Almost Acclimated

I’m in Petaling Jaya to attend a seminar that starts tomorrow. I was going to have meetings with the local team today, but as the local team is only one person, and we met yesterday, I’m just working from my hotel room this morning. I know where the coffee is, somebody will bring me food if I call, so why would I walk next door to the office where I don’t have a desk?

I suppose I should be annoyed about traveling here early but I slept until almost 5:30am this morning and I will have to be in the seminar for six hours or so tomorrow, so the extra rest is probably good. I do know I went to Australia once for three days, and was still jet-lagged from Australia when I got home, so the extra time to acclimate is helpful.

I did visit the office yesterday and wandered around the Innovation Center, so that’s another one crossed off the list.

I was probably the only one in the bar last night having a wee pint for St Patrick’s Day. I had to settle twice – first, I went to the Cigar Bar (the Havana Club, which according to a glass by the register is actually a rum brand), and asked for Jamesons, but they didn’t have Irish whisky, so I had to settle for Scotch. Well, they learned it from the Irish, so that’s close.

The Havana Club reminded me of the Ice Bar on the Norwegian Epic – from an employee standpoint, it probably sounds like a really good deal, but then you realize there’s not a lot of traffic (I was pretty much the only customer the whole time I was there last night – my wife and I were alone in the Ice Bar last year), so it’s actually pretty boring. I’m pretty sure in both cases, it’s treated as a promotion – “You’re going to be the bartender at The Havana Club! You will have your own bar!” – but then you get there, and you realize “your own bar” means working alone, and while there are a lot of cigar bars around, there don’t seem to be a lot of cigar smokers. Actually, I was told most people come in, buy some cigars and leave. I felt a little hypocritical having asked for a non-smoking room and then going to the cigar bar, but so it goes. Plus, because I went, I heard the basics of the career aspirations of a cute 28-year old Malaysian woman who doesn’t smoke cigars and is really tired of being alone at work for long stretches.

It just occurred to me that was probably good training for me to be an old, crotchety bartender as my second career. Wait. Wasn’t she supposed to be listening to my problems? It’s a bit awkward to be in a bar when you’re getting hungry, but you feel the need to have one more drink, because the bartender is not finished with her story yet. So it goes.

One interesting note on the Havana Room (for those who don’t follow @xriva on Twitter because I mentioned it there last night, I think), the walk-in humidor has a biometric lock on it. So, the bartender had to lead me into the humidor to choose a cigar after opening the door with her fingerprint. I should have checked if she was packing heat.

This was the second biometric lock I’ve seen in a couple of months – the other was on the SoftLayer Data Center in Dallas. So, I have now have had a cigar that is as secure as the computers running the systems that turn startups into millionaires.

Since I hadn’t had a Guinness for St Pat’s, I stopped in the lobby bar on the way back to my room, but they had Carlsberg on tap, so I settled again. By this time, I was starving, and there was a small tray of sad somethings rotating in a warming oven, so I asked if there was any food available. The waitress brought me a menu, and then brought me another one. The second one was the room service menu. (The first menu seemed to be a subset of the room service menu.)

Another good idea. (Norwegian does something similar on their cruise ships – they will bring you a pizza wherever you are on the ship.)

So, I had a cheeseburger. It was amazingly good. I may have one for lunch, in fact.

Here’s an interesting question – the hotel has a Japanese restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and an Asian-inspired buffet (where I had lunch yesterday, including sweet corn ice cream), so where does the American food on the room service menu originate? I would actually rather go to the restaurant and have a steak for dinner than try to eat it on the same desk as my computer, but the only place you can get cheeseburgers, sandwiches and mozzarella sticks seems to be from room service, or from room service in the bar.

An interlude – Sweet Corn Ice Cream. Now, when I saw that small tag, I just assumed it was another instance of mis-translation, and it couldn’t possibly be what we call “corn.” I steered clear of it anyway, and took vanilla, which looked very yellow, which means there’s a lot of cream or fat (or something.) 

Back at my table, I took a bite, and it didn’t really taste vanilla. It tasted like … sweet corn. Wow. Now, I’m not saying I would come back here just for the sweet corn ice cream, but once you get over the weirdness, it’s not too bad. It’s just .. weird. 

So, the physical part of acclimation is done – I can go to bed at a reasonable hour, and almost sleep through the night. (Didn’t I have to learn this as an infant?) Tomorrow, comes the schedule acclimation – starting at 9:30 am (maybe 9:45 am) instead of 8:30 am or 9:00 am at home, eating lunch at 1:00 pm (ouch) and finishing, well, when we finish, I guess.

I’ve learned to ask about schedules ever since I had a workshop in Stuttgart years ago, and about 11:30 am, I hit the end of one of the modules, and said, “Well, let’s break for lunch” and my host said, “We’re going to lunch in about an hour and a half.” Oops. Time to keep talking. So, always ask the locals, because not everybody in the world is on the same lunch clock.