Monthly Archives: March 2010

Flight 13

Boeing 777-200 TPE – SIN

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I don’t really have much to write about in terms of products at the Taipei show…. I just walked around taking some photos….  Interesting things are the new X7 group from SRAM, interesting because it is bringing their top of the line spec to mid range products.  An SLX killer?

Other than that… here are pretty things….

OEM Frames anyone?

There were a lot of nice steel frames around.

Flights 11 and 12

Flight 11 was an Airbus 380-800 LHR – SIN

This being a brand new aircraft, I was kind of excited by flying in it (I had to fly, and being on a brand new plane is about the only thing that can make it exciting – to put it into perspective, it was still dull!)

It was also my first time flying Singapore Airlines, a SkyTrax 5 star airline.  I was in the back, but had got a good seat (no seat in front of me) and the service was spot on.  Movies were good, and the screen size for the movies on demand was also good, in a contrast to flight 12.

Flight 12 – SIN – TPE Boeing 777-200

777s are usually one of my planes of choice (I know, sorry!) for long haul.  They were built with seat back entertainment being the norm, and so had it from the start.  This contrasts to 747s where many have been retro-fitted with it, and this makes it unreliable.  Singapore airlines ones are the earliest off the production line, and while the room was ‘okay’ the 9 abreast seating 3-3-3 in economy makes it feel rammed (usually 777 are 2-4-2).  Flight was only 4.25 hrs though, so not too bad.

Service was again very good.

Taipei Cycle

So it is another trade show. This one is perhaps the best one of all. It is the most honest. Downstairs are all the OEM manufacturers, and upstairs are all the brands. It is honest because you see brands having chats with their manufacturers, and no one blinks. There is an honesty about it. There are few people blagging their way in, and fewer wannabes. It is refreshing and self limiting, because the cost of the flight is high. You have to be a very committed bike freak to travel here to try to con your way in.

Taipei Cycle is one of the big three. I meet with the distributors, and talk product. Products are launched and previews done (if you know who to talk to) – XTR 2011 anyone?!

I arrived here on Monday, flying from London to Singapore on an A380. Being an aeroplane geek, this was quite exciting. On the flight I watched a couple of great films. An Education and Liebe Mauer.

The first is multi award winning, so it was not a great surprise that I enjoyed it so much. The second is about a love affair in Berlin just before the fall of the wall. I watched this because of having been there recently, and so the points of reference were all fresh in my mind. Trailer is in German.

An Education

Liebe Mauer

Flight 10

Frankfurt London – lufthansa. A320-200 had to change the flight because of a meeting. change fee and different booking class fee cost twice the original flight price. 😦

Why do you want to work here?

IT seemed like a great idea at the time. “I wont be here, she can stay in my apartment”.

We have a new member of staff. I met her once, and gave her a good grilling. It was part of the interview process. “Why do you want to work here?… I see, but couldn’t you do that anywhere?… Hmmm…. So you aren’t a cyclist?…. No that’s good, a different angle, and all”. My job, while weighing up the candidate (I gave her the green light to my colleague – who made the decision) was to test her English. It was also, as she is a designer, to see if she likes ‘designing things’ or ‘designing things to sell them’. There is a huge difference.

Anyway, she needs somewhere to stay. As I am travelling in March a bit, and also in April, my German apartment will sit empty (just eating money really, for no good reason) so to cut the losses, and to do the ‘newbie’ a favour, I offered it to her for the same amount a week, as you would pay in a hotel for a night. I will freely admit that a hotel would be nicer, but being able to cook your own food is a bonus.

Now, I don’t hugely like my apartment in Germany. In fact, nothing in it means anything to me, which is why I don’t mind letting someone I don’t know stay here. There is only a wooden box that I would like to retain when I move out. Perhaps I can persuade her to buy it all? After all, she may need furniture. Alright, maybe not.

So, it is a plan, that has been set into motion. Only, I forgot that it would mean that I would have to clean the place. So that was a fun evening. It was very dusty. It is clean now. But is it German clean? Will this ‘newbie’ think I am a dreadful slob?

She’ll have internet though, and a telly. A DVD player, and all of my ‘old’ clothes (that I wear in Germany where I don’t worry too much about what I look like – means I fit in j/k). It wont be too bad. All the same just to underline stereotypes, I have left 9 cans of baked beans and a jar of mint sauce in the cupboard.

What an odd way to get to know someone though?!

Berlin

I took a few days out last week to go with the Pretty One to Berlin.  Strangely enough although I have been coming backwards and forwards to Germany for years and year, I had never been to Berlin.  I had wanted to, just hadn’t done it.  Reason – perhaps that I used to always go to an area of Germany on holiday where I knew people.  It was in the south.  Then, once I worked in Germany for a few years, the thought of it as a holiday destination kind of lost its appeal.

Germany is a country with an interesting recent past, and nowhere in Germany is that more apparent than in Berlin.  Why I had never been was something that niggled at me….  when, before Christmas I was thinking about what to get The Pretty One for Christmas, I suddenly thought about concert tickets.  Searching around for Florence and the Machine dates, I found them playing in late Feb in Berlin.  Ideal.

It is a shame to a certain extent that it took me so long to go.  I sensed that as we walked around.  I first came to Germany in 1994, and did, at the time, travel to East Germany.  I just remember a greyness in the vehicles, and  buildings.  I was 14 though!  Over the years, I had wanted to go to Berlin to see the contrast and to feel the juxtaposition.  In many ways I am annoyed at myself that I never got off my ass sooner.

Some of the contrasts are till apparent.  Most of them aren’t.  The East and West parts of the city exist seemlessly, it is only from above that you really get an idea of it.  The best place to see this is from the Fernsehturm.

Anyway, here are some photos.

The main reason for going to Berlin at this particular time?  Went to see a Florence + The Machine concert.  That girl has such an amazing voice.