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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hong Kong Entry #13

So this past week was a good week for me, it had some downs and some really big ups as well!  The particular downside was that I got sick again and actually had to go back to the doctors to figure out why the antibiotics they gave me, did not work.  The doctor was actually really surprised that I was still sick, as last time he gave me a high dose of penicillin.  So this time he gave me two options he said that I could either take a different type of medicine or he would give me a referral to a Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor.  I decided that I would try another medicine before going to the ENT, if I was not feeling better within two days then I would go to the ENT.  However at this point I just really wanted to start feeling better, as I am really tired of having a swollen throat, stuffy nose and coughing up yellow stuff every day.  He issued me a high dose of Zithromax the same thing that I alway's take at home Zpack.  As far as taking care of my swollen throat and fever, it worked well, however I still wake up a little stuffy and am still coughing up yellow phlegm. Ah well I guess that it really will never go away, I will just have to suck it up and take care of it when I get back home.
The rest of the week went well however, I worked out and ran everyday except for Friday.  I have been actually getting used to the thick air here.  When I first started running it was kind of hard to breathe as it is just so humid and thick.  Now I find myself running faster and longer, as I am getting accustomed to the climate here.  Work was actually better this week as my CEO gave me a different project to work on that actually interests me.  He has me helping Edmund Yu one of our IT guys at Global Sage. Basically I am helping Edmund develop the small Facebook ad.  Basically the idea of our ad is to grow our database of professionals in the financial services industry.  They click the ad to get a comparison of their compensation with people in the industry at the same position as them.  We give them the compensation but we get to add their information to our database and grow our knowledge of people in the field, which for head hunting is the main objective.  This past week I helped Edmund by writing up a couple automatic response emails that will be sent out after someone has entered their information.
This was the final week that I would be working with Andrew Miller my direct boss around as he and his family left for a three week vacation yesterday.  So I had a meeting with him where he basically told me that he would attempt to get me a long term paid internship at Global Sage so I could continue my job hunt in Hong Kong.  At the end of the week, after thinking about it for some time I told him that if this Englishtown job does not work out then I would go back home and try to land a job in a agency so I could get experience in lots of areas of marketing.  Andrew has been great to me all summer, he has given me some great advice and has become a friend that I definitely plan to keep in contact with.
Other great news from this past week, I found literally the perfect entry job opportunity in Boston at a agency called Hill Holliday.  Hill Holliday has an open position as a Assistant Social Media Strategist which would literally be a perfect position for me to get my foot in the door.  The job is exactly what I am looking for as it is in a great agency with some big time clients like Anheuser Busch, Dunkin Donuts, and the MLB.  Their office is on State Street so its right in the middle of Boston right near where I would be living with Tara, if we end up moving into her fathers apartment.  So I could walk to work which would be great as I could save money by not having to deal with a car.  I talked to Matt Mariani and asked him if he had any connections in the company that would be willing to put in a good word, he did not know anyone but he helped me again by setting me up with his friend Robyn who works for a recruiting company called Creative Circle which places people in marketing/online marketing jobs.  Her company also has an office in Boston and they do work with Hill Holliday so she said she would try to help me out, and she named a couple other big agencies that she works with and asked if I would be interested in those as well.  I told her yes of course and since then she has been working to help me out and asked me to meet a recruiter when I get back which I told her I would be willing.
On the other side of it I am still waiting to hear about the final decision at Englishtown.  Apparently Vanisha the recruiter has been in contact with Jessica and said that the feedback has been good and that she wanted to finish interviews this week and hopefully have a decision on Monday or Tuesday, so we will see.  I also heard back from this guy named Aman Narain who is the Global Head of Online and Mobile Banking at Standard Chartered Bank.  I contacted him to ask him some career advice and how to get into online/mobile banking and what it takes.  So that is exciting, I am going to send him a email and my CV this week as he asked me for it, and then schedule a time to talk.  So in terms of job searching this past week has gone pretty well and I have made some great contacts, as I also spoke with a guy in Boston who is looking for a supply chain finance person to hire for his company.  He also asked for my CV and said we should talk when I get back.
On Thursday for lunch I met up with Ignacio and the other intern he works with for lunch.  We went to that dumpling place that Andrew took me out to earlier.  I have been dying to get back to that place and it was just as good the second time around.  I got an order of the vegetarian dumplings and they were delicious.  They were filled with spinach and tofu and then steamed.  I also found out that they do take out so I think I am going to start eating there for lunch more often as it is delicious, not very expensive, and right by my office.
The rest of the week was nothing really special, as I did not do much until the weekend, where it got really crazy.  On Friday, right after work all four of us Global Sage interns left with our CEO John Wright and headed to his house for dinner. The ride to his house started the night off perfectly as John drives a beautiful BMW 7 series and it is super comfortable and much better then squeezing on the MTR.  When we arrived at his Beautiful home he gave the girls and guys each a room to put our stuff in and settle down, and he also gave us a change of clothes so we could get out of our work clothes.
We had a wonderful time at Johns house, the food was great as was the drink! John's figured we would want to have a Western meal since it had been a while since we had been home, so he had his cook make us ribs, with baked potato, green beans, and a salad.  So that was a nice change of pace from all the Chinese food that we have been eating.
The funny thing is that when we all first got to John's place he offered us drinks and Chris and I took a beer figuring that we would have one then eat dinner and leave soon thereafter.  That was not the case, at all. lol
What happened in reality was, we drank our beers and then John preceded to tell us to start drinking and we should go dig into his liquor cabinet.  So of course we could not say no to the boss so we did.  As we were looking through his extensive collection of alcohol, 1 bottle caught my eye! It was a bottle of Glenmorangie single malt scotch, and thanks to my Father and Grandfather I am a big scotch fan these days. Chris had never had it before so I told him he needed to try it, which he did and we ended up together almost finishing the bottle.  At about 2pm John and Robyn decided they wanted to go for a ride so they took us to a beach to do some night swimming and then they took us to the Peak to see the view of the city.  It was soo quiet, it was amazing as it is always fast paced and bustling here.  After that we went back and John gave us all places to sleep the night.  In the morning we got to have a homemade breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, cereal, OJ and milk.
We all left John's house at about 12:15 and Chris and I had to rush as we had to catch a 1:30 Ferry to Macau.  However the problem was that we had to go back to City University first to get our passports and clothes. It took us a while and when we finally arrived at the ferry terminal it was about 1:20 so there was no chance we could make it as we still had to go through immigration.  So I ended up buying a 2:30 ferry ticket with Tucker, Stanley and Chris and just eating the other one. Oh well!
Stanley, Dennis, Ignacio, and myself
The Macau Splash party was insane! It was like one of those MTV Spring Break pool parties you see on TV and think "Wow that looks awesome wish I could be there).  There were so many people and the pool at the Hard Rock was awesome.  It had a out of water and in water bar, a DJ Island in the pool, where Lil' John and other DJ's performed.  They had give away's at the door which was really cool, I got there late with the guys so originally I did not get one, but Amanda hooked me up since her company planned the event.  The door gift bag, had a Splash Towel, Hat, and big cup for drinks in it.  One thing they were doing the entire time of the party was giving out free shots.  They had girls carrying these tubes with mixed drinks in them and they had a hose with a spout that they could pour directly into your mouth.  I must have been given 10 of these shots throughout the night.  I met so many people and made so many new friends.  I became buddies with one guy just because we both had the same scar on our shoulders from collar bone injuries! By the time that Splash was winding down and the pool area started to empty out, I was feeling quite exhausted.  However I knew I had to suck it up and go up to the room and get dressed for the party at Club Cubix in the Hard Rock.  


