Because I work for a Japanese company in the U. S., it is not common to have any business relation with our European offices but I guess this time was a bit different. I have never thought I could visit Europe while I work for this company. I think I am going to enjoy this one, and besides that, I was on business trips all the time over this year so I will take this as a treat. Hahaha!
Since I just come back from a Michigan business trip, and took an exam yesterday I was quite busy and has not done much of stuffs. I woke up around 6:30am, spent morning packing and doing loads of laundries. I managed to go outside for a while to walk (I needed because I will be sitting in a seat for 8 hours), and left apartment around 11:40am, I headed to Radio Shack to get a socket adaptor for my laptop PC because it is different in Belgium. They did not have one so I guess I have to buy one at somewhere else. I stopped by at a Marsh, bought two bags each of beef jerky and candies for the people at Belgium office then off to the airport and arrived at parking at 12:40pm. I had to wait a bit but I checked in my bags and headed to the security. I passed the security and arrived at gate around 1:10pm. I was expecting my laptop PC to be rechecked because last three trips I was in had such case, but did not happen this time. Maybe the air blow I did blasted some questionable debris off from it. Anyways, I stopped by at a store to buy a magazine and bottled water. I should be okay.
Plane getting ready at Indianapolis
Very much everything was smooth, boarding went with no problem, took off on time and arrived at Chicago around 2:20pm. The city of Chicago was covered with a bit of snow, so the city was reflecting sun light as the plane fly over. The plane flew over just north of the midway airport, then changed heading to NE and headed to Michigan lake, after turning to the west again for the approach, I get to see Chicago downtown far in a haze. The plane landed okay but had trouble getting to the gate because we arrived too early. One time we turned around on a taxiway to make a U-turn. Anyways, the plane arrived at the gate.
Chicago airport is in Christmas mood.
The gate for the connection flight is at the same gate so I don't need to walk around or change the terminal. So I walked around the concourse and purchased a wrist watch from a duty free store since I forgot to bring mine this time, and I definitely needed one. I am much so used to check time with my cell phone. I should stop that because I can only use my cell phone in the U.S. only. While waiting for boarding, I was looking for SEVIS system. Which I need to check out from the country. I asked a person at the counter but no idea. I later found out that they bring TSA folks at the gate. I checked myself out, and they performed second check as we boarded. People going to Brussels got some many different passports...
B767 preparing for 8 hours flight
I got on board the plane. Thanks to my luck, the guy sitting next to me moved to find a better seat for sleeping (He was planning on reading book all the time...). After the departure, the plane had to taxi for a while and wait for a moment, The plane took in the air soon. The sunset was quite amazing although it was overcast. Completed turning to north east after reaching the Michigan lake. The plane flew over some cities over Canada, but I cannot tell which one. I took a nap just enough to keep me going for the rest of the day. The Boeing B767 I boarded did not have a good entertainment system unless I fly in the business class (no way I or the company could afford...). After passing the half of the flight leg, I saw a couple of lights on the ground but it was not possible to determine if it was what city. Only time I know where I was, was the time flying over overcastted London. It was a huge orange cloud. The plane approached to Brussels as it descends, I start to see the lights.
Taking off in Chicago
The plane arrived dark and rainy Brussels around 7:10am, which was a lot earlier than scheduled. I walked out of the gate and began walking a long straight hallway for immigration. I had to go through the border control. There were a section for EU and Non-EU. I had to go through Non-EU. I was wearing a company jacket so it was so easy for them to recognize who I am. I passed the checkpoint and proceeded to the baggage claim. I had to wait for a while but at the same time, I began to realize stuffs are so expensive here.Arrived at Belgium Airport
2 Euros for a bottle of drink?! (Note that 0,5L, not 0.5L) I have no idea what this one is saying...
After picking up my baggage, I double checked the phone number given by my local contact. I am a bit worried if I would be able to find him. Anyways, I walked out with my bags to the exit. I was able to catch up with the guy very quick. After riding the car for about 15 minutes, I have arrived the office and began my long day here. I have met with people there then I worked whole day. For the noon, I went to IKEA for the lunch with coworkers. I did not know they have such a thing. I had Swedish meat balls, although I cannot read anything but I can point things out like I used to do as those student days. Hahaha.
In the evening, my coworker took me to a hotel for checking in. The room has two single beds, and a bath room. However, there was no air-conditioning so I had to use a heating core seen in an old building. I cannot believe it's 100 Euros a night, but I guess it cannot be helped.
The hotel room, only the heating core showing the left is the way to get warm up... It has a free Belgium chocolates...!
