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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Glorious Fabulous Business Travel

Mom:Where are you going this week?
Me: I am catching a flight to London.
Mom: Sounds nice.
Me: Yes it is always nice to travel.
Okay so maybe I lied. Here is my real travel adventure this week.

After a one hour commute I arrive early to the office Wednesday for a very important client presentation. The kind where, if we do well, we might win a gazillion bucks worth of business. So we do our presentation, I skip lunch with my colleagues because I am busy preparing Thursday's presentation to another client, and we head off to catch an evening flight to Heathrow.
Well the flight is delayed. And it takes almost 2 hours to get through UK Immigration because for every 500 passengers there are exactly 5 employees processing. One employee who is doing nothing of obvious value then takes some time to talk to the woman who is working to relate a story about an angry passenger who found the waiting time a bit long. That was a real contribution on her part, as she mocked his American attitude.
Finally I make it through immigration, but cannot find my boss who had a somewhat shorter line, being European. Twenty minutes later we find each other and go in search of transportation to our airport hotel.
The information booth sends us to post 11 to catch the "Hotel Hoppa". The young woman at post 11 seems very confused about why I am there.
Her: You need the Hotel Hoppa
Me: Yes I know
Her: Well you need to catch it somewhere else
Me: Really? Where?
Her: Where it stops.
Me: The information booth said it stops at post 11
Her: (Here I am screwing up my face like she did. Sorry you can't see it)
Me: This is post 11 right?
Her: (Again with the screwed up face but no words)
Me: So I can catch the Hotel Hoppa here at post 11?
Her: Yes I guess you could wait here. It does stop here.
Me: Let me just go find a taxi.

So the taxi takes us on a £25 ride to a very nearby airport hotel. As we are pulling into the hotel parking lot, no shit, he runs into a bus. The Hotel Hoppa bus to be precise. When the irate bus driver comes over, our taxi driver says, "Sorry, I think I clipped you with my mirror". Meanwhile the entire side of his taxi is destroyed. On my boss' side of the car. We are now thinking mostly about how to get out of the taxi and into our hotel.

At the hotel reception we get a trainee to check us in. Joy of joys. Where are my patient pants? She spends a very long time finding us rooms close to each other. As if we care. I walk into my - oops make that someone else's room... yes I have been checked into a room that is already occupied. Imagine the surprise to the first guest when I enter!

Okay so blah blah blah, we take a taxi the next morning to the client presentation, having woken up at 3AM to finish the presentation we should have been working on the night before, and the taxi driver cannot find the building. He has two things in mind: 3rd Street and Micro something. Unfortunately our client is not Micro anything and is not located on 3rd Street. Nevertheless we spend 30 minutes on every possible permutation of 3rd Street and Micro something. We finally show him on the map how to get to the building, and off we go.

Final travel chapter for today. There is no queue at the airport for a taxi when I arrive back at Charles de Gaulle. Yippee! However every possible route home is blocked with accidents and traffic. Uh-oh. And I forgot to go the the ladies room before getting in the taxi. Oh boy. This ride is very long. Oh man, will we ever get there? Oh this could be very embarrassing.

Me after an hour that felt like a week: Sir I am very sorry but you will need to stop. You can let me out, leave without me, take my suitcase, claim my first-born or whatever you need to do, but you have to stop. Okay maybe I was a little less eloquent in my basic French but you get the picture. And so did he. He looked a little alarmed but he stopped.Thank God for kind people.
Now I am home, preparing for my next exciting adventure on the road. Ain't business travel just the most glamorous thing ever? Bet you wish you were business traveling right now.


  1. OMG....that was hilarious (from my perspective, anyway) WOW!

    1. trying to figure out how to reply with my NAME!!

    2. Today it is hilarious. Yesterday it was just cranky-inducing.

  2. So much for glamorous travel. How about a little stress!
    Hope you at least get the business after all that. But that would mean you have to go back there again...

    1. Oh I am happy to go to London. Some trips just have more surprises...

    2. Just meant you would have to relive this in your mind. I don't think you could duplicate a day like that!

  3. I guess when you travel as much as you do, you are bound to have some excitement - good or bad. Would you prefer everything bad on one trip, or a little bad every time?

    1. Good question Renee. All on one trip makes for a better story but a very hard day.

  4. Okay, that was good reading- definitely sit com worthy. I would like to congratulate you on not peeing in the cab (which I know can be difficult), and not just completely freaking out on this trip.

    1. Yes if I were a boy I would have been looking for a coke bottle to pee in!

  5. Next time take the train!

    At least it all makes for a good story, now, with it all in the rear-view mirror.

    1. Yes sometimes I wonder if everyone's life is this full of adventure but people just don't talk about it?


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