Business Travel

I don’t care what anyone thinks. Business travel sucks. I’m in my third city this week and I’m in the airport, waiting to go to another continent.

Ten years ago, this may have been exciting, but I’m too old and tired to feel that way any more.

I went to Chicago Sunday, back to Dallas on Tuesday, to San Francisco Wednesday, and somebody told me it’s Friday today, so I’m off to Kuala Lumpur.

That’s right. The place CNN won’t shut up about, because a plane is missing from there.

The Spousal Unit is not happy.

CNN is actually on ithe TV in the Admirals’ Club, so you can have a relaxing drink and learn about how a plane can be sabotaged before you get on your plane. Piers Morgan is interviewing someone, so by the time I leave for my gate, at least we’ll know it’s the Tea Party’s fault.

Lovely.

(It’s still better than March Madness.)

I’m flying to Los Angeles, then to Hong Kong, then to Kuala Lumpur. It’s Friday now, I’ll be there Sunday afternoon.

I’m coming home next Friday.

I’m traveling 30 hours or so each way for a two-day class. This does not seem an efficient use of time to me, but I don’t have an MBA. Luckily, since our management has found cutting costs is somewhat easier than making money, I’m flying in coach.

I’m hoping the family with their precious (and cute) family goats are at least a few rows away from me.

The last time I flew to Hong Kong, it was from Europe. So, this is a first. The last time I flew home from Hong Kong is when I crossed a million miles on American.

So, I’m currently waiting in San Francisco (and listening to plane crash theories), so I can fly to LA and wait, so I can fly to Hong Kong, clear customs and wait, and fly to Malaysia.

Then, I can collapse in the hotel.

One partial day of rest (and a couple of meetings), another day of nothing but meetings, two days of workshops (teaching alone, since my co-instructor couldn’t get a visa) and then home. Also known ad another 30 hours in coach and airports.

Funny thing about the workshop: US logic says if the classroom holds 25 people, you stop registrations at 25. Asian logic says when you go over 25, you just find a bigger classroom. So, there were 40 students registered as of yesterday. The largest class I’ve done by myself is probably 20.

How can business travel not be fun?

So, the next person who says, “You’re lucky. I never get to travel!” is getting punched in the head.

Will It Go Round In Circles?

I almost remember the first time I heard the term “FAQ”, and it was a long time ago. It’s a TLA (a three-letter acronym) and it means “Frequently Asked Question”.

After I learned what a FAQ was, I actually had a job where I was supposed to generate them. Technically, I was supposed to generate answers to questions that we had not necessarily received, but we called them FAQs, anyway, because we assumed we would receive them frequently, eventually. Assuming people didn’t read the FAQs first.

I always thought it was strange to predict what questions would be asked frequently and answer them before they were asked. I suppose it’s the one time we could have used a psychic on an IT project, other than predicting completion dates for development projects.

Then, I found Cruise Critic, and I was enlightened. Cruise Critic is designed for people to review cruises they’ve been on, ask questions of other people on cruises, and discuss cruising in general. So, like most hobby bulletin boards (yes, I remember computer-based bulletin boards), you get a mix of newbies and old farts. These groups do not mix well.

Here’s the major issue – there are no FAQs there, other than metadata about using the website. So, while there are many frequently asked questions, there are no answers easily found. So, the same questions come up over and over.

Part of this is that people are ignorant. Not in the pejorative sense, they really don’t know yet. This is why you have a book on cruising called “What Time Is The Midnight Buffet?” You don’t know something because you’ve never done it before. The truly ignorant don’t even know what questions to ask. This group is blissfully silent.

Part of this is that people are lazy. If you do a basic search through the forums, you can find an endless number of previous entries and responses about almost any topic. However, even without search, you can look at the subject lines and find pretty much any of the frequent questions within a couple of pages. They’re that frequent.

Part of this is that people are ignorant (again)  – they don’t understand how bulletin boards and mailing lists actually work. They’re public. You see everything, not just your stuff. (I’ve had people on my digital photography mailing list [5000+ users] complain that they’re getting all sorts of conversation and not just the specific answer to their question.)

So, a lot of the usefulness of these sites are compromised by not only the same questions, but by the same complaints when the question is asked. Repetition scares off the people that know the answer, and then the new people can’t get any replies.

Meet some of people that ask the questions.