After coming back to the office, my coworkers took me to the center part of the city (Grand Place), and I had shell, and other stuffs. I was warned not to pick anything not showing the price. Restaurants targeting tourists always have such kind of tricky stuffs.
Chez Leon, the place we ate
Mussels with white wine (Moules au vin blanc) Fried Mussels with Tartar Sauce (Moules friture sauce tartare)
Snails Burgundy style (Escargots de Bougogne) Gambas with garlic (Gambas a l'Ail)
After the dinner I was able to walk around a bit. Too bad the rain has not stopped yet. We then returned to the underground parking lot which had almost 8 levels. I came back to the hotel, and went to bed
City Hall, rain drops reflecting the light of flash and look like a snow flake A building across the city hall
Woke up at 6:00am, the room was a bit tight but managed to workout at my room. I took shower and headed for the breakfast at the lounge. They had some bread, hams, cheese and cereals. For the drink, they had tea, various coffee, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. I went back to the room and got ready for the day. I will be picked up around 7:50am or so. I had a bit of free time.
Breakfast at hotel.
Rain was predicted but totally sunny from the morning, The coworkers told me it is not common. This time of weather in Belgium is generally rainy. Went to a Japanese restaurant for the lunch, and a Portuguese restaurant in the evening. I went back to the hotel, The city is a bit wired because there are a bunch of town houses, which of course I have see in the u.s. also but somehow environment is different and matches here better. The restaurant was located at in the middle of somewhere Many houses are built right next to each other and usually have three stories. The first floor for the shop, lime bike shop pharmacy, restaurant, haircut. Second and third for the residence. I also found that I can go to a web site called resto.be for more information.
I went to Nautico restaurant in the evening
Saldinhas Assadas (18.00Euro) Arroz de Marisco (40.00Euro)
Woke up at 6:00am, still pretty dark but no rain. I was able to walk around the hotel but I could not get too far. I found Holiday Inn right next to us but there was no store to buy postcards. I also saw that there are several bus systems available for the area. I might be able to use it over the weekend. I got a ride to work and began training the coworkers. I went to a near by gas station for lunch Just like I eat at a Subway, I picked ham and cheese, tomato and salad. Some coworkers got meals from near by Chinese place. The work ended around 4:20pm but then stayed up until almost 8:00pm again I went out to get dinner at a Japanese restaurant with coworkers. I came back to hotel around 10:30pm and managed to workout until 11:00pm and went to bed. I was checking on the TV channels and found there are some English programs available, like CNN, CNBC, BBC.
Woke up at 6:00am, worked out and headed to the lounge for breakfast. Regular breads and OJs. I went to work around 8:00am, and spent whole day at the office. I went to a pita place for the lunch with coworkers. I had a pita and cola. The marking on the can was a bit different so it was cool. Like other places, the restaurant was located on the first floor. It was located nearby railways.
Typical street view. A lot of places sells stuffs at the first floor
Pita (French fries stuffed inside) The coke is made in Netherlands and written in non-English...
The sunset comes early because located high latitude
For the dinner in the evening, we had a meal from the traditional Belgium meal. I had beer cooked beef and French fries. The restaurant was located right by the Grand Plaza
Carbonnade Flamande (Beer cooked beef) Waterzooi (Water boiled Chicken)
Tomato aux Crevette (Shrimp Salad)
I got back to the hotel and watched TV for a while then went to bed.
Some American sit com programs with subtitles... (House, in this case)
Woke up at 6:00am, because I have to visit a company branch in Germany, I needed to be on a day trip today. Just in case, I carried my passport. Got a ride around 8:00am, heading to Germany. We took autobahn and arrived at Düsseldorf around 11:00pm. I found there is traffic jam on the road. People usually have idea that Autobahn is a place where BMW and other German cars flying around. It is true on a way, because we were passed by a bunch of cars, but there are many speed traps and also traffic jams like I noted. Also, a law in Germany require all the cars to wear winter tires from October. I guess there is no such law in the U.S.
Some pictures while on the way
Even autobahn has traffic jam...
After arriving at the office soon it was lunch time. So we had lunch at a china buffet for 10euros. It's pretty funny that I come back to the office and take care of all the businesses there. We were able to leave around 4:30pm.
Smart cars used by DHL executives.
Chinese food names written in German...
After leaving the city, Stopped at Aachen before heading back to Brussels. There was a Kristmas markt was going on so we just looked around.
I had sausage on a small bread. I did not know what it was called so I make purchase by pointing it out. Which is supposed to be a Belgium's favorite.
After arriving at the town, we had dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I had a Mabo-tofu ramen noodle. I had to
I had to take care of few things before heading back to the hotel.
