Sunday, July 27, 2008

USA Trip 2008

I went to Mountain View for new hire training 3 weeks ago and soooooo many things happened over there... The flight was so long and rather uncomfortable mostly because some people are really incosiderate when adjusting their seats! But that part is still bearable, ok let me just try to narrate the story as it happened..

After 7 hours flight from Japan, finally I reach Narita..

Transit at Japan airport
This is my first time to Japan and without visa hahaha.. anyway just hanging out in the airport, bought some souvenirs and took some photos of it..

And then time's up for Japan.. continue the 9 hours flight to SFO..

I reach San Fransisco Intl airport still Saturday morning PST, and couldn't believe that there are so many other people who have red luggages!! I was looking at the luggages one by one but none of them is mine! So I went to the United Airlines counter to ask about my luggage and they also couldn't find it! And they asked me to file a lost baggage claim... omg.. first time flying United and lost the luggage already?!

So I have to go through the custom check and the officer was asking where my luggage is, and that's the point where I just couldn't hold it anymore... the tears just came rolling!! Soooooo embarassing!!! The officer then told me to go out from the other exit without queueing... phew...

My company arranged for an airport transfer so it was an easy ride going to the corporate apartment. When I reached the apartment, I tried to call my hubby but he was still sleeping (it was like 3 AM in Singapore).. so I just continue crying in my room.. not a very good first day experience.. :(

I have my laptop and cellphone with me but all the chargers are in the luggage, so I had limited supply of communication way to people that I know. I frantically tried to search for pen and paper to write down important phone numbers in case my hp suddenly give up on me.. to my surprise, even my pen went missing!! SOOOO UNLUCKY !!

I think I called the airlines more than 10 times from my apartment.. was talking to their automatic answering machine most of the time.. and the fact that the software can't really recognize what I answer to them.. so irritating!! I don't like United Airlines!! If next time I can choose my own airlines, I'll definitely choose others, but some people said that some other airlines are worse than United.. omg.. sth else can be worse than this?? And when I finally get to speak to their office or customer service or whatever, they told me the last time the luggage was scanned was in Singapore.. I was like "Duh!! that's because I checked it in there!!"

Anyway, rather than feeling down the whole day when I'm overseas and my first weekend there, I decided to go out shopping, and with a very good reason for that. I have no change of clothes or undergarments! And I've been wearing the one that I wore for more than 24 hours because of the flight!! Sooooo dirty!! So I went shopping and bought lots of tops, one pair of jeans, lots of panties (HAHA!), toiletries, stationeries, etc. I was considering whether or not to get a USA phone. There's an AT&T shop near the apartment and they sell a Samsung phone for USD 75, then the prepaid-card is abt 20 bucks (with no value inside) + top up card for 25 bucks.. so it's not very expensive.. but when I finally made up my mind to get that, the shop was closed so I have to go back next morning.

That night, United Airlines told me that they have found my luggage at Japan airport.. stupid gundu!! The thing that irritated me the most is I actually asked the service staff in Singapore airport if I need to re-check in my luggage in Japan, and they actually said that it will go straight to SF... straight huh?! Anyway, I don't think it's his fault because he put the correct label and sticker on the luggage. So it must be the stupid luggage handler in Singapore or at Japan aiport!! CANNOT READ OR WHAT?!?! so angry lah!! And they didn't scan the luggage in Japan? WHY?!?!

Anyway that stupid airlines said it will be on the next flight to SF which I checked from their website supposed to reach SF in the morning, so I rushed out of the apt to get my new AT&T phone and try to rush back in case they send me the luggage. And after waiting for so many hours and getting the same reply "still in the custom check" I just got so fed up and went shopping again, this time round.. Stanford shopping centre! There's nothing better than retail theraphy!!

Yeah who doesn't love sale? :D

Ok rewind back a little bit, I actually went to Stanford University as well, since I was there! The place is really huge and it looks like how a uni looks like in American movies :D

There's a lot of empty lands over there. The taxi driver told me that someone donated the land to Stanford with a condition that they can't cut the trees on that land.. how cool is that!

