October 2015

29 hours: Friday’s travel itinerary

by Joey deVilla on October 29, 2015

I’m going to miss Halloween this year, as me and eight of my coworkers from GSG are flying to Pune, India to meet with the team at our Indian office. Next week will be made up of a lot of business meetings, planning sessions, presentations, and accordion performances. Watch this blog for photos, videos, and other updates!

The flying starts early in the morning on Friday, and ends about 29 hours later…

Leg 1: TPA – BOS

tampa to boston

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This is a JetBlue flight from Accordion Bay Airport to Boston’s Logan Airport departing at 6:30 a.m.. It’ll put me in Boston just before 9:30. There’s no point arriving at the airport too much earlier than 5:30 a.m., which is when the JetBlue check-in counter opens. Given that I live reasonably close to the airport and there won’t be much traffic then, I figure I can leave the house a little before 5. I expect to spend most of this flight asleep.

My arrival gives me a two-hour window to get from Logan’s Terminal C to the international terminal, E, where I’ll catch up with the rest of my coworkers for Leg 2.

Leg 2: BOS – DXB

boston to dubai

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The longest leg of the trip will be the transatlantic one, from Boston to Dubai, which will take slightly over 12 hours.

Every flight I’ve done to Asia has been over the Pacific, so the airlines I’m familiar with are ones like Cathay Pacific, ANA, EVA, Philippine Airlines (whose slogan should be “You’ll arrive late, but the food is great!”) and Northwest (their slogan was once “Landing a plane is easy. It takes skill to land one drunk!“).

This’ll be my first flight on Emirates, which has a stellar reputation for service and comfort (Skytrax give them four stars), even if you’re not flying in Jennifer Aniston class:

Alas, this flight will be on a mere single-storey aircraft, a Boeing 777 (which generally has better leg room than the other long-haul wide-body, the Airbus A340) I will be flying the monster-huge Airbus A380 on the way back. I managed to get aisle seats for the transatlantic legs, both there and back!

After half a day in the air, we’ll land in Dubai, the answer to the question “What if we made a city with the freedom of Saudi Arabia and the soul of Las Vegas?” We’ll arrive there just after 8:00 a.m. local time, which will be midnight Eastern Standard Time. I suspect that coffee will be my best friend at this point.

Like everything else in the city, the airport is always busy and optimized for self-fulfillment through shopping. Take a look at this video tour of Dubai’s airport, which was shot at 2:00 a.m. local time and shows just how busy the airport is. I don’t think Tampa’s airport looks this busy at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday!

There won’t be time to explore, as this stop lasts barely an hour until the next flight…

Leg 3: DXB – BOM

dubai to mumbai

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The shortest leg of this trip will From Dubai to Mumbai (the city formerly known — and still referred to by people over 50 — as Bombay), where I expect to be wowed by Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s Terminal 2, which looks gorgeous in photos:

mumbai airport 1

mumbai airport 3

mumbai airport 2

This isn’t the final leg of the trip; there’s one more!

Leg 4: Mumbai – Pune

mumbai to pune

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We’re not done yet! We’ll collect our luggage and hop in a pre-arranged car that will get us from the airport to Pune on a route that I presume will use the Mumbai Pune Expressway, India’s first six-lane toll highway, and a big enough deal that the Times of India gives it its own section on its site. Even though the length of the Mumbai Pune Expressway is about the same as the Tampa – St. Petersburg round trip commute (100 kilometres or 60 miles), Google Maps says the trip should take nearly three hours. I’m chalking up that estimated travel time to ATF — Asian Traffic Factor.

In a more primitive era, you could only guess at what the road trip would be like, or perhaps glean a little extra information if someone wrote an article or book describing it. Luckily, we live in the future, where network bandwidth and smartphones are cheap and plentiful, and people post videos of just about everything! Here’s a time-lapsed video of a trip on the Mumbai Pune Expressway, shot just last month:

“But wait, Joey,” you might say, “that video’s not long enough, and there’s no music!”. This video’s from 2011, but it should give you what you want:

29 hours later…

pune marriott

29 hours after wheels-up in Tampa, on Saturday, October 31st at around 6 p.m. Indian Standard Time, we should arrive at what will be home for the next week: the Marriott in Pune. It has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Expedia and looks pretty nice; I’ll let you know what my experience was like.

