A Few Firsts.... But Little First Class

Status
Not open for further replies.

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
I have attended a few banquets in the south in the past consisting of pulled pork, red slaw, beans, corn and mash and admit that I have enjoyed this style of food (for a few meals anyway).

I echo your sentiment sr81, the people from the south really are very hospitable and friendly folk.
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
Having a Hoot(er) of a Time (Part II)……

The hospitality programme for the conference kicked off at 5pm on the Sunday afternoon. To be honest this is essentially a p*ss up, although I guess most of you would have already made that assumption.

After hanging around our booth for a couple of hours, handing out bottles of beer and talking to customers I decided it was time to do the rounds of the other vendors to see what beer… I mean products….. they had on display.

As I started to do the rounds it occurred to me that the other vendors all had very attractive female sales staff (our recruiting program is definitely in need of an overhaul and I had a pretty good idea what the new selection criteria were now going to be). Now I don’t want to sound overly vain, but I reckon that I do scrub up alright to at least look presentable at an occasion like this, particularly after a nice, hot, oiled…. errr shave. However, considering that most of the registrants at this point were boozed up blokes enjoying a few nights away from home on their boss’s account, I could have been giving away 200 plasma TV’s and still would not have distracted them from the two things that currently held their undivided attention – beer and the sight of the (admittedly fine) female form.

[DISCLAIMER: Apologies at this point to the female AFF members who may be reading this report and any offence this chauvinistic attitude may have caused. Regrettably this is a humanistic account of my trip and the attitudes and behaviour of the masses does not in any way reflect the attitudes or opinions of the author…..]

It then occurred to me that some of the sales assistants looked remarkably familiar. As mentioned previously, I attended this same conference last year but did not recall these same sales staff. All of a sudden it clicked as I realised that I recognised said sales staff from dinner last night at Hooters. It seems that many of the vendors had gone on a local recruiting drive when they arrived in Greensboro, with Hooters being a logical starting point. These girls were being employed purely to poor drinks (and attract guests to the vendor's booth). I am sure that for many of the attendees, this will be the most memorable recollection of the entire conference.

Ahhh, I thought as I made my way through the crowd, good old Marketing 101……… Sex Sells.
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
Hmm... leaving on Saturday for Shanghai and still not back from Greensboro.

Better get off my @rse and finish this report.......:oops:
 
Your simple solution to home security. Quickly view what’s happening at home when you're not there, giving you peace of mind.

Simple plug-in installation means you’ll be up and running in no time.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
The conference would up on Tuesday at lunchtime. From there we made our way to Samford, NC, to visit a project site that our Pittsburgh office had completed a few months earlier.

Dinner that night was at a (the?) steakhouse in Samford where you order your steaks by the pound. A guy comes to your table with a whole beef fillet and you tell him how much steak you would like. I settled on 10 oz. plus the “loaded” potato (hmmm, would they serve one of those on a plane?) and salad bar, all washed down with a few Yuenglings and a piece of cheesecake [OK, any thoughts of maintaining a healthier diet while I am here have long since disappeared – the fitness kick will definitely commence when I am back in Melbourne…….as we also sampled a couple of Monte Cristo’s and a considerable amount of single malt scotch on the last night of the conference, my lifestyle definitely needs to improve]

Back to the steakhouse. There is an honour roll on the wall of the restaurant for the record for most steak eaten in one sitting. At the time of this visit the record stood at 52 oz!!! This is actually quite impressive – pretty much the equivalent to a big budget pack of rumps from Woollies. What is even more impressive is that I visited this same restaurant two years earlier and the record had only been improved on by 4 oz in that time. The thought of it was nearly enough to have me reaching for the Mylanta…..

Little did I know this would not be my only culinary treat in Samford……..

The following day we returned to the visit the same customer from the previous day as there were a couple of issues that needed to be addressed. Anyway, we did not finish what we needed to do until about 11:30, which meant lunch would be next on the agenda. The client offered to treat us to lunch as Fatso’s. Well, a name like Fatso’s should have started the alarm bells ringing straight away, but seeing as the client was offering to take us to lunch, and that had recently handed over the remaining retention on the project, how could I possibly say no. To be honest, I should have cut my losses and risked offending them……

Cast your minds back to the TV series Rosanne, or any other series set in small town diners-ville USA (Lanford / Samford pretty similar)……. OK, you should now have a pretty good picture of what was in store. Fatso is renowned for his burgers. Not just any burger, but the Fatso Burger. And not just the Fatso Burger, but the Double Fatso Burger. I am guessing by now that you know what they ordered me for lunch…… As the only international guest to have frequented Fatso’s establishment in probably the last 250 years (maybe a slight exaggeration) Fatso took great pride in presenting me with his masterpiece.