It was still sunny and I was hoping to have another sunny day tomorrow
This time, I did not exercise. I was too tired.
Woke up at 7:00am. I still wanted to stay in bed but I needed to enjoy today so I worked out in the morning and had breakfast, then got ready for the sightseeing! Unfortunately it was raining from the morning. My coworker took me to two places outside of the Brussels.
The first place I went was Brugge it is a famous tourist place. The place is surrounded by a water way and there was a castle in the middle of the town. I guess the construction of the city is, water surrounding the castle or some core portion of the city. Another water surrounding the perimeter of the city. We stayed there until 2:00pm, We tried on potato fried with mayo. It is very much a snack for local kids. I guess eating potato friends instead of rice is not quite right for me but I have to eat like a local person, or not???
Pizza Hut Foot Locker...
Santa on mission impossible??? A Santa Candle...
Post office Old looking Post Box in this city
Many towns surrounded by a canal A huge tower at the center of the town
After driving in rain. We stopped at Gent. This place had three big churches, and I went inside of one of them. There were tombs of Kings and some artifact like drawing and such. The rain was over when we come out and stayed that was for the rest of the day. In the evening it began foggy a little.
Finally come back to Brussels, and watched a kind of light show at the Grand Place and ¸¬•Ö¸¬‘m. I ate waffle which is supposed to be a famous thing in Belgium. Had dinner at an Italian restaurant. We had to look for the one which we could get some good food. We picked one which we saw a grandma looking person is putting the meals in the oven, expecting it is a good taste but came out to be bad. Man. My guess is there is NO GOOD ITALIAN RESTAURANT!
On the way back to the hotel, my coworker took me to the Royal and European Union building.
Belgium = chocolate?!
Night time in Brussels, the picture showing an ambulance
Pictures from Grand Place
European Union building
A very salty Carzone
Woke up at 6:00am. I had breakfast around 7:00am, I enjoyed tasty bread and milk for the last time. Man, I am going to miss them. Checked out the hotel at 730am, and got a ride to the airport at 8:00am. The shuttle bus stopped at another hotel for a while but then arrived at the airport. I took an elevator up to the departure level. Brussels airport is not that big at the terminal but I have never expected the following event.
Holiday Inn Shuttle Bus...
Brussels - Chicago
I was expecting the process to be fairly quick but it was a wrong idea, I lined up for a quite while, maybe for one hour at the check in counter, and finally got my ticket at 9:30am. Lined up for the security check, which was such a long wait. I arrived at the gate almost 10 minutes before the departure. There seems to be a lot of people coming behind so the plane took off a little later than scheduled. The plane took off, I was hoping to have a glance of Brussels one last time but the plane turned earlier than I hoped so I missed it. I guess for the king having airplane just took off flying over the head is not acceptable, or something.
People waiting in lines
Last minute to buy Belgium chocolate!
B767 I need to get on! Wait for meeee!
AA89 Brussels - Chicago O'Hare
AA4135 Chicago O'Hare - Indianapolis
While I was waiting, there was a guy coming in at very last moment. The guy sat next me was participating in am exchange program from the college, he spent a semester in Brussels. I guess it is a cool thing.
The plane took off and set to flight. Passing England and headed to Atlantic Ocean. We got the lunch served and I had chicken and Penne. Because there was no time for me to buy water, so I had to bare with what I get served. The second lunch served just before arrival, and this time was tomato and cheese pizza. I just finished it.
The plane flew up the north of Chicago, and approached from NW of the airport. The plane landed okay and just a quick taxing took us to the gate. The plane landed a bit later than scheduled because we had delay on departure. I saw ground crew removing some bags.
Maybe the arriving gate was a bit far way. I had to walk awfully a lot. There weren't many American citizens on lines so the traffic was diverted for us to go though the extra lines. I picked up the baggage and left them at the baggage check in. Got a ride in a train system to Terminal three,
I was arriving at immigration by 3:00pm I have not been questioned much this time.
At the Brussels airport, the lady asked me all the questions, like do I own the baggage, who packed it, have I put them under my supervision all the time and stuffs.
The connection flight was leaving at 5:30pm, and I was already here by 2:00pm. The connection flight was not even on the schedule screen. I just worked on my journal.
Let's go back to Indianapolis
We finally got onboard the plane. The guy sat next me was planning on staying at Indianapolis whole week.
The plane landed
I was just sleepy in the plane so I took some power naps.
The ride to the parking was packed. Rain began falling, too...
Driving back to my apartment under rain. At least my
Another airliner flying along.
Somewhere in Canada. I see very much nothing...
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