The Cubix party was okay, it was jammed pack and hard to move around because of the number of tables in the place.  On top of it I was super tired from Splash, so I didn't really do much except watch T-Pain perform.  I actually did not even buy one drink!  It was a cool thing to go to once though, and it was funny to watch T-Pain and his posse shower the crowd in Champagne. Ross and Ignacio both got soaked!  I left Cubix with Mike P. at around 4 in the morning, because I was supposed to catch my prepaid ferry at 7am.  So I figured I would get some shut eye for an hour and a half.  However that did not happen....AGAIN!  So all in all over the course of the weekend I paid for 4 ferry tickets and only used two of them.  Ah well it was well worth it as the experience was amazing.
Can you find me?

For more Splash pictures go to my Facebook Page or to www.splashmacau.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hong Kong Entry #12 Week of July11-17th

Hey everybody I will keep this one short so I can catch up a little bit.  In case you have not seen my updates I did update Blog entry #11 and fixed it so everyone should be able to see the pics.  There are still more pics from Bangkok that I am working on getting, they are on Ignacio's camera but his memory card is too small to fit into the computer so we need to get an adapter.  When I get those pics I will just throw them into the Blog so you can check them out!
So this past week, the week after Thailand was actually a four day week for me, as my sickness that I have been battling finally got to me.  Monday during work I was pretty dead and just not feeling up to anything, by the end of the day I knew that I needed to go to the doctor the next day.  My throat had started swelling up and I felt really weak, it was really odd because before lunch I was just tired, but then after lunch I started feeling really sick.  When I finally got home after work I was super achey and could tell that I had a fever.  So I took a hot shower got into my sweat pants and attempted to sweat it out through the night.  Luckily my roommate Nick did not mind that I wanted to sleep with the air off as it gets really cold in our room.  The next day my plan was to wake up at 8:30, take a shower then head down to health services which opens at 9, then from there just go to work.  When I got up at 8:30 I felt much worse than I had the previous night even though I did sweat a ton through the night.  I went into the bathroom where I met Ignacio and he told me that I should just skip work and rest to try and get better.  At first I told him no and I had to go to work, then I started thinking about it and realized how crappy I felt and decided that I would call my boss Andrew Miller and let him know that I was not coming in.
After I called out of work, I went back to bed for an hour and ended up getting to health services around 10 am.  The way they do it here is you just show them your City University Student id card and then pay them $100 HK to see the doctor.  When I finally got to see the Doctor he spoke English luckily and asked me what I was feeling and what my symptoms were and I told him, he also asked me what I was doing in Hong Kong and I told him that I was working in an internship and was trying to find a job to work here full-time for a few years  His response to that was "Why? Go work back home for Trump or one of those rich guys!" I laughed and said "yeah maybe" thinking if only it were that easy to myself.
One thing that I wanted to note that is very different here than back home is that after seeing the doctor and receiving my medicine I noticed how different they do medicine over here compared to back home.  They gave me four different types of pills and one bottle of cough syrup.  The antibiotic was a five day prescription and I had to take it 3 times daily.  They gave me another pill for my blocked nose, one for my mucus, and one for the fever. Three of them and the cough syrup, I was to take 4 times daily! It's so crazy in the US we get one pill that does everything, seems more efficient to me.
So I ended up sleeping most of the day on Tuesday and started feeling a little better by the evening. I did end up going to work on Wednesday as I was feeling way better than I had the day before. Work was pretty good for me because I spent the entire day working on my social media marketing plan for Global Sage that I was going to present to John Wright the CEO on Thursday.  On Wednesday night we had another person in our speaker series, and he is actually the boss of two of our interns.  His name is Cory Kidd and he is the CEO and founder of a company called Intuitive Automata, which he started here in Hong Kong.  His talk was very interesting as he talked about the benefits of starting a company here in Hong Kong and how the government in China supports entrepreneurs and gives them all kinds of benefits. I talked to him after his presentation for a while and he was kind enough to give me his card and later via email an introduction to a friend of his in the marketing industry. Her name is Sandy Diep and she gave me some good advice about my career path, so I am grateful to both Sandy and Cory.
Thursday I spent the beginning of the day getting ready for my meeting with John and ensuring that I had any questions he might ask me about my presentation covered.  I had sent my presentation to him via email on Wednesday night so he could have some time to look at it and generate questions. However when I finally got into the meeting with him on Thursday at 3:30 I wasn't even surprised to find that he had not looked at it yet.  So it actually turned into him reading through my presentation as I sat there with him.  He was very impressed and even said that he may have to hire me for Marketing and I could work in the NY office.  Then after I tried explaining some of my ideas he basically shot most of them down, because he said he wants to run his company very stealthlike.  So he gave me a book called "The HeadHunters" by John A. Byrne and told me to read it and think about what GS wants to accomplish.  Then he said when your done reading the book draft an email to the CEO of CitiGroup in NY asking for a meeting between him and John.  The last request still puzzles me.  I don't understand what learning how to sneakily talk to a CEO and attempt to get a meeting with the CEO has to do with social media tactics.  However I will complete all his requests and see what happens.
So since that day I have been reading this book and at the same time, attempting to think of ways to market Global Sage that would be sneaky and beneficial to the company.  I am yet to come up with anything.  However I did find and include in my presentation that many of Global Sages competitors are utilizing social media platforms successfully however John said that we are not like other companies and I need to read the book, soooo....yeah dead end... for now.
Friday was anther big day for me as it was the day of my first interview at EF Englishtown the company that I was applying to work for as a social media specialist in Hong Kong.  The interview was at 12:30 in Causeway Bay with Jessica Szeto the woman who would be my direct superior if hired.  I thought the interview went well as Jessica and I talked for about an hour and a half.  We talked about how she is looking to expand the EF Englishtown brand and what the duties and future possible ventures the job entailed.  She asked me most of your general interview questions including the much hated "what is your biggest weakness?" That one took me a while because I didn't really think about it before the interview, and I did not want to say something stupid, that would knock me out of the job opportunity.  So I basically told her prioritizing tasks, is sometimes a challenge.  However over all we had a good discussion and she liked me enough to move me into the next phase which was, that I had to answer two out of three questions regarding social media that she sent to me.  I had to do this within 24 hours, so I spent all Friday night doing that, as I wasn't done taking my antibiotics anyway and wanted to rest up for the big day on Saturday.

 Other interesting news that I received via email on Friday was that for our following weekend at Macau, Akon was out!  So now instead of having Lil' John for the Splash party and Akon for the party at club Cubix.  We would now have Lil' John at Splash and.....drum roll....T-Pain at club Cubix!  So I mean its not really terrible news but it should definitely still be a great day and night!
















So Saturday was the day of our big "Dream Careers Junk Boat".  This was planned by Michelle Vock and Amanda Wieland who we all owe much thanks too as it was a great day and a ton of fun.  We all woke up at about 8:30 because we had to be at the docks around 9:45 and ready to board the boat at 10 am.  So a bunch of us staggered out of bed and made our way to the train station which we took to TST to meet everyone else at the docks.  Tucker Hudson and Stanley Soh from Global Sage also both made it to the boat which was great, as they are well liked by all.  The weather for the day was not the best as it was somewhat cloudy and and a little rainy throughout the day, however we still made the most of it and had a blast.  There was no shortage of alcohol as we had beer and mixed drink which all added up to be a sloppy day on the boat.  Wakeboarding proved to be very difficult as the water was super choppy and the waves were fairly large and would end up knocking you down quite easily. We did have fun singing/dancing on the boat, I played the song Danza Kuduro by Don Omar ft. Lucenzo like 5 times haha.  We also had a blast jumping off the top of the boat into the water, which....Tucker and I were the first to do!  However something sad did happen to me on this day, I ended up losing my famous WNEC Lax booney hat.  I had it on all day and it was not going anywhere, then at the end of the day I was standing at the back of the boat and as we were heading home it blew off my head into the sea! This was a very sad moment, however if luck has it, I may know somewhere back home where I can find another, so hopefully that is the case.  This picture is the last picture I will ever have of me wearing it, very sad.
 