And what a concoction it was: take a 6” bun, add a bit of chilli mince, a couple of slices of cheese, some coleslaw, a half pound meat patty, more cheese, onions, another meat patty, a few more slices of cheese and then drowned in mayonnaise. I kid you not. And it comes with a side of onion rings just in case you are still feeling a little peckish.

With the pride of the nation at stake I thought I had better make a decent attempt at consuming this monstrosity, else our friends way over on the other side of the pacific think we are a bunch of caviar and foie gras eating nancy’s (apologies to those amongst us that do actually like caviar and goose liver).

By the time I had finished the DFB (c’mon, I had an audience that I couldn’t leave disappointed) I was definitely ready for the Mylanta and a good lie down. It would be a long drive back to Pittsburgh with that sitting in my stomach……..
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,426
Points
0
Ahh Pittsburgh :) Happy Happy memories. I have heard of Fatso's (we were working 14 hour days so didnt make it down there) - I believe that they have a little person working there on a Monday...

The only decent feed I had in PIT was here.
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
simongr said:
The only decent feed I had in PIT was here.
yes, I ate there on the Thursday night (just writing up that part of the TR). I did not note the name of the restaurant at the time so thanks for reminding me ;)
 

simongr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
14,426
Points
0
Not a problem - although I should perhaps not be writing other people's trip reports so I shall cease my PIT reminiscing ;)
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
Back in the Pittsburgh office on Thursday and sitting in on some discussions regarding a project being executed in Poland (hmmm…. Another travel opportunity perhaps) and a potential project in Malaysia that our Melbourne office would be heavily involved in (definitely another travel opportunity).

They were also hosting a client from South Africa that had been to the same conference in Greensboro. It was arranged that I would have dinner with them that evening on Mount Washington (this report seems to be more about eating than travelling…).

For those not familiar with Pittsburgh, if you are going to dine somewhere in the evening then Mount Washington is the place to be. It offers spectacular views of the Point (junction of the three rivers – Ohio, Allegheny and the Monongahela), downtown Pittsburgh and the multitude of bridges that Pittsburgh is renowned for (the incline [trolley car] in the photo on the Wikipedia page is making its way to/from Mount Washington). We arrived there about an hour before dusk on a reasonably clear evening so experienced a very colourful sunset over the city.

The restaurant we ate at was the Monterey Bay Fish Grotto (thanks for the reminder simon). From the outside this place looks a little odd and you think what sort of establishment is this. You then take an elevator up about 4 floors to a large open plan restaurant that is all glass on the two sides facing the city. We were originally assigned a seat near the back of the restaurant, but with a bit of charm (probably due to the fact that we were quite an international contingent) we were moved to a table that had unimpeded views of the city. The seafood was very nice, as was the array of wines that we sampled. Certainly one of my better (and probably healthier) meals on this trip.
 

drron

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2002
Messages
28,511
Solutions
1
Points
4,040
Well I reckon you take the prize for the longest hangover on AFF.A month in Greensboro,NC.I am now in the health kick phase to remove the excess kilos so I will be ready to put them back on when back in the States in early December.
Getting ready for our white christmas with the centrepiece being a turducken-a turkey stuffed with a duck which has a chicken inside.The chicken of couse is also stuffed.I now have a pre-USA wardrobe and a post-USA wardrobe.
It sounds that between the business and introducing far too much fat and carbs to your alimentary system you have had a fair bit of fun.
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
drron said:
....It sounds that between the business and introducing far too much fat and carbs to your alimentary system you have had a fair bit of fun.
Just a tad ;) Most of my travel (and all of my international travel) is work related, so it is imperative that the right balance of business and pleasure is found :D
 

Keith009

Established Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
4,598
Points
540
Shano said:
... else our friends way over on the other side of the pacific think we are a bunch of caviar and foie gras eating nancy’s

:shock: :evil:

