Saturday, April 25, 2009

Journey Of A Lifetime

My sister and her husband had just left for their other home in UK - and how I envy them to be able to run away from this sweltering heat here. In about three months time when they are back here, hopefully the heat would ease off. And of course my sister would be fasting here and not in the summer of UK where breaking of the fast could be after 8.00pm.

Anyway last night while watching Astro's Traveling and Living programme , I thought about my own traveling experience albeit some years back ! But who cares even if it has been sometime ! A journey of a lifetime (especially when its free and youre getting good daily allowance ) like that shoud not, should never be forgotton ! 

I was a Director of Studies of a College which was owned by one of the prominent property developer companies then. At that time the college was studying the possibilities of implementing the Community College concept, twinning agreement with overseas universities  and other innovative educational programmes..

The instruction was to go on a business trip and do a study tour  which would take us to parts of the United States , Canada and the United Kingdom.

Never in my whole life have I ever thought that I would ever be given chance to travel 'round' the globe (technically) . But I was, and I did.

The itenary was a flight eastward with a stopover at Taipei. Then it a long haul to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Vancouver, Kumloop and finally London.

The Start

I have never been and definitely never will ever be on a First Class flight . But thats was what we got. Entering the plane, we were greeted with the normal welcome smile and look. Next we were guided to the left (instead of the usual right that I was so used to in my past travels) . On entering the left side of the plane, I was greetd by a sweet voice, "Can I take your coat Mr Mustapha ?" 
Woh ! They took the trouble to identify me and call me by my name ! Soon I was comfortably (very comfortably ) seated in a single seat with ample leg-room ! Wow ! Like -WOW !
Anyway there was a time I was dozing off on the seat which almost double-up as a bed, when the stewardess came by and covered me with a blanket  and all the time with that captivating smile. Boy ! I said to myself --this is life !
Anyway soon we landed at Taipeh for a few hours stop-over before continuing to Los Angeles. 
Los Angeles. San Francisco, Palo Alto
This would be the first time for me to be in the United States. Once in the Los Angeles Terminal, we had to take a very long walk to the terminal servicing the domestic flight which would take us to San Francisco.  On walking out of the terminal , I had to stop, took a deep breath and simply smiled to myself. The air. The cool air. The cool, crisp air ! I missed it so much as that was the first the first overseas trip for me since I came back from my studies in UK. 
Anyway we soon found ourselves landing in SanFrancisco. While traveling to the hotel in a limosine, I looked around at the building, the cars and everything else. That was my first revelation of the truth here. All this while, throughout my life in my various various exposure of media that mostly come from that part of the world, we have been given the picture or impression that everything in the States is bigger and better than the rest of the world.  But, at that time, it dawned upon me on how easily we can be made to believe what others want us to . I did not see any difference at all ! 

Palo Alto.

a street in Palo Alto

It was arranged for us to come to this town (its the first time that I have ever heard of this name ) to  visit what was one of the three places (at that time, if I am not mistaken) where the internet  servers connecting the States to the world is located, the other being in Boston and which we were supposed to visit as well bud had to cancel it , and I couldn't remember the other place.

a submarine at the waterfront in SF

a tram-car

view of SF from the bridge

a street in SF

I remember being taken to this place which is huge---as big as maybe a football field, maybe even bigger. And there are neat row of cabinet looking shelves containing consoles and more consoles with blinking lights. Each is protected by a wire-mesh cage and from the steps leading to this place, I could see endless of these contraption ( to me, as far as mt eyes could see) .That was an amazing sight ! To think that each time I get to any web-site in the states, the signals from my computer  in my little room in Kuala Lumpur would go through one of thee 'cabinets" . The mind boggles !

What do I remember of Palo Alto.? Its a nice little town with one of the famous universities located there, Stanford University. Managed to find time to take a walk in the campus ! It was a great feeling !

San Francisco

The Golden Bridge

Back to San Francisco, we had a -two-day reprieve and managed a sight seeing tour. The weather was superb and soooo comfortable. Managed to visit the famous Golden Bridge, the water front and saw the famous island of Alcatraz.

my ex-boss next to our limo

in the limo

Then we talked the driver of the limo to take us to that famous portion of SanFrancisco where famous move car-chase shows the cars flying over the hump of a road and hitting the ground with such dramatic impact. But the driver told us it was not possible as the limo would not clear the hump and we would and could actually be stuck on the hump itself. But he did took us to other places. 

me at one end of the bridge with San Francisco in the background 

another view

At my age and in my mind then , I could just see the hippies of days gone by walking the streets with their flowers, garland, beard and 'ciggies' that San Franciscoo was once so famous for !

I'm goin to stop here and reserve the next posting for thatquaint  small town and the University on the highlands of Canada in my next posting !


HELAS said...

nice.. nice.. nice.. story.... couldn't wait for the next story . .

Hope that myself also can explore . . somewhere outside Malaysia.. hehe.. who knows.. (Day dreaming after read through ur story..haha)

oOo said...

i tink during tat time .. u really enjoyed ur life.. u went around the world without spend most of ur money with first class treatment/services u had.. oh my gosh...
I really can't imagine how u felt.. i bet u must be damn GOOD..

sunnysideup said...

thats one of the reasons I couldn't erase them off my mind. Ecery hour is SO exciting, every minute there's something new to learn , everyday is full of expectation and excitement !

iRiSS said...

traveling around is always exciting. i always wanted to see live how it looks like in a limo and now i could really see..looks huge of space inside. that first class flight, wow!!the way stewardess act really worth-it!!i could imagine it as a paradise..

HELAS said...

humph... nevermind.. now i just travel by Taxi, lrt, bus... will wait someday.... heheh

sunnysideup said...

Hey iriss--i have read your travels adventure as well. I like your description of your your visit to Russia.

sunnysideup said...

....and egypt as well...

iRiSS said...

huhu..adventurous!! i love that word..

sunnysideup said...

iriss---so am looking forward to more of your 'adventures'