Someone told me that finally what you remember when a good run ends are memories of the good times. After 10 years, I say goodbye to Cypress.
The other day my son and I - we were playing a game to build up his memory on country names. I ended up counting how many countries I visited during my time @ Cypress - it was 30+ countries (I forget if it was 36 or 39) in 4 continents. For giving me the opportunity to travel world-wide and work in 3 continents - I will be forever thankful to Cypress. One's thinking expands when you travel and work with different cultures and visit different places - this is something you cannot get otherwise. I'll list the top 5 entertaining moments I had in these 10 years when traveling. Damn it.. I see there were some entertaining moments.
1) Follow-me taxi: When I joined Cypress in India, I got sent to San Jose for a knowledge transfer training. It ended up as a close to 3 months stay. After a few weeks I ventured to rent a car (with another colleague who was also visiting CY USA). We somehow lost our way and it was fun trying to knock someone's door to find directions. Finally we hired a taxi and followed him!
2) Shopping in Israel: It's never fun when you have working Sundays. Israel is one of the places that does. In my first customer trip abroad I landed in Israel on Saturday night (Sabbath) only to lose my luggage. Saturday evenings are sort of closed out (that's interesting..no shopping during Sabbath!). I waited at a shopping complex for shops to open. Now comes the difficult part. Explaining what I really wanted to buy in an old traditional shop (not one of the jazzy malls)...is not fun. Especially try translating inner wear.
3) Detained in Switzerland: Borderless travel in Europe is no fun when you forget to carry your passport. Especially in Switzerland. I always felt traveling to customer visits in Southern Germany or Switzerland to be most fun. Trains are fast, efficient and always nice. I was on one of my usual visits in Zug / Zurich (I forget where now) and got selected for the random check (damn...now how random can it be that the brown-skinned guy always get random checked :-))... Carrying no passport. No visa. Detained in a police station for few hours. Psst. Never ever ever leave without your passport. That was the closest I came to being sent back to my home country.
4) Chef's special soup @ Ritz Carlton Seoul: Being a veggie is no fun in far east. Especially in Korea. One of the early fun days was always the long travels that our friendly JB Raa was fond of sending me to :-) Korea being his home country, I got packed there for 4 or 5 weeks to visit customers staying locally. The bland food in my hotel finally caught upto me after the first few weeks...I bought some rasam powder (the spicy curry) from local Indian store and asked the chef @ Ritz Carlton to prepare a soup daily. It seems the chef tasted this and took a liking for the Indian soup! He promised to include this in the menu as the Chef's special soup. I need to find someday if Ritz Carlton, Seoul really has this still on menu!
5) The night-time coffee in Finland: Traveling to Nordic (Sweden, Finland or Norway) was always fun. The customers are so friendly, people are so fun to be with, the places are so vast (no doubt I really liked traveling recently to Alaska for vacation.. it's so similar)! Vaasa is an interesting place in Finland. Being close to the Arctic circle - you can always count on sun at 1am or 2am during summer-time. The coffee you drink when there is a colorful hue (is that what they call Aurora Borealis...never mind, I didn't know that then) is awesome! Who needs sleep then. Just that you need to stay awake the next day...
6) Snowed over Sweden: The Nordic telecom customers were onetime big users of our RAMs.. it was a monthly trip visiting Stockholm or Gothenburg. Anders and I, after a price negotiation were just heading to the airport in the most horrible snow storm I have seen...3 feet snow; Anders being the honest guy you can find, trying to still make it to the airport (though we both knew flights would be cancelled). Struck in airport, no flights, no hotel to stay, no taxis going out now seems like a pleasant experience (atleast the old pics seem to show a happy me!).. Tip: book a hotel room asap when it snows heavily in Nordics. Airports are no fun.
7) Losing cell-phone can be dangerous (happy wife, happy life!): Specialty Memory days were so much fun traveling into Israel for customer visits. When traveling to airport like 3 hrs before your flight (so that you clear all the security checks at Ben Gurion Airport), I called my wife to say I'm heading home. There was a cop checking our taxi (this is normal when you are entering into the airport), I told my wife that I need to hang up to speak to the cop. I left my phone in the taxi heading into the airport. She seems to have called me back only for a strange guy to pick-up the call and speak in Hebrew. She ends up calling Sumit (I hope he remembers this call), Richard (sales guy in Israel).. and the airport. Luckily I remembered to call her after passing through the security check.
8) Never mix red-bull with vodka and Irish car bomb: Kamal is not a fun boss when it comes to drinking binges. Amol and I had an interesting drinking experience when we were based in Munich. Spending a night drinking with Kamal and Ludwig.. is never a good idea. Especially when you down 5 shots of red-bull with vodka and then end up drinking Irish car bomb. I ended up taking the wrong local train in Munich.., I really don't remember much. Waking up in Stanberg the next morning, I took the 2hr train back home. That was one angry wife waiting back. My colleague Amol had pink rashes all over his face the next Monday in office. Never seen someone like that.
Well there it goes (did I say i'll write top-5?).... I have no time now to edit and correct this to top-8... its my post anyway. Who gives the tower of pisa a second glance if it were standing straight! I'll leave this as is.
Ciao till next time...Harsha