First of all, is the clueless newbie:

  • “What time can I get on the ship?”
  • “It depends, but it is probably printed on your cruise documents, the cruise lines’ website or both.”
  • “You’re mean. Can’t you just tell me the exact time?”

This basic conversation will repeat almost daily.

Then, there is the helpful newbie who doesn’t grasp the whole picture:

  • “Since this is the Report The Senior Staff board, I can tell you we had Captain Stubing on our trip.”
  • “WHAT (*(#$*)( SHIP? WHEN?”

Apparently, someone did not know that a cruise line may have more than one ship. I’ve lost count of how many posts are in the current year’s crew discussion board don’t mention the ship or the sailing date.

Some newbies require reassurance:

  • “I just booked a ten-day cruise from Miami and I’m in the corner cabin. My family will be with me. Is this a good idea?”

What are you going to say? If your family is prone to seasickness, no. If you can’t afford it, no. f you can’t get to Miami, this might be a bad idea. How many people are in your family? How many will fit in the cabin?

Then, you have the inadvertent war starters. For example, in the Norwegian Cruise Line section, somebody will ask about removing or changing the automatic tipping (a hot-button subject) every other day, and the same firefight will break out. I know it’s the same firefight, because someone actually said “Here we go again.”

The interesting question becomes – who’s fault is this? The people who don’t do any research and ask the same question somebody else asked three hours earlier, or the people who take the bait over and over?

I’ve actually considered whether some of the “newbies” are actually just old farts laying down flamebait to watch the other old farts rise up in fury. If so, well-played. I’m sure you’re laughing hysterically somewhere.

On the answering side, you also have the usual band of suspects:

Then, we have the Admittedly Ignorant, Yet Opinionated:

  • <any question known to man about <some cruise line>
  • “I don’t know about your question because I’ve never been on <cruise line>, but I think that Carnival’s scones are the best at sea.”

Seriously, if you don’t know, shut up. I know you have an unlimited data plan, but that doesn’t mean you need to post all the time.

Next, are the Search fanatics.

  • <any question known to man>
  • “Haven’t you searched?”

If someone is asking a question, I would like to think that they searched and didn’t find an answer. It’s possible (probable for newcomers) they haven’t. However, answering a question with a question is pointless, and starts the usual ranting for answering a question with a question. (These people should be paired with in Hell are the people who start questions with, “I didn’t have time to search, so …“)

Finally, are the Scolding Moms.

  • <any question known to man>
  • “We discussed this at length LAST WEEK. Scroll back and find it.”

Isn’t it faster to just cut and paste a summary? You might remember it, since you remember when it was discussed. That may actually help the person asking the question.

The problem with this system  is that the newbies are scared away from discussions because the old farts tend to get high blood pressure and yell at them. It’s not really yelling, but it seems like it if it is your first innocent question and you just haven’t realized yet that  it’s everyone’s first innocent question.

I’m an old fart on cruising. I have my seventh and eighth cruises scheduled this year – which is no Captain Stubing, but it’s a lot more than a first-timer. I do my best to be helpful, but it does get old. Quite old.

Hopefully, someday soon, Cruise Critic will learn to post realistic guidelines on the use of the site. Here’s some I considered: 

  • The first source for information on your cruise is your cruise line’s website. If you can find this website, you can probably find theirs.
  • The more definitive the answer, the more likely it is an opinion.
  • If you have a question, you are probably not the first one. Look around first or put on your asbestos underwear.
  • Please remember this is a world-wide site, with differences in experience, culture and language. Think before you hit “send”.
  • Religious wars happen in all hobbies (Carnival vs Norwegian, Ford vs. Chevy, Democrat vs. Republican.) If you have an opinion on a specific question, please join in. If you’re just going to point someone to “your brand”, please don’t bother, it’s not helpful.

If they can have a post that you reminds you that you can’t link to Facebook always show up at the top of the topics  list, you think they could add something like this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell someone what time he can board the ship.

Class Warfare on the High Seas

Where to begin?

Cruise Critic asked yesterday on their Facebook page for opinions about the “ship within a ship” concept, such as The Haven by Norwegian. This is a private area of the ship with suites, a private restaurant, and higher service levels. It is more expensive than the rest of the ship, so it is more exclusive. I expected a few people who have stayed there to say, “It’s nice”,  a few to say, “Don’t care, can’t afford it”,  and all the Carnival fanboys to say, “Norwegian sucks. I would never travel with them.”

