Fresh news

Well some of them are maybe not so fresh :)

- 1/7-Feb-2003, Similan islands -
6 days holidays in Thailand for diving

- End December-2002, YunNan -
5 days holidays in the province of YunNan, southern China

- July/August-2002, France -
3 weeks holidays, went through so quicly ...

- June-2002, North Korea -
Simply the most amazing country that I have ever seen. I strongly recommend anybody to go and visit that place ! Amazing is the key word here !

- 31-January-2002, Back to Beijing for work -
I just signed a 2 years contract in China. New job, new responsibilities too ! I'll be doing some management from now on ...

- January 2002, Phuket Thailand -

- November 2001, KunMing China -
1 month work in KunMing, in this very nice city. I also went to Hangzhou for a few days meeting.

- New Year 2000-2001, Tokyo -

- Oct-Nov 2000, NingBo China -
2 months working in China with a tough customer. Quite stressful but every weekend I went traveling to Beijing, Guangzhou or around the region.

- 2000-2001, Asia -
Frequent trips all around Asia: Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China. Home base is Taipei though.

- 2000-March-3, Hong-Kong -
I go to the fake Taiwanese embassy for renewing my visa. Once again those *#$#%@ agents find a cheap excuse not to give me a multiple entries visa. This time, only HK residents can apply for this type of visa. If I want to get this visa, I should go back to my home country and apply there. Thanx, you are very kind ... and also extremely bloody stupid. In 2 weeks time, I might have to go back to the Philippines ... and I will once again lose one damned day in HK for this visa application. Well, after all at 3:30 pm, I get the visa with a SINGLE entry (not extendable of course, they don't give presents so easily...) and I go to take my plane. I arrive in Taipei as forecasted and go directly to my hotel.

- 2000-March-2, Hong-Kong -
I arrive in Hong-Kong at around 8 pm. Big surprise when I take the cab ! I meet the first friendly Hong-Kongese so far ! He can speak mandarin and tells me that he knows Taipei very well since he goes there very often. He also knows where's my office. After the ride, he gives me his name card and tells me that I can call him anytime if I have any kind of problems ... "For free" he adds. It's better to precise that in HK. The hotel is quite a good one: 5 stars in HK ... Well, one night costs around 1500 FIM but Nokia has a special rate here. Anyway I don't care since I have a corporate credit card :)

- 2000-February-27 -> March-2, Manila -
Sunday, noon: I just arrived at my hotel. A message is waiting for me: the sister of a good Filipino friend from Finland called me. I need to give her a ring back. Nice conversation, she sounds to be a very nice girl, we'll meet in 1 hour at the hotel. I only have time to settle down and refresh myself. One hour later, she's here. I recognize her very easily since she looks like her sister. Anyway, we go for a walk around the hotel which looks like a pretty nice and wealthy area: of course, it's the business center of Manila ... For not even 16 FIM we go to watch a recent movie. As I am pretty tired, we then go for a nice dinner and I decide to go back to the hotel for sleeping.
Monday 28: I attend my telecom training until 5 pm. With the trainer, we decide to go in one of the biggest shopping mall I have ever seen (certainly more than 1 km long) for some window shopping and watch a movie. Then, we go for a dinner in a western style restaurant. Ah !!! It's been several months that I haven't eaten that well ! I really eat like a pig and when the time comes to go back to the hotel, I can hardly walk coz I ate so much :) Ahhh ... I'm a happy man !
Tuesday 29: Class until 4 pm. I follow two of colleagues to the Nokia office. I'm suppose to show them how to use the software for modelling GSM networks. They have the same job as mine, but they are based in Manila. I go back to the hotel at about 6 pm. Phone call from my sister's friend: she's going to pick me up to take me to her sister's office. On the way, her driver drop her to the church (Filipino looks very much catholic .. sometimes fanatic ?). Anyway, we cross the whole city in 50 minutes and finally end up at her office. As she hasn't finished her work yet, she invites me for a guided tour of the company. She's responsible of the main Filipino TV channel's website's promotion. So, her office looks like a start-up company with computers everywhere and young guy/girls their nose stuck to the screen. Her role is to sometimes interview celebrities to promote the website. So, I can go through her guestbook with Filipino celebrities signatures & pictures. After, she's done, she takes me to a hotel where a show is going on for the promotion of a new commercial product. Well, we are a bit late ... only one hour and a half :) So people are already leaving. At the entrance some kind of hostess make us sign a paper and we get 2 big bags full of beauty products. Cool ... it's free and it looks like quite good quality stuff :) In the main room, some very famous actresses pose for the pictures. Everybody's fighting to be on the pics. Well, nothing much to see apart from those actresses. My friend is a bit disapointed coz the celebrities she wanted to interview are already gone. Nevermind, we go for a walk in the splendid hotel. We take the cab to go for dinner in an austrialan restaurant to enjoy good steacks. Really delicious ! It's such a pleasure to eat that good food. A bit later, her sister join us back from the mass. Around midnight, they take me back to my hotel and set up a new meeting for the next day.
Wednesday 1 March: Class until 4 pm. I'm really tired and I go for a siesta until 7 pm. My friend calls me and inform me that she will be late. Around 9:30 pm, she comes and pick me up with her sister. We also go and pick some of her friends. Then we go and eat in a restaurant where waiters/waitresses sing. Kinda cool ! Since the restaurant is closing, we lead to a bar street. In one of the bar, I meet the brother of one of my friend's friend. We talk about mobile phone (a very hot topic in the Philippines) and he shows me all the merits of Nokia over its competitor. I get to know later that he's doing mobile phone business and he tells me about the non-digital phone tricks to phreak. Hehehe ... good guy, I like him ! Anyway, every evening has its end: this brother takes me back to my hotel and I thank a lot my friend for her hospitality.
Thursday 2: Class until 1 pm. I change my flight schedule for an earlier flight. No problemo. I leave the hotel and arrive very early to the airport. I'm leaving to Hong-Kong...

