Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ben Feels Tall


It’s been a crazy trip so far. I know – I’m a bad son who hasn’t emailed his mother in 10 days. Fortunately, I’m not dead. After an amazing stay in Tokyo I went to Korea, Shanghai, and then Beijing. I’m now on my way to Moscow for the last leg of the trip.

In natural Ben-style I have a bullet point list of some of the things I’ve done on this round-the-world trip:


* Went to the Japanese fish market at 5:00 am to watch people barter for fish. At 6:00 am I ate sushi and it was the best sushi I’ve ever had.
* Saw Shinto temples which were really boring. Other people took pictures.
* Went to Ahakihabra, the electronics district of Tokyo. It’s amazing what some people will buy. We had a contest where you had $100 to buy the craziest thing you could find. We ended up with a USB banana and a Hello Kitty ice machine. We came in second to this weird massager that sent electric shocks through your muscles.
* Presentations/company visits where we learned about the Japense internet culture and why we are #2 to Yahoo
* Karaoke with the Japanese Googlers. This was awesome.


* Ate some bad Korean food and some ok Korean food. By the end of Korea I was really happy to have my airport McDonalds
* After work we went to the strangest club ever. It’s called a booking club if you can dig it. You reserve these rooms for $500 (there were 20 of us) and they bring an assortment of alcohol and food. There’s also karaoke and the waiters bring you women. See, the waiters “book” girls who are dancing in the club and bring them to your room. Then the girls talk to you for a few minutes and stay if they like you. It’s a great opportunity for the ladies out there. Unfortunately, to the dismay of my single friends we don’t speak Korean so the girls didn’t stay too long. What a concept though!


* Shanghai was awesome. We were there on the weekend so we didn’t have to do any work. We just ate and drank and had a blast.
* I got a custom-made silk shirt. I had to bargain in Chinese (which I don’t even pretend to know). We just passed a calculator back and forth. Very weird. The shirt is awesome though – I’m quite studly.
* I went to a museum which was only kind of boring.
* I got a Chinese massage. Not as boring as expected.
* I went to the best bar ever. It was at the top of the tallest building in Shanghai, which is taller than any building in America. I think it was 500 meters. Anyway, the view was incredible and the atmosphere was perfect. Drinks were well done, but the alcohol + altitude made me slightly tipsy.
* We saw lots of cool buildings and cultural stuff. The architecture in Shanghai is great. I highly recommend a visit if you get a chance.


* Lots of work (yuck!)
* We got a tour of the Lenovo design center. They have some great products in China and a commanding market lead there. They will soon bring some of those products to the US where I expect them to do very well. I like their consumer laptops better than any other Windows laptop.
* We saw the forbidden city and tiannamen square. That was ok.
* All we ate in China was this lazy-susan meal. The waiters would bring dish after dish, but all I wanted was some plain rice. I’m looking forward to Russia.

Now I’m headed to Moscow for hopefully more fun and excitement. Our schedule is pretty packed but I’ll be home pretty soon.

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