After the boat finally docked I found myself following Nick and Alex home because I thought we were going to get dinner.  However they decided to make a stop while we were in TST and I found myself in a sketchy apartment building and in this backroom on the 3 floor.  Inside the room Alex and Nick were looking at counterfeit watches being sold by these Indian guys.  These watches however were not the typical Hong Kong fakes, they were very real looking and as close to the real thing as you could get without getting the real thing. The entire time I was in that building I was very tense and just waiting to be robbed.  I was even more nervous when both Alex and Nick decided not to buy anything because I thought these dudes would be pissed they wasted their time.  I was not however surprised they didn't buy anything because they are both fans of watches and already have very nice real watches, and I could not see either one of them settling for fakes.  After that we went to Dan Ryan's for dinner where I got a delicious burger. From there we just went home and immediately passed out for the rest of the night.
On Sunday I woke up at about 11 in the morning and headed out to meet Tucker and Coco in Central, from which we would all head up to midlevels and spend the day at Daniel Clark from Global Sages apartment.  We all met up and headed up the huge escalator in Soho to Daniels apartment.  His place was unreal, it was six stories and he lived on the sixth floor with two other people.  Since he is on the top floor he and his roommates have roof access where they have furniture and a table so they can hang out.  There are four apartments on the top floor and the roof is divided into four roof areas so they each have their own.  Daniel told us that they have thrown some awesome parties at his apartment.  After a little while Chris and Melissa arrived and we all went up to hang out on the roof, where we smoked hookah and listened to music.  Daniel ordered some pizza from this place called Pizza Slice out of Causeway Bay and it was phenomenal! Finally some delicious pizza, by far the best I have had in Hong Kong.  After a while we went back inside and just relaxed on his couches and played a little COD and watched some TV which was a nice change of pace.  I have not had a lazy Sunday like that in a while it was nice to chill on a couch, watch some tube and play some xbox; it reminded me of my college Sundays!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hong Kong Entry #11 Special Bangkok edition!


Lebua at State Tower

Whats up?!
So the last entry ended with the Bangkok cliff hanger...so let me fill you in on how the weekend went.  So Friday was a busy day for me, I had a bunch of stuff to work on at work then I had an interview with the recruiters as I had previously mentioned in the middle of the day, then after work I had to head straight to Hong Kong airport as my flight left at 8:50.  So the interview with the recruiters went well like I said they asked me about myself and to give them a brief summary of my past and up until how I ended up in Hong Kong.  I gave them a quick overview about how I started out in my first internship at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network and how I liked the whole meeting new people aspect of the job but hated the fact that I was selling insurance.  I mean honestly who wants to be talking about death all day? It't depressing! Frankly most people just rather not hear about it.  I mentioned to them that I did well at Northwestern and that I have been offered a job numerous times and that I still have a great relationship with some of the people there till this day, however it was just not my cup of tea selling insurance.
Then I brought them to this past fall when I did my social media and marketing internship with Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp., I basically explained how the experience I had essentially opened my eyes to social media and it immediately became something that I knew I could enjoy doing.  I told them how I still have a great relationship with my supervisor from the internship Thom Fox and he was not only a mentor to me but also became a good friend.
From there I explained to them how as a college athlete I was never able to study abroad, however that was always something that I wanted to do.  I told them that my thought process was that if I could find a international internship it would be like killing two birds with one stone for me because I was always curious about working internationally and I always wanted to study abroad, so this would allow to me to both.  I told them all about Dream Careers and how I found it by simply typing into Google "International Internships"  The other thing that I made clear was that after I got accepted into Dream Careers and was trying to decide what internship I wanted, I made a mistake.  Instead of looking for something that was straight marketing and potentially social media, I went for something that was a mix of marketing and finance because I thought it would help me get into the financial industry.  So essentially I based my decision on money instead of what I enjoyed doing most!
I brought them to the present and explained how the people at Global Sage were great and the internship was a great experience, it was not going to help me do what I really enjoyed.  I told them that after listening to guest speakers every Wednesday, one thing that all of them have said every time is do something that you love and are very passionate about.  It finally hit home to me that Finance and Banking is not what I want to be doing, Yes it may pay the type of bills for the lifestyle I would like to live haha. (Right Dad?? ROFL) However I don't think I would be super happy and engaged every day at work.  At least not for banking or the financial services type jobs, maybe I would enjoy sales/trading like with commodities because that is a always on your feet, gotta be ready type job.  However I did realize that I enjoyed marketing and that I was a social media addict and then pursuing a job in the field would be my best option, and who knows maybe one day I could be a Marketing Director and make the big bucks by doing that!
