Wrong hotel

November 2 2007

It's 3 AM in Tokyo, so this must be jet lag.  Or maybe it's two other flavors of disorientation.

I arrived in Japan about 13 hours ago.  A fortunate chain of events had me out of the airport all of 15 minutes after the plane arrived at the gate -- very nice.  I took the bus in from the airport to the Tokyo City Air Terminal, which happens to be a block away from one of the IBM offices.  All was going well, and I knew I would make my 4:30 PM meeting.

What was weird when I arrived at TCAT was that there were a number of signs up in the corridors saying "Welcome to Bahrain".  At first I thought this must be a new kind of tourism campaign, though it sure seemed like a weird venue for it.  A few minutes later and all was revealed -- TCAT was being used for movie filming, and it was temporarily masquerading as the Bahrain airport.  There were even men in dishdashas, flight crews, and all the other extras to make it look real.  I have no idea if I ended up on film walking through all of this.

The only problem was when I followed the sign that said "Money Exchange" down an escalator...and found nothing but a subway corridor.  A few minutes later, I realized that I had followed one of the fake signs for the movie, not a real TCAT sign.  I guess the Arabic (and not Japanese) should have given it away. :-)

Hours later, I leave the office for my hotel.  I show the taxi driver the name and address, and he confirms that he knows the Le Meridien Pacific.  Well, as I'm sure happens from time to time, he took me to the other Le Meridien -- the Grand Pacific.  I've not stayed at either hotel before, so I wasn't really sure of the mix-up until I got to the check-in counter.

There, the hotel clerk performs a classically-Japanese magic trick.  As soon as she realizes I'm booked at the other hotel, she transfers my reservation to the hotel I'm standing in.  It takes a few extra minutes, and a consultation with someone in the back room, but I am not to be inconvenienced by having to schlep over to the other Le Meridien.  In fact, she never even suggested that I should go to the other hotel -- she just took care of it.

It will add some time to my morning commute back to the IBM office, but at that moment last night, having gone straight from a 14-hour flight to a 2-hour meeting, the hotel clerk did exactly the right thing for me by keeping me here.  Now if I could just get that melatonin to kick back in.

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