About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

30 July 2010

Fresh Seafood

Boston is well known for it's seafood, and many seafood restaurants Feature fresh seafood. What is interesting about this approach, is that they assemble their menus based on the fish bought that day, and print their menus every day (complete with the date on the menu). At least that somewhat justifies part of the price premium :)

29 July 2010

Conundrums caused by etiquette

Last night, was the "social" event of RSA TechFest, at the headquarters of RSA. There was a tour of the RSA facilities, and I was on the last tour. The impact of that was, we were effectively the last people to arrive for dinner - by which time, there was 1 plate and 1 set of cutlery, for about 25 people. This led to a social conundrum - taking the plate would be rude to everyone else, while not taking the plate would mean that everyone looked stupid, staring at the food and the last plate. Ultimately, everyone decided to look stupid - and wait while new dishes and cutlery was cleaned and delivered; but it's one of those awkward social situations which are just very funny (at least to those who are there).

The Cheese Cake Factory

Normally, American restaurants, especially chains, are either ok and expensive, or cheap and bad; both in terms of taste and nutrition. Near the hotel, there is a restaurant, The Cheese Cake Factory, with an incredible selection of cheese cakes and an equally incredible waiting line. What was also surprising was that the food was very good too - especially given the price. The service (or our particular waiter at least) was briliant, and thus made a very good evening!

26 July 2010


I have always had trouble with border control - I have a passport from one country, but was born in another. I have as one, immigration official put it, "a different name", which in these times of overblown showcases of security, is always an excuse for hassles. But this has also led to weird and interesting conversations with immigration officials (the chatty ones at least) like a discussion on cocaine smuggling and fake passports (at the three borders in Brazil).

But I have also discovered that, when the rules work, and you play by the rules, there is some sort of reward. The Schengen visa for example, if you travel more than three rimes in a year, it is much easier ro get a year long one. And, I was really surprised at the US immigration this afternoon. Instead of my normal grilling, I got the normal check of biometric credentials (fingerprints and face) and that was it. More surprising is that I can stay a full 6 months in the US, which is normally not granted to non visa-exempt persons.

That said, I am still expecting "extra" security checks on my way out, the apparently random ones that I have never missed in my 6 previous visits to the US.

25 July 2010


South of the river Main, almost directly opposite the Dom (Cathedral), is an equally impressive church, called Dreikönigskirche (Three Kings Church). I do not know the history behind the name, but it is very impressive from the outside.

In the event guide in my hotel room, I found that there is a live music venue called Dreikönigskeller (Three Kings Cellar), and which was seemingly the only venue in town hosting live music last night.

The venue is incredibly small (about 3m wide, and 7m long), with the stage taking up a very cramped front end. As the name suggests, it is housed in an old cellar, and the owner has certainly gone to great effort in getting excellent sound facilities (with the room dimensions giving excellent acoustics). I did not get to see the act that was mentioned in the guide, since I left after the first two acts (I was very tired, after walking a lot), but the other two acts (whose names I don't know) were excellent.

The first act was fronted by an expat (American or English, or maybe even Canadian) with the rest of the band members being German. The songs were all in English, and featured some really cool lyrics, with "Skin" being a particular highlight for me. The music style is hard to describe; but it seemed to be a mix of punk rock - I would say, think of a mixture of "Bed on Bricks", "Parlatones" and "Knave" to get the various styles. The musicians were really good, and it was really enjoyable. The second act was an all German, rock band. The music was decent, but nothing spectacular. And since I don't know much German, I cannot comment on their lyrics.

The venue seems to be a hive of music activity, with a lot of posters for next acts. But there wern't that many people last night, and the venue wouldn't hold that many anyway.