So basically thats how I summed it up to them and I think they believed me because they told me they had two positions they were working on that might interest me and basically you know the rest.  I told them on Monday actually that I was interested in the Social Media job and not the Real Estate sales job.   But thats getting ahead.  So back to Friday, so I had a good interview and from there the rest of the day dragged as I anticipated the weekend in Bangkok more and more.   When 5:30 came I was pumped and at 5:45 I had to leave because our Receptionist Vanessa, gave me a company pass to ride the bus to the Central train station.  Now this bus is only for people that work in the Central Plaza building.  The bus picks them up and drives them directly to this one stop, and this stop happens to be right across from the Central train station that the Airport Express Train runs out of.  The airport express is essentially a line of the MTR that runs back and forth from the airport to this station downtown, with only two stops in between.  The ride from the station I was at, to the Airport is 27 minutes and costs $100 Honkie.  So I chose to take this route instead of taking a taxi from work to the airport.  Now when I got to the airport I had about 2hrs and 15 min to spare however because Air Asia is one of the biggest Cluster fbombs of an airline it took me right down to about an hour to spare.  Basically there are maybe 5 or 6 check in stations open and people just get in long lines behind each one.  I don't know if I have mentioned this in my blog before but people here have no respect for lines.  What I mean by that is, in restaurants like McDonalds lets say, if you are in a line waiting for a register to open up and do not move quickly they will frigging cut right in front of you from another line! That type of stuff drives me crazy!!
So at the airport I am waiting in line right, and I get up about 4 places away from being at the check in.  All of a sudden some lady who works at the airport holds up a sign and says something in Chinese and and two groups of people in front of me pick up there stuff and hustle over to her, I guess they thought they were getting special treatment or something.  So I shuffle up and now I am one away from the desk.  A couple minutes go back and all of a sudden these two groups of people come back and re-take their places in line and move me back!!!! Although I just calmly waited and said nothing, I wanted to go nuts, like what the hell you just left your spot to try to cut ahead of everyone else, you don't get to come back to your spot in line because that didn't work, get to the freaking end!  That stuff would never cut it in the U.S., but I kept in mind that I am not in the U.S. so I just waited my turn patiently.
I met Ross and Ali at the airport since the other three, Mike Huang, Ignacio Martin, Mike Pulchino had already left the day before.  Ross and Ali got to the airport a little while after I arrived, after they got their boarding passes we decided that we should get some food because it was dinner time and we were not sure what the food on the plane would be like.  So we all just got airport fast food, none of us got Chinese though we are all pretty sick of that! haha  That proved to be a good choice because this airline Air Asia charges for everything, food and even drinks!  Before the plane took off, we were just sitting at the gait and Ross who was sitting with Ali about 5 rows ahead of me, called me to come sit up by him because there was plenty of seats up there.  So I left my window seat and went over and sat in the row next to theirs.  What I did not realize is they were sitting in a section that costs $100 HK extra because it had like 2 inches of more leg room, the "red" section.  I made a dumb move because I knew the plane was not going to fill up but I wanted to ask anyway just to be nice, so I asked the flight attendant if it was okay to switch seats.  She asked me what row I was sitting in and I said 9 and she said "no no" and I was so like in disbelief because the plane was practically empty.  She said I could only switch black to black and if I wanted red I had to pay.  So I said screw it and went back to my row and seat.  In the end I was the idiot because if I just said nothing at all she would have never known, and I would not have been sitting next to two people.  Ross and Ali each had their own row and got to lay out which looked awesome.  However I don't know how great of a sleep they could have gotten because the flight attendants never shut up! The dude would be on that thing every five minutes it seemed like.  Also what the heck is with leaving the lights on, Air Asia?  They turned all the lights off for take off and landing but left them all on for the entire flight! Are you kidding me its a late night flight, turn the damn lights off!
Anyway we landed in Thailand around 11:30 if I remember correctly and it took us about an hour to get back to the hotel because we had to go through immigration and then we had to wait for the Mikes and Ignacio to come pick us up.  When they did pick us up it was quite impressive, Mike Huang has his own driver who drove us around most of the weekend.  So they came and picked us up and we headed back to the hotel.  For those of you that do not realize this Bangkok is freaking huge! It takes forever to get anywhere in that city because everything is so spread out.  Also during the day the roads are madness and traffic is insane, if I drove there I would get in an accident first day maybe first hour.