That wasn’t the case.

Apparently, a lot of people are really, really upset that there are suites on a ship. There were howls of protest, and calls of class warfare and elitism. Seriously?

I’m still trying to wrap my head around “It’s not fair.” I’ve flown over a million miles in First, Business and coach, and I’ve never sat in coach, looked at the front of the plane and thought, “The fact that First Class exists isn’t fair.”

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I stayed in the Haven on the Norwegian Breakaway last year. It was really nice. I liked having a butler, even though I really don’t have any idea what he can do for me. The concierge was great for getting seats for the shows and solving problems. The private restaurant makes it easy to get breakfast in the mornings. It’s pricey, but we got a last-minute upgrade offer on our Transatlantic cruise, and I figured since it was all sea days, that would be a good time to have some extra services. So, we spent the extra money.

We’re in the Haven this year on our Transatlantic sailing, as well – mainly because my Mom is going with us, so we needed a cabin that holds three people. We thought about just getting two cabins, but it was more cost-effective to just get one large suite with two bedrooms than two balconies next to each other.

According to some people, if we’re in the Haven, we shouldn’t be on a Norwegian ship at all, we should be on a luxury cruise line. Wow.

I’m going to tell my butler I expect him to check the door to the Haven every day for people with pitchforks and torches.

This has nothing to do with class. It has to do with the personal allocation of money.

People today associate money with class (the upper classes have money and the lower classes don’t – and it’s not fair), and the two do not necessarily go together in all cases. There are people who have money and will only sail in an inside cabin, because it’s the cheapest way to go and then they can take more trips. (I don’t have the time to take a lot of trips, so I tend to spend more on the ones I take.) If you go to South Dallas, there are people who live in shacks that could probably be condemned and there is an Escalade parked out front. Some people like driving expensive Cadillacs. It’s their prerogative. It has nothing to do with class. It has to do with how people decide to allocate their money, and what is important to them. Cars are more important than housing to some people.

I am going to spend more on my cruise than some of the other people on the ship. It’s my prerogative. It has nothing to do with my social status. I am not going to look down on the others on the ship and think, “I’m better than you.” I may think, “Wow, I know how to dress better than you”, but that’s a different discussion altogether.

I might be able to afford a luxury cruise line (where some of the complainers think I belong), but I choose not to do so – because it costs more than I’m willing to pay. It’s my prerogative.

I don’t understand people who think just because they can’t afford something, it shouldn’t be allowed. These people are pissed about suites on ships, and First Class on airlines. If you don’t want to spend the money, you don’t have to spend it. If you’re in an inside cabin or a balcony or a suite, the ship is going to the same places. You still get room and board included in your fare. You still get free entertainment. What is the issue?

If you persist in feeling bad about yourself, because you’re not in some exclusive area of the ship (or the plane, or the train), that’s between you and your shrink. It’s not my fault. You can’t deny people services they are willing to pay extra to receive just because you can’t (or won’t) pay the same amount.

As far as I know, virtually all cruise ships have different types of cabins at different price rates. Should ships be built with only one type of cabin so nobody feels bad? Suck it up, Buttercup. This isn’t fourth grade soccer where everyone gets a trophy. This is real life. In real life, companies cater to different people by having different price points.

An interesting question – how many of those complainers would turn down a free upgrade to a suite, because, after all, the suites should be eliminated? 

If you are going to complain that people in the suites are trying to get away from the riff-raff, you are probably admitting you think that you are the riff-raff. That is just sad. Really, you should have a higher opinion of yourself. Even if you can’t afford to stay in the Haven.

Inaugural Crossing

I must have been on a different ship than the people complaining about the Norwegian Breakaway Transatlantic crossing. I suppose part of the issue is the level of expectations.

Technically, she wasn’t even the Norwegian Breakaway until yesterday when she was christened (I know, it’s a real technicality, but nonetheless.)

The inaugural crossing was not even the “first cruise” (which I found hilarious when I discovered this.) The “first cruise” is the first trip from New York City to Bermuda with paying passengers, even though there have been two cruises with paying passengers previously.

I did not realize when I convinced my wife to switch from a Panama crossing to the Transatlantic crossing, but the inaugural cruise is a 3400-mile test drive. They knew she floats and she survived the overnight from Rotterdam to Southampton, but the Atlantic crossing was the first “real” test.

