You know when a customer calls you on a Sunday night on your cell and tells you “I want to meet you tomorrow”? Yeah, it happens all the time. Except my customer was in Bangkok (Thailand) and I was in Valencia (Spain). Of course, I said “yes”. Here's another one: you know when you're supposed to take an 11 hour flight back home, but Pakistan and India escalate military frictions, close air space, and your flight gets rerouted for an extra 3 hours, making you miss your connexion and forcing you to stay in another country for an extra day? Yeah, it doesn't happen that often. Now try both at the same time. Welcome to my world.

Actually, it was not “tomorrow” Monday, because it takes you almost a day to get there. But I did leave for Bangkok on Tuesday arriving on Wednesday.

If my previous trip, a couple of weeks ago, was busy, this one was flat out crazy:

  • On Wednesday just as I got off the plane, realizing I forgot my international-data cell phone at home, I went to my first meeting. I met a very large potential customer, in a highly technical meeting that lasted several hours. Exhausted as I was when I got to the hotel, I did work for a few hours, preparing the next day's meeting. And also I decided to prepare for the eventuality of not having data, so I downloaded off-line maps and translators to be ready for the rest of the trip.
  • On Thursday I attended the 30th Pathology Association Congress, where I held 3 meetings (doing software demos live out of a cell phone hot-spot), had lunch at the event's buffet (not bad) and then went on to meet my distributor in their office. One of those meetings where you feel you're risking everything you've worked for, with a large team of people, most cheering for you, but some putting up a serious fight. To top it off, my customer took me to dinner to a Japanese restaurant. By the time I got to the hotel I fell to sleep so hard, I did not move a muscle all night for… 10 hours!
  • On Friday I was back at the Pathology Congress, doing 3 more demos on the spot, grabbing a quick bite (cold pasta), and then heading off to a large hospital to, you guessed it, do another demo. Fortunately I was finished with work with enough time to try to fulfill my promise to my daughter of sending her a postcard (as in some of my previous trips I could not find one, although it has always been easy). Easier said than done! I headed to the EmporiumQ shopping mall convinced that a bookstore would solve my problem. And then I saw it: a Kinokuniya!!! My favorite bookstore in the world (besides NY's The Strand). What kind of magic does that place have that ALL and ANY time you have disappears as soon as you walk in the door? The problem was that their postcards were “artistic”, not “touristic”. So while I bought books and other things, I still had to find the postcard, and the mall was closing. Luckily a Family Mart had souvenirs (nice ones!) and postcards. With my mission accomplished, all I needed was a nice dinner. And I happen to stumble by accident into the awesome Izakaya Kenshin. Too tired to even go into the swimming pool or the jacuzzi, I went straight to sleep.

Saturday morning I had the hotel's wonderful breakfast, packed and left for the airport with the “mission mostly accomplished” positive feeling of everything having worked out perfectly like a clock. Little did I know that the trip was about to get messed up.

I arrived in the airport with plenty of time, went into the BlueRibbon lounge, caught up with my email, had very delicious local food before boarding my flight. Except when I went to board the gate agent stopped me and told me that it was an overbooked flight, they changed my seat to the last (and crappy) available seat in the plane, and told me that since Pakistan and India were on the verge of war, they could not flight over Pakistan, the flight got rerouted for an extra 3 hours, and that was going to make me miss my connexion and force me to stay in Amsterdam overnight. At least I had a plug in the plane, so I worked on my laptop for 10 hours straight, plus watched 3 movies and listened to a lot of music.

Next stop, before getting back home: Amsterdam.