Anyway so we arrived at the Lebua Tower Hotel all I can say is WOW!!!  The place is beautiful an when we finally got to our room on the 57th floor WOW again.  This room was literally ridiculous big, like unnecessary big!  Absolutely massive, unfortunately my camera as I said is all messed up so I did not take pictures but I think Ali did so I am working on acquiring those.  This room had three bedrooms with two with king size beds and another with two full beds in it. We had three bathrooms in the room, two of them were full bathrooms with large glass showers and marble tubs.  A There was a dining room and living room combined in one open area but in the living room space it had three couches, the dining room table had eight places I believe.  It had a complete kitchen with marbletop counters and even a washer and dryer area.  There was a total of FOUR balconies, where the view was really just amazing! The hotel towers over everything around it so you could see for miles.  There is a river through the middle  of Bangkok and it divides the old part of the city and the new part of the city.

What two of our bedrooms looked like

pic from the Lebua website
Our Actual Room

Otherside

We all got to wear hotel bathrobes as there were enough for all of us, we even took a picturewith all of us wearing them.So going back to our first night after we got to the hotel we sort of had to rush to shower and get ready to go out as it was already late.  So after we were all ready, Mikes driver picked us up and Mike had him drop us off in this bar area called RCA or Royal City Avenue.  This place is insane and so different then anywhere else I have ever gone out.  This is where we actually ended up going out both nights so I will only write about it once.  What it is, is essentially a street of bars.  The most famous of the bars in this area is Route 66, its huge and like all the bars here has a indoor and outdoor section.
Before our first night on the town!
Here is a description of the RCA area I got offline:


RCA is the epicentre of Bangok's clubbing scene and one of the officially designated nightlife zones, meaning that all the clubs and pubs here can close a little later than those outside the designated zones. Favoured by local revellers, most RCA clubs cater to their Thai clientele - mostly university students and young office workers. International DJs as well as live concerts and soundtracks by popular local artists are to be expected. Clubbing institutions like Route 66 and Slim are packed almost every night.



