Dominican Republic

2 04 2008

I just came back from my vacation after a week of sun, sea and sand. It felt really good to not have a computer around for 7 days to put things in perspective. Buildind sand castles is definitely more fun than blogging or public speaking or business consulting. I could do that for a living if it paid well. Of course, I have ways to go before considering changing careers:

SandCastles

I stayed in a nice resort in Punta Cana. I’ve never been a big fan of the huge resorts in the Caribbean, as they feel pretty much like a Second Life of sorts: everything is fabricated to look like the stereotyped tropical paradise. But I confess that this time I was just looking for a place to relax, and that is their specialty.

I took a day to at least get a glimpse at real Dominican life and went to Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic has been through a lot since the first Europeans came in the late 15th century, and just walking down the streets of Santo Domingo and seeing the poor countryside tells you that the world is anything but flat.

Back to Toronto, I have a huge backlog of emails and urgent tasks to deal with, so enough of blogging for today. As a filler for content, here are some pics I posted to Flickr:

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Small settlement between Punta Cana and Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Street art

Santo Domingo - Dominican RepublicSanto Domingo - Dominican Republic
Columbus, hopefully not pointing to the Hard Rock Cafe

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic

Sundial

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Diego’s Columbus Alcazar

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
The French Embassy (formerly known as Hernan Cortés’s House)

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Franciscan monastery ruins

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Presidential Palace

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
The oldest cathedral in the Americas

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Cathedral’s main nave

Santo Domingo - Dominican Republic
Ugly modern monument (Columbus lighthouse)

Advertisements




Late April’s fool tale

2 04 2008

Almost 10 years ago, I took the airport express bus at Pearson (Toronto’s main airport) to go back to my place, but I was so tired that I slept really hard minutes after the bus left the terminal. When I woke up after 2 hours or so, I found myself in the airport again!!! My wife always teases me about that story, and jokes about me sleeping very easily, and risking to do it again in my business trips.

Yesterday, April first, I took the 7:10 am flight from Toronto to Ottawa and, as usual, was sleeping (and hopefully not snoring) moments after take-off. When I woke up, I felt like I had slept for hours, and the flight attendant was announcing that in a few minutes we would be landing in… Toronto!!!

For a moment, I thought that I had done that sleeping-through-multiple-trips again. Then I realized that my plane could not land in Ottawa due to heavy fog in the region. The whole process to allocate all passengers to other flights was really messy and full of errors, but thankfully everything worked at the end. I remember that before coming to Canada somebody told me this not-so-funny joke:

Q: What’s is the best way to orderly evacuate a stadium full with 50,000 Canadians in an emergency?

A: You announce: “Please orderly evacuate the stadium because there is an emergency”

That’s a big stereotype, but yesterday I was surprised at the overall reaction to the situation: lots of confusion, mis-communication, duplicate boarding passes, mishandling of baggages and not even one passenger freaked out. Everybody was very calm and went through the whole ordeal in a very civilized manner. A few passengers in other flights even gave up their seats after they were already in the plane to allow others with urgent matters to fly, without even being asked. Some see this as a problem, as being too accommodating, but the reality is that screaming at others would not solve the problem in that situation, so I’m actually proud of the way the passengers acted. Maybe that’s a bit of being Canadian, after all.