UK Trade Mission 2009 – A Little Touring Before the Meetings

by | Jun 10, 2009 | Observations

Hello from the United Kingdom

Well I arrived on Friday morning after a 2 hour delay on Continental Airlines.  Boy they sure are having some trouble with their on-time metrics.  I have flown a 777 on Continental three times in the past three years and not one of them has ever left on time.  I find that more than a coincidence.   I sure hope that they get it figured out.

Day One included some jet lag adjustment and related activities.

Day Two I woke up early about 7 AM and had a full English breakfast on Saturday morning before embarking on my day’s tourist activities.  I had done some internet checking the day before, visiting with some locals in the hotel pub and laid out a plan of action.   My first challenge was the local tube station is closed on the weekend while they have construction activity.   Not to worry, our outstanding receptionist at the hotel Zetter (BTW it’s a very nice hotel, trendy, but not too bad) said I could take a bus for 2Pds to Oxford Circus and then I could walk down to Piccadilly Circus to start my bus tour of the city.  Well as I started my trip, the rain started, so when I arrived at Oxford Circus I found myself in the middle of an English rain.

Undeterred, I continued down Regent Street to reach my tour starting point.  I used the Original Open Bus London tour, the Yellow Route.  Cost was 17Pds for the trip and I bought an excursion to the Tower of London for the same price.   Both events were well done and I thought were excellent ways to see some of the city to get my bearings.

Saturday evening I met an old friend of mine, Scott Halliday and his wife Jenny, their son Ben and an additional couple friends of the Halliday’s, Rick and Holly.    Scott is the Managing Partner of Ernst & Young and he and I first met in 1993 when he moved to Houston.    We ate at a local Mexican restaurant Wahaca in the Covent Garden area.  I know a Texan flying to London to eat Mexican does not seem cost efficient but Scott’s been looking for a Mexican place for two years.  The food was not bad…not quite to Pappasito’s level, but the Coronas were excellent.

Sunday morning I spent clearing out some emails, catching up on some back home news via the Internet versions of the paper.  Kenneth Guidry and Frank Landreneau arrived from Houston Sunday morning.  Fortunately for them, they had no delays on Continental.  After a quick hello to them, I was off to tour Westminster and St. Paul’s.

BTW, Gordon Brown, PM for the UK seems to be in a spot of trouble with his party.  Just about 85% of every newspaper for 100 miles is talking about his “issues” of the day.  Most of it centers around two issues, some expense reimbursement scandals and his ability to work with his cabinet members.   They say the over the weekend he will either be forced out of office or survive.

I visited the entire Westminster area and then went over to Covent Garden.  Both were outstanding places to visit and the sun was shining and the day was just great.  Had lunch at a great Italian bistro in the Covent Garden mall.  Outstanding.

Next stop was St. Paul’s all I can say is WOW!  Words don’t do justice to the beauty and the sheer size of the church.  The spot has had a church for over 1400 years.  Now that is back in the day.

Sunday evening was saved for a dinner with the PKF NAN representatives and Stefan Schmitz of McDermott,  Will & Emery UK LLP.  Schmitz talked with us about Renewable Energy projects in Europe and the possibilities in the US. 

BTW the entire trip was coordinated for PKF NAN by Job Dieleman, International Business Development Director based in Atlanta by PKF International.


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