Both nights we were there we would start out at Route 66 and stay there until it closed at 3 because it is huge as I said, and it has three different areas with three different types of music.  It's a ton of fun and is always packed with people.  Its really neat because there is a fence around the entire thing and you pay at the fence and then go in and can walk to any of the parts of Route 66 you want.  They are all attached and all have an open face with tables outside in front of them.  Here is a layout and description I found to sort of get an idea what I mean.



Route 66 is probably the most famous and beloved club amongst Thais and Foreigners in Bangkok. It features three separate sections in which different type of music is played. The first section, called “Route West” plays Techno / Trance Music. Moving along a bit further you will find Thai Pop and going towards the end you will hear American Hip Hop beats. Most popular is the Hip Hop Section, which gets filled fast and to ensure a good table it is advised to arrive early (10 pm weekdays, 9 pm weekends).
Hip Hop songs are very popular amongst the (younger) Thai people and you will be hearing it in nearly any club you go.



VIP behind the DJ in the Hip Hop Room (not my pic tho)


So its a really unique place and definitely something to try out if you ever find yourself in Bangkok.  At the bar Ross met this girl and after talking for a little she actually invited us up to the VIP in the hip hop section which is all the way to the right side behind the DJ station so that was pretty neat.  I guess her whole family was pretty popular there, because when we got to the VIP we met her brother, sister, cousins and friends.  The neat thing about this VIP is that it's not off in some quieter area its literally right behind the DJ in front of the big screen, and its loud with a great view of the dance floor. 
The second we went to Route 66 much earlier and we ended up getting our own table with a couple of Mikes close friend Oat from home.  They were some really great people, and we had a ton of fun.  The second night we got absolutely smashed at Route 66 because Mike and Oat kept making us this traditional Thai drink at our table.  Basically you get yourself a bottle of Johnny Walker, another large bottle of Smirnoff Vodka and Coke if I remember correctly, all I know is Mike's friend made them super strong and by the time we left Route 66 to head to the next bar, we were all rocked.
After Route 66 would close we would all head to this bar called Narcissus or NARZ.  This is known as the after party club, as it has special privileges and gets to stay open much later because of who owns it.  The owner according to Mike Huang is the Crowned Prince of Thailand.  NARZ is very popular and because of this it is absolutely massive!  It is also very popular among ex-patriots and model type people from Thailand.  Just like Hong Kong Bars, you can stay at NARZ till like 6 or 7 the next morning.  Now, because its open all night, it opens around 10pm and then people do not start showing up till around 2am, so it's a real late night scene.  Here are few pictures of NARZ. (I did not take any of these pictures)




NARZ Outside view (not my pic)
NARZ inside (not my pic)


NARZ (not my pic)

NARZ inside (not my pic)

NARZ inside (not my pic)
While we were in Bangkok and out at night we did see a few of the famous lady boys, however the bars that we decided to go to, they are not very prevalent at, and is actually rare to see them.  When we did see them it was usually when we were walking on the street.  Now people said that there are some that are hard to tell, well out of the ones that I saw, it was quite clear that they were...lets say different.   One thing that I grew quite fond of while being in Thailand was sticky rice!  I bought it both nights off the street vendors that sell food to all the bar crowds.
Another thing we did while in Bangkok was go to the old Palace and walked around that during the day on Saturday.  The palace was very beautiful but it was wicked hot out so it made our walking around a little miserable. When you go inside the temple you actually have to wear pants, so all around the temple street vendors sell these very light pajama bottom type pants so people with shorts can wear put them on and still enter the palace.  They are actually super comfortable so I bought a bunch of pairs to give ppl back home because they were so cheap only like $3 US.  After we were done with the palace we walked around a market.  Now in Hong Kong people are pretty aggressive in trying to get you to buy stuff from them, however it does not even compare to the people in Thailand.  To give you an idea these guys were selling these like woven picture type things that you would put in a frame, and Mike P. was interested in buying one as well as Ross.  However they decided they did not want one and started to walk away.  These guys literally followed us all the way to the van trying to give the guys a deal they would take.  When we all got in our van there ended up being around 8 of these guys all selling the same thing swarming our van and trying to get there chance to make a pitch.  One of these guys climbed in and was sitting next to Ross, and when after he continually ignored Mike asking him to get out, Mike finally yelled at him GET THE F***k OUT! and yelled at him in Thai.  Then the guy climbed out and got really mad and one of his friends had to hold him back.  I have honestly never seen anything like it and wish I had my camera to videotape it.  





Haha I love this one, clearly not ready.

Better




Breeze Restaurant & Bar on the 51st and 52nd Floor of Lebua


The last thing we did at the hotel before we left Bangkok on Sunday was go to another one of the other bar/restaurants in the Lebua tower to take a picture of all of us together.





