Sunday, December 23, 2007

Behold The Holy Grail!

The Centurion Club in GRU (Sao Paulo airport):

My Trip To Sao Paulo

Here I am posting on my blog from Brazil! This has been a very tiring trip!

Our first flight of the day was a domestic one to Paris-CDG where we were supposed to have a little more than an hour to enjoy the AF Business Class lounge before boarding our second flight to Sao Paulo (GRU).

It unfortunately didn't work out that way as our first flight was delayed and took off 1 hr 1/2 later than scheduled. This meant that, eventhough we were met by a car at the exit of our first flight, we still had to rush through terminals in order to make it on time!

We hopefully made it and eventhough our journey did not start off where it should have (AF Business Class Lounge), we did enjoy our flight.

Let me emphasize the fact that I have always been amazed by the quality of the food in business class aboard AF! My "foie gras" was very good. I then had some lamb which was almost perfectly prepared and followed by a nice selection of cheese! I also had good wines and champagne, as well as a pear "eau-de-vie" with my coffee!
A very nice meal which, in my experience, exceeds by far what I have eaten in Business Class aboard other carriers.

Our second meal was only ok though so not worth writing about!

After more than 11 hours in the air, we finally landed in GRU, only to find out that one of our bags hadn't arrived! This is the third time for me this year and a bit too much in my opinion, particularly considering it was on business class flights and that I am a Flying Blue Platinum member... The one bag that arrived hadn't been tagged with a priority label meant for business class passengers. This happens very often with Air France and is very annoying to say the least. How can they advertise benefits that they don't actually enforce?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2007 Highlights

In the grand scheme of life, we all try to deal with our most archaic anxieties one way or another. The majority of us humans go from one small and insignificant pleasure to another. In that spirit, let me list here my 2007 highlights:

- Watching "Lost in Translation" in February
- Trip to Tokyo in March where we stayed at both the Mandarin Oriental Hotel & The Park Hyatt
- Eating at the Tapas Molecular Bar (Mandarin Oriental Hotel) in Tokyo
- Eating Ramen in Tokyo
- Attending a pool party at the Mondrian Hotel in L.A. in May
- Family vacation in Miami in August
- Eating at The Restaurant at the Setai in Miami
- Eating at Nobu in Miami
- Laying my hands on an iPhone for the first time in August
- Buying an iPhone
- Celebrating my birthday with my friends in November
- Eating at "L'Arnsbourg" in Baerenthal
- Trying to improve my knowledge in Champagnes by tasting La Grande Dame 1996, Dom Perignon 1998 & 1999, Cristal Roederer, Krug Grande Cuvee, Bollinger R.D. 1988, Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle, Dom Ruinart 1993
- Eating at JY's in Colmar
- Eating at "Casserole" in Strasbourg
- Finding and buying oversized Martini Glasses
- Entering the Web 2.0 world

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tapas Molecular Bar At The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo

My recent post about "L'Arnsbourg" brought back memories from my dining experience in Tokyo last March at the Tapas Molecular Bar which is located at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo.
It was a wonderful molecular dining experience with an impressive selection of small dishes. The Foie Gras cappuccino was wonderful. We also had carrot caviar and spaghettis made of Parmesan cheese.
We had the opportunity to taste the "miracle fruit" for dessert and it was a very intriguing experience!

A must-eat if you're in Tokyo!

Monday, December 3, 2007

L'Arnsbourg - Baerenthal (France)

My wife and I went to "L'Arnsbourg" yesterday evening to have dinner with our friends Bob & Franny.
We had a wonderful time and probably one of the best food experiences in our lives.

I will never forget the mustard ice-cream wrapped in crispy red cabbage as well as the potatoes & truffles cappuccino. The "solette" was absolutely delightful and so was the duck Foie Gras.
We had about 20 different dishes from their tasting menu and would recommend this place to anyone looking for creative food!

L'Arnsbourg does deserve its 3 Michelin stars!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

La Grande Dame vs. Dom Perignon

We popped open a bottle of 1996 "La Grande Dame" yesterday evening and must say we still strongly feel we like it better than Dom Perignon.

Feel free to comment on that!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Orange France & iPhone

I am so frustrated by the rumors about what Orange France is going to offer for the iPhone in terms of data plans! They apparently want to release a 100 Mb plan for most of their iPhone plans and only a 1 Go DATA plan for the most expensive of their offer!

If this offer sees the light of day, I will have no other option but to believe that the people working in Marketing at Orange have no clue about what they're selling! Maybe they should try using a cell phone with a DATA plan in the first place before thinking about selling ridiculous offers!
Haven't they realized that people crave for unlimited plans? That's how the Internet revolution started in the first place! Just look back 10 years in the past! The answer is right there!

Friday, November 2, 2007


The rise of new technologies has lead to the advent of a new way of communicating.

Whenever someone sends me an email or leaves a message on my voicemail, I don't feel bound to answer them using the same means of communication they used to contact me. Answering a long voicemail can sometimes take a 10 second text message. Using Twitter to organize a dinner with friends can sometimes be much more convenient than email (that is when it comes to a dinner with tech-savvy friends of course).

Maybe new technologies have given us the opportunity to become lazy communicators in the sense that we now have a tendency to use the easiest way of communicating (not necessarily the most politically correct one) in a particular situation. However, the decrease in form has also given us the ability to interact a lot more and with many more people than before.

I can't even begin to think of what's going to come next in terms of communication as there are more and more options available... To name of few: Landline phone, cellular phone, email, text messaging, instant messaging (text, audio, video), Skype, VoIP, Web 2.0 social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Seesmic, Jaiku, Lindedin, MySpace, Orkut etc...).

Who could ever deny that what differentiates us from animals is language?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Low-Tech Metatag

The world may not have realized it but we're in urgent need of a metatag solution in order to be able to classify all of our information published on the Web 2.0.

As a matter of fact, wouldn't it be great to be able to search all the online photos of a particular individual ? (I'm sure privacy advocates will freak at this thought).

So, here's my low-tech proposal: to carry a small tag with oneself and display it whenever a picture is taken so that pictures/videos search engine might be able to easily index it...

That metatag might even be stored in one's iPhone photo album for convenience.

(I never said my blog would be stupid thought free!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Obsolete Language

What if my native language was about to become obsolete?

Will the Web 2.0 phenomenon take over the world and spread the English language even more than it already has? It is a definite possibility. We will then become Men & Women 2.0 and the language we will speak is English.

So why on go on speaking another language? I can't actually find a good answer to this besides an archaic esthetic one. Hence my decision to try and avoid as much as possible to use my native tongue or any other one from now on.

For those that would be interested in following such a bold pledge, click on "comments".

Monday, October 8, 2007

Restaurants I like In Miami, Fl.

On a slightly lighter note, here's a list of great restaurants that I like in South Beach Miami:

- Sushi Samba:
- Vix Restaurant @ Victor Hotel
- Nobu @ The Shore Club
- The Blue Door @ Delano Hotel
- O Asian Grill
- Quattro
- Social @ Sagamore Hotel
- Barton G
- The Restaurant @ The Setai

My favorite hotel in Miami is definitely The Delano. Last month, my family and I stayed at The Setai & The Delano. The Delano is way cooler and has such a cool vibe...

Culture Shifting

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been thrilled by the advances in technology. I remember buying my first cell phone about 14 years ago and thinking that the world was about to change thanks to technology. My friends didn’t share this belief at the time but I held on to it. I had no idea what the internet was and how it was about to change many people’s lives.

I am a technology enthusiast and therefore my views might be biased but I strongly believe that technology has changed the way people interact with each other and as a consequence the way we think. There is a sense of connection that many people share thanks to the many gizmos that technology has created. It does not necessarily mean that our lives have improved but we see the world in a whole different way. In some odd way, this change may be compared to the ideological paradigm shift that occurred when it became a known fact that our planet was round. Today, it is not the notion that it is round that is about to reshape the way we apprehend the world but the fact that it is SMALL.

As a matter of fact, we do have the possibility to get to almost any place on Earth in less than a day. We can reach any remote location by means of communication in less than a second and this is truly remarkable. The possibility of being lost somewhere on our planet may soon disappear thanks to the omnipresence of GPS devices and its future implementation in most mobile devices.

My life and my wife's would not be the same at all if technology hadn’t shaped our everyday lives the way it did. We almost feel as if we were living in the US when we’re home and we probably know more about what is happening over there than in the country we both live in.

I see the world in a whole different way now as I think the notion of nations and culture is going to undergo tremendous changes. Most of us have access to a lot more information and a lot more means of communication. The world has never been so small. When it would take weeks to send a letter to the opposite side of the planet about 50 years ago, it now takes one second to send an email. The cost of long distance communications has plummeted in the last 5 years. It has become affordable for many people to keep in touch with far away relatives or friends. This has, in return, changed the way we interact with others as I do believe that from now on, where we live is going to matter less and less.

We are all going to be able to choose our lifestyle and our “sphere” of communications. I see individual homes as micro-cultural bubbles where every household can have access to the cultural background they choose and keep in touch with the rest of the world, thus enabling what I call “Cultutre shifting”. It has, indeed, become possible through new technologies to belong to a different culture than the one we are surrounded by. Of course, this possibility, in itself, is not new at all. As generations of migrants throughout history have always been keen on holding on to the culture they were born in. The first people that left Europe to go live in the US tended and still tend, for some of them, to gather together and talk about their native country, eat the food they used to eat when they were kids and so on…

This is however the opposite of what is now possible. As a matter of fact, it is nowadays possible to experience on an everyday basis a different culture than our own and as consequence, live in a culture that we were not raised in, hence the term “culture shifting”.

I recently met an old friend of mine that has been living in the US for 10 years. As me, he is French. He spends most of his time listening to French podcasts, watching French TV, speaking French on the phone or at home. This is a perfectly fine example of migrants holding on to their own culture in a different country. It, however, occurred to me that at the same time my fellow French friend living in the US was listening to French podcasts, I was the one living in France, listening to American podcasts in my car, watching American movies in English, surfing the Internet in English and reading more American magazines than French ones.

I am not the only one experiencing “culture shifting” as I am in touch with many people throughout the world that are using new technologies to do the same.

One could argue that we have been brainwashed by the American culture or the American way of life and that globalization has inevitably led to this and that it is a bad thing. I would have to disagree as I believe, that this tends to bring us all together throughout the world. Of course, we are very far from all living the same life and many differences still exist mostly between the technology-empowered countries and the non-technology-empowered ones.

Technology will grant us a sense of freedom that we have never experienced nor dreamed of in the past. We are closer to each other than we have ever been. I hope this will reinforce our motives to help each other and hopefully lead to less hatred among people.

We are soon all going to be hooked up to the internet almost continuously whether it be through a broadband home internet connection, a 3G cellular network or a wi-fi hotspot. Loosing this essential connection will become the source of an acute anxiety for people used to being “on” all the time. We are growing dependant on new technologies that, in return, make our lives much easier and most of all different.

What amazes me the most is how fast people are adapting to these new technologies. I witness it every day. People don’t communicate like they used to. They’re all sending emails, text messages, pictures and videos through their phones. Unfaithful husbands are not caught anymore because they leave bills or notes in their jackets but much more often when their wives read their emails or their text messages stored on their cell phones. After a break-up, people subscribe to online dating services almost as a learned reflex, not that they necessarily meet their future partners through these means but at least, they are expanding their possibilities. And most importantly, this is not limited to the youngest generations, everybody uses new technologies and through this use, we are all starting to think differently, we are all seeing the world on a much smaller scale and we are grasping the notion of memory in a different manner as well.

Our PDAs, computers and cell phones allow us to connect to the Internet, hence having constant access to information whether it be our personal information or anything else. We are, as a consequence, equipped constantly with a silicon-based memory-prosthesis that can enhance or replace our carbon-based brain. We have the possibility of accessing almost any information, anywhere and anytime and we’re just starting to learn how to adapt to this. We are entering the age of “total-mnesia” when it is possible to, not necessarily understand but, know everything through our memory-prosthesis. We will, less and less, have to learn information by heart at school but more and more have to know how to use it. All our knowledge has become so wide that one cannot know everything even in a very specialized field. Medecine is being taught in a different way, medical doctors don’t know everything anymore but they know how to access the information they need and how to make sense of it.

But one thing is for sure, in my opinion, we are living exciting times when science-fiction is becoming more and more reality. The human race is transcending its condition through the use of these new technologies and we’re on the brink of a new dawn. It is up to all of us to make good use of the technologies that we are empowered with and if we manage to do so, more exciting times are awaiting us.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

iPhone In France

I am very happy with my iPhone and believe it to be a revolutionary device... I wish I was able to receive calls with my French carrier sim card (SFR) inserted in it though... Apparently, there are a few cell phone carriers in the world that have a compatibility issue with the iPhone. Unfortunately, my carrier is among them...
The problem has been solved in many countries by now (besides France) by applying a software patch... I was told by SFR that they have no plan or desire to solve this problem eventhough AT&T customers roaming on their network with an iPhone are unable to receive calls in many areas.

Hotlines In France

I am getting more and more frustrated and angry at hotlines... I am not blaming the individuals that answer the phone as I believe they are poorly trained and underpaid. I am blaming big corportations that profit from this system as all hotlines in France are set up on overpriced phone numbers. Nobody's wondering how come they never solve any problem quickly eventhough the longer you stay on the line the more they make money!