Side Trip to Los Angeles in 2004

PauTravels at the Hollywood Signboard in Universal Studios

In my work as a Test Analyst, I was very glad to have the opportunity of flying into the US and visit my parents who have moved there since 2003.  It was in 2004 that I had my first visit of Los Angeles as a side trip from my business trip to Austin Texas for Dell.  I had a second trip in 2007 after again being sent to Austin.

With a free ticket care of Dell, I flew to Los Angeles from Austin via Continental Airlines.  It was my first trip around the USA and my trip to LA gave me the chance to ride different sizes of planes from a jumbo jet to a 40-seater express jet.  From Austin, I connected to 3 cities to get to LA.

My parents picked me up at the Los Angeles Airport and headed to their apartment in Gardena along Rosecrans Avenue.  Los Angeles is very different from Austin as it is a crowded city and there are less vegetation unlike Austin which has more roads than structures.  My parents’ place is in an apartment compound near the corner of major roads.  My aunt who has been in the US for about 2 decades was also there to meet me.

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Going Around Penang

PauTravels at the Thai Temple in Penang

Like my trips to Austin, I also had two opportunities of visiting the island of Penang on the western coast of peninsular Malaysia.  First trip I had was for a week for a summit meeting for our project with Dell and the second was again for the Dell Penang Facility for deployment support.

It was in August of 2004 when we had this trip to Penang, my second entry to Malaysia after a very brief entry to Johor Bahru during my first trip to Singapore three months earlier.  Also, this was quite an exciting trip that our colleagues in WeServ joked at us for having an Amazing Race-like trip that month.  This was because two weeks earlier we flew into Austin, Texas and I flew back and forth to Los Angeles and flew back home to Manila to fly to Penang the next day.  It was such a ride.

And so from Manila, along with 3 colleagues we boarded a Malaysia Airline flight to Penang connecting through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which I thought was very gloomy.  We arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 7pm to connect to a 10pm flight to Penang.  We arrived in Penang just before midnight and we had our first blooper in Malaysia.  That is when our hotel driver walked us to our car, we all headed to the right side of the van.  We were surprised that there was no door on that side only to remember that Malaysian driving is right-handed.

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Visits to Austin c/o Dell

PauTravels with friends at Dell Parmer South Campus in Austin

From my past employer, Fujitsu Philippines, I was very fortunate to have been part of the Dell project of WeServ.  That project had given me tickets to fly to a number of Dell facilities globally, including Xiamen, Penang, and Austin.  Twice, I have been given the opportunity to visit Dell Inc.’s Parmer South Campus in Austin, Texas.  And my first visit in 2004 was my first ever into the US where I flew with 3 other colleagues and 3 other more on my second trip last 2007.

In 2004, I have not been able to see much of Austin except for a trip to the outlet stores in San Marcos, watching a ball game at the Dell Diamond, and a short visit to the Capitol.  We stayed at the Wingate Inn in Round Rock. I love the Round Rock donuts they serve there every morning.

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Xiamen, Old Amoy

PauTravels with Friends in Xiamen with a giant hippo statue

Back in August of 2005, I was opportuned to be given a chance to step foot into the land of one of the oldest civilizations.  Through my client, Dell Inc., I was assigned for three weeks for official business to their factory in Xiamen, China.

Xiamen is in the Fujian province, nearest to Taiwan. It is an island connected to the mainland by bridges.  Later did I learned that this once used to be called Amoy.  Amoy has been known to be where many Filipino-Chinese families hailed from, including both of my grandparents.  This made me more excited as it was like a heritage walk for me.

Initially, I’ve had a picture of Chinese cities to be very crowded, busy, polluted, and filled with bicycles.  But when I arrived in Xiamen, it was very different.  Xiamen is very clean and orderly, not too crowded, not traffic-congested, and is a modern city.  Later I learned that Xiamen is considered a garden city of China.

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