Breeze

Sirocco Restaurant & Bar on the 63rd Floor of Lebua
Skybar 




Sirocco




The Sunday Morning pic, all super hungover lol


Us doing our Hangover Pic


The last thing we did in Thailand before we left to go back to Hong Kong was visit Mike's home to have lunch.  His house is absolutely gorgeous right on a golf course.  His mom cooked us a bunch of dishes including her own recipe of a famous Thai dish called Phat thai, consisting of noodles, shrimp, thin sliced chicken, eggs, onion, carrots, and some other things.  My favorite part of the meal was dessert, sliced mango and sticky rice!  This is a very popular dessert in Thailand and many places in Asia and is now my favorite dessert dish of all, it is soooo good.  The pairing of the sticky rice with the sweet mango is literally perfect!
Now our flight was at 4:30 and Mikes home was about 20 minutes away and like idiots we left about 3:30 and got there as they were ready to last call check in's for the flight to Hong Kong.  Now we all gave our passports and the guy was going through and checking us in, and giving us our tickets, except for myself and Ignacio! For some reason he could not find us on the flight!  So I pull out my flight itinerary and he looks at it and then finds the problem for us, apparently we bought our flight home to be at the 6:30 am flight!!!!!   So of course we missed it, and needed new tickets, this flight that our friends were going to be on was almost ready to board and we had no tickets so we ran over to this Air Asia ticket booth and had to buy new tickets home.  We are still not quite sure what happened because we both thought we clicked the later flight, then again I can't be sure because I barely actually checked, I just asked Ignacio which flight it was and signed up.
So now we are stuck paying another $150 for a flight home!  It took us like 10-15 minutes to get the stupid tickets because of how slow the lady was going.   When we finally got our receipt we ran back over to the check in counter and threw the guy our passports.  He got us checked in fairly quickly and from there it was just a sprint to the gate.  However first we had to get through immigration which was freaking packed!  The other guys were way ahead of us because we let them go when we had to buy tickets, so we were on our own.  I got in a line to hold a spot while Ignacio looked for a quicker way through all the people.  He ended up working his magic and going up the side to a checkin area where no one was except a bunch of people working for the airport.  He actually got them to let us cut the line because we literally had no time, or so we thought.  Once we got through immigration we just sprinted through the airport and I must admit at one point I almost lost all my lunch from Mikes house.  When we finally got to the gait the sign said last call however people were there, so we went right up to get on however we were stopped by the check in lady who said "2 minutes 2 minutes you wait."  So we stood there in front of her until she made an announcement and people began to line up behind us.  Then we boarded and ended up being the FIRST ones on the plane!  Absolutely insane and we could not believe we beat our friends to the plane.  We watched as they all got on and did not see us and literally had no idea if we were going to make it, even though we were sitting just a few rows behind them.  It was really humorous to watch them all frantic and worried, and more rewarding when we finally revealed ourselves.  Aside from that not much else was interesting on the plane, except for the fact, that the guy sitting next to me brought his own beer to drink on the plane, just a little bizarre.  
So that was our Bangkok, Thailand weekend in a nut shell.  
I will be really quick to write my next post, as I need to catch up bad! So look for that soon! Adios!



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hong Kong Entry #10


Ni Hao!  So I left off last telling you guys about last Saturday!  All of the weekend as you can imagine through Saturday was awesome!  However Sunday was sooo cool and one of the best days by far!  So basically myself and a few others, Chris Denton, Alexia, Amanda, Michelle, Melissa got up at 9:00 and met Stanley at the TST train station at 10:30ish.  From there we took a bus to the same area where we loaded up on our junk boat adventure and had McDonalds Breakfast.  Then we took a taxi up this mountain on these narrow one lane roads to this park area.  Now the plan was to hike through this mountain area and end up at this not well known area where could cliff jump. To see where we were planning on cliff jumping click here!  The area is Sai Wan and is a really nice place to hike, you get to see tons of scenery and the hiking trails are paved out with gravel and have steps on the very up/downhill areas.



  However the trail can essentially go on forever.  We started out on it and along with quite a few other groups who were on the trail.  I was taking a bunch of pics on this first leg.  When we got our first view of the first beach of the day my camera was working fine.  However then when we finally reached the little town in front of the beach with little local type restaurants my camera would not work!!! (I am still wicked mad about this, the camera is a Sony and only 3 weeks old!  It will still take pics however I have no idea what I am taking pics of because the screen is just black!  The worst part is I did nothing to make this happen, no drops, no water on it nothing it just crapped out!!!! It was a huge disappointment as I missed out on some real epic photo opportunities.)  Luckily other people I was with had cameras so I am featured in a few.  The first beach had quite a few people on it, however the only way to get to it is via hiking or by boat, many people drive their boats or yachts to the beach and spend the day there and eat the local food for lunch.


  We stayed at this beach for about an hour, until we decided we should be on our way.  Before our depart I acted as Stanley's personal photographer as he got in multiple poses along the beach! lol  Then we bought some water and headed on our way.  Little did we know that the area we were looking for was very close by to that beach and should only have been another half hour hike.  








The Dam

What happened was that we came to a section in the trail and ended up going the wrong way.  When I think about it, it was a really dumb move, instead of following this stream to where we were supposed to cliff jump we went up this mountain area!  Apparently the coordinates Stanley had matched up on a map with the direction we chose however in reality they were way off.  We ended up hiking 2 hours away from where we were supposed to be.  However it was worth it as we saw some of the most beautiful landscape scenery I have ever seen!  On our hike we found out we went too far because we came to the next village (which I honestly believe had a population of maybe 15 because there were like 5 houses) and met this expat Australian guy who was in retirement and making and selling surfboards.  Apparently he makes some part of the board for a bunch of major surfboard companies.  He told us that we were way off and would have to back track if we wanted to get to the cliff jumping area.  At this point we got together as a group and had to make a decision, should we head back to the cliff area, or just spend the remainder of the day at the nearby beach which is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Hong Kong as it is very hidden and secluded.  We decided that we would go to the beach and do the cliff jumping another time.  We asked a local which way to this beach and he said we could go two ways back the way we had come or just go this other way through this wooded area.  We took the opportunity to go the new way to see landscape and scenery we had not previously seen.  This was a mistake as this pathway was pretty much not a path at all and there were bugs everywhere and monster spiders which I freaking hate!  These spiders were literally so nasty looking, they made huge webs and were long with a bunch of colors and big fangs.  There were a few that were literally as big as my hand and this part of the hike was honestly a nightmare!

