Every 18 months or so I have a meeting which lasts 6 days. As can be imagined those meetings are hard going and tough. If those meetings are far away then it gets harder still.This time our meeting was across the ocean in near Philadelphia. As my friend in NZ Em hails from that area she provided me with a list of the best of the best in her hometown. Quite a lot of it I shared with the group I was travelling with. As it turns out it was a very good guidebook for them, I unfortunately was stuck working pretty much the whole week. Still, those that used her guidebook were most grateful for it.
It started early on Sunday morning. As we had to to be a the airport 3 hours (security, security and some more security) prior to departure we ended up having to be there very early. I was so grateful that SO drove me to the airport as I was unusually nervous for this trip. Nothing to do with the meeting or whatever, but the massive amount of paperwork and the intrusive nature of it had made me feel as if I must have done something wrong at some stage in my life. I really felt very very uncomfortable with it.
From our party of 10, 4 took the same plane and we met at the airport. We all got through the checks, re-checks and security gates without any hitches and then that three hours turns into a lot of chatting, meeting prep spiced with some boredom. The flight, well it is just the big bus in the air. It wa an old plane 757 and jam packed full of people. I was seated at an aisle, unfortunately the two young ladies next to me were suffering from a weak bladder and had to go to the toilet every two hours.
After the flight we found each other again and went through some more security, passport control and were finally deemed save enough to enter the country. Though I admit two of the party had to wait quite some time, however this was fully due the queue annex of Murphy’s law. They’d decided to go for the slightly shorter line. However the person right in front of them had some massive explaining to do.
Once we had our suitcases we got onto the hotel taxi that one in our party had ordered. From the airport it was about a 40 minutes drive to the hotel. All was well there and we were given our keycards and retreated. We decided to meet at 18.30 and the other lady in the party and I decided to go for a swim. After all it was 32 degC. The hotel comes with small pool and a small gym.
My room was a little dated but comfortable with a very high bed, very large TV and very shallow bath. The airco was going as was the fridge. Noisy buggers those things. After dinner I managed to switch off the airco (temp was down), but not the fridge. The altter woke me up twice in the night.
I have a habit of using the door bolt, if it is available, in hotel rooms. So my door was bolted when I went to bed reasonably early. After all it had been a long trip and the next morning the meetings were on! Around 21.00 all of a sudden somebody tries to enter my room. initially I think it is a case of “chances he is my new neighbour and ahs te wrong door” but he was persistent. A few minutes later again noises at my door This time somebody tries to get in full force through the door. Then a male exclaims “oh is this room occupied” I shout back (slightly shaken) “Yes it f***ing wel is” and I hear another male “I told you so!” . Next thing I know the phone; “Hi, sorry about that little error.” I told them that it had scared the bejesus out of me that two men had tried to enter my room forcefully being a woman travelling alone. So they halved the fee for the night, but still it was an unnerving experience.
Thankfully my exhaustion took over and apart from the fridge I slept reasonably well.