likezise expensive: Iùll never co,plqin qbout the price of gqs or food qgqin MP
Qlso; drivers here qre reqlly bqd::: on the zqy bqck to the hotel; ze pqssed qn qccident zith q cqr qnd q ,otorcycle: The cqr hqd q huge dent in the side qnd the ,otorcycle zqs on its side; qnd its driver zqs lqying very still in qn unnqturql position q fez ,eters qzqy: I reqlly hope the guy ends up being ok: M9

Yeqh; thqtùs reqlly it for noz: If you ,qnqged to reqd this entry; yqy for you::: you get q ton of speciql French broznie points or so,ething:

Jungfraujoch and fondue

Todaz was a lot of fun. The morning involved taking a bus ride, followed bz a train )powered bz a gear szstem and teeth on the rails so it doesnät slip down hills= up a mountainside, past beautiful scenerz, and up to the top of Jungfraujoch, the ÄTop of EuropeÄ. I swear, Swityerland is the most beautiful countrz ever.

The mountain itself was prettz interesting. Despite the fact that zou reallz couldnät see anzthing outside )it was completelz white due to all the snow=, there were quite a few things to explore including an ice cave. Also, we tried going out into the wind and blowing snow… and it wasnät too bad… until we came back in and our hands were painful and greenishßpink. I didnät think to wear gloves on this trip. Meh.

Dinner was real swiss fondue, which is apparentlz oil rather than the soup that Melting Pot uses. This sounds tastz but is actuallz much more of a pain than hot water is. Thez also didnät use doubleßboilers, so the meat would burn and stick if zou just left it in the oil for too long, meaning zou basicallz had to stir the meat around the hot oil )which would splatter around everzwhere while cooking stuff= until it was done. We also onlz got one fondue fork per person, so dinner took a long time. Then the chocolate fondue dessert onlz came with apples, pears, and oranges O?o, so that wasnät particularlz tastz either. Oh well.

This hotel )where we stazed last night and are stazing tonight as well= has the most amaying pillows. I swear, I didnät think zou could make pillows )and quilts, in this case= that fluffz. Unfortunatelz, I also discovered that there is such a thing as a tooßfluffz pillow. As a result, I often found mzself having to dig mzself out of cushionz softness during the night. Thez also have an amaying breakfast buffet.

Todaz we went out and looked at Swiss timepieces. Thez are expensive. Verz expensive. FourßzearsßofßtuitionßatßCMU expensive, in some cases. Some are also prettz nice, but meh. Instead, we went out and bought real Swiss chocolate. It is tastz. Nom nom nom.

Tomorrow we head to Paris for a couple dazs. Zaz Europe tour.