I think she passed. The staff was wonderful, after a couple of days, the weather almost cooperated and everything (for the most part) seemed functional.

It’s difficult to enjoy all the outdoor activities and amenities when it’s cold. This would have required a bit of pre-planning. It’s the North Atlantic. In April. It’s not going to be Caribbean weather. So, there were a lot of people indoors. (I went on the deck, just because I don’t mind the weather much.)

I didn’t visit the Garden Cafe because I’m too lazy to get my own food (especially when it’s probably food some other passenger picked up, sniffed and put back.) So, can’t review the buffet, but the restaurants were good.

We ate at almost all of the speciality restaurants, so many will consider us elitist. I just happen to like Le Bistro, my wife loves Italian and who could pass up Ocean Blue? It’s from an Iron Chef, who answers his Tweets.

The food service was slow, but this was the first time the staff was trying to produce the quantity of food required for a 3/4 full ship. Expectations, people.

I do think a lot of people take inaugural cruises just so they can bitch about everything that isn’t working yet (see the Norwegian Epic on her crossing or the Carnival <whatever> that had her first sailing this week.)

My wife and I were on this cruise because we wanted to cross the Atlantic like our ancestors did (well, my Grandfather didn’t have a balcony, but still.) When we saw the ship was arriving at 8am, we assumed we would be in port much earlier – based on earlier cruises. We were correct. We sailed under the Verrazano at about 3am. We were on the deck, taking photos. It was cold, the photos are a bit blurry, but it was an experience.

When we saw the level of hoopla scheduled for NYC after arrival, we assumed we wouldn’t be considered “the first” even though we were the first ones on the ship. Expectations, people.

She’s a beautiful ship. The staff was amazing. You can actually go outside on any number of decks – unlike the Norwegian Epic, which we sailed last Christmas.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s CEO,  is a very nice person (we kept running into him), and one of the better speakers I’ve heard.

We made more friends on this journey than on any of our other cruises (this was number five.) All the people we met seemed to understand the concept of “inaugural.” Maybe we were just lucky.

I was concerned about the number of staff it was going to take to pull my wife off the ship, but she was sleepy, so it wasn’t as difficult as feared.

I would take another Transatlantic crossing any time. I don’t think I can make the Getaway since we’re going on the Jewel just before Christmas, otherwise, I would have booked by now.

We will be going to Bermuda at some point, just to get back on the Breakaway.

Explorations

From June 1, 2001, originally. That was after a plane flight across the Atlantic. It still seems appropriate after sailing across the Pond – since sailing is a much more civilized way to travel than flying.

I crossed the ocean
And it crossed me.

Where am I?
I know the planet is Earth,
Since that’s what we call it.
I know the time
(As much as anyone could know)
But I’m still lost and floating
Home seems an eternity away.

Long ago, the brave crossed oceans,
To conquer and explore.
But today it doesn’t take courage,
Just an expense account,
And another meeting to attend.

Travel is no longer an adventure
(If ever it was before.)
This is just routine, almost tedium,
At five hundred miles per hour.

The oceans pass underneath,
And continents appear.
I’m in a crowded metal tube,
Trying to find a reason for it all.

I left my house to cross the globe,
But the website is still up,
And email downloads still.
Am I really gone?

Near-Death Vacation

Nine levels of switchback. Nine Circles of Hell. Coincedence?
Entrevaux Citadel

Yesterday, I thought I was going to die, all alone, while slowly approaching a French Citadel. Isn’t that what a vacation day on a business trip is all about?

Years ago, the Spousal Unit and I went to Southern France for a couple of weeks – I was on business, she was on vacation. Part of the time, we were both on vacation. On one of those days, we took the train to from Nice to Entrevaux, a Medieval city about two hours north of Nice. (Nice is a seaside town that is at the edge of the Mediterranean on one side and the edge of the Alps on the other.) So, Entrevaux is in the mountains.

Apparently, many years ago, somebody thought it would be a good idea to fortify the town by building a citadel (which means a fort way the hell up in the sky.)

“Monsieur, some evil people are attacking the town!”

“We need a citadel. How about putting it way up there out of sight?”

