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).

12 March 2015

JPO's 1st 2015 Season, 3rd Concert

I missed the first two concerts of the season (as I was not in Johannesburg), and I was pleasantly surprised that the hall was a little bit fuller. Part of that could be due to a school group - I am not sure if they will return for other concerts. Daniel Boico returned to another stint as the conductor.

Schubert's Overture in D (In the Italian Style) started off the evening. I didn't really like the piece - I commented to M, that it sounded like a piece accompanying clowns in a circus at some points. It was neither memorable nor enthralling.

I am a big fan of Beethoven, and Czech pianist Lucas Vodracek, gave an amazing performance of Piano Concerto No 3. Vodracek posture at the piano was amusing - hunched over the keys, focused on making sure his fingers hit the notes correctly - so much so that M commented that it was as if, his body was built to play the piano. The performance was the exact opposite of the Schubert - both enthralling and memorable, and thoroughly deserved the standing ovation. And, as if to show off his virtuosity, he performed a jazz-inspired encore which showed of his amazing speed on the keyboard. The contrast with the Beethoven was jarring - but was an equally impressive performance.

After the break, the orchestra performed Mendelssohn's Symphony Number 4 - another Italian inspired piece to round of the evening. It was a solid performance - but yet again, nothing memorable.

09 March 2015

Queue for the iPhone

Over 4 months since the launch of the iPhone 6, I was surprised that there was still a line to buy iPhones at the Apple Store in Hong Kong. The system was very efficient - as you enter the line, an attendant takes the model, the number and colour, and then pick up once you get to the front of the queue; and then another attendant to pay.

In comparison, the Xiaomi store (I alsi bought a Xiaomi Redmi2) was almost empty, the Samsung stores were deserted. And this goes for other phone stores also - Apple seems to be the most dominant brand by far. Based on that, I think the spectacular sales numbers for the iPhone will continue for some time to come.

08 March 2015

Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy

I cashed in some of BA Executive miles for my flight back - but unfortunately business class was unavailable - so I had to go with Cathay Pacific's Premium Economy class. I haven't flown this class before; and I was pleasantly surprised.

The problem with modern business and first class is that they seem to have now gone overboard - not only lie flat seats, but with suites, large screen TVs, etc. Premium Economy class is effectively the business class of old (or of domestic/short haul flights) - the seats are wider, but not sofas; they lean back more, but are not beds; there is a lot of leg room, but you can still touch the seat in front of you; the food is great (in this case even featuring Haagen Dazs ice cream) and served on proper cutlery, but it is not a restaurant in the sky.

It is sort of the happy medium - I got a good night's sleep, the service was excellent, and it was a very pleasant journey. Premium Economy might actually be a class I would be willing to pay for myself.

Hong Kong (Street) Markets

It seems that you can buy almost anything on the street markets - food, clothing, electronics, lots of variety in phone cases (and associated accessories), and even gold fish and other things for aquariums. Most of these markets are concentrated around Mong Kok in Kowloon, but there are others. The market stalls seem to run from about 11am to 10pm, at least in the Kowloon markets.

I did do a lot of electronics shopping in Hong Kong, but most of the items were from the electronics shipping malls like Sim City and Golden Computer Arcade. The breadth of variety is amazing, but you do need to know what you want to be able to look for it - it's not necessarily the best place to browse!