This week: Philip Cronin, General Manager of Intel Australia & New Zealand, talks about Hainanese chicken in Hong Kong, running in the city and why a copy of Rolling Stone magazine is one of his must-have items for any flight.
Which city do you live in?
How many days would you spend travelling each year?
About 50, domestic & international.
What cities do you most often visit for business?
Melbourne and Hong Kong.
What's your best tip for Hong Kong?
Catch the express train in from the airport, hop off at Central and right outside is a noodle bar. Order the Hainanese chicken. This is the best way to taste real food in Hong Kong!
What's the one thing you do (or try to do) on every trip?
I love running in new cities. Beijing, Hanoi and Mumbai are exceptionally interesting and crazy, especially running across the road. My best run was in Vietnam – it seemed like 2 million people on scooters were coming against me as I crossed, so I just stood still and they washed around me like water.
On any business trip, what do you like to do in your spare time?
There never is much downtime, sadly, but I do like walking around the city areas, especially the busy ones. And I have a tendency to haggle in markets, much to my wife’s dismay!
What’s your favourite city to travel to, and why?
Paris, and do you really have to ask 'why'? Otherwise Ho Chi Minh is one of the most interesting and under-explored cities in Asia.
You’ve got a spare day on your trip: what do you do?
An early morning run as the city wakes up, breakfast in a café, a visit to a military museum, then late night dinner with a good glass of red.
When you’re overseas, what are your favourite stores to shop in?
Actually, I dislike department stores but I love markets – open air, noodle, night, fish... any type of market with colour and noise and a chance to haggle over something cheap. I’m not sure if I really needed that brass Buddha from Kathmandu, but it was a bargain!
What’s your favourite hotel?
The Intercontinental in Melbourne has exceptional service, and the Marriot in Hong Kong always gives me a great room with a stunning view of the harbour to wake up to.
Tell us about your best overseas dining experience.
Last week in Beijing, in the old part of town, in a courtyard with some of the local team, we were served 10 local dishes. Each one was great, unpretentious and tasted so good with a local beer. A chilli-infused beetle leaf was the highlight. Otherwise, chilli mud crab in Penang is awesome.
What are some essential carry-on items you’d never leave home without?
Pair of running shoes, Panadol, a copy of Rolling Stone and a good book, preferably on politics or a biography.
How do you typically spend your in-flight time?
On long haul I listen to lots of music. I really love the Qantas inflight documentaries and will always have a music magazine, The Economist and my iPod which has a mix of old and new. On return journeys I love reading The Sydney Morning Herald to catch up.
How do you beat jetlag?
Stay awake! Seriously, there is no answer; sleep when you can, avoid too much wine and get some exercise in. I do take a sleeping tablet on the US return legs, otherwise my head is in a bad space for days.
What are the first things you do on a business trip after settling into your hotel?
Unpack. I love to get all my stuff out of the bag, into the cupboard and sorted, even if it is a short trip. I also like to see what is in the mini-bar, it's a good indicator of the quality of the hotel and a chance to try a local beer.
What do you like most about travelling, even though it’s for work?
I actually love big cities, noise, traffic and lots of people. I am hopeless in the country. The bigger the city, the better. I even struggle with beach resorts, can’t wait to get into town. I grew up in Ireland so maybe that's why I like travel... we are a nation of travellers, always roaming. I also like meeting people from other countries, it's a great way to learn and share things. Most people know Sydney and usually have been here or want to visit.
What advice would you give airlines to improve the experience of the business traveller?
More A380s! it is the best, quietest and most pleasant flying experience in a long time. On domestic, the food has room for improvement.
What are your biggest travel gripes?
Security checks. I know we need them but they just slow things down so much. I dream of a scanner that you just walk through with bags and it can determine what's good and bad.
What’s your best travel advice?
Enjoy it! There's always something exciting and interesting on the other side. A fellow passenger can turn out to be very interesting and if you are willing to chat there's a good chance that you'll learn something by the time you land.
Australian Business Traveller's ‘Frequent Flyer’ interview profiles businesspeople who regularly travel within Australia and overseas and lets them share their favourite destinations, hotels, activities and tips with the rest of the business traveller community.
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