sarahx: (poshburd)
Ah, the joys of technology. I've been stranded at a trade show all week (and trade shows are in my top-three most hated things, so you can imagine how happy I am to be here). Until today I was doing the show's daily newspaper so all computered-up. Today being the last day (hurrah!) the G5s have been packed away. So I opened up my laptop to start writing the show review copy (deadline: tomorrow lunchtime) and huzzah! One of the exhibitors nearby has, most generously, set up a wireless cloud around their stand and failed to password-protect it. So I'm back on the interbadger again. Can't be arsed to write - think I've got a cold coming and my brain resembles mashed potato. I'll do it in the morning.

Anyroadup, here I am in Paris. Or, more accurately, Villepinte - yes, one of those delightful Parisien suburbs where if you had a car last month, this month you've got a burnt out wreck. We were also stranded at the Hyatt at the airport - which isn't really at the airport at all, it's a trek in a shuttle bus away. And, despite the proximity, an utter pain to get to at the end of the day. Going on the train involves going to the airport and getting on said shuttle bus. Going in a taxi involves braving the vast queue that is inevitable when there's 10,000-plus people at a show all being kicked out at the same time.

On Tuesday it was less of a problem, as one of the nice companies I do re-Englishing for took me out for dinner (yes, Stu, I booked the table and it might just have been at Les Bouchons, and no, I was good and didn't have cheese and dessert). However, I did get back to the airport just nicely in time to see the arse of the Hyatt bus disappearing into the distance. It was a 'sod it, I'll get a taxi' moment. Proof that claiming it's an airport hotel is a joke: it cost €12.

But at least I wasn't hanging around in the freezing cold at Charles de Gaulle for half an hour. Unlike when I arrived. They claimed the bus picked up at both terminals and the train station. So (having gone on the Eurostar and caught the RER back up to the airport) I stood at the train station, at their bus stop, and the shuttle bus sailed past down the road without pulling into the stop for me. Then did it again. When it ignored me for the third time, I called the hotel, got very cross (erm, yes, well, and a little bit sweary). Well, I was freezing. The bus then deigned to pull in to rescue me. It took nearly an hour for my fingers to thaw out once I finally made it to the Hyatt.

Tuesday dinner aside, I might just as well have been in Birmingham. Glamorous it ain't. And as I'm here working for the show organisers, I was stuck in the hotel with them. They're proof positive of Sarah's Law of the Dutch: the men are lovely, the women are, um, not. And, unfortunately, most of them are women. Fortunately the Dutch contingent of the newspaper team (two photographers, one designer and a manager from the printers) were men, and hence nice. We've all been avoiding the women.

Oh, and I feel the need to have a bit more of a rant about the hotel. When I'm booking and paying for them myself I always ensure they're either within walking distance or a sensible public transport ride away from where I want to be, so I'd never dream of booking this one myself. If I had, I'd feel ripped off. Hell, I feel ripped off and it cost me nothing! The rack-rate of €330 is quite outrageous for a room that looks pretty tired, and even the much better rate they will have been paying was, frankly, too much. For example, two huge chips in the enamel bath had been 'disguised' with white gloss paint that just serves to make them more obvious. The shampoo etc were crap. And then there's the cost of the incidentals. No Wi-Fi cloud at all - and the broadband access was an eye-watering €23 for a day. When I arrived, I had a sandwich - which cost €20. I came to check out this morning, and they tried to charge me €7 for something from the minibar - which I hadn't even opened. Bah.

Thank goodness I get to go home soon - I'm on the train a little after 6pm. Fingers crossed it's on time. I'm knackered and I want my bed!!
sarahx: (doll)
5.30 alarms two days in a row is a thing of evil. Today's excuse was an 8am appointment at the US embassy to get an I-visa for the forthcoming trip to New England to see the cranberry harvest, courtesy of Ocean Spray, for International Food Ingredients magazine. I've been utterly paranoid that they wouldn't give me one, for no obvious reason other than that's the sort of thing I worry about.

Anyway, having been pre-warned that getting there early is a Good Idea, I was on the 0557 train from Hither Green and (after picking up an emergency coffee on the way - Starbucks on Oxford Street was just opening as I walked past) I was sitting in the queue by about quarter to seven. In fact, I was the queue. Yay!

I was joined at about 7am by an oboist from the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and by quarter past there must have been 30-odd people in the queue. They let us in at 8am, I was first up at the documents checking desk, and 10 minutes later was the first to be called for an interview. And... the computer system fell over. I obviously scared them too much. So it was back to the chairs in the (large) waiting area, which was rapidly filling up. Over an hour later, I was called through again. The 'interview' took about three minutes, much of which involved the bloke asking me which foods he shouldn't eat (!), and then all I had to do was pay for their delivery service. That's something else that was worrying me - how was I going to get it when I'm out working on the travel mag all week and I need to sign for it? Problem solved (if expensively) - if you pay a further £13 on top of the £9.50, they'll deliver before 8am. I need to leave at just gone 8.20 to get the train. Result.

As long as it actually arrives by Friday morning... I'm going straight from work that evening to Sheffield for my (step)sister's wedding the next day, and my nephew's christening on the Sunday (I'm the evil godmother), so have booked to fly to Boston from Manchester to save a bit of chasing up and down the country. Apparently they text you once they've got the passport from the embassy, so at least I'll know a little in advance. And it should only take five working days at most... another week in which to worry, then!

Advice to anyone going visa-hunting at the US embassy: it's definitely worth being right at the very front of the queue. There were over 200 people waiting for interviews by the time I left, and only about five people interviewing. It may mean an early start and an hour's wait outside, but it'll save you a much longer wait inside.

And now I'm going to go and lie in the bath. It's already run, and I think I'll add the remaining birthday bath bomb from [livejournal.com profile] burge and [livejournal.com profile] stu_n. Mmm, what a nice thought. Only decision now is whether to take the Economist or the Princess Bride with me... no need for a poll on this one, I can already predict the result!!!

I was going to jump in the bath as soon as I got back half an hour ago, but I got somewhat distracted by lyrics quizzes...

Update

Sep. 9th, 2005 10:14 pm
sarahx: (Default)
I've been in Dublin for the past couple of days, for work. It would have been a nice relaxed couple of days had it not been for grotty weather there today that left all the flights dreadfully delayed. So much for being back by teatime!

And I'm off again in the morning. Wednesday are away at Leicester tomorrow, my Bolton-fan mate from Loughborough is coming along too as Bolton aren't playing until Sunday (and as I know he reads this - for the toilets, I think! - Paul, you must be mad, it will be rubbish!). Then up to Sheff, where I'll be watching the last couple of days of the Test series at my mum's, doing some work, playing with my loverly nephews, and driving back late on Tuesday night after our home game with Leeds. It's all go.

Now I think I need to go to bed. But first, some sitcom.

My LiveJournal Sitcom
Living With sarahx (UPN, 2:30): sarahx (Geoffrey Rush) buys a wheelbarrow from pixylatedpyxie (John Travolta). The week after, the_rauncher (Peter MacNicol) misinterprets an email from gregmce (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and tries to get into a deli for free. That weekend, anw (Mark Hamill) and osymandus (Willem Dafoe) buy a fish market. Later that day, philaylen (Glenn Close) wipes rottenplanet (Sal Mineo)'s laptop. At the same time, rockoctopus (Lisa Kudrow) dances with alasdair (Hank Azaria). (Series finale.)
What's Your LiveJournal Sitcom? (by rfreebern)

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sarahx

July 2010

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