- 2000-February-04, Taipei -
Today is the beginning of the Chinese new year. Concretely, it means everything is closed even the MacDonalds [Damned ! Where am I going to eat ? :)] and streets are desperately empty. Taiwanese went back to their hometown and are spending their new year's eve with their family members.

- 2000-February-01, Taipei -
I finally arrived in Taiwan and straight begin to work that day. As far as I know, this job really looks challenging and interesting. I think that I was lucky to apply for this position because the career plan seems really great. I'm now a "Switching Network Planning Engineer", sounds nice, doesn't it ? :) Well, I now have to work pretty hard to assume this title !

- 2000-January-31, Hong-Kong -
I spent the whole day in Hong-Kong to apply for my visa. The Taiwan representative office didn't want to issue a multiple entries visa because my letter of invitation was not from my current employer (Nokia Finland) but from my future employer (Nokia Taiwan). Well, eventhough I try to discuss that I was going to sign my contract the next day and that Nokia was an international company (therefore the same company in Taiwan & Finland), the brave lady behind the counter with an obvious limited IQ didn't want to grant the multiple entries visa, instead I'll get a 1 month single entry visa. Well, let's hope that my work permit application won't take more than 1 month.

- 2000-January-30, Beijing -
I unfortunately left the great Beijing that I love. I had a lot of trouble to pack all my luggage but my very good friend was here to help me. Thanx so much to her otherwise I don't think I could have made it on time for my flight. It was hard to quit my friends and this wonderful one year of my life here. I'm sad and feeling blue ...

- 2000-January-23, Beijing -
Another beautiful and cold Sunday. I still haven't visited the summer palace in Beijing. As it was probably my last week-end, I went there with my Chinese friend. We ended up walking on the huge frozen lake. Hmmm ... very romantic but deadly cold ! :)

- 2000-January-12, Hong-Kong -
After spending 3 hours to check and give some calls in Beijing, Air China doesn't want to give me my return ticket HK->Beijing because my multiple entry visa is not valid. It's true that the extension of my multiple entries visa is really wierd, the Chinese and English versions don't match ! Anyway, I have to stay overnight in HK to apply for a Chinese visa the next morning.

- 2000-January-10/11, Taipei -
I went to Taipei for a job interview in Nokia. Everything went fine and I got the job which will start at the end of the month. It was enjoyable to have a +18 degrees C (radically different from the -17 degrees C of Beijing !)

- 2000-January-09, Beijing -
This Sunday, the weather was really beautiful eventhough the thermometer showed -15 C. I went with my best friend to BeiHai park to skate on ... chairs ! Really fun indeed !

- 2000-January-03, Beijing -
Return to Beijing from Indonesia. I have now a very short time to concretize my job offers. If I can not find a job in another Nokia unit in Asia-Pacific area before the end of January, I'll have to go back to Finland. Quite a busy schedule in perspective !

- 2000-January-01, Bandung (Indonesia) -
I spent the new year with my great Indonesian friends. After the midnight bell, we went to drive the car in the busiest streets of Bandung to celebrate the new year with our noisy trumpets. Kind of something fun ! :)

- 1999-December-22/28, Bali (Indonesia) -
Well, if you are looking for a place with drugs at every street corners, if you like being ripped off, swim in a garbage sea and like to lay on bin-like beach, Bali is the right place for you ! I don't have any other comments about Bali :)

- 1999-December-17, Jakarta (Indonesia) -
I met my friends who were studying with me in Beijing. That was really great to follow them and see how they live. Then Carol (my Chinese-Indonesian friend) and me took the train to Surabaya where we met her father who finally took us to Bali. To summarize we cross the whole Java island in 2 days !

- 1999-December-17, Singapore -
While waiting for my plane to take off to Jakarta, I had a phone interview for a job in Taiwan. It seems like it went pretty fine ...

- 1999-December-14, Beijing -
I just got to know that I can not get the promise contract in Nokia China because of the new WTO agreements that will allow a freer market in the telecom field in China -> much less business for the well established telecom equipment companies. I have to find a new job very quickly if I don't want to come back to Finland.