Frequent flyer enjoys attentions of geisha

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 31/08/2014

GOING BACK IN TIME: Allister Daly with the geisha who served him during a business meeting.

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A recent business meeting in Tokyo took an unusual twist for Allister Daly.

The New Zealand general manager for Danish technology firm GN ReSound, which specialises in manufacturing hearing aids, has made numerous trips to Asia in his 11 years in the role.

But during a visit to Japan this year Daly and a group of 10 managing directors were hosted at an exclusive restaurant where each guest was assigned a geisha - a Japanese hostess who entertains men with conversation, dance and song.

"It was like stepping back 200 years," Daly said. "She poured my drink, checked my cushion, tried to teach me how to use chopsticks and when she saw I wasn't that confident with them was prepared to feed me all night."

The geisha sat beside Daly for the entire dinner, performed a dance and even cleaned his shoes, he said.

"The Japanese took it all very seriously and it required every ounce of restraint for my colleagues and me to contain the laughter."

Worst flight?

An Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Sydney. By the time we made it to Sydney we circled the airport for a while, flew to Canberra and sat on the tarmac for two hours before going to Melbourne. Arriving well after midnight, we were put up in a hotel near the airport with rooms that looked like a prison cell and were taken back to the airport at 6am to fly to Sydney, which was also delayed. We finally arrived in Sydney at midday having left Auckland the day before at 9am.

Best flight?

Emirates business class on the A380 from Brisbane to Prague. Fantastic service, fantastic aircraft, brilliant experience.

Best person you've met while travelling?

A guy in a small village in India who gathered up the male villagers for a cricket match against my colleagues and me in the dirt and squalor of a park the bus stopped in. He was the nicest, most sincere and genuine guy you could imagine meeting. He treated me like some kind of god, simply because I bought some of his homemade artwork as a thank you for being so kind to us.

Favourite international dish?

Wild venison in Bavaria. Truly exceptional.

Must have travel item?

iBooks on my iPad.

Most underrated city?

St Petersburg or Berlin. Very different but both underrated and visually gorgeous. Plus they have a wonderful ambience.

How do you avoid jet lag?

Suck it up. Push through when you land to force yourself into the local time zone. Get a solid eight hours' sleep the first night and then you're fine.

Top travel tips?

Plenty of time between scheduled arrivals and meetings and lots of water. There's nothing worse than stressing because of the inevitable flight delays that will happen.

One place you want to visit before you die and why?

Antarctica. Who wouldn't want to see that for real?

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- Sunday Star Times

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