So, Entrevaux has a Citadel. The Spousal Unit and I shot some photos of it last time. From the ground. However, this time, I was not with my wife, I was with two of my co-workers. Co-workers desperately afraid they will miss something interesting while on a business trip with an open weekend in France. So, we climbed up to the Citadel. On foot.

So, the rest of this is a remembrance and tirade about taking a walk. Those of you in good shape who exercise regularly can roll your eyes and stop reading now. Those who know me and are already giggling or enjoy seeing me in pain (hello, family!) can continue on.

There was a helpful French guide at the foot of the climb who sold us our tokens to enter the passageway up. Three euros. Each. She said there were seven switchbacks along the way. She lied. The brochure says there are nine, as in the number of circles of Hell.

So, David from Austin, Sakamoto-san from Tokyo and I started the ascent. In retrospect, it is very clever to charge people for the opportunity to walk straight up into the sky. If you didn’t charge them, many would get to the foot of the walkway and decide against such a foolish escapade. With a charge, the thought is – “Hey, I don’t want to waste three euros!”

This is the same theory as joining a gym. At least you can skip going to the gym more easily than skipping the walk.

Quote: “How to get to the Citadel: Go through toll-gate [Editor: with the 3 euro token] and walk straight up for about 20 minutes. Easy walk on recently restored cobbled path (difference in height: 156 meters.)” Some key points, for those who don’t easily read between the lines:

  • Straight up. This is not an exaggeration, even though the path has seven to nine switchbacks.
  • Recently restored. France is in Europe. “Recently restored” could be sometime in the 1800s.
  • 156 meters. For Americans, that’s actually 511 feet which sounds a lot higher than 156 meters. However, you don’t actually walk straight up, you walk fifty-seven miles through the “seven” switchbacks. Rappelling would be 156 meters.

    Warning Sign
    This is not information. It is a warning.

David and Sakamoto-san are a lot like me, except for age, weight and general disposition. As they sprinted up the recently restored pathway, chatting happily, I got through the first switchback just barely before my heart began to pound.

Maybe I’ll just stop here and take a couple of photos. I’m not out of breath or anything, this is just a good vantage point, since it’s so close to the ground and all.

My colleagues are now out of sight. As well as out of earshot. So, at least now I can whimper in peace.

So, I’ll guess I’ll just stop here in the middle of the second switchback to {huff, puff} take some more photos. Wow. It’s already a long way down. I’m making progress! Wow. It’s an even further way up. I’m going to die.

Continue climbing.

Horrible realization – I don’t have a pen with me. I can’t leave a note for David and Sakamoto-san to find on the way down, asking them to deliver the camera back to the Spousal Unit. I also don’t have a safety pin to attach the note to my clothes before I breathe my last. Should I be concerned I’m already planning my last minutes on earth?

I’m only concerned about the camera because the Spousal Unit lent it to me before I left and asked me to re-shoot the town of Entrevaux, especially the Citadel. Hey! That means this is all her fault! Feel slightly better. Still out of breath.

Realize if I die on this walk, the Spousal Unit will just buy a truly expensive camera with her inheritance money. If I die, I’m throwing this camera off the mountain.

Continue climbing.

Horrible realization deux – I now know why I don’t remember the climb being this difficult the last time I was in Entrevaux. It’s not just because that was eight years and probably fifty pounds ago – it’s because we didn’t actually make the climb. So much for age and experience. I would yell at David for dragging me up this mountain, but he’s already at the top, and I’m here on the third switchback, out of breath. I mean, taking photos.

Well, {choke, wheeze}, at least I’m almost half-way there.

Continue climbing.

If Lance freakin’ Armstrong goes by on his bike, I’m putting a stick through his spokes.

Well, {sneeze, cough, whimper}, at least I’m almost half-way there.

Another Fort
Hey, that fort over there looks a lot lower.

Continue climbing.

Why am I not making any progress? I wonder what David and Sakamoto-san are doing at the top? I wonder if they will pass me on their way down? I wonder if they will recover my body?

Continue climbing.

Stop to catch my breath, uh, I mean, take some photos.

Meet a couple on the way down. Try to be polite without heaving too much. “Bonjour!”

Why do they look so damn happy? Oh, maybe it’s because they’re going down. Bastards. Wonder what “bastards” is in French? If I could get a WiFi signal, I could use Google Translate. Who am I kidding? If I had a WiFi signal, I would call for help.

Continue climbing.

Well, at least I’m almost half-way there.

