Away Games

The distances in the US mitigate against fans traveling to see away games. There is often a number of fans of the visiting team at A’s game, but these are usually people who live in the area, but support the other team.

On Thursday, on way back to the UK I was sat next to someone who was traveling to see an anyway game. He had flown out from San Francisco and was on the Dallas flight to London. He and his brother were going to see the 49ers play an NFL game at Wembley. That is about 11,000 mile round trip for a game.

Published in: on 25 October, 2013 at 8:57  Comments (1)  

The Office

I am at the end of my second week in my new job. There follow a few observations on the differences between this workplace and the previous company for which I worked.

No more do we get bagels and donuts brought in on Friday morning. Here Carb and Sugar Breakfast day is Wednesday.

There is an afternoon social that switches weekly between Thursday and Friday. People come to the fourth floor and help themselves to bottles from the beer fridge or pour wine. They then sit round and chat. This seems very civilized, if somewhat at odds with the employee handbook, which states that alcohol is not allowed on the premises.

People’s dress is more relaxed than at my previous place of employment; with shorts and tee-shirts in evidence as well as denim on every day of the week and not just on Friday.

Soft drinks (Sodas in American) and assorted snacks are provided free; no more need to put money into a vending machine.

There is a wide choice of coffee and teas provided through a combination of a Keurig, an espresso machine, and assorted types of tea-bags.

In addition to these offerings, one of my colleagues has a daily coffee ritual. He hand grinds beans that have been  roasted within the last few weeks. The beans generally coming from a single source. He then brews coffee in a vacuum brewer that allows for fine control of the time that the grinds and the water spend together.

Published in: on 18 October, 2013 at 4:20  Comments (2)  

Life’s a Beach

I realise that most of my posts from Hawaii have focused on food and drink. Just to show that there was more to the vacation than culinary pleasures, here is a picture of a nearby beach – which you may notice was not exactly crowded.

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Published in: on 4 October, 2013 at 19:22  Leave a Comment  

A Long Story

On Hawaii Long’s Drugstores still exist, back on California they have been rebranded as CVS. It seems that the Long’s name is appropriate. We purchased a bottle of mosquito repellant for a trip into a tropical forest that we are planning to take on Friday. The bottle can be seen in the picture, along with the accompanying receipt.

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Published in: on 4 October, 2013 at 9:36  Leave a Comment  

Customer Service without Aloha

Good customer service is always important, but never no more so than when something goes wrong. We had a demonstration of that on Wednesday night.

We dinned at The Tidepools in the Grand Hyatt Resort. The dining area consisted of open air huts surrounded by waterfalls and koi filled pools. The stunning ambience was matched by the quality of food and service.

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After a wonderful meal we sauntered back to collect our car from the valet. After a longer than expected wait, the valet returned with the car, pointed at a long, deep scratch which had not been there before and mumbled something before vanishing into the parking valet office.

We spent an hour at the hotel, as I rang the car hire company who requested a police report. I asked the valet to contact the police. The hotel security took details, photographed our car, and later the Corvette that the valet had crashed into whilst fetching our car. At no point did the valet department, security, or hotel management come to us and offer an apology. Even after we asked to speak to the Duty Manager, no one reached out to us. The Duty Manager did eventually arrive, but she went into the valet office and did not come and talk to us.

The Hyatt may not know how to treat their customers, but the car rental company (Alamo) and the Kauai police department were courteous and helpful to a fault. Their behavior placed the lack of manners from the Hyatt into starker contrast.

Accidents happen and can be forgiven , but ignoring your customers is far less forgivable. One result is that instead of returning to The Tidepools for our final night, we shall go back to our hotel’s excellent restaurant: Red Salt. That choice would have been different if we had been offered a single “Sorry”.

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Published in: on 3 October, 2013 at 20:08  Leave a Comment  

Congratulations

As previously posted, I have changed jobs. One of the things that I needed to do when I left my old employer was assume financial responsibility of my number. Whilst I look at options, I stayed with my company’s carrier, AT&T.

My first bill arrived via email on Wednesday night. The subject line of the email started “Congratulations, your first AT&T wireless bill is available “. I had not previously thought that receiving a bill was the cause for mass congratulations, unless it has some other meaning in US English. AT&T were obviously really excited, as over the cause of a few hours they sent the same email ten times.

Published in: on 3 October, 2013 at 10:48  Leave a Comment  

Begging

On Tuesday night we had dinner at The Plantation, sat on the verandah surrounded by lush vegetation. Throughout the meal we targeted by a most persistent beggar. Before you wonder why such a well situated establishment allows panhandling, I should point out the beggar was ginger, looked to be of Abyssinian descent and had a plaintive meow. Unfortunately, it stayed in the shadows so I have no picture of the feline, but I do have one taken on the way to the restaurant.

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Published in: on 3 October, 2013 at 9:00  Leave a Comment  

Rum Sort of Day

This morning we went out to the Koloa Rum Tasting Room. It may come as a shock to readers who may think me abstemious, but I partook of a tasting whilst there.

We were given two shot glasses, one had a Mai-Tai mix poured in. The other was used for the various Rums. We started with their white rum, took a sip and poured the rest into the other glass. We then took a taste of their dark rum, and floated that on top of the Mai-Tai. We now drank our mini-cocktail. We then tasted a gold rum, a spiced rum, and a coconut rum. I was impressed with the spiced rum, which was far better drink than the leading brand in of this type.

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The distillery is new having opened in 2009; unlike Whisky there is no requirement to age rum – although there are some fine rums that are barrel aged. They grow their own sugarcane, for as previously noted this crop has vanished from the island in recent decades.

I enjoyed the experience and the rum, although not sufficiently to purchase a bottle.

Published in: on 2 October, 2013 at 19:32  Leave a Comment  

Coffee

Back home, I frequently visit agricultural facilities. They all grow a single crop, grapes, and convert said produce into wine. On Tuesday, I visited a farm that does not grow grapes nor even create alcohol from the crops. We went to Kauai coffee, a plantation that produces half of the coffee grown on Hawaii; albeit in the shadow of the more famous coffee from the Kona region of The Big Island.

The coffee plantation is fairly new, having replaced sugarcane about twenty five years ago. The Hawaiian islands, once a major producer of sugar for US consumption, have moved away from the crop over the last fee decades as static prices have eroded the economics of growing it.

The visit consisted of walking through coffee bushes and various pieces of equipment used to grow, harvest, and process the beans. Informational signs provided education on the process. At the end of the walk was an opportunity to taste several of their coffees. All of this was free, and was a diverting forty minutes on the way back from a morning drive to Waimea Canyon.

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Published in: on 1 October, 2013 at 19:08  Leave a Comment