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hashtag costume

That’s right, it’s a hashtag costume. It retails for $24.99, but if you’re savvy enough to use that newfangled “Amazon” thingy, you can get it for ten bucks less.

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“St. Petersbureau” remote office of the day

by Joey deVilla on October 26, 2015

Front of the Salvador Dali Museum, ST. Petersburg, Florida

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The Missus works in St. Petersburg, and we live in Tampa. The commute can be lengthy and soul-killing, as the preferred routes are limited to a couple of bridges, which can be bottlenecks if there’s an accident.

I work in my home office, which can lead to cabin fever if you do it all the time.

My proposed solution was to offer to drive the wife to St. Pete once a week, where I’d work from one of several places with wifi where they tolerate my hanging out. St. Pete is an extremely low-traffic city, which makes it perfect for biking, so I bring the bike with me, park the car at my wife’s office parking, and use the bike to zip around town.

Joey deVilla's computer and bike at the outdoor cafe at the Salvador Dali Museum

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This morning, I’m working on the outdoor patio of the Salvador Dali Museum. It’s a beautiful spot barely a block away from the water, and aside from the landscaping guys and the occasional jogger or photographer (it’s probably the most-photographed building in St. Pete) passing by, I’m the only one around. It’s a fantastic place to get work done.

Here’s a closer look at my setup:

Joey deVilla's computer and bike at the outdoor cafe at the Salvador Dali Museum

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I’m spending most of the day today make presentations and videos for a week-long trip to visit the Indian offices of the company I work for, GSG. With a decent connection, a brand-new MacBook Pro (my first one with a solid-state drive, and wow, is it fast), and beautiful, peaceful surroundings, I’m pretty productive. Here’s a close-up of what my “office” for the day looks like:

Joey deVilla's computer and bike at the outdoor cafe at the Salvador Dali Museum

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And here’s the view from my “desk”:

Joey deVilla's computer and bike at the outdoor cafe at the Salvador Dali Museum

Click the photo to see it at full size.

If you’ve got the freedom to work remotely and are in the St. Pete area, check out the Dali Museum’s patio!

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best bible typo ever

Let this be a lesson in the value of good proofreading. A rare 17th-century bible missing the word “not” in the commandment “Thou shalt NOT commit adultery” is going on sale in a London auction next month, and it’s expected to fetch a pretty penny.


us costume searches on google

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“Caveman” is a little more workable given our climate, but it’s nowhere nearly as interesting as the costume ideas that people in other states are Googling for:

  • I’m not sure why people in Indiana would want to dress up as trees, and I’m even less sure why people in Ohio want to dress up as potatoes.
  • Hey, New York, New Jersey, Washington and California: we’re not surprised.
  • Hey, North Carolina trick-or-treaters: just eat South Carolina’s trick-or-treaters!
  • South Dakota is either simply asking for costume ideas, or getting deep, philosophical, and downright meta by dressing up as a costume idea.
  • It appears that the states of Louisiana and Arkansas are going as the primary hand-held weapons of World Wars 3 and 4: “gun” and “rock”.
  • I had to look up “Doc McStuffins”, which sounded a lot like a male porn star name. It’s the name of a Disney show for kids, and its titular character, a seven year-old girl who’s a “doctor” for broken toys and doll.
  • As a friend of mine commented earlier today: “I learned something new about Texas.”
  • And finally, Illinois: “Slutty pumpkin?” Where’d that come from?

Thanks to Peach Flambee for the find!


Hey, Canada: You’re welcome!

by Joey deVilla on October 20, 2015

current whereabouts

I voted in Canada’s election via the advance out-of-country ballot, (while I’m still allowed to).


Meanwhile, in Canada…

by Joey deVilla on October 19, 2015

throwing out stephen harper

…we’re well on track to throwing out our dickish, robotic, control-freaky prime minister. Do let the door hit your ass on the way out, Stevie.