Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oct 27 2010 | Shanghai: espresso, fainting, delegates, where's waldo

This morning, after over a week running on 4 hours of sleep a night, the only thing that got me out of bed was Olga brewing a cup of espresso and literally placing it under my nostrils to inhale its bitter-sweet aroma. Perhaps smelling salts would've done the trick too, but coffee is supplied by the hotel so you have to make due with what you have ;)

At work, the event venue provided a "pit crew" to move the furniture (chairs, tables, etc) while a speaker on stage announced the upcoming panel. After waiting about 10 minutes for the signal to change the furniture, I saw something fall out of the corner of my eye, heard a very loud thud, and looked over to see one of the hotel's crew bounce off the wall and hit the floor. He completely passed out in front of my eyes. The two men on the left and the right of him draped him over their shoulders and quickly walked out, not missing a beat. I noticed the guy blinking and looking confused as he was dragged out. I imagine he blacked out for a moment, regaining consciousness while on the way out of the room, so his memory goes something like this: la dee da, just waiting for the speech to end. have to return rear window to the video store. do you smell burnt toast? must not forget to call mom for her... hey why am i being dragged out of here??" Seconds later, they were all back (minus 1) to move the chairs. In the afternoon, I asked the manager what happened - apparently this guy was sent home early: "he hadn't eaten lunch, i think he was really hungry." It was 11:00 in the morning, I wonder how many lunches he missed???

This morning I started thinking about the schedule for the rest of the events, and realized I would need to be in 3 places at once today. Two places I can handle, but three is a bit much. I gave it some serious thought and, with guidance from my manager, asked three of my coworkers (two Associates and one Financial Analyst - all somewhat technical in nature) to cover for me at one venue that would have AV assembled today for presentations tomorrow. In theory the AV vendor doesn't need me to be there during setup, especially after we have been working together all week and they should know my expections.... but in actuality the AV vendor always needs pushback, tweaking, more pushback, guidance, coaxing, and some nudging to get things done the way I like them. I gave the gentlemen a 30 minute briefing on the way I like the AV setup, and off they went across the Bund to Pudong to oversee installation. Tomorrow we'll see the fruits of their labor, but we may never know how many potential disasters they averted.

This evening, in recognition of the tremendous effort we are making, the big boss treated us to Chinese foot massages. I didn't know what to expect, but whatever I was imagining, it was wrong. There's a lot of soaking, a long neck and upper back rub, full leg and thigh massage, in addition to a thoroughly deep foot massage. It was practically a seated full-body massage and it felt wonderful - I can't wait to try it again sometime.

For those who still don't understand exactly what I'm doing in Shanghai, I'll explain it like this. I'm like the Tiger Woods Cigar Guy, popping up backstage when you least expect me. These two photos should give you an example, they are outtakes of official photos taken at our events. Click on the photos for a larger view :)

1 comment:

Phil said...

From the pics, it is clear you are the strong silent type :-)

Congratulations on your success so far. I sure hope you can get back to normal sleep now / soon.