Greg
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April 1997
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Groogle
In March 1997 I returned to Australia after living overseas for 38 years. I didn't keep a diary at the time, but I'm gradually writing down what I can remember of the experience. Don't be mislead by the present tense: all of these entries were written years later.

Monday, 7 April 1997 Adelaide –> Hong Kong
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Finally got everything together to sign the contract to buy Wantadilla—and not a moment too soon. Things dragged, and I was nearly late at the airport.

Off first to Perth, where I discovered that I had to transfer from the domestic to the international terminal, and some idiot expected me to take a taxi. Finally got there for free, and off with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong. Well-equipped plane, but it's clear their typical clientele is shorter than I am: much of the space under the seat in front of me (and every other seat) was taken up with a controller box for the TV display, making it less comfortable than it should be.


Tuesday, 8 April 1997 Hong Kong
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I'm back in Hong Kong for the first time in over 40 years! Not that I remember much of it in those days, but it's quite impressive nowadays. Spent most of the time talking with the Tandem people, of course.

In the evening, nearly got kicked out of the restaurant. They don't like my footwear. For some reason, people in this part of the world are particularly fussy about that sort of thing.


Wednesday, 9 April 1997 Hong Kong –> Seoul
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Off early today because Kim Yong wanted me in Seoul today, not tomorrow. Got there, he picked me up at the airport and found his way back into town, where he dumped me at the hotel, one considerably less opulent than the last, and left me to my own devices for the rest of the day. If I had know that would happen, I could have spent more time in Hong Kong.


Thursday, 10 April 1997 Seoul
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I'm here chasing performance problems for Trigem. It's a bit different from my previous visits in Korea: it's in the middle of Seoul, and we're working with a customer. Our senior Trigem contact invited us out to dinner, making a point of stressing how the Koreans like to eat dog. It seems that that horrifies the Americans, but it fell flat on me, not only because I was not American, but because I thought he was saying “duck”. In the end, at the restaurant, I asked for dog, but they didn't have any.


Saturday, 26 April 1997 Schellnhausen → Mumbai → Hyderabad
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Today I leave Germany! Not directly to Australia, but to Hyderabad, where I was to teach a course. Packed like I've never been before, I headed to the airport, where despite my request for Delta airlines, I had been booked on Lufthansa. The difference is more than symbolic: Delta would allow me two items of luggage weighing up to 32 kg (70 lbs) each, while Lufthansa only allowed 20 kg total. And I was way over. They wanted ridiculous sums of money for excess baggage, but I had little choice. After a frantic call to Sophie Mouzakis in Melbourne, and with the alternative of me having to return home and repack and thus miss the beginning of the course, she agreed to foot the bill.

The flight was terrible. The plane was in really bad shape: the armrest cushioning on my seat had clearly been demolished, possibly by a bored child, the food was bad, and of course I had to fly economy where Delta would have given me a free business class upgrade. I swore never to fly Lufthansa again.

Arrived in Mumbai after dark, and was picked up by Sri Kumar and taken to a hotel. Saw little except chaos.


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