Next, we go shopping!

Obviously, I didn't take many photos there, partly because I was busy shopping and another reason is because I have to rush back in case the luggage is being delivered to the apt..

I think the luggage was only delivered at 8 PM at night.. after a long day.. and the fact that the apt has no lift.. I had to carry the luggage up, but it felt really great being reunited with my luggage again... after so much drama! At least I can have my luggage and all the stuff that I need before I start my training the next day..

It was only later then I realized that the QUITE NEW luggage is torn! ARRGGH STUPID UNITED AIRLINES!!

Can't be bothered about them already.... so tired...

First day training at Google HQ, Mt. View
The place is soooooooo great! It's like a campus and I can really understand why they voted Google US as number 1 company to work for. We couldn't take any photos indoor due to security reasons but here are some photos of the outdoor places..

Bottom left: photo taken in Google wi-fi bus!

And these are some photos of the corporate apt that I stayed..

And this is the outside part..

Week 1 of Training
We also went to visit YouTube office at San Bruno.. that place is cool !!

And then there was one night that we went to Castro St. for dinner. For a small town, that place has loads of eating places and with good varieties as well!

Second Weekend in California and Las Vegas
On Friday night I flew to Las Vegas to meet up with a friend from LA. It was soooooooo great to see her! Pregnant and all that! She looks really good!! Pregnancy is really treating her well and I hope I look as good as that when I'm pregnant next time! :)

My friend and her husband drove all the way from LA to Las Vegas, must be tiring for them! And we still drove around in Las Vegas because it was really hot to walk outside, even at night! I took some (ok a lot) photos there but some of them might be blur because they were taken from a moving car.. bear with me..

My room at MGM Grand that my fren helped to get for free!

The tiger show at MGM Grand

And we went to watch a show called La Reve at Wynn Hotel but they didn't allow us to take photos during the performance because of copyright and also the flash from the camera might cause temporary blindness to the performers, so these are just some setup from the theatre.. I was so impressed!

We tried one of the machine while waiting for her hubby (parking the car or sth..) and we didn't understand the rule of the game, we had no idea why we won or lost.. and after 5 minutes we just gave up and continued to walk around the shops.. casinos are not that exciting! Shops are still better laa.. :D

On Sunday morning, we drove back to Los Angeles (I slept a lot during the journey.. haha) but managed to take a few pics.. and we saw a car burning!! omg.. that's bad!! Lots of smoke..

And when we reach LA, we drove past Beverly Hills and then to Hollywood! Yippie!! I was hoping to catch a glimpse of some celebrity.. anyone as long as they are celebrity! Even that stupid Jolie, I forgot that she was hospitalized .. or giving birth.. sth like that.. so I didn't see any real celebrity, but I saw someone who really look like Johnny Depp!

And then we also went to Venice Beach.. sooooo nice!! people walking their dogs, playing beach volleyball, picnic with families, and even weight lifting! We went to the public toilet and there was this drunk guy behind a wall. He was so drunk and he peed lying down on the floor! I could see his head and the fountain of water.. geez!!

And then time to say sayonara to my friend, her hubby and LA.. I hope I can come again! There's still so much to do in LA and the weather is friendlier than Las Vegas.. Must visit there again! :)

Second week of new hire training
The training went on as usual, a lot of new information and lots of new stuff to learn! I thought I needed to buy a new hard disk to replace my brain! Since I shall not disclose what they training materials are (ha! as if anyone is interested..) so I shall just write about the after-work stuff that we did..

We went to Palo Alto again.. SF.. Apple store.. so cool I tell you.. Cheesecake factory, etc.. Let the pics describe..

We also went to the Fisherman's Wharf at SF and then to the pier where we can catch a glimpse of the Alcatraz.. it was cold that day and I didn't have my jacket with me!

Sayonara California.. hope to see you again! :)

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