 So we ended up turning around and heading back the way we came which was much faster anyway.  When we got to this beach the first thing we did was buy a ticket for the boat ride home at 6 because that way we did no have to hike all the way back and then take a taxi to the bus pick up area.  The boat would pick us up at the beach and take us all the way back directly to the bus pick up area near the docks.  After that we just went and hung out on this beautiful and quiet beach! The water was so clear and fairly warm, it was very refreshing.  I was actually punished the next few days because of my sunburn from our beach day, I got hit bad!!!  We had lunch at one of the two restaurants on the beach at about 4 and it was a good meal, the restaurant workers were super friendly and they played music which was a nice touch.  After that everyone just enjoyed the last two hours on the beach, I ended up taking a nap for about an hour.  When I woke up I spent the rest of the time trying to catch little fish with my hands like a 10 year old haha! O well I had fun!  The two boats got there right on time at 6 and loaded up with everyone who was leaving for the day as it was the last boat pickup.  I was surprised to see that about 10 people stayed behind and actually were going to camp on the beach, I thought that was really neat how they are able to do that here.  The boat ride was really something else, it was about a 45 minute ride on a speedboat and we were able to see some beautiful sights.  The best was the sunset from our water perspective over the mountains, quite beautiful! (wish my camera worked)
After the boat we just took our bus ride to the TST station where we said goodbye and thank you to Stanley and then headed back to CityU to call it a night.
Impressive right?





The week following was a pretty productive week for me as well.  As I said for most of the week I was in pain because of my serious sunburn so that was not fun at all.  Other than that I did make quite a few good moves from a professional standpoint.  It all started on Tuesday afternoon when my Boss Andrew Miller took me out for lunch to this little chinese place which had the best dumplings I have ever had.  Andrew basically got me going and gave me a wake up call, he asked me what my plans were, if I had considered what living expenses would be for me if I got a job here and told me I needed to know exactly what my costs would be.  He also helped me decide who I wanted to talk to and gave me some valuable advice on adding to my resume from the headhunter perspective someone who looks at tons of them everyday.  So the most important thing I got from our talk was that my resume should be about what I can bring to the table, not about me. It should be stuff I have done for my previous employer, generated revenue implemented this or that etc., basically things I can do for them.  So this got me thinking about what I was doing at Global Sage currently and how it pertained to what I want to do, and I realized honestly it would not help me that much.  So I thought of a way I could help the company and add to my resume which would be mutually beneficial.  I realized that Global Sage has no Social media presence so my idea was to implement them and give them a presence.  I emailed Andrew in the morning about it, to see what he thought and if it was worth talking to John Wright our CEO about.  To my delight Andrew thought it was a great idea and forwarded it to John.  So this coming thursday I have a meeting with John to present my ideas!  So that is exciting! The next big thing that happened this past week was that I was approached by a Hong Kong head hunter via Linkedin about a couple of job opportunities that he was placing for.  So I emailed him back and ended up having a interview with him and his colleague on Friday at 1.  I told them about myself, why I was here what I was interested in and they must have liked me because they brought up two positions for me.  One is a sales job in investing in real estate the other was as a social media specialist. I was very interested in the social media one so I got more info about that one.  Basically it would be working for this company called EP English Town which essentially sells teaching the English language both online and in classroom.  It is the largest English language company in the world and the Global marketing team is based in Hong Kong.  The duties all suited me fine and I would definitely enjoy this job.  However the compensation isn't very high at all but I would still want the job as it is doing something I love and was open to a lot of creativity.  The only thing I am nervous about is that it is not a well known name and may not catch future employers eyes.  I already figured out that I could live with this other intern at Global Sage Tucker if I ended up getting the job so that is a huge plus.  Monday I am talking with the head hunters again to discuss my thoughts on the company and the jobs, so I think I am going to tell them that I am game for the social media opportunity.  I would love to land this job even though I would not make much because I get my foot in the door and start to expand my knowledge and expertise which is very exciting!

At HOT POT!
On Monday night of last week Vanessa our receptionist at GS and Coco's mother took us out for Hot Pot and it was the best Hot Pot we have had yet.  She bought us the all you can eat deal so we literally ate so much and such a variety!

  Then after Angela from work who was with us took us out for drinks and we ended up having a BLAST!  We went to this bar along the bay in TST and it had live music and was really a great atmosphere.  It was great bonding with people from work!  I had my first shot of Absinthe as Angela bought us each a shot of it, along with many more shots!  I am so grateful to be working with such great people, they have been really awesome and have showed us sooo much in Hong Kong we are so lucky and I really can't explain how much it means to me!
CoCo and I with the famous Absinthe



Well thats it for now look for my next entry as it will talk about my Bangkok experience!