I'd definitely love to check out all those food places you mentioned in the US though - sounds very yummy. Oh overindulgence...:oops: :D
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
To the Big Apple…… (or at least LGA…) Part 1

I had a reasonably early start the next morning with my first of three flights for the day departing at 7:30am. On advice from colleagues in our Pittsburgh office I planned to be at the airport at least 90 minutes prior to departure, so that meant a 5:30 pick-up from the motel, courtesy of the (funnily enough) courtesy bus… if only I had known about this on arrival.
I had organised to take some other Australian clients through a plant in California that I was involved with during the late 90’s. These clients had also been at the Greensboro conference and then had other commitments up to the Friday, which meant the plant visit would have to occur on the Saturday as they were flying in from CLT.

Therefore the schedule for the day involved making my way back to LAX, via LGA and ORD. My KUPPing quest resulted in this particular routing as it minimised the length of the single class AE flight and got me to LAX in time to collect these clients from SNA. As I had never been to New York before the flight to LGA was appealing, even though it really only meant a view of NYC from the air.

From the Comfort (Place of Ill Repute) Inn the courtesy bus did a round of the other hotels in the area on its way to the airport. This is a pre-booked service so that the bus only turns up at hotels that have people waiting. It was quite frustrating then that the two other hotels that we stopped at, nada passengers. Perhaps this is a little too simple in principle….. I probably shouldn’t have been too concerned as it really only added about 10 minutes to the trip to the airport, but perhaps it was the effects of the wine consumed the previous evening.

I was at the check-in counter at pretty much right on 6 o’clock. There were no queues so I was served straight away. These 3 flights had been booked via aa.com and paid via the “UK method” so there was no chance to enter my QFF details, apart from calling IndiAA. The helpful check-in agent added this detail and 3 BP’s issued.

At this point I am thinking why did I get here so early – this is taking no time at all (famous last words….). From check-in it was down the escalator to security screening. As I was riding down the escalator I could see a queue that stretched from the WTMDs, right out through the terminal doors to the car park. Oh great (or a word to that effect) I muttered and headed off to the back of the queue. A sign at the bottom of the escalator quite helpfully informed everyone that once you reach this point, you only have another 20 minutes to go…… thank you.

When I reach the end of the queue and start the slow crawl forward I hear an announcement along the lines of “…. Security…… delays….. patience….. elite lane….”

Elite lane! Where! Good bye horde and hello express clearance! I quite casually exit the common queue and make my way towards screening. Sure enough there is a lane for elites and first class passengers. Luckily I heard the announcement as Iwould have needed binoculars from where I was standing to see the elite sign. I approach the screening lady armed with my Beagle Y BP and WP card. She pays scant regard to the card and happily ushers me through to screening. This queue jumping experience brought a small smile to my face, but it was to be short lived……….
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
To the Big Apple…… (or at least LGA…) Part 2

AA4906 PIT-LGA (Operated by American Eagle)
ER4
Seat 11A

I remove my laptop from the backpack, off with the shoes, mobile phone, pens, etc stuffed inside the backpack and then walk through the WTMD. On the other side I am greeted by the security officer. Boarding pass please. Ohh…. Out of habit from my oz domestic travel the BP ended up in the tray with the rest of my stuff.
If you didn’t already know this is A BIG NO NO in the LOTFAP!!!

I then start to receive a bit of a dressing down from said security officer regarding maintaining possession of BP / security / blah blah….. I was then told to stand up against the wall, with my left knee in contact with the wall, until the tray with my BP had come through the X-ray!!!! Now I wasn’t feeling the best and the smart-cough in me was threatening to make my own announcement, but I maintained enough self control to just do as told.

When I identify my tray, which is not that easy to do when you are standing up against a wall with your back to the X-ray, I am escorted over to check the contents for my BP. BP and passport are then studied intently, after which I am told I am free to go and not to do this again….. OK, I think I got the message. Perhaps historical events have contributed to this sense of security paranoia, but this guy was simply bordering on out of control (particularly when I observed someone at LGA do exactly the same as I just did but without all of the theatrics).

I walk off to find a coffee making mental notes….”HOLD ON TO YOUR BP!!!”

I knew that I would not have lounge access at PIT so I wondered around the food area looking for some coffee and sustenance to ward off the effects of the previous night. I settled on McDonalds…….

