Skip to main content

Adventure Travel

One of the hottest segments of vacation travel is "adventure travel". Not content to relax and lay on a beach, or enjoy a comfortable excursion on a cruise ship, adventure travelers want to ski difficult runs, hike in the Andes, or traverse a glacier.


For those of you who crave the challenge of adventure travel, let me humbly suggest my recent arduous hike: from the main terminal to Gate B 84 at IAH. Pshaw you say, "I've faced the queues at Heathrow on a Monday morning. I've fought through the cigarette smoke at the Bangkok's Suvanarbhumi airport so thick it was like a dense fog. I've made it from Terminal E to A at the ancient DTW. I've survived a trek from the American to the United Terminal in the dead of winter at ORD. I've even made it from the International Terminal to Terminal E at PHL and lived to talk about it. What possible challenge could Bush International possibly pose?"

Ah, listen closely fellow adventurer. Don't let the sleek visible exterior of IAH Terminal B fool you; behind that false front is an endless, nearly unmarked labyrinth. While Gate 84 is a mere 12 miles or so from the ticket counter as the crow flies, spelunking through the barely marked criss-crossed passageways requires a hike of twenty miles or more.

While we can't verify reports of casualties rivaling the climbers attempting the ascent of K2, we advise the intrepid adventurers willing to challenge the course to take provisions on - the last section is the most treacherous, and has absolutely no resources for the hungry or thirsty survivor. Those lucky or skilled enough to solve the riddles and find the lost territory of high numbered gates of 80+, thinking that they are near their goal, have their spirits dashed when they discover that Gate 84 is nowhere to be seen. Indeed, Gate 84 is reached only by finding a hidden path and a sharp descent to a lower level.

There one discovers not a single gate, but rather the equivalent of another entire airport terminal. A Spartan, enormous, poorly equipped terminal. It resembles a very large bus terminal, without any of the endearing qualities of a bus terminal: the old coin-op pinball and video games, the grill in the corner with burgers and onions sizzling on an oversized griddle, the scent of coffee that's sat far too long on a burner, and newspaper vending machines. B 84 offers no services at all: no newsstand, no concessions, no restrooms. If one can summon the strength at that point (and I confess that my will was crushed at that point- I couldn't push through the wall to go back into the maze) one must retrace through distance passages for any necessities.

Those lucky enough to find a seat in the crush of throngs of exhausted wayfarers and plop down thinking that their journey is at an end learn that it is far from over. While there are a number of counters where flights are announced, passengers must hike much, much further to an actual boarding area: B 84 actually has sub-gates A though Q! Those trail over the horizon, not facing each other, but all in a seemingly endless line like tombstones at Arlington cemetery, proving a worthwhile test to the most experienced, thoroughly trained and skilled adventure traveler in peak condition.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

Interview of Eric Schmidt by Gary Hamel at the MLab dinner tonight. Google's Marissa Mayer and Hal Varian also joined the open dialog about Google's culture and management style, from chaos to arrogance. The video just went up on YouTube. It's quite entertaining. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cover of The Future of ManagementMy list of must-read business writers continues to expand.Gary Hamel, however, author of What Matters Now, with the very long subtitle of How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation, has been on the list for quite some time.Continuing his thesis on the need for a new approach to management introduced in his prior book The Future of Management, Hamel calls for a complete rethinking of how enterprises are run.

Fundamental to his recommendation is that the practice of management is ossified in a command and control system that is now generations old and needs to be replaced with something that reflects an educat…

Book Review- Stretch by Scott Sonenshein

Have you ever watched, or been involved in, a business failure, where, despite the best efforts of hardworking people, the business doesn’t survive? Scott Sonenshein lived through it, as he describes in the Introduction to his engrossing book Stretch.  (In some books, the reader can skip the intro- not this one; the introduction is a must-read part of the book.) He was hired by start-up Vividence in Silicon Valley at the very apex of the tech boom.  Despite prestige VC backers, top-tier hires and $50 million, Vividence didn’t make it. As his career continued, that experience led to an interest in why some well-funded operations don’t succeed, while other, more resource constrained, do. Peter Senge wrote about reinforcing cycles as part of his book The Fifth Discipline, which I consider one of the finest business books ever penned. In it, Senge describes the downward cycle that some companies fall into, and why it is so difficult to reverse. Sonenshein explores those cycles from diffe…

Tax Inversions

A savvy businessman once told me “it’s important to know what problem you are trying to solve”.
Let’s ignore for the moment whether or not Treasury or the IRS had the power to change the rules on so-called tax inversions without Congressional action. (The power they said they didn’t have only a few months ago.)
Rather, let’s focus on what problem we are trying to solve. That is, why is the greatest country on earth chasing companies away? Shouldn’t the U.S. be the place that companies want to locate their headquarters?
Imagine this: the U.S. legal structure and tax regime was so attractive that Mercedes, Toyota, Astra Zeneca, Samsung, Total, Singapore Air, Banco Santander, Petrobras, Fujitsu, Nokia, SAP, Audi, Tata Group, Lenovo, Pirelli, Deutsche Bank, Honda, LG, Hyundai, Roche, Credit Suisse, Four Seasons, Siemens, Phillips, Bridgestone, Anglo-America, DeBeers, Volkswagen, Canon,  L’OrĂ©al, Swatch, Armani, LVMH, Toshiba, H&M, Mahindra, Aldi, Kubota, Onex, Ducati, Pemex, Saudi-Ara…