I wonder if David and Sakamoto-san remember me?

Hey, I made it all the way through that switchback without stopping. I wonder why my heart is beating so far out of my chest?

I think that was switchback 27. If I ever make it down to safety, I’m kicking that cute tour guide in the butt, as soon as I catch my breath. And can move my legs.

Damn. More people coming down. Look pleased to be here. “Bonjour!” Well, at least a little old couple hasn’t passed me on their way up.

At least I’m almost half-way there.

Hmm. What kind of message does dying on Father’s Day send? I’d better get moving. I’ll just take a couple of photos, since this is a nice vantage point.

Dear Lord, if You could just give me one more chance and let me survive this easy climb on a restored cobbled path, I’ll build You a freakin’ chapel at the top, next to the Citadel.

At least I’m almost half-way there.

Looking down at Entrevaux
If I puke, will I hit the houses?

 

Holy Crap! (Sorry, Lord.) Another couple is heading down. How many old people think climbing a mountain to see an old fort is a rational idea? Were these guys stationed here at one time?

If this freakin’ Citadel is closed for lunch when I get up there, someone’s going to die. Unless I die first.

Bonjour. That man looked pleased to be descending. I’m pretty sure the woman said “Almost” in a slight whisper as she passed me. Almost to the top? Almost dead? Almost is some French word for “look at the fat guy dying on his easy walk”? I’m pretty sure that was a pity smile she gave me.

I wonder if it’s time to start saying “Bon soir”? I’ve been climbing for about fourteen hours (twenty minutes my ass) and it was late morning when we started.

Hey, at least my pants are getting looser. It’s either the altitude or the 37 1/2 pounds of sweat I’ve produced so far. It’s a bit warm in Southern France today.

If one of these couples calls the authorities, and I get med-evac’ed off this stupid easy climb, the first thing the Spousal Unit will say when the US Embassy calls is “Was he wearing sunblock?” What is wrong with her?

At least I’m almost half-way there.

Hey! That’s David up ahead! Hmm. I don’t remember him wearing a white robe. Why is there so much light behind him? Why is he telling me to come into it? Why are my grandparents behind him?

I think I have enough time to shoot some more photos.

At least I’m almost half-way there.

As I turned another corner in the 42 switchbacks, I wondered how the French architects and builders managed to make the switchbacks at the top longer than the ones at the bottom. I wonder if the French army lost any wars just because their soldiers couldn’t make it up to the fort in time. I wonder if the enemy soldiers could just dodge any arrows shot from the Citadel since it would take a half-hour for them to reach the ground?

Man, I thought that can of olive oil the Spousal Unit requested I purchase in Nice was going to be overweight luggage. Wait until IBM has to ship my corpse home. That is going to be one big-ass internal mail envelope.

Wait! This time, it really is David. I’m at the top. That was easy.

Where’s the welcoming party? The snack bar? The oxygen tents? The snack bar?

We’re at the damn top at last, let’s take some photos. Hey! A bench! Let’s rest, then take photos.

Well, that was fun. Let’s go down. Does France have a Care-Flite service?

Going down wasn’t nearly as bad as going up, and I did take a few more photos.

Entrevaux Citadel
French soldiers were stationed here, waiting for attack. I’m waiting for a heart attack.

I even kept David and Sakamoto-san in sight most of the time. Most of the time.

I only stumbled once, but I didn’t even fall, since I’m an experienced climber now. I did, however,  have a flash of rolling down a recently renovated cobblestone path, wiping out co-workers and tourists as I fell. Bowling for Tourists.

At the bottom, we saw a young couple with two bouncing sons in tow, approaching the entrance. I thought “That hike should calm those kids down.” Then, I thought, “This is going to be the vacation those kids discuss with their therapist.”

Once safely at the bottom, I realized that I had forgotten to build the Lord His chapel. Considering what He’s overlooked in my life so far, he may let that one slide. Come to think of it, it may not be the first chapel I’ve shorted Him.

Lord, I would go back and build Your chapel as promised, but I think that climb was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Mainly, because the next time would kill me, and I know how You feel about suicide.

I’m still alive. Next time, I’m buying posst cards at the gift shop and just telling people I made the climb.

David said he signed the guest book as “IBMers from Texas and Japan”. So, the next time you’re at the top of the Citadel, you can see my name in the book. Implied.