A coffee, some hashbrowns and a sausage mcmuffin later I am starting to feel a bit more civil. I fire up the laptop and use the free airport wifi to check email and see what has been happening on AFF.

It is then time to walk down to the gate at the far end of the concourse for the CRJ flight to LGA. Seating configuration in the CRJ is 1 + 2, and I had assigned myself a seat on the 1 side hoping to score a good view of NYC at we descended into LGA. This turned out to be the wrong side, as on approach, NYC was off to the right hand side of the plane. I do manage to catch glimpses of Manhattan and it really is a sight to behold to see such a concentration of skyscrapers on such a small amount of real estate. This makes me more determined to fit in a few nights in New York on my next trip to the US.
 
Last edited:

serfty

Veteran Member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
43,967
Solutions
14
Points
3,300
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
This propensity for large meals may have an interesting manifestation for the traveler.

In my infrequent journeys to the US I have always been in either A class or P. As a result I have generally been amongst the first to board. Thus ensconced I get to see most of the remainder of the SLF as boarding continues.

Maybe it's just the flights I have been on but a good ratio of PAX seem to be quite, well, erm how does one say it, ah ... "laterally challenged"(?).

It has to be said, in OZ I have also seen many bearing the same condition, it just seems to be a far greater proportion in the US are afflicted.

To me, it generally seems to be most apparent below the waste -on the hips and rear. Subconsciously, I have begun referring to the US as the LOTLA - "Land of the Lard .....

I hope I don't offend anyone with this. :-|
 

oz_mark

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 30, 2002
Messages
19,389
Solutions
6
Points
1,440
serfty said:
To me, it generally seems to be most apparent below the waste -on the hips and rear. Subconsciously, I have begun referring to the US as the LOTLA - "Land of the Lard .....

It would be fair to say that Australia is heading in pretty much the same direction. I certainly get to sit next to many fellow passengers that errr, overflow their seats.
 

BlacKnox

Active Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
735
Points
0
Re: Having a Hoot(er) of a Time

Good TR Shano.

Shano said:
H O O T E R S. So off I went, drawn by its magical spell….. well I certainly wasn’t going for the food!

I was quite surprised that there were a large number of families at this particular restaurant. I had the impression that it would be full of men leering at the waitresses (that’s why I was there after all).
Hooters markets itself as a family restaurant, both in the U.S and here in Australia. In the U.S, many HOOTERS have an alcohol limit of one jug of beer per customer. At my local one (Mermaid Beach), no such limit exists but you have to order food after your first drink or you're asked to leave. I sometimes go there with my better half (we live about 200m away) and most customers are either couples or families; so I guess the marketing is working.
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
If I spent any considerable time in the US I would need to adopt a much more disciplined approach to my eating than I do on a short trip, otherwise I would no doubt end up in an unhealthy weight range.

I am fortunate at the moment that I can tolerate a couple of weeks of gluttony as long as I am a bit more selective about what I eat when I get home. Admittedly I look forward to these healthy options after a couple of weeks of lard-laden food.

I spent 6 months in California in my mid twenties, eating and drinking like a "typical American", but the benefits of a younger metabolism and a little bit of exercise meant this had no effect on my weight. A two week trip to the US now sees me return a couple of pounds heavier :oops: My biggest problem is seeing good food go to waste - even though I may be full I find it difficult to see food left on my plate.
 

serfty

Veteran Member
Moderator
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
43,967
Solutions
14
Points
3,300
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Platinum
oz_mark said:
It would be fair to say that Australia is heading in pretty much the same direction. I certainly get to sit next to many fellow passengers that errr, overflow their seats.
I don't disagree, however the proportion of those in the US seems far greater (at least flying).
 

Shano

Established Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
1,244
Points
10
Re: Having a Hoot(er) of a Time

BlacKnox said:
....I sometimes go there with my better half (we live about 200m away) and most customers are either couples or families; so I guess the marketing is working.
I would need to introduce Mrs Shano to this marketing before I tried to take her, otherwise she would be none too impressed.....
 

BlacKnox

Active Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
735
Points
0
Re: Having a Hoot(er) of a Time

Shano said:
I would need to introduce Mrs Shano to this marketing before I tried to take her, otherwise she would be none too impressed.....
I would be delighted to introduce Mrs Shano to the joys of the buffalo wings, next time you're around this area (that's how I convinced my half in the first place ;) ).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top