Friday, July 4, 2008

Back in Istanbul again...

I'm back in Istanbul again for a 2 days workshop with our counterparts in Europe to discuss and confirm the architecture for Homepage Phase 2. This is a working level meeting and our main points of contact were Fabian and Fabrice from the GISS-E group.

For this trip, I am putting up at Conrad Istanbul instead of Radisson SAS (where I stayed previously) as it was full. Conrad is much bigger than Radisson in terms of hotel size and room size. The hotel is perched on top of a hill and offers a wonderful view of the city and the Bosphorus strait in most of the rooms (unfortunately not mine).

On the night of our arrival, our hosts took us out for dinner at an upmarket and classy joint called the Sunset Grill & Bar which is famous for its Japanese fusion cuisine (and sushi!) as well as its wine list. Apparently a popular dining destination with locals, I was told that this is the place to rub shoulders and mingle with the local celebrities and corporate head honchos.
Click to enlarge pictureAs luck would have it, Simon and Frank (the top guys in Sony Europe, on the left towards the end of the row) were in town and joined us for the welcome dinner.

The restaurant is perched on the hills of Ulus and overlooks the Bosphorus. The view is spectacular in the day and even more so at night when the city lights up.

Click to enlarge pictureI finally get to try a Turkish wine this time round (Turkey wine exports are limited in quantity and I don't think I have ever seen one in Singapore before) and it was a 2004 Kayra Buzbağ Rezerv Öküzgözü-Boğazkere. The taste is refreshing and I enjoyed it very much. Needless to say, I had quite a few to drink as I savored the excellent T-bone steak and talked shop with the hosts till late into the night. Side note: It's usually times like this, in a casual setting outside the office with lots of booze, that you get to